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The Jewish Study Bible: Featuring the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh Translation

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The Jewish Study Bible is a one-volume resource tailored especially for the needs of students of the Hebrew Bible. Nearly forty scholars worldwide contributed to the translation and interpretation of the Jewish Study Bible , representing the best of Jewish biblical scholarship available today.
A committee of highly-respected biblical scholars and rabbis from the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Judaism movements produced this modern translation.

No knowledge of Hebrew is required for one to make use of this unique volume. The Jewish Study Bible uses The Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation.

Since its publication, the Jewish Study Bible has become one of the most popular volumes in Oxford's celebrated line of bibles. The quality of scholarship, easy-to-navigate format, and vibrant supplementary features bring the ancient text to life.

* Informative essays that address a wide variety of topics relating to Judaism's use and interpretation of the Bible through the ages.
* In-text tables, maps, and charts.
* Tables of weights and measures.
* Verse and chapter differences.
* Table of Scriptural Readings.
* Glossary of technical terms.
* An index to all the study materials.
* Full color New Oxford Bible Maps, with index.

2181 pages, Hardcover

First published September 1, 2003

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Adele Berlin

27 books12 followers

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5 stars
988 (62%)
4 stars
413 (25%)
3 stars
147 (9%)
2 stars
27 (1%)
1 star
17 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 72 reviews
Profile Image for A.
21 reviews
August 24, 2015
the plot twists are phenomenal. Sometimes God gets angry, sometimes impatient, and sometimes people are killed. A talking donkey appears and some water is parted. A lot of kvetching.
Profile Image for فؤاد.
1,057 reviews1,724 followers
March 9, 2022
برای شرح و تفسیر کتب انبیا که هنوز پیروز سیار چاپ نکرده، اومدم سراغ این کتاب. با ترجمهٔ هزارهٔ نو می‌خوندم و حواشی رو از این می‌خوندم.

آخر کتاب هم یه سری مقاله داره که هنوز نخوندم اما می‌خوام کم کم بخونم.
2 reviews1 follower
April 8, 2011
As somebody intrigued by religious debate, I took it upon myself to read parts of the Old Testament this February. It has been an endeavor I’ve wanted to take on for a while, and I believed that it would improve my understanding of religion. It also has always been my belief that too often the Bible is misinterpreted as nothing more than a handbook for living. It is my belief that religious texts are worth much more. From what I had heard, the Bible seemed to eloquently pose profound questions about good and evil. I had heard that the descriptive language was luscious and that the characters in the stories were quite dynamic. It wanted to read the bible not as a handbook, but rather as a piece of literature.
The Jewish Study Bible greatly succeeds in satisfying this need. The vast expanses of footnotes, while at times overwhelming, do an excellent job at providing insight for religious subtext of dialogue and narration. The book also provides terrific insight into how Judaism interprets the Old Testament. While the book does demand quite a bit of discipline on the part of the reader, the editors should be satisfied with their work.
I am not a Christian. I am not part of an organized religion, but I strongly believe that it is in my best interests to be well-educated on the Bible. The Old Testament is one of the most controversial stories of all time, and has shaped the way that humans treat each other and themselves for the last two millenniums. Today, so much political debate in America is based on ideologies prompted by this text, and it is necessary for more people to understand where it comes from. The Jewish Study Bible does an excellent job of embellishing the engaging moral conflicts presented, and finding the deeper meaning of a text that so many take for granted.
Profile Image for Valerie.
45 reviews
October 24, 2014
I absolutely love this book! It is truly a STUDY bible. The TANAKH translation is the best, of course. And the footnotes and the commentaries are fantastic. This is not an easy read, but it isn't meant to be. It is meant to savored and contemplated. This book will be right beside me every day for many, many years to come. I would not recommend it as an in introduction to Jewish thought or scripture, but for Jews, and certain Christians, too, I think this could end up being an invaluable source for their spiritual journey to be taken on a daily basis.
Profile Image for Peyton.
188 reviews18 followers
January 29, 2021
Not going to rate this bc it seems odd to rate a religious text but good reading experience!
5 reviews1 follower
June 7, 2011
I am not Jewish, and only tangentially Christian, but I am reading this to get some feel for these ancient writings and how sincere believers have tried to react to them. The English is very direct, so you can escape some of the associations of more estabished translations. The translators claim to be following an older Jewish tradition of translating for meaning, rather than the word for word translation of Christian tradition. But they have extensive side notes, alerting readers to other translations, or to difficulties in rendering, etc, as well as to possible contexts, other verses and so on. The best bits are the introductions to the various books (which judicially sum up a great deal of scholarly work) and the Essays at the end of the book, which do this more challenginly, focusing on various themes - such as purity and holiness, or interpretation, or use, or religion and so on. I have read excellent Essay on Purity and Holiness, and the Introduction to Leviticus, and already I see Yahweh in a different light. He is not the relentless pre-Christian persecutor of myth. I also appreciate the logic of the purity and holiness laws as a complete system (similar to our own systems of action and avoidance) rather than as some barbaric superstion or pre-historic public health system. It will take me time to get through this, and I may stumble!, but the omens are good.

