JPS is excited to announce the publication of THE JPS TANAKH: Gender-Sensitive Edition. A ground-breaking partnership with Sefaria, the Gender-Sensitive Edition represents the first substantial revision of our landmark translation of the Tanakh (the Jewish tradition’s term for the Hebrew Bible).
The Gender-Sensitive Edition is also now available online at Sefaria, along with the Preface to the translation, more extensive Notes on Gender in Translation, and sample passages comparing this new translation to the 1985 JPS version. Order your copy here; for a 50% discount on orders of 10 or more copies, use discount code 6RJPS50.
What is THE JPS TANAKH: Gender-Sensitive Edition?
The first Jewish gender-sensitive translation of the full Hebrew Bible, THE JPS TANAKH: Gender-Sensitive Edition (RJPS or Revised JPS edition) renews and revises the iconic Jewish Publication Society Bible translation (NJPS or 1985 New JPS edition) to reflect advances in scholarship and changes in English while maintaining utmost fidelity to the original Hebrew.
The Gender-Sensitive Edition offers gender-inclusive renderings where appropriate and gendered ones when called for historically and linguistically, incorporating the best of contemporary research into Israelite history and religion, literary studies, philology, linguistics, and the social sciences to offer a faithful and accurate translation. References to persons are gender-sensitive yet consistent with ancient gender norms, and the translation strives for inclusive language when referring broadly to people, ancestors, and humankind. References to God are typically gender neutral and generally avoid grammatically masculine pronouns and labels, with careful examination of each context yielding the most appropriate rendering. To enable the tetragrammaton (God’s four-letter name) to be encountered as a name and without masculine connotations, the edition typically translates it as “GOD” (in small capitals) rather than “the LORD”
Revising the venerable JPS translation, the Gender-Sensitive Edition empowers readers to experience Scripture with all the power of the original Hebrew. It is sure to become the new Bible translation of choice for readers who embrace biblical scholarship with reverence for tradition, and for communities and individuals who adopt an inclusive, egalitarian perspective in today’s world.
Why publish an updated Bible translation after four decades?
Since the iconic JPS Bible translation appeared in 1985, dramatic changes in the English language, biblical scholarship, and other areas have made a new English edition long overdue. Readers and communities across the globe have called for a translation that remains faithful to the original Hebrew and provides vital access to the Bible’s world and timeless lessons.
What does “gender-sensitive” mean?
Our translation is “gender-sensitive” in the sense of being attentive to how gender and language function in the Hebrew Bible. Going through the Bible word by word, line by line, verse by verse, the translators asked when gender-inclusive renderings are appropriate and when gendered language is called for historically and linguistically—for example, whether a term for a human being should be translated as “person” or as “man,” and whether a reference to God should be translated with gender-neutral language (for instance, simply as “GOD”) or with a male-sounding term (such as “King”).
What’s the result? How does the translation refer to humans and God?
As outlined above, references to persons are gender-sensitive yet consistent with ancient gender norms, and the translation strives for inclusive language when referring broadly to people, ancestors, and humankind. References to God are typically gender neutral and generally avoid masculine pronouns and labels. To enable the tetragrammaton (God’s four-letter name) to be encountered as a name and without masculine connotations, the edition typically translates it as “GOD” (in small capitals) rather than “the LORD.”
Is the translation faithful to the original Hebrew?
Yes! The translation empowers readers to experience Scripture with the power of the original Hebrew, providing access to what the Bible meant in its original historical context.
Does the translation make changes in areas other than gender?
Yes! The translation updates archaic or unclear English language and ritual terminology to provide a more accurate understanding of the Bible’s meaning.
What are people saying about this new translation?
“This gender-sensitive translation will transform our understanding of the Tanakh, and our place within it. It invites the reader to envision the Divine and the main actors of the Bible in a more expansive way.” – Rabbi Angela W. Buchdahl, Central Synagogue, NYC
“This revised translation is not only gender-sensitive; it is also gender-sensible. Every decision regarding gender has been carefully considered to produce a faithful rendering of the Bible that is finely tuned to contemporary sensibilities. The explanations of the principles that direct these decisions are a welcome bonus; they enhance our understanding of the workings of biblical Hebrew and modern English.” – Adele Berlin, Robert H. Smith Professor Emerita of Biblical Studies at the University of Maryland
“As we strive for the utmost fidelity in how we render the eternal words of Tanakh, greater gender inclusivity in how we talk about people, and greater gender sensitivity in how we speak about God, JPS’s new gender-sensitive translation offers us a momentous contribution to biblical study—a massive and crucial step forward. A must for every Jewish library and for every contemporary student of Torah.” – Rabbi Shai Held, president and dean of Hadar
“Gender norms have so dramatically changed since the completion of the JPS Tanakh translation in 1985 that it is both a necessity and a pleasure to have this new translation that pays deliberate and careful attention to issues of gender. Because this is gender-sensitive rather than gender-inclusive, it does not simply paper over the ways in which the text assumes male dominance, but tries to discern whether particular usages of male pronouns and terms were meant to be inclusive or not. In so doing, the translation both enlightens and disturbs, challenging many fixed assumptions and allowing readers to come to the Tanakh with fresh eyes.” – Judith Plaskow, author of Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism From a Feminist Perspective
“Mining advances in ancient Near Eastern scholarship, rooted authentically in Jewish exegetical traditions, and paying exceptionally fine-tuned attention to contemporary English-language usage, this gender-sensitive translation is startling, thought-provoking, and equally well situated for the synagogue, the traditional classroom, and community adult education programs, among other settings.” – Leonard Greenspoon, Klutznick Chair in Jewish Civilization, Creighton University
“The rabbis of the Talmud taught that ‘the Torah speaks in human terms,’ but this can only be the case if the Tanakh is translated and re-translated to reflect shifts in our manner of speaking. THE JPS TANAKH: Gender-Sensitive Edition allows all of us to see ourselves created in the image of God and reflected in the Bible’s teachings.” – Ilana Kurshan, author of If All the Seas Were Ink
How can I order, receive special discounts, and learn more?
In the United States or Canada, please order online here or call our distributor, Longleaf Services, at 1-800-848-6224.
For a 50% discount on orders of 10 or more copies, use discount code 6RJPS50.
If ordering outside of North America, please call Combined Academic Publishers in the United Kingdom at +44 (0) 1423 526350.
To learn more about the Gender-Sensitive Edition, please contact Dr. Elias Sacks, JPS Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (215) 832-0607.
Click here to read an article on this new translation by JPS Director Emeritus Rabbi Barry Schwartz and Rabbi Beth Lieberman, featured in the CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Fall 2023 issue.
The Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 4.0 International License has been applied to all content in RJPS.