Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures” as Want to Read:
Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures

4.37  ·  Rating Details ·  2,328 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
Read our customer guide

Regarded throughout the English-speaking world as the standard English translation of the Holy Scriptures, the JPS TANAKH has been acclaimed by scholars, rabbis, lay leaders, Jews, and Christians alike. The JPS TANAKH is an entirely original translation of the Holy Scriptures into contemporary English, based on the Masoretic (the traditional Hebrew)
Paperback, 1624 pages
Published November 1st 1985 by The Jewish Publication Society (first published -450)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Tanakh, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Tanakh

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 19, 2007 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
standing on one foot
Erik Graff
May 21, 2011 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Dennis Haas
Shelves: religion
The first time I read a version of the bible from cover to cover was during the last year at Grinnell College while I was taking Chaplain Dennis Haas' two semester sequence on the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. The text chosen was the academic edition of The Jerusalem Bible, a weighty tome I'd take to bed with me for an hour of so of reading pretty much every night until it was finished. Before bedtime on some nights, however, I did oral readings of another version of the bible, this that of t ...more
Jun 17, 2007 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall I like this version although the font is a bit on the small side -particularly the footnotes which must be all of a 2 or 3 pt font...but for the roughly $13 this is an affordable and very readable translation from the original Hebrew. It should be noted, the translate is a modern english translation rather than old english the taking the translation from Hebrew rather than Greek or Arabic this is a decidely different tone. Although still early in my reading, there are ...more
Patricia Joynton
Genesis: The Creation Story

So the world was created, and God rested on the 7th day, and so should we all God says, over and over, even saying in Exodus those who don't should be killed. Can't figure out just when Sabbath is though. Then there is another version of creation in the same Book. After that it's mostly a bunch of begots, these are very proliferate people.

Exodus: The Jews exit Egypt, and wonder why. Moses is the good guy. He deals with the Pharoah then guides the Jews out of Egypt. And
Tim Meester
Aug 22, 2013 Tim Meester rated it it was amazing
The Tanakh, also contemptibly denominated, "The Old Testament," is a literary masterpiece that has influenced humankind, directly or indirectly, for good or ill, more than any other single text in human history. Yet I value this text not for its cultural, religious, or political influence, but strictly in terms of its literary quality. Scholars with minds far brighter than mine have brooded over these immortal stories for centuries and by the end of their individual lives remain perplexed by the ...more
Jun 24, 2012 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: judaism
I have finished reading the 'historical' books of the Tanakh to get ready for the First Temple Era history section of my tour guides course: Joshua, Judges, First and Second Samuel, First and Second Kings, and First and Second Chronicles. It's a mighty interesting period, stretching out over around 500 years of our history, with some great characters, like Saul, Gideon, Deborah, David, Jezebel and more. It was a violent era (like now), and the losing side in a conflict had their cities put to th ...more
Nov 23, 2014 Vov rated it liked it
Some parts of this historical fiction are entertaining.

These in particular are worth a read:
- Ecclesiastes: Pessimistic philosophy of ancient times. A surprising addition to the collection, given its dark and quite blasphemous tone.
- Kings: Game of Thrones, biblical style.
- Song of Songs: A surprisingly refreshing collection of poetry dealing with love and romance between him & her, without religious banter.
- Book of Esther: An entertaining farce comedy.

Other worthy mentions:
- Genesis
- J
Timothy Husbands
Nov 11, 2010 Timothy Husbands rated it it was amazing
This is an extremely clear translation of the difficult Hebrew into contemporary English. It's a bit different than the "Old Testament" Christians are used to, as the Scriptures are not translated with an eye toward proving that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. I would venture to say that, at least in today's English, and concerning how the Scriptures would have been read by the Hebrews of the Messianic Period, this is as close as one can get to that experience. Note: This follows the Masoretic Text ...more
Sep 04, 2012 Fania rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All but zealots.
Giving 5 stars - the stars only appear only on the fourth day of creation, mind you - to the Hebrew Bible is a bit absurd. So is Goodreads, on this particular book. Two random aspects of this absurdity is that the King James translation gets more than 50000 ratings, and the Hebrew original less than 10 so far; and that it is clearly absent from the Greatest Books Ever Written (a list horrendous enough to merit plenty of divine mercy anyhow). In brief: this work by Anonymous is a good book.
Apr 26, 2008 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Studiers of religion
Recommended to Deb by: A great gift from Mike & Pam Finkel
It's quite amazing for one raised as a Christian (which I do not now consider myself) to read the Jewish bible (nor am I Jewish). This Book is much more user-friendly than the Christian Book; far easier to comprehend. I was paralleling them both, side-by-side; just looking into the differences is an enlightening lesson. And Leviticus will boggle your mind.
Jean-Paul Werner Walshaw-Sauter
A sensational translation.
Nov 07, 2007 Michael rated it it was amazing
Personal theory of the Tanakh, or what Christian's call The Old Testament: whether intentionally or not, the Tanakh charts the ever-growing distance between man and God. First God creates the universe and exists in perfect harmony with man; then man breaks the pact of that union; throughout his wanderings, man is continually reconnected to God through a series of covenants meant to reestablish that original union; but time and again man breaks those covenants, to the point where God becomes more ...more
This was a gift to me from my father when I made the decision that I one day wanted to convert to Judaism. He knew how much I wanted to learn Hebrew, and how I had been struggling with trying to study with a Christian Bible, especially as he tripped over an NIV that I had thrown out of the living room door in frustration. So, he got this for me and I love it, not just because it is my first Tanakh, but because of the support Da showed in buying it for me.

