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New Jewish Version

Published in England in 1884, the Abraham Benisch version was the first Jewish translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. A Jewish Family Bible, edited by Michael Friedlander, was published in 1884. The first complete Jewish translation for the American Jewish population was produced in 1853 by Rabbi Isaac Leeser. This version became the standard Bible for English-speaking Jews in America, and was also reproduced in England.

With a much larger population of Jewish people in America during the late 19th century, there was an increased need for an improved version for synagogue, school, and home use. In 1892, the Jewish Publication Society of America authorized work on such a version. Initially, the plan was for Jewish scholars in Britain and America to work independently on several books, using Leeser's version as a base, but this proved to be a slow process.

In the end, a board of editors was appointed to complete the task, which was published in 1917 under the title, The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text, A New Translation. It was modeled after the classic style of the KJV, and was very close to the RV of 1885. While it served as the English Text of choice for Jewish people in America for several decades, it eventually became apparent that a new version was needed.

In 1955 the Jewish Publication Society appointed a committee of 7 scholars to prepare a new Jewish translation, beginning with the Torah, which was published in 1969.

The New Jewish Version is not simply a revision of the 1917 edition, or any other version, but is a fully new translation of the traditional Hebrew text in contemporary English. While it is not a literal translation, as was the 1917 version, it is faithful to the Hebrew text.

The same committee continued with the translation of The Five Megilloth and Jonah, also published in 1969. These 6 documents, including Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, and Jonah., are associated with festivals in the Jewish religious calendar.

The Prophets, which include Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Book of the Twelve, also known as the Minor Prophets. These texts were published separately, as they were completed, in 1973, 1974, and 1978.

The books of the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Chronicles, known as The Kethubim, also were published as they were completed, in 1972, 1980, and 1982.

The entire text was published in 1982. As one of the best translations of the Hebrew Bible available, the NJW has not only met the needs of Jewish people in America, but is read and studied by Christians as well.



Overview of Bible Study