Now finished it, with the aid of the excellent OpenYale video lectures. I can now appreciate how intelligent people (and not just Jews) could think that this can be an infallible guide to religious and moral conduct - so long as you insisist that the whole Bible informs every part of it. I was amazed at the diversity of types of documents included in the Bible and the many viewpoints in the the content. Even Yahweh seemed - only seemed! - to change his mind often. Also he was rubbish at creating an untroublesome form of human being, even when, in exasperaton, he restricted it to one nation/family - Israel. That damned free will! The point is they managed to get on, with occassional tantrums. I loved this book, or set of books.
Profile Image for Nick Jordan.
747 reviews6 followers
November 27, 2020
Tremendous, tremendous, tremendous and beautiful resource. I’m a United Methodist preacher, and this is great for personal devotion, semi-academic work, and preaching. It’s especially good for understanding Jewish liturgical life, calendar, worship, and interpretation history, including for those committed to anti-anti-Semitism, especially in light of Christian history. All the thumbs up.
Profile Image for Kirsten .
1,591 reviews255 followers
May 31, 2019
It took me quite a while to make it all the way through this but it was worth it. I am a Christian but one who doesn't just want to blindly follow my church leaders. I like to study about the scriptures and the history of my faith.

This book is wonderful. It gives background and context to the Scriptures. I loved it so much I am now reading the follow-up The Jewish Annotated New Testament.

Things I learned:

- the Hebrews loved puns and apparently littered the Bible with them.
- the Heberews were more feminist than today's Christians
- Esther is considered to be fictional

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the Bible.
Profile Image for Bruce.
1,353 reviews18 followers
April 18, 2011
The full Tanakh: Torah, Nevi’im, and Kethuvim, Law, Prophets, and Writings, with scholarly running commentary, maps, chronological tables, a list of translations of primary sources and a wealth of essays following the translation. There are essays on interpretations, The Bible in Jewish Life and Thought, and Backgrounds for Reading the Bible. This is a treasure trove for the lay reader.
Profile Image for Keith.
824 reviews59 followers
April 4, 2023
In 2017 my wife read this book. We are studying the Old Testament in church in 2022, so I started to read it also. By the time I got through the introductory material, there were so many things that I wanted to highlight that I bought my own Kindle edition of it.

Why The Jewish Study Bible instead of Christian resources?
Each Christian translation has biases. For example, the King James, which is the one most used in our church, is biased toward Kingship. The Jewish Study Bible I expect to have only one principal bias, and I am fine with that. Instead of it having an axe to grind, I find in it a deeper study of what the text means.

This book uses the proposal that the books of the Hebrew Bible are composed as a composite of four sources:
J — Yahveh, Jahwe (German)
E — Elohim God
P — Priestly
D — Duteronomist

The essays make it clear that Jewish interpretation of the Bible changed dramatically over the centuries and describes the competing schools with their attempts to harmonize discrepancies. There are nearly essays at the back of the book. I did not find them as interesting as the Biblical text and notes.