Having the Hebrew and English side by sid
David Rullo
A JPS version of the Tanakh with little in the way of notes and/or criticism.
John Sheehan
May 11, 2016 John Sheehan rated it really liked it
Regarded throughout the English-speaking world as the standard English translation of the Holy Scriptures, the JPS TANAKH has been acclaimed by scholars, rabbis, lay leaders, Jews, and Christians alike. The JPS TANAKH is an entirely original translation of the Holy Scriptures into contemporary English, based on the Masoretic (the traditional Hebrew) text. It is the culmination of three decades of collaboration by academic scholars and rabbis, representing the three largest branches of organized ...more
Steven Schwarzman
Jan 24, 2015 Steven Schwarzman rated it really liked it
Well, it seems funny to give anything less than five stars to the Bible. The new translation by JPS (which actually goes back to the 1960s) is great for an idiomatic rendition in modern English of the Hebrew original, and of course it reflects the insights gained from modern archaeology and the study of ancient near eastern languages (such as Ugaritic and Akkadian), which help us understand some otherwise obscure Hebrew words.

And I used to be a big fan of idiomatic translations. These days, I pr
‘The maiden was very beautiful, a virgin whom no man had known. She went down to the spring, filled her jar, and came up. The servant ran toward her and said, “Please, let me sip a little water from your jar.” Drink, my lord,” she said, and she quickly lowered her jar upon her hand and let him drink. When she had let him drink his fill, she said, “I will also draw for your camels, until they finish drinking.” Quickly emptying her jar into the trough, she ran back to the well to draw, and she dre ...more
The tanakh is an amazing read, well worth the time I put into it. I've read the whole of the torah, and then from Joshua through to Isaiah. I've read Ruth and some of the other later books out of order as well. So not a cover to cover read, but I felt satisfied setting it aside at about 65% covered knowing I can always come back to it.
For fellow Jews, if you haven't read Joshua, Kings, et al, please do. This tells the full stories of Samson, David, and Solomon, three figures it seems a shame not
Sam knowles
Jan 22, 2013 Sam knowles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm no expert when it comes to bible translation, but I must say that this edition us the best one I've ever read, far more than the "old testament" section found in the traditional Christian bible. technically I'm Jewish, so that's natural anyway. reading this brings an insightful new approach towards understanding Jewish theology and the great inner workings if Jewish philosophy. if I were to bind myself to any kind if religious dogmatism in my life it will undoubtingly be Judaism.
Michael Fogleman
Read Genesis; Exodus; Numbers 20; Leviticus 11, 18-20; Deuteronomy; Samuel I, II; Kings I, 1-4; Psalms 1, 8, 14, 19, 22, 23, 42, 46, 51, 90, 121, 122, 126, 130, 131, 137, 139, 148; Amos; Jonah; Isaiah 40-55; Job.

Genesis, Exodus, Samuel/Kings, Psalms, Jonah, and Job were all awesome. Can't wait to read the New Testament.

Read Ecclesiastes for myself; it was perhaps even better than Job (and more concise!).
Dec 06, 2012 Hamza rated it liked it
Honestly, although a lot of the stories in the Tanakh/Old Testament are very interesting (especially from a theological viewpoint), there is also a lot of boring filler. We did not need the details of how to build the Tabernacle or how many different members there were from each tribe, etc. Still, it's worth a read, as long as you realize how long it will take you to read it and actually attempt to process it all.
Aug 30, 2007 Corey rated it really liked it
If you must read the Hebrew Scriptures, I reccomend this translation. It is the approved academic translation of the Jewish Publication Society. It's got the "Old Testement" along with the rest of the core Hebrew texts that got cut out of the Bible. Interesting what they cut.

