Jewish commentaries on the Bible

Jewish commentaries on the Bible

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This article describes the first printing of the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 with major Jewish commentaries, notes concerning translations into Aramaic and English, lists some universally accepted Jewish commentaries with notes on their method of approach and lists modern translations into English with notes.

Earliest printing of commentaries


The Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 was codified by the rabbis at the Great Assembly
Great Assembly
The Great Assembly or Anshei Knesset HaGedolah , also known as the Great Synagogue, was, according to Jewish tradition, an assembly of 120 scribes, sages, and prophets, in the period from the end of the Biblical prophets to the time of the development of Rabbinic Judaism, marking a transition from...

 and, in its Latin translation, was first printed as volume 1 of the Gutenberg Bible
Gutenberg Bible
The Gutenberg Bible was the first major book printed with a movable type printing press, and marked the start of the "Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of the printed book. Widely praised for its high aesthetic and artistic qualities, the book has an iconic status...

 in 1455. The complete Tanach in Hebrew, with commentaries by Rashi
Rashi
Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

, Radak, Ramban
Nahmanides
Nahmanides, also known as Rabbi Moses ben Naḥman Girondi, Bonastruc ça Porta and by his acronym Ramban, , was a leading medieval Jewish scholar, Catalan rabbi, philosopher, physician, kabbalist, and biblical commentator.-Name:"Nahmanides" is a Greek-influenced formation meaning "son of Naḥman"...

, and Ralbag was printed in 1517 by Daniel Bomberg
Daniel Bomberg
Daniel Bomberg was an early printer of Hebrew language books. A Christian, born in Antwerp, he was primarily active in Venice between 1516 and 1549....

 and edited by Felix Pratensis
Felix Pratensis
Felix Pratensis was a Sephardic Jewish scholar who embraced Roman Catholicism. He is known for his collaboration with the Flemish printer Daniel Bomberg on the first printed Hebrew Biblia Rabbinica of 1517/8.He received a good education and acquired three languages...

 under the name Mikraot Gedolot
Mikraot Gedolot
The Mikraot Gedolot "Great Scriptures," often called the "Rabbinic Bible" in English, is anedition of Tanakh that generally includes four distinct elements:...

.

The Hebrew Bible was handed down in manuscript form along with a method of checking the accuracy of the transcription known as mesorah
Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...

. Many codices containing the masoretic text
Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...

 were gathered by Jacob ben Hayyim ibn Adonijah
Jacob ben Hayyim ibn Adonijah
Jacob ben Hayyim ben Isaac ibn Adonijah, , was a scholar of the Masoretic textual notes on the Hebrew Bible, and printer. Born in Spain, he left his native country and fled to Tunis to escape the persecutions that broke out there at the beginning of the sixteenth century...

 and were used to publish an accurate text. It was published by Daniel Bomberg
Daniel Bomberg
Daniel Bomberg was an early printer of Hebrew language books. A Christian, born in Antwerp, he was primarily active in Venice between 1516 and 1549....

 in 1525. Later editions were edited with the help of Eliyahu ben Asher ha-Levi Ashkenazi Levita
Elia Levita
Elia Levita , also known as Elijah Levita, Elias Levita, Élie Lévita, Eliahu Bakhur was a Renaissance Hebrew grammarian, scholar and poet. He was influential in helping to create the Yiddish language...

. Various editions of Mikraot Gedolot are still in print.

Translations


"All translations are commentaries". Many nations and many languages have translations of the Bible. According to the Bible study wiki there are at least 90 English translations and thousands of translations into other languages.

Targum


A Targum
Targum
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. In Korean, tae means "to strike or break with foot"; kwon means "to strike or break with fist"; and do means "way", "method", or "path"...

 is a translation of the Bible into Aramaic. The classic Targumim are Targum Onkelos
Targum Onkelos
right|thumb|Interlinear text of [[Hebrew language|Hebrew]] [[Book of Numbers|Numbers]] 6.3–10 with [[Aramaic language|Aramaic]] Targum Onkelos from the [[British Library]]....

 on the Chumash (the five books of Torah), Targum Jonathan
Targum Jonathan
Targum Jonathan - otherwise referred to as Targum Yonasan/Yonatan is the official eastern targum to the Nevi'im. Its early origins, however, are western i.e. from the Land of Israel, and the Talmudic tradition attributes its authorship to Jonathan ben Uzziel...

 on Neviim (the Prophets), and a fragmentary Targum Yerushalmi. There is no standard Aramaic translation of Kesuvim (the Hagiographa).

Onkelos


Onkelos
Onkelos
Onkelos is the name of a famous convert to Judaism in Tannaic times . He is considered to be the author of the famous Targum Onkelos .-Onkelos in the Talmud:...

 is the most often consulted literal translation of the Bible. with a few exceptions. Figurative language, is usually not translated literally but is explained (e.g., Gen. 49:25; Ex. 15:3, 8, 10; 29:35). Geographical names are often replaced by those current at a later time (e.g., Gen. 10:10; Deut. 3:17).

According to the Talmud, the Torah and its translation into Aramaic were given to Moses on Mount Sinai, because Egyptian slaves spoke Aramaic. After the Babylonian exile, the Targum was completely forgotten. Onkelos, a Roman convert to Judaism, was able to reconstruct the original Aramaic. Saadiah Gaon disagrees and says the Aramaic of Onkelos was never a spoken language. He believed that Onkelos's Aramaic was an artificial construct, i.e. it was a combination of Eastern and Western dialects of Aramaic.

Jonathan ben Uzziel


Jonathan ben Uzziel
Jonathan ben Uzziel
Jonathan ben Uzziel is known as the author of Targum Jonathan. He is also said to have written a book of kabbalah known as Megadnim. He was one of the 80 tannaim who studied under Hillel the Elder. His tomb is in Amuka, Galilee near Tzfat, Israel...

 was the greatest pupil of Hillel the Elder
Hillel the Elder
Hillel was a famous Jewish religious leader, one of the most important figures in Jewish history. He is associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud...

.
Targum Jonathan ben Uzziel found in the Chumash was not written by Jonathan ben Uzziel according to scholars, who refer to it instead as Pseudo-Jonathan. According to the Encyclopaedia Judaica internal evidence shows that it was written sometime between the 7th and 14th centuries ce. For example, Ishmael
Ishmael
Ishmael is a figure in the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an, and was Abraham's first born child according to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Ishmael was born of Abraham's marriage to Sarah's handmaiden Hagar...

's wife's name is translated into Aramaic as Fatima
Fatima (name)
Fatima is an Arabic female given name, commonly used among Muslims and is especially revered among Shias.The town of Fátima in Portugal was named after a Moorish princess...

 (who was Mohammed's daughter) and therefore Targum Pseudo-Jonathan must have been written after Mohammed's birth. The classic Hebrew commentators would turn this argument around, and say that Mohammed's daughter was named after Ismael's wife. Both sides will agree, however that stylistically that Jonathan's commentary on the Chumash is very different from the commentary on Neviim. The Targum Jonathan on Neviim is written in a very terse style, similar to Onkelos on Chumash, but on the average Targum Jonathan on Chumash is almost twice as wordy.

Targum Yerushalmi


The Jerusalem Targum exists only in fragmentary form. It translates a total of approximately 850 verses, phrases, and words. No one knows who wrote it. Some speculate that it was a printers error. The printer saw a manuscript headed with "TY" and assumed it was a Targum Yerushalmi when actually it was an early version of Targum Yonathan. Others speculate that it was written by a R. Yosef or R. Hoshea (Yihoshua).

Modern Translations


Ex. 20:7–9a:

זָכוֹר אֶת-יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת לְקַדְּשׁוֹ. שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תַּעֲבֹד וְעָשִׂיתָ כָּל-מְלַאכְתֶּךָ. וְיוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי שַׁבָּת לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לֹא-תַעֲשֶׂה כָל-מְלָאכָה ...

yields the following:

ARYEH KAPLAN: Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. You can work during the six weekdays and do all your tasks. But Saturday is the Sabbath to God your Lord. Do not do anything that constitutes work....

SAMSON RAPHAEL HIRSCH: Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it. Six days shall you serve and do all your [creating] work, and the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. On it you shall not perform any kind of [creating] work....

ARTSCROLL: Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it. Six days shall you work and accomplish all your work; but the seventh day is Sabbath to HASHEM, your God; you shall not do any work....

SCHOCKEN: Remember / the Sabbath day, to hallow it. / For six days, you are to serve, and are to make all your work, / but the seventh day / is Sabbath for YHWH your God: / you are not to make any kind of work....

NEW JEWISH VERSION: Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God: you shall not do any work....

Laura Weakley: What The Torah Teaches Us About Survival


Methodology

  • For comparing one verse to another see Talmudical Hermeneutics
    Talmudical Hermeneutics
    Talmudical Hermeneutics is the science which defines the rules and methods for the investigation and exact determination of the meaning of the Scriptures, both legal and historical...

  • For understanding one verse see Pardes (Jewish exegesis)
    Pardes (Jewish exegesis)
    Pardes refers to approaches to biblical exegesis in rabbinic Judaism . The term, sometimes also spelled PaRDeS, is an acronym formed from the name initials of the following four approaches:...


Rishonim Early (1000-1600)

  • Rashi
    Rashi
    Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

     1040 - 1106
Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzchak) is the most influential Jewish exegete of all time. He is the preeminent expounder of Peshat
Peshat
Peshat is one of four classical methods of Jewish biblical exegesis used by Rabbis and Jewish bible scholars in reading the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Tanakh. Peshat is part of a group of exegetical methods known together as Pardes...

. Rashi says "I, however, am only concerned with the plain sense of Scripture and with such Aggadot
Aggadah
Aggadah refers to the homiletic and non-legalistic exegetical texts in the classical rabbinic literature of Judaism, particularly as recorded in the Talmud and Midrash...

 that explain the words of Scripture in a manner that fits in with them".

  • Rashbam
    Rashbam
    Samuel ben Meir after his death known as "Rashbam", a Hebrew acronym for: RAbbi SHmuel Ben Meir, was a leading French Tosafist and grandson of Shlomo Yitzhaki, "Rashi."-Biography:...

     1085 - 1158
Rashbam (Samuel ben Meir) was the grandson of Rashi
Rashi
Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

 and the brother of Rabbeinu Tam
Rabbeinu Tam
Rabbeinu Tam , born Jacob ben Meir, was one of the most renowned French Tosafists and a foremost halachic authority of his generation...

. "The sages have said a Biblical passage must not be deprived of its original meaning [on Gen. xxxvii. 1]. Yet as a consequence of the opinion expressed by them, that the constant study of the Talmud is one of the most laudable pursuits, commentators have been unable, by reason of such study, to expound individual verses according to their obvious meaning. Even my grandfather Solomon was an adherent of this school; and I had an argument with him on that account, in which he admitted that he would revise his commentaries if he had time to do so."

  • Ibn Ezra
    Abraham ibn Ezra
    Rabbi Abraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra was born at Tudela, Navarre in 1089, and died c. 1167, apparently in Calahorra....

     1092 - 1167
Ibn Ezra (Abraham ben Meir) was a contemporary of the Rashbam. His commentary on Chumash was reprinted under the name Sefer HaYashar. He clearly separates the literal meaning of a biblical verse from the traditional meaning, upon which the halacha is based, and from the homiletic meaning drush. He explains that the traditional meaning and the homiletic meaning do not attempt to imply meaning to the verse; they only uses the verse as a mnemonic.

  • Radak 1160–1235
Rabbi David Kimchi (David ben Joseph) followed the methodolgy of Ibn Ezra. He deemphasised homiletics and emphasised the Talmudic interpretations when they reached his standard of peshat
Peshat
Peshat is one of four classical methods of Jewish biblical exegesis used by Rabbis and Jewish bible scholars in reading the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Tanakh. Peshat is part of a group of exegetical methods known together as Pardes...

. In his exgesis he strove for clarity and readability, as opposed to his predicesssors who emphasised conciseness. His commentaries are said to have "a remarkably modern flavor"

  • Rabbi Moses ben Nachman (Ramban)
    Nahmanides
    Nahmanides, also known as Rabbi Moses ben Naḥman Girondi, Bonastruc ça Porta and by his acronym Ramban, , was a leading medieval Jewish scholar, Catalan rabbi, philosopher, physician, kabbalist, and biblical commentator.-Name:"Nahmanides" is a Greek-influenced formation meaning "son of Naḥman"...

     1194 - 1270
The Ramban (Rabbi Moses ben Nachman) was the first biblical commentator to introduce kabbalistic concepts into his exgesis. He differed from the Zohar
Zohar
The Zohar is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah. It is a group of books including commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah and scriptural interpretations as well as material on Mysticism, mythical cosmogony, and mystical psychology...

 in that he believed that the transcendent nature of God is absolutely unknowable by man, whereas the school of Zoharists believed that transcendence is comprehensible through revelation, ecstacy, and in the contemplation of history. Ramban expressed his views through the Sod aspect of his commentary. He also expressed, in his commentary, his belief that all mitzvot had a comprehensible and rational explanation.

  • Ba'al ha-Turim 1270 - 1340
The author of the Arba'ah Turim
Arba'ah Turim
Arba'ah Turim , often called simply the Tur, is an important Halakhic code, composed by Yaakov ben Asher...

, a precursor of the Shulchan Aruch
Shulchan Aruch
The Shulchan Aruch also known as the Code of Jewish Law, is the most authoritative legal code of Judaism. It was authored in Safed, Israel, by Yosef Karo in 1563 and published in Venice two years later...

 (Jacob ben Asher) wrote a commentary on the Torah in which he anthologised the Pshat element of his predecessors. At the beginning of each section he wrote, as brain teasers, some explanations using Remez. These were gathered and printed under the name Baal HaTurim. The Baal HaTurim is printed in all modern editions of Mikraot Gedolot. The full commentary titled Perush ha-Tur ha-Arokh al ha-Torah, was published in Jerusalem in 1981.

  • Ralbag 1288-1344
The Ralbag (Levy ben Gershom) also known as Gersonides based his exegesis on three principles:
  1. What can be learned through the nine principles (he believed that four of them were not allowed to be used in post-talmudic times).
  2. Every story in the Bible come to teach us ethical, religious, and philosophical ideas.
  3. Most of what we call Remez can be clearly understood by resorting to exact translation and grammrical analysis. He also condemned allegorical explanation.

  • Abrabanel 1437 - 1508
The family name of Don Yitzchak Abarbanel (Isaac ben Judah) also appears as Abravenel, Bravanel, etc. He lived in Spain until the expulsion in 1492 and then went into exile in Italy. In his commentary on Tanach, before each section, he would list a series of questions exploring the conceptual problems in the section from both exegetical and theological perspectives. His commentary would attempt to answer these questions through Pshat and Medrash. He distinguished between Medrashim that were part of Mesorah and those that were mere opinion and could be safely disregarded.

Acharonim Later (1600-)

  • Malbim
    Malbim
    Meïr Leibush ben Jehiel Michel Weiser , better known by the acronym Malbim , was a rabbi, Hebrew grammar master, and Bible commentator....

     1809 - 1879
The name Malbim is an acronym for (R. Meir Leibush ben Yechiel Michal), although there is an opinion that the name is a Hebrew translation of the family name Weisser meaning whitener. The Malbim's exegeis is based on several assumptions.
  1. There are no extra words or synonyms in the Bible. Every word is meaningful.
  2. Drush is as explicit as Pshat is, except that Drush has different rules of usage and syntax.
  3. The basis of the whole of the Oral Law is explicit in the Bible, either through Pshat or Drush. The only exception is when the Oral Law states that the law is not found in the Bible and is designated as Halacha l'Moshe m'Sinai.

  • Metsudot Eighteenth Century
The Metsudot (the fortresses)) are a commentary on Neviim and Ketuvim written by Rabbi David Altshuler. When he died, his son Yechiel completed it and divided it into two sections: Metsudat Zion a glossary of difficult words, and Metsudat David a restatement of difficult ideas

  • Torah Temimah
    Torah Temimah
    Disambiguation: For the Avigdor Hirsch Torah Temimah Primary School in Dollis Hill, London UK, see Torah_Temimah_Primary_SchoolThe Torah Temimah is the magnum opus of Rabbi Baruch Epstein...

     1860-1941
Baruch HaLevi Epstein (Baruch ben Yechiel Michael HaLevi) was a bank worker by profession who devoted all of his extra time to Jewish studies. To write the Torah Temimah, he gathered excerpts from the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 and other sources of the Oral Law
Oral law
An oral law is a code of conduct in use in a given culture, religion or community application, by which a body of rules of human behaviour is transmitted by oral tradition and effectively respected, or the single rule that is orally transmitted....

 and arranged them in the order of the verses of the Written Law to which they refer. He then wove the excerpts into a commentary on the Bible and annotated each excerpt with critical notes and insights.

  • Nechama Leibowitz
    Nechama Leibowitz
    Nechama Leibowitz was a noted Israeli Bible scholar and commentator who rekindled interest in Bible study.-Biography:Nechama Leibowitz was born to an Orthodox Jewish family in Riga two years after her elder brother, the philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz. The family moved to Berlin in 1919...

      1905 - 1997
In the early 1940s professor Leibowitz began mailing study sheets on the weekly Torah reading to her students throughout the world. The study sheets included essays on the weekly portion, source notes, and questions. She encouraged her students to send their answers to her for correction. Soon she was sending out thousands of sheets and correcting hundreds of answer sheets weekly. These study sheets were collected and published in English and Hebrew in the mid 1960s and they are still in print. "Her specific collection of sources was based solely on each one's contribution to understanding peshat
Peshat
Peshat is one of four classical methods of Jewish biblical exegesis used by Rabbis and Jewish bible scholars in reading the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Tanakh. Peshat is part of a group of exegetical methods known together as Pardes...

and to the revelation of the significance of that text."

20th and 21st century commentary


The Soncino Books of the Bible
Soncino Books of the Bible
The Soncino Books of the Bible is a set of Hebrew Bible commentaries, covering the whole Tanakh in fourteen volumes, published by the Soncino Press. The first volume to appear was Psalms in 1945, and the last was Chronicles in 1952. The series was edited by Rev. Dr...

 covers the whole Tanakh in fourteen volumes, published by the Soncino Press
Soncino Press
Soncino Press is a Jewish publishing company based in the United Kingdom that has published a variety of books of Jewish interest, most notably English translations and commentaries to the Talmud and Hebrew Bible...

. The first volume to appear was Psalms in 1945, and the last was Chronicles in 1952. The editor was Rabbi Abraham Cohen. Each volume contains the Hebrew and English texts of the Hebrew Bible in parallel columns, with a running commentary below them.

Judaica Press
Judaica Press
Judaica Press is an Orthodox Jewish publishing house founded in New York City in 1963 by S. Goldman, and then taken over by his son Jack Goldman in response to the growing demand for books of scholarship in the English-speaking Jewish world...

 is an Orthodox Jewish
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 publishing house. They have published a set of 24 bilingual Hebrew-English volumes of Mikraot Gedolot
Mikraot Gedolot
The Mikraot Gedolot "Great Scriptures," often called the "Rabbinic Bible" in English, is anedition of Tanakh that generally includes four distinct elements:...

for Nevi'im and Ketuvim, published as Books of the Prophets and Writings. s in traditional Mikraot Gedolot, the Hebrew text includes the Masoretic text
Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...

, the Aramaic Targum
Targum
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. In Korean, tae means "to strike or break with foot"; kwon means "to strike or break with fist"; and do means "way", "method", or "path"...

, and several classic rabbinic commentaries. The English translations, by Rosenberg, include a translation of the Biblical text, Rashi's commentary
Rashi
Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

, and a summary of rabbinic and modern commentaries.

Mesorah Publications, Ltd. is a Haredi Orthodox Jewish
Haredi Judaism
Haredi or Charedi/Chareidi Judaism is the most conservative form of Orthodox Judaism, often referred to as ultra-Orthodox. A follower of Haredi Judaism is called a Haredi ....

 publishing company based in Brooklyn, New York. Its general editors are Rabbis Nosson Scherman
Nosson Scherman
Nosson Scherman born 1935, Newark, New Jersey) is an American Haredi rabbi best known as the general editor of ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications.-Biography:...

 and Meir Zlotowitz
Meir Zlotowitz
Meir Zlotowitz is an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, author, and founder of ArtScroll Publications.-Biography:Zlotowitz was a talmid of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein at Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem....

. They publish the Artscroll
ArtScroll
ArtScroll is an imprint of translations, books and commentaries from an Orthodox Jewish perspective published by Mesorah Publications, Ltd., a publishing company based in Brooklyn, New York...

 prayerbooks and Bible commentaries. In 1993 they published The Chumash: The Stone Edition, a Torah translation and commentary arranged for liturgical use. It is popularly known as The ArtScroll Chumash, and has since became the best-selling English-Hebrew Torah translation and commentary in the U.S. and other English-speaking countries. They have issued a series of Tanakh commentaries on the rest of the Tanakh. Their translations have been criticized by a few Modern Orthodox scholars, e.g. B. Barry Levy, and by some non-Orthodox scholars, as mistranslating the Bible. The dispute comes about because the editors at Mesorah Publications consciously attempt to present a translation of the text based on rabbinic tradition and medieval biblical commentators such as Rashi, as opposed to a literal translation.

Koren Publishers Jerusalem
Koren Publishers Jerusalem
Koren Publishers Jerusalem is an Israeli publisher of Jewish religious texts. It was established in 1961 by Eliyahu Koren, with the aim of publishing the first Hebrew Bible designed, edited, printed, and bound by Jews in nearly 500 years...

 is a Jerusalem-based publishing company founded in 1961. It publishes various editions of The Koren Tanakh, originally created by master typographer and company founder Eliyahu Koren. The Koren Tanakh is the official Tanakh accepted by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel for synagogue Haftarah
Haftarah
The haftarah or haftoroh is a series of selections from the books of Nevi'im of the Hebrew Bible that is publicly read in synagogue as part of Jewish religious practice...

 reading, and the Bible upon which Israel's President is sworn into office. Koren offers a Hebrew/English edition with translation by biblical and literary scholar, Harold Fisch, and is currently at work on a Hebrew/English edition with translation and commentary by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Jonathan Sacks
Jonathan Henry Sacks, Baron Sacks, Kt is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. His Hebrew name is Yaakov Zvi...

.

Da'at Miqra
Da'at Miqra
The Da’at Miqra is a series of volumes of Hebrew-language biblical commentary published by the Jerusalem-based Rav Kook Institute and constitutes a cornerstone of contemporary Israeli Orthodox bible scholarship...

 is a series of Hebrew-language biblical commentaries, published by the Jerusalem-based Rav Kook Institute. Its editors included the late Prof. Yehuda Elitzur of Bar-Ilan University, Bible scholar Amos Hakham, Sha’ul Yisra’eli, Mordechai Breuer
Mordechai Breuer
Mordechai Breuer was an Orthodox rabbi. He was one of the world's leading experts on Tanakh , and especially of the text of the Aleppo Codex....

 and Yehuda Kiel
Yehuda Kiel
Yehuda Kiel was an Israeli educator and Bible commentator.-Biography:Kiel was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 1916. Following the Russian Revolution, he moved with his family to Panevėžys, Lithuania and later to Latvia.In 1936, Kiel emigrated to Mandate Palestine...

. The commentary combines a traditional rabbinic outlook with the findings of modern research. The editors have sought to present an interpretation based primarily upon Peshat — the direct, literal reading of the text — as opposed to Drash. They do so by incorporating geographic references, archaeological findings and textual analysis.

A modern Orthodox Yeshiva
Yeshiva
Yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and Torah study. Study is usually done through daily shiurim and in study pairs called chavrutas...

 in New York, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School is a "Modern Open Orthodox" yeshiva founded in 1999 by Rabbi Avi Weiss.Currently located in Riverdale, New York, it seeks to "recruit, professionally train, and place rabbis" who will promote its founder's philosophy...

, recently started a new Bible series, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Tanakh Companion. The first volume out is Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Tanakh Companion to The Book of Samuel: Bible Study in the Spirit of Open and Modern Orthodoxy, edited by Nathaniel Helfgot and Shmuel Herzfeld
Shmuel Herzfeld
Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, born October 9, 1974, in Staten Island, New York is an American Modern Orthodox rabbi who heads the National Synagogue, of Washington, DC. He is a teacher, lecturer, and activist....

.

JPS Tanakh Commentary. The Jewish Publication Society, known in the Jewish community as JPS, has initiated a long-term, large scale project to complete a modern Jewish commentary on the entire Hebrew Bible. Unlike the Judaica Press and Soncino commentaries, the JPS commentaries are producing a detailed line-by-line commentary of every passage, in every book of the Bible. The amount of the JPS commentaries are almost an order of magnitude larger than those found in the earlier Orthodox English works. They current have produced volumes on all five books of the Torah, and the books of Esther, Job and Ecclesiastes.

A major Bible commentary now in use by Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism is a modern stream of Judaism that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany in the mid-19th century and took institutional form in the United States in the early 1900s.Conservative Judaism has its roots in the school of thought known as Positive-Historical Judaism,...

 is Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary
Etz Hayim Humash
The Etz Hayim Humash , also known as Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary, is a humash published and used by the Conservative Jewish movement. Its production involved the collaboration of the Rabbinical Assembly, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and the Jewish Publication Society.-Authors:*...

, Its production involved the collaboration of the Rabbinical Assembly
Rabbinical Assembly
The Rabbinical Assembly is the international association of Conservative rabbis. The RA was founded in 1901 to shape the ideology, programs, and practices of the Conservative movement. It publishes prayerbooks and books of Jewish interest, and oversees the work of the Committee on Jewish Law and...

, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and the Jewish Publication Society. The Hebrew and English bible text is the New JPS version. It contains a number of commentaries, written in English, on the Torah which run alongside the Hebrew text and its English translation, and it also contains a number of essays on the Torah and Tanakh in the back of the book. It contains three types of commentary: (1) the p'shat, which discusses the literal meaning of the text; this has been adapted from the first five volumes of the JPS Bible Commentary; (2) the d'rash, which draws on Talmudic, Medieval, Chassidic, and Modern Jewish sources to expound on the deeper meaning of the text; and (3) the halacha l'maaseh - which explains how the text relates to current Jewish law.

Professor Leonard S. Kravitz and Rabbi Kerry Olitzky
Kerry Olitzky
Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky is the Executive Director of the Jewish Outreach Institute, a United States independent organization dedicated to bringing Judaism to interfaith families and the unaffiliated.-Career:...

 have authored a series of Tanakh commentaries. Their commentaries draw on classical Jewish works such as the Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

, Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

, Targum
Targum
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. In Korean, tae means "to strike or break with foot"; kwon means "to strike or break with fist"; and do means "way", "method", or "path"...

s, the midrash
Midrash
The Hebrew term Midrash is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible....

 literature, and also the classical Jewish bible commentators such as Gersonides
Gersonides
Levi ben Gershon, better known by his Latinised name as Gersonides or the abbreviation of first letters as RaLBaG , philosopher, Talmudist, mathematician, astronomer/astrologer. He was born at Bagnols in Languedoc, France...

, Rashi
Rashi
Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

 and Abraham ibn Ezra
Abraham ibn Ezra
Rabbi Abraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra was born at Tudela, Navarre in 1089, and died c. 1167, apparently in Calahorra....

. They take into account modern scholarship; while these books take note of some findings of higher textual criticism, these are not academic books using source criticism to deconstruct the Tanakh. Rather, their purpose is educational, and Jewishly inspirational, and as such do not follow the path of classical Reform scholars, or the more secular projects such as the Anchor Bible series. The books also add a layer of commentary by modern day rabbis. These books are published by the Union for Reform Judaism
Union for Reform Judaism
The Union for Reform Judaism , formerly known as the Union of American Hebrew Congregations , is an organization which supports Reform Jewish congregations in North America. The current President is Rabbi Eric H...

. Commentaries in this series now include Jonah, Lamentations, Ruth, the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs.

The Jewish Study Bible, from Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

, edited by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler
Marc Zvi Brettler
Marc Brettler is an American Bible scholar. He is the Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies at Brandeis University.Brettler earned the B.A., M.A., and PhD from Brandeis University....

. The Hebrew and English bible text is the New JPS version. A new English commentary has been written for the entire Hebrew Bible drawing on both traditional rabbinic sources, and the findings of modern day higher textual criticism.

There is much overlap between non-Orthodox Jewish Bible commentary, and the non-sectarian and inter-religious Bible commentary found in the Anchor Bible Series
Anchor Bible Series
The Anchor Bible project, consisting of a Commentary Series, Bible Dictionary, and Reference Library, is a scholarly and commercial co-venture begun in 1956, when individual volumes in the commentary series began production...

. Originally published by Doubleday, and now by Yale University Press
Yale University Press
Yale University Press is a book publisher founded in 1908 by George Parmly Day. It became an official department of Yale University in 1961, but remains financially and operationally autonomous....

, this series began in 1956. Having initiated a new era of cooperation among scholars in biblical research, over 1,000 scholars—representing Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, secular, and other traditions—have now contributed to the project.

The Torah: A Women's Commentary, Edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea Weiss. URJ
Union for Reform Judaism
The Union for Reform Judaism , formerly known as the Union of American Hebrew Congregations , is an organization which supports Reform Jewish congregations in North America. The current President is Rabbi Eric H...

 Press (December 10, 2007). This volume "gives dimension to the women's voices in our tradition. Under Editor Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi's skillful leadership, this commentary provides insight and inspiration for all who study Torah: men and women, Jew and non-Jew. As Dr. Eskenazi has eloquently stated, 'we want to bring the women of the Torah from the shadow into the limelight, from their silences into speech, from the margins to which they have often been relegated to the center of the page - for their sake, for our sake and for our children's sake.'"

The Women's Torah Commentary: New Insights from Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions Edited by Rabbi Elyse Goldstein, Jewish Lights Publishing (September 2008). From the Jewish Lights website: "In this groundbreaking book, more than 50 women rabbis come together to offer us inspiring insights on the Torah, in a week-by-week format. Included are commentaries by the first women ever ordained in the Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative movements, and by many other women across these denominations who serve in the rabbinate in a variety of ways."

See also

  • List of Biblical commentaries
  • Rabbinic literature
    Rabbinic literature
    Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term...

  • Exegesis
    Exegesis
    Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

  • Talmudical Hermeneutics
    Talmudical Hermeneutics
    Talmudical Hermeneutics is the science which defines the rules and methods for the investigation and exact determination of the meaning of the Scriptures, both legal and historical...

  • Chazal
    Chazal
    Chazal or Ḥazal is an acronym for the Hebrew "Ḥakhameinu Zikhronam Liv'rakha",...