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Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures

4.38 of 5 stars 4.38  ·  rating details  ·  1,777 ratings  ·  72 reviews
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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 860)
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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
standing on one foot
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
Timothy Husbands
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
Jun 28, 2008 Deb rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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.
A sensational translation.
Steven Schwarzman
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
Erik Graff
Oct 29, 2014 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Tim Meester
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
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
No one bible is the perfect route to the Word of God for me. But the poetry in this translation woke in me a thirst for God in ways that had not existed before. As I grew in my scholarship, and could read a bare amount of Hebrew, this work would help clarify - sometimes rounding the edges, sometimes sharpening. A beautiful resource for the bible-curious and the bible scholar alike.
William Ramsey
If you're not reading this translation, you're not reading the Hebrew bible. And by that I mean, Jason BeDuhn uses this translation in his classes and he's a Guggenheim scholar so......
"solid edition, but tiny type"

I enjoy and appreciate this translation, and decided to buy the book because it was the version used in my daily email Torah portion. However, the small point size of the text makes it less useful than it otherwise would be, though I realize that's what makes the book small, compact, and portable.
‘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
Shelby Wiederin
Aug 31, 2014 Shelby Wiederin is currently reading it
I've actually been reading this for a long time. I just got home and am finnaly reunited with it again
Poorly written/translated, and repetitive. Metaphors are a bit obvious.
Sam knowles
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.
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.

Historically authoritative version of the text that is consistent with original sources. Very helpful to the scholar of early literature. If you would like to study this as literature, I highly recommend listening to Christine Hayes' lectures RLST 145: INTRODUCTION TO THE OLD TESTAMENT (HEBREW BIBLE).
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.
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!).
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.
Mar 11, 2014 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.
Feb 25, 2008 Heather rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
Jessica Petree
I wanted to read the JPS version, and found it was quite good. It did not differ much from KJV in most respects. I enjoyed trying to read some of the Hebrew, found out new things about Psalms, and enjoyed learning the different order of the books. After reading this book, I occasionally started trying to read other books from the wrong side by accident.
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.
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.
Tom Hallberg
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.
Jul 15, 2008 Sasha rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: jews
Recommended to Sasha by: God
Shelves: smartypants
this book is kinda required reading if you live in the Western world. I had to stop shortly after I finished the first five books in this multi-volume compilation. There's only so much description of entrail sacrifices that one can take. However, I understand the world I live in a little better.
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“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
“10(Hailg the just man, for he shall fare well; He shall eat the fruit of his works. 11Woe to the wicked man, for he shall fare ill; As his hands have dealt, so shall it be done to him.)” 0 likes
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