There are so many funny laws- what constitutes "accidental deflowering", etc. Also good stories that have been neglected.
Oct 07, 2013 Derpyhooves rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately I can give this pocket edition of the Tanakh only one star. They have managed to put two Bibles into one small 2000-page book, which is an achievement. The book looks good and feels good. So that's the good part. To do this, however, they made the letters so small that the Hebrew is unreadable unless you are an eagle or a superhero whose superpower is the ability to read very small letters. This, to me at least, renders this edition useless.
May 20, 2014 ShiraHE rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The newest JPS translation of the Tanach has two wonderful forwards explaining the various translations and texts used to verify the translations. The maps in the back are also nice, though I found myself wishing for a more complete map of the Abrahamic period.
MEOW Date Saturday, May 18. 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era)
Harper Jean
Finally finished! (Okay, I still need to read Second Chronicles, i.e. Kings: The Remake.) As an ex-English major, I have to say that this was a satisfying slog that provided retrospective context for so many other books. And it was really satisfying to carry around and dramatically thump onto tables.
Feb 25, 2008 Heather rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: college students, history buffs, Jews, Christians
Recommended to Heather by: college professor
I read this for a literature class in college. It is the first 5 books of the Bible. We also read "The Epic of Gilgamesh" to examine how the two books are similar. Looking into the Bible as literature makes reading it enjoyable and interesting. I recommend reading it as part of a class so someone can illustrate the literary elements and compare it to other literature of the day.
Dec 21, 2010 Myla rated it it was amazing
It feels silly to review the Tanakh but this translation is just so much better and the side-by-side Hebrew-English layout is more readable than anything I've ever seen before. One problem is that the commentary is very minimal, at least in the light softcover edition I have, so you need another source for that.
Sep 21, 2010 H.Friedmann added it
Shelves: classic
Hard to put a star rating on this one. I like this particular translation, although not as lyrical as some others, it was fairly straightforward to understand. I do feel that regardless of your religious point of view, this is an important read for everyone. Too many people use it as a foundation for their life and their arguments for it to be ignored or set aside and ignored.
Mar 05, 2016 XO rated it liked it
Unless you are hardcore, just stick with the Torah (5 stars). Both the Torah and Nevi'im make up the Old Testament. The Torah is where all the "good and known" stories are. If you want to see what kind of "God" this is, the Torah is enough. No need to power trough Nevi'im or Kethuvim. In the other hand, if you are hardcore, please read with an objective mind... If you can.
Tom Hallberg
Jul 14, 2012 Tom Hallberg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bibles
The only reason I gave it a 4 instead of a 5 is because this is a pocket edition which makes the Hebrew vowels somewhat difficult to read. However, that should be expected when you purchase a pocket edition of anything! So, in essence, I'm actually downgrading my own eyesight, not the Bible itself.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History
  • God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism
  • Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs & Rituals
  • The Jewish Book of Why
  • Everyman's Talmud: The Major Teachings of the Rabbinic Sages
  • The Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (The Schocken Bible, Volume 1)
  • The Chumash: The Stone Edition, Full Size (ArtScroll) (English and Hebrew Edition) The Torah: Haftaros and Five Megillos with a Commentary Anthologized from the Rabbinic Writings
  • To Pray As A Jew: A Guide To The Prayer Book And The Synagogue Service
  • Back to the Sources
  • The Beginning of Desire
  • The Essential Talmud
  • Choosing a Jewish Life: A Handbook for People Converting to Judaism and for Their Family and Friends
  • How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household
  • Sinai and Zion
  • To Life: A Celebration of Jewish Being and Thinking
  • Introduction to the Hebrew Bible
  • The Guide for the Perplexed
  • Tales of the Hasidim, Vols 1-2
Books can be attributed to "Anonymous" for several reasons:

* They are officially published under that name
* They are traditional stories not attributed to a specific author
* They are religious texts not generally attributed to a specific author

Books whose authorship is merely uncertain should be attributed to Unknown.
More about Anonymous...

Share This Book

“9“I charge you: Be strong and resolute; do not be terrified or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” 0 likes
“16Then justice shall abide in the wilderness And righteousness shall dwell on the farm land. 17For the work of righteousness shall be peace, And the effect of righteousness, calm and confidence forever.” 0 likes
More quotes…