About the Book
Jewish Bible Translations is the first book-length history and analysis of Jewish Bible translations from the third century BCE to our day. As such, it is an overdue corrective of an important story that has been regularly omitted or downgraded in other histories of Bible translation.
Examining a wide range of translations over twenty-four centuries, Greenspoon delves into the historical, cultural, linguistic, and religious contexts of versions in eleven languages: Arabic, Aramaic, English, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and Yiddish. He profiles many Jewish translators—among them Buber, Hirsch, Kaplan, Leeser, Luzzatto, Mendelssohn, Orlinsky, and Saadiah Gaon—framing their aspirations within the Jewish and larger milieus in which they worked. He differentiates their principles, styles, and techniques—for example, their choice to emphasize either literal reflections of the Hebrew or distinctive elements of the vernacular language—and their underlying rationales. As he highlights distinctive features of Jewish Bible translations, he offers new insights regarding their shared characteristics and their limits. Additionally, he shows how profoundly Jewish translators and interpreters influenced the style and diction of the King James Bible.