- “The first set of essays, “Jewish Interpretation of the Bible,” surveys, in chronological order, Jewish biblical interpretation in various periods, from earliest times to the present.
- The second set of essays, “Biblical Ideas and Institutions,” surveys various concepts that stand behind the biblical text.
- The third set of essays, “The Bible in Jewish Life,” gives some intimation of the importance of the Bible for Judaism and the Jewish community, an importance that cannot be overstated.
- The fourth set of essays, “Backgrounds for Reading the Bible,” provides contemporary scholarly background material for understanding the Bible.
- The fifth and last set of essays, “The Hebrew Bible in Other Scriptures” recognizes that the authors of both the New Testament and the Qur’an knew and were influenced by the Hebrew Bible, in different ways and to different extents. The two essays juxtapose the uses of Hebrew Scriptures in emerging Christianity and early Islam.”

I did not care for some of the essays
- The Bible in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Seemed to dodge their meaning and instead talked a lot about their classification.
- Classical Rabinic Interpretation: Lots of fussing about fine points, disputations and justifications.

Essays I liked:
- Medieval Jewish Interpretation
- The Bible in the Jewish Philosophical Tradition
- Jewish interpretation of the bible
- Many philosophers and their interpretation of the Bible

“On the other hand, prophecy as a living phenomenon was discouraged. Future prophets had to prove they were “true” and not “false” by producing prophecies that came true before their messages would be heeded (Deut. 18.21), a tautologous condition that effectively abolished prophecy as a living institution after the 5th c. bce, at least in “official” religion. No future revelation could compete with Moses or amend what he had said.” (86%)

Although I have not finished all of the roughly 50 essays at the end of the book, it is time to mark this book as read and move on to New Testament study.
Profile Image for Steven Schwarzman.
Author 4 books4 followers
January 25, 2015
The Jewish Study Bible combines the new JPS translation (okay, as I mentioned in my review of the JPS Tanakh, the Torah part of that translation goes back to the 1960s) with a wonderful Jewish and scholarly running commentary in the margins.

This is (surprisingly, perhaps) a real breakthrough. Until the Jewish Study Bible, you had to choose between traditional commentaries and scholarly ones. This gives you both, and as the title indicates, it is aimed at being both scholarly and sympathetic to Judaism. That's not something to take for granted, because modern Bible research began in the 1800s with German protestant scholars for whom the "Old Testament" was dry and cultic, i.e. fit to be "replaced" by a newer one.

The Jewish Study Bible gives you both traditional understandings and the results of modern archaelogy and other research. It should be in every English-speaking Jewish home.
55 reviews1 follower
May 6, 2009
Exactly what it says, and does a great job as an introduction to a variety of schools of Jewish thought. I'm planning on buying this and would want it simply for the new connections it makes between different passages. Studied through Genesis and Exodus using this in the beginning of the year and learned so many new things.

The one drawback is that there are a number if viewpoints represented here. Be discerning in your use of the study notes. Allow them to make you think, but there's definitely chaff in here with the wheat. There were many times when I didn't agree with viewpoints represented - but it was good to have a brief explanation of them, nonetheless.
Profile Image for Joel Kleehammer.
132 reviews3 followers
December 24, 2012
The most awesome book ever. What more can I say. I have this edition on my nightstand, and I read it almost every day. I use the Seder ha-Mishmarah cycle so that I read the entire Torah, Nevi'im and Ketuvim every year.
Profile Image for Daniel.
18 reviews1 follower
April 8, 2007
Great study bible. Very helpful footnotes, and is a very well done translation. Every Judeo-Christian household should have a copy of this.
Profile Image for Josh Fisher.
24 reviews1 follower
Currently reading
December 20, 2021
Took me just over four years to finish, but this is hands down the best all-in-one resource for understanding the Hebrew Bible that I've come across. The essays in the back are pure gold for summarizing key issues in modern biblical scholarship, and each one I read made me kick myself for not reading it earlier.

