Page 29 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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LEVINE / JEWISH BIBLE SCHOLARSHIP
23
aspects. In his centennial address, Nahum Sarna made note o f
two
desiderata
: A contemporary translation o f the Hebrew Bible
into English, and a modern Jewish Bible commentary, in the
English language. T h e fo rm er project is virtually accomplished,
and the latter is ju s t getting unde r way.
TRANSLATION PROJECT
The Jewish Publication Society o f America (henceforth JPS)
published the new T o rah translation in 1962, and the
Five Megil-
loth and Jonah
in 1969. In 1978, the translation o f
Nevi°im
(the
Prophets) appeared . T he publication o f
Kethuvim
(Sacred Writ­
ings), the last section o f the tripartite canon, is scheduled for late
in 1981. (
Psalms
and
Job
have already appeared separately). It is
clear, therefore, tha t considerable translation effort was pu t forth
in the 1970’s. T h e new translation, sometimes refe rred to as NJV
(New Jewish Version), will replace the 1917 translation, also pub ­
lished by JPS.
JPS operated with scholarly committees, whose members p re ­
pared d raft translations. They were jo ined in their efforts by
rabbis, represen ting the three main branches o f American Jewry.
The committee which p repared the T o rah translation and the
Five Megilloth,
con tinued with some change, to p rep a re the
Prophets. It consisted o f Harry M. Orlinsky (Chairman for the
Torah), H.L. Ginsberg (Chairman for the Prophets), and the late
E.A. Speiser, whose untimely passing deprived the others o f his
continuing con tribu tion . T he original rabbis were: Be rna rd
Bamberger (Reform), Max Arzt (Conservative), and H arry
Freedman (Orthodox). Solomon Grayzel, then editor o f JPS,
served as secretary.
A new committee was formed to translate
Kethuvim,
consisting
o f Nahum M. Sarna (Brandeis), and Moshe G reenberg and Jonas
C. Greenfield (Hebrew University). T he associated rabbis were:
Martin Rozenberg (Reform), Saul Leeman (Conservative), and
David Shapiro (Orthodox). Chaim Potok, once editor o f JPS, and
a noted au thor, served as secretary.
Basic to the translation project was the objective o f providing a
version that would be acceptable to all Jews. Whether this will be
realized, only time will tell. T he translation is in the tradition o f