Rabbi, Why Torture The Pronoun?
The Torah, The Five Books of Moses, A new translation of The Holy Scriptures according to the Masoretic text (The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1963, 416 pp., $5), is reviewed by Jakob Jocz, Professor of Systematic Theology, Wycliffe College, Toronto, Canada.

With several new translations in recent years and with the New English Bible in the process of completion, it may come as a surprise that the Jewish Publication Society of America should venture upon yet another English translation. There are, however, good reasons for this special Jewish enterprise.

Any Christian translation of the Old Testament, no matter how scholarly, is suspected of Christological overtones. It is also a matter of scholarly pride as stated in the Preface of the 1917 version: “The Jew cannot afford to have his Bible translation prepared for him by others. He cannot have it as a gift, even as he cannot borrow his soul from others.” Furthermore, Jews believe that they have a flair for the Old Testament which is peculiarly their own.

If we may judge from this volume (two more are in preparation: The Prophets and The Hagiographa), the translation is in several respects revolutionary. Whereas the 1917 version was largely modeled upon the idiom of the King James Bible, the present translation is a complete departure from traditional language. Not only is it a new translation but a new rendering in modern terms. In some ways it is also a departure from established theological tradition. A case in point is the Shema which now reads: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone” (Deut. 6:4). The text is the locus classicus for the Jewish concept of the Unity of God.

The unevenness of style in the 1917 version was ...

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