It's funny looking back... I started reading this in an attempt to figure out the "correct" interpretation of scripture and to nail down my beliefs once and for all. I'm ending with the acknowledgement that no such interpretation exists, that beliefs are to be held loosely with an open hand, and the sheer diversity and plurality of this book is the most beautiful part about it. Lot more I could say but in sum: pretty good book!
Profile Image for D.L. Teamor.
Author 12 books12 followers
December 26, 2012
I used this version for many years in preparing my sermons, however, there are much better translated versions (that are truer to the the original Biblical languages) that have been released since then.
10 reviews1 follower
June 8, 2021
I have a question about this book (I don’t have it) - Does it use God’s traditional names such as Yahweh, Adonai, or Yeshua? Looking for a Hebrew version that uses the same wording as the original
Profile Image for Nate Bringhurst.
71 reviews4 followers
September 12, 2022
This year my church has been focusing on the Old Testament. I've been taking more of a deep dive this year than usual and have been doing my reading (most of it, anyway) with a few different versions rather than my usual King James version. My man, Dan McClellan, who is the scripture translation supervisor for the LDS Church, recommended most of these. The other one Jeffrey R. Holland is reading this year (The New Oxford Annotated Bible), so I decided to grab a copy of that as well. My ratings are more on the commentary/translation rather than the bible itself. We all know that is 5 stars. They're ordered from favorite to least favorite.

NRSV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, Hardcover, Comfort Print: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture : 5 stars. Straight cash, homies. Not only great commentary but really gives you the context of the scriptures by setting up historical settings, customs, etc. And pictures, charts, maps, etc. Not just at the beginning of the book. But has sections on certain topics as you read. Really liked that.

The New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version : 5 stars. Enjoyed the commentary and also the historical context here as well. The best structure and really liked that they included the Apocrypha.

The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary : 4 stars. This one was too academic for my taste and over my head at times. I felt like understanding at least some basic Hebrew might have given me more of an appreciation of his commentary. And it did get pretty nit-picky at times.

The Jewish Study Bible: Featuring the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh Translation : 4 stars. Pretty good commentary. Some of it left me confused. And a lot of it was more of a summary rather than commentary. But some good stuff here.
Profile Image for Michael Boling.
423 reviews28 followers
October 18, 2015
I have several study Bibles at home. Each of these study Bibles seems to have its unique focus with some providing commentary and articles based on a specific theological perspective with others simply providing a plethora of background study material such as maps, charts, and tables. Given the great expense involved with purchasing a Bible (even more if you go for the leather bound option), deciding what to invest in and what to take a pass on can be quite important.

Recently I had the pleasure of receiving a copy of the second edition of The Jewish Study Bible which is based on the Jewish Publication Society’s TANAKH translation. Some may ask, especially Christians as to why there would be a need to have a Jewish Study Bible as after all, will not any commentary provided be devoid of a focus on the gospel and on Jesus? This is a valid question and concern. In fact, the Jewish Study Bible of course does not contain the 27 books of the New Testament. What it does contain are the Torah (first 5 books of the Old Testament), the Nevi’im (the prophets), and the Kethuvim (the writings). The arrangement of these books is provided in the traditional manner and will be a bit foreign to those more familiar with the usual order found in most Christian Bibles, unless of course you are utilizing a chronological bible.

So what is this Jewish Study Bible all about? The editors comment that “If anything marks Jewish biblical interpretation, it is the diversity of approaches employed and the multiplicity of meanings produced. This is expressed in the famous rabbinic saying; “There are seventy faces to the Torah” (Num. Rab. 13.15 and parallels), meaning that biblical texts are open to seventy different interpretations, seventy symbolizing a large and complete number.” They go to note they “hope that Jewish readers will use this book as a resource to better understand the multiple traditions that have informed, and continue to inform, their tradition.” The hope is also stated that the “Jewish Study Bible will serve as a compelling introduction for students of the Bible from other backgrounds and traditions, who are curious about contemporary academic Jewish biblical interpretation.”

Where the real strength and area of interest lies for this study bible is in the copious amount of essays it provides on a number of valuable areas such as Midrash and Jewish Exegesis, Concepts of Purity in the Bible, Daily Life in Biblical Times, Biblical Calendars, Biblical Festivals and Fast Days, Jewish Customs, The History of Israel in the Biblical Period, Languages of the Bible, Reading Biblical Poetry, Reading Biblical Narrative, and Reading Biblical Law. These are just a snippet of the many essays provided. In addition to these informative essays are a number of tables, charts, and maps that are of benefit.

