Bintel Blog

Translating the Bible Into… Hebrew

By Daniel Treiman

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Writing in Ha’aretz, Michael Handelzalts reports:

In Israel - which was established 60 years ago as the national home of the Jewish people, which “gave the world the eternal Book of Books” (according to the Declaration of Independence), and whose official languages, alongside Arabic, include that same Hebrew in which the Book of Books is written - a move is afoot to publish the Bible in contemporary Hebrew. In other words, to translate the Bible into Hebrew. To rewrite it, in the same language, using different words.

This is a private commercial endeavor launched by a veteran teacher of the Bible, Avraham Ahuvia, and publisher Rafi Mozes of Reches Educational Projects. The entire text is vocalized, and each verse appears in the original form alongside the translated version.

The writer (who divulges an interesting familial connection to the topic of biblical translation) compares the effort to an earlier translation of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” into contemporary English to make it more comprehensible to present-day audiences. He also notes that Israel’s education ministry has already banned the new translation.

UPDATE: Well, great minds think alike — and sometimes I think that way, too. (Honest, I didn’t see his headline before writing mine. The one question is: Who has the better placement of ellipses?)



Comments
Max Duggan Wed. Oct 1, 2008

Very good idea. I go to shul with many Israeli yordim and they comment they can barely understand the siddur as it's in a very old and special theological Hebrew. I am thankful for my Artscroll Interlinear siddurim too otherwise I wouldn't be able to make heads or tails out of most of it.

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