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BY-NC-ND 3.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access June 20, 2016

Between Text and Commentary: A Characteristic Feature of Jewish Bible Versions

  • Leonard J. Greenspoon
From the journal Open Theology


Jewish versions of the Bible frequently feature extensive commentaries in addition to translated text. In many instances these commentaries elicit as much attention as the translation itself—if not more. Typically combining grammatical and exegetical remarks, these commentaries accompany both freer and more literal renderings and may contain non-Jewish and non-traditional commentators along with substantial offerings from mainstream Jewish exegetes. The erudition displayed by these Jewish translators is extensive, often aimed at a more learned audience than the translated text itself. Overall, such Jewish versions may be seen as efforts to open up for non-Hebrew readers the intentionally ambiguous language of the original, where lexical and grammatical multivalence are characteristic features—features that are frequently lost when rendering words and expressions from one language to another.


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Received: 2016-4-9
Accepted: 2016-4-29
Published Online: 2016-6-20

©2016 Leonard J. Greenspoon

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.

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