Tanach vs ESV OT

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steveb | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Jun 10 2011 6:51 PM

I'm new in the arena of working with the original OT language of Hebrew. I just obtained the Tanakh and wondered how this English translation of the Hebrew OT is different from the OT translations in any of the mainstream English Bibles? Thanks!

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David Knoll | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 10 2011 7:55 PM

ESV is more eclectic. JPS usually follows MT. JPS  also has some inclination towards Jewish tradition.  I would get both. JPS (1917) is probably the best translation of MT.  ESV is a very good eclectic translation.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 10 2011 8:02 PM

steveb:
I just obtained the Tanakh and wondered how this English translation of the Hebrew OT is different from the OT translations in any of the mainstream English Bibles?

First it follows the Masoretic text a bit more thoroughly. Check out the verse where Cain and Abel go out to the field. The Tanakh shows that there are words missing in the Masoretic text that are in the Samaritan text. You'll find more of the subtleties/anomalies that are "corrected" in the Christian text retained in the Jewish text because these features are the basis of some of the classical commentaries. But, depending on what you consider "mainstream" there aren't any earth-shaking differences.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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BKMitchell | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jun 11 2011 11:31 PM

steveb:

 I just obtained the Tanakh and wondered how this English translation of the Hebrew OT is different from the OT translations in any of the mainstream English Bibles? Thanks!

One, which Translation of the Tanakh the 1985 revision (link) or the 1917 (link)?

Two, the Jewish Bible: A JPS Guide (link) may answer some of your questions.

Three, there is no such thing as a so called 'mainstream' bible without consideration to community of faith.  The JPS Tanakh would be considered to be mainstream with in the Jewish community, will the ESV and NIV would be in certain Protestant communities, but not in Catholic or Orthodox communities. And, in fundamentalist communities the KJV would be considered to be mainstream.

Four, the biggest different you might notice between the Tanakh translations and that of something like the popular NIV and ESV would be in the passages 'Christian' usually regard as prophetic of the Christ.

Here are two examples:

pay homage in good faith, lest He be angered, and your way be doomed in the mere flash of His anger. Happy are all who take refuge in Him.(Psa 2:12 TNK 1985)

Do homage in purity, lest He be angry, and ye perish in the way, when suddenly His wrath is kindled. Happy are all they that take refuge in Him.(Psa 2:12 TNK 1917)

Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him(Psa 2:12 NIV)

and

and they shall lament to Me about those who are slain(Zec 12:10 TNK 1985)

and they shall look unto Me because they have thrust him through; (Zec 12:10 TNK 1917)

They will look on me, the one they have pierced,  (Zec 12:10 NIV)

Bad translations may have been one of the biggest causes of the unjust blood libel and the sufferings Jews were forced to endure throughout  European history. It is good that the we have the Tanakh to offer alternative translation/interpretations to the western world.

 

חַפְּשׂוּ בַּתּוֹרָה הֵיטֵב וְאַל תִּסְתַּמְּכוּ עַל דְּבָרַי

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