I am not familiar with the background of all the essay contributors; however, after doing a quick search on several of them, in particular the editors, they are all accomplished in their respective fields/areas of study and that becomes apparent in their essay contributions. I particularly appreciated Marc Zvi Brettler’s discussion of the meaning of the term Torah, in particular its broader application in the Bible outside of how it is typically understood, namely the mistaken idea that Torah speaks only of what is contained in the Mosaic Law. He aptly notes, “the Torah should not be typified as a book of law. The Hebrew term torah also means “instruction” or “teaching” as in Proverbs 1.8, “My son, heed the discipline of your father, / And do not forsake the instruction [Heb torah] of our mother.” Teaching is not confined to law; indeed narratives or stores are as effective a medium of instruction.”

As one who has studied of late the Feasts of the Lord, I found the essay provided by Baruch Levine to be of interest. This essay walks the reader through the Sabbath, the New Moon, the Annual Festivals and Pilgrimages, and the Annual Fast Days. Despite studying these subjects in great depth over recent months, Levine provided some additional points of insight that will prove to be invaluable as I continue to explore the importance of these appointed times of the Lord and how they apply to believers today.

There is much to enjoy in this study Bible. For Christians who might shy away from such a study Bible, I would encourage them to set aside any preconceived ideas one might have of this work being of no relevance. There certainly are points of discussion to which Christians will have disagreement. This is after all a study bible that does not contain the rest of the story, namely the coming and the work of the Messiah. However, there is a great deal of helpful information that will serve to inform the Christian’s study of Scripture, in particular the helpful historical and cultural information as well as gaining an understanding of various points of language and application, such as the aforementioned perspective on how the word Torah is defined and used in the Old Testament. I know this is a study Bible that I will find highly useful and it is one I can definitely recommend.

I received this for free from Oxford University Press and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Profile Image for Christopher Barclay.
48 reviews8 followers
March 30, 2020
I was assigned to read Genesis, Exodus, Job, and some more readings from this book in a wonderful Humanities course I took freshman year of college.

I really enjoyed what I had read from this book and thought that the annotations were very informative. You can really tell the editors were dedicated to making sure their readers had access to a well-translated text with useful commentary/annotations.

Thank you for all the hard work put into making this translation!
Profile Image for Bubba.
36 reviews9 followers
December 25, 2020
The Christian Bible has the Old Testament, an offensive term towards Judaism, and the Jewish have the Tanaka/Hebrew of Jewish Bible which is a direct interpretation of the text form antiquity. It does help you understand as the Israelites understood the Tanaka/Hebrew Bible in their time and now. The footnotes explain the text and gives you a deeper understanding of the Scripture. A must have and read.
Profile Image for Mark.
267 reviews10 followers
December 17, 2017
I have loved perusing this book at random, and now have ordered my own copy. I have updated my reading progress by noting all the places that I left bookmarks behind so now I can begin again where I left off if I so choose. Now I am ready to surrender my current copy to the library where I borrowed it.
Profile Image for Marilyn Letts.
146 reviews
December 22, 2018
This will be my current reading for the rest of my life. I have always loved what I was brought up calling the "Old Testament." Both the translation and the commentary in this version are like hiking a trail you have only experienced in winter in the spring, summer and fall. Still beautiful and new things to discover each time.
Profile Image for Marc van Bulck.
Author 1 book3 followers
June 30, 2022
I've got a copy of this on my bookshelf at the church. If I'm ever preaching from the Hebrew Bible (or the Old Testament, to Christians), I always try to make sure I've at least referenced the Jewish Study Bible at least once. This is not exactly relaxing bedside reading, of course, but its scholarship is rigorous, serious and fantastic.
August 4, 2018
Christians, as part of a deep and lasting anti-Judaism, rarely take the time to study the Bible according to the Jewish-Hebrew perspective. This is where you want to go to unveil the context and meaning of the Scriptures from a Jewish perspective. Invaluable.
97 reviews4 followers
December 3, 2018
Deep insight into how the Jewish interpretation of the Bible has been evolving. The commentaries provide scholarly criticism of the texts while still calling for faith in God. The word of God continues to be fresh and alive according to the changing contexts of readers and interpreters.
June 29, 2021
I'm so interested in reading the Jewish Hey Bible. My husband and I listen to Rabbi Kirt Schneider on learning "the Jewish Jesus" every Sunday. I've learned so much by his teaching. I can hardly wait to learn so !ugh more.
Brenda Simpson
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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