Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy: