The Jewish Study Bible

By Sharp, Carolyn J. | Anglican Theological Review, Spring 2005 | Go to article overview

The Jewish Study Bible


Sharp, Carolyn J., Anglican Theological Review


The Jewish Study Bible. Edited by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. xxiii + 2,181 pp. £27.50/$45.00 (cloth); £18.50/$29.99 (paper).

Whether one is choosing an annotated study Bible for personal edification or for teaching, comparison of differing positions of commentators is always illuminating. Consider Jon Levenson s comment in the new Jewish Study Bible on Gen. 3:24 ("Hence a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, so that they become one flesh") as compared with that of David Carr in the New Oxford Annotated Bible. Carr remarks that sex between a man and his wife "[reflects] the essence of the connection God created between men and women," whereas Levenson notes that "although polygamy is amply attested in the Tanakh, v. 24 indicates that the ideal, Edenic condition is monogamy," citing Malachi 2:14-16 and Proverbs 5:15-23 in support of this reading. These are two very different interpretations indeed, each with its own sort of attentiveness to the biblical text and its own kind of force for understanding the social and theological implications thereof. For Christians who wish to enter into a multidimensional interchange about Scripture, the new Jewish Study Bible should prove an invaluable resource, offering excellent teaching and a number of interpretive surprises.

Chief among the purposes of a good study Bible are the following three goals: (1) to supply learned notes on the historical background, literary significance, and theological importance of particular biblical books, passages, motifs, and concepts; (2) to address semantic and syntactical difficulties with the original language of the text and adduce other textual traditions that may shed light on the cruxes; (3) to provide in-depth essays on historical and hermeneutical issues of importance for understanding the Bible. This review will consider the Jewish Study Bible's performance in comparison with another Oxford study Bible, the Netv Oxford Annotated Bible (NRSV version; 2001), the excellent essays and annotations of which have set a very high bar for study Bibles generally.

First, we turn to some of the notes on Genesis and Leviticus. The introduction to Genesis, by Jon Levenson, is well done, highlighting the importance of that book as "a primary source for Jewish theology," candidly noting the ostensible absurdity of God's promise to Abram, highlighting parallels with other ancient Near Eastern creation accounts, and briefly suggesting that the Documentary Hypothesis need not be taken to imply that God is not "the ultimate Author" of the book. The notes themselves are rich and detailed, paying special attention to ancient and medieval rabbinic commentators. Regarding the near-sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22, one notes a much fuller commentary in the Jewish Study Bible than in the New Oxford Annotated notes. References to Talmudic and midrashic readings abound; a brief comment is made about the unlikelihood of this text ever having served as a polemic against child sacrifice (an older scholarly view that is occasionally still aired); and the remarkable literary artistry of the story is given more attention than in the New Oxford Annotated. No mention is made of the huge role played by this text in Christian theologies from ancient times to the present day, for the editors note in their preface that the contributors do not consider the Tanakh to be part of a larger Bible that contains the New Testament. While this will doubtless be perceived by some Christian readers as a palpably strained omission, a thunderous silence if you will, yet it may be instructive for Christians to encounter the potential power of biblical exegesis apart from overt reference to traditions about Christ.

As might be expected, the notes to Leviticus are far more detailed in the Jewish Study Bible than in other annotated Bibles, demonstrating the deep reverence with which Jewish thinkers have characteristically treated the Law. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Jewish Study Bible
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.