Best Translation Of The Hebrew Bible/Tanach


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Okay so i have an Artscroll Translation of the Hebrew Bible and also a Jewish Study Bible but some-people say the Artscroll Translation of the Hebrew Bible isn't that good so- can anybody on here direct me and give me advice on at least which is the best possible translation of the Hebrew Bible.

Hello and welcome. Unfortunately, because there is no sense of an "official" translation into English and depending on the translator the text can be read very differently, there isn't really a best possible translation. There are better translations but no best. The translations I favor are the NJPS: Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures--The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text: Books

It's a bit plain, but it's pretty decent and cites differences between mt, dss, and lxx. Also available in Hebrew/English editions. I also like: The Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (The Schocken Bible, Volume 1): Books: Everett Fox

which attempts to pick up more of the music of the original hebrew. But it's only the Torah, not Nach.

You'll probably also hear Aryeh Kaplan's Living Torah suggested: The Living Torah Hebrew: The Five Books of Moses and the Haftarot/Hebrew and English in One Volume: Books: Aryeh Kaplan

I haven't had the chance to look at it yet but I've heard it has a slightly mystical slant.

I will weigh in here if no one minds :) As this is kind of something i think about alot. I am a translation junkie :D

As for Artscroll I think that the translation is not the problem as I do believe it is a good translation but the commentary is somewhat slanted towards standard rabbinic commentary ei. Rashi, Rambam, Ramban etc.
To me that is not a bad thing you just have to know that and expect it.

As for Kaplan's Living Torah, that is my chumash of choice. It is true that it does have a mystical slant do to Rabbi Kaplan's love for Kabbalah. What I like about this translation is that he tends include some commentary into the translation itself to help clarify the meaning. It is a wonderful translation.

Another I would highly recommend is The Call of The Torah, its a translation by Artscroll but commentary by Rabbi Munk. It also has a very Kabbalistic feel to it and absolutely one of the most profound commentaries.

Hope that helps

Be well

Thank you as for me i also love translation of holy texts with commentary accompanied with it as it helps me understand the text even more.

all i have to say is: look at the artscroll translation of the "song of songs" - they've bowdlerised the hell out of it. do you see anything about "tits like baby deer" in there? because it's in the dam' hebrew. it's *that* sort of thing i object to, this hagiographic kowtowing to the yeshiva world.


BB, No I had not seen that. Doesnt strike me as "good" at all. So you mean that line is in the original hebrew but not in the artscroll english translation or the other way around? I will have to look when i get home.

I cannot speak for the hebrew because I am just starting a hebrew class to try and at least learn some so I might be able to pick up on things like that.

I would gladly welcome any input you have on it because I just have to take their word for it when it comes to the English and I try to compare it to Kaplan's at make sure its not too far off because I trust his.

Thanks for the info, it is appreciated!
it's in the original hebrew alright. have a look at verse 4:5 and then go and look at a more literal translation. i find kaplan a lot more trustworthy. best thing is always to be able to read the original.


Reb Shefa Gold has a really powerful translation of song of songs on her website:

Song of Songs Translation, Rabbi Shefa Gold

It really captures the evocative language and metaphor. Sometimes I'll read a translation, even one closer to the text, and the metaphors come across so dry and bland. So then shefa will translate like this:

"Your juices are fragrant,
Your essence pours out like oil,
This is why all the young women want you.


Awake north wind! Oh South wind, come!
Blow upon my garden
and let its spices stream out.
Let my lover come into his garden
And taste its luscious fruit. "

Much more powerful to me than a lot of other translations of shir hashirim.
That is very interesting. I read that passage at lunch in english and ya not the same thing at all is it? :mad:

Well all the more motivation to get through this hebrew class huh :)

Thanks guys and gals for all your input. It is appreciated and respected!
I played a minor role in the project of typing the whole Tanakh (per the "Leningrad Codex") into the computer (all on-line versions of the Tanakh are ultimately derived from that typing), and when the professor who headed the project was generous enough to mention me in his published paper, I said, "Thanks, I'll live forever as a footnote!" That was a joke, but apparently a true one: the JPS has me in a footnote, in the section describing the transmission of the text, along with the scribes of the ben-Asher family and the early printers and so on. I guess I am an honorary "Masorete".