76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
An Excellent Introduction to Academic Scholarship,
This review is from: The Jewish Study Bible: Featuring the Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation: College Edition (Bible Hebrew) (Paperback)
Prior to buying the Jewish Study Bible I had previously experienced the Hebrew Bible through the prism of traditional Orthodox Jewish scholarship and commentary at an advanced level. This edition expanded my intellectual and religious horizons significantly, explaining the different and complex academic perception of the Bible from familiar territory.
Each book and section of the Hebrew Bible is accorded a substantial introduction explaining the genesis of the text from both a traditional and academic perspective.
The main text of this edition is devoted to the fantastic modern JPS translation, surrounded by an in depth academic commentary with explanation, maps and diagrams plus many cross-references to other relevant passages. The academic commentary is specifically targeted to explain the various traditional Jewish understandings of the text as well. The commentary is lucid, readable and extremely helpful while also ensuring brevity. Where reference is being made to complex academic theories on the nature of the text, the reader is referred to the back of the book...
The REAL SELLING POINT of this edition, is the voluminous collection of 24 essays written by top academic scholars at the back of the book. It is these essays which explain in real depth the current, extremely complex, academic views on the composition of the Hebrew Bible, current scholarship on the nature of ancient Israelite religion and many more contemporary topics such as the "The Bible in Israeli Life and Society". Earlier traditional Jewish approaches to the Bible are discussed in depth, including "Classical Rabbinic Interpretation" and more.
I have two minor complaints about this volume.
Firstly, the Hebrew text could not be included; however, in terms of the target audience and size of commentary, this is very understandable. That is not to say that the commentary is at all basic, far from it, but I imagine the editors resolved that those with the skills to read the traditional Hebrew text could refer to it elsewhere.
Secondly, the pages are far too thin to make it properly durable. This is obviously a common complaint with Bibles; I'm hoping that the leather bound edition might have thicker pages.
I spent many years pouring over the Artscroll edition Tanach, trying to make head or tail of the biblical text; with its pathetic translation and inadequate fundamentalist commentary, I rarely understood what I was reading.
If you are a person who wants to THINK about the biblical text, with all of its problems, inconsistencies, soaring beauty and religious warmth, I would heartily suggest you get hold of this ASAP. I am only disappointed that I did not do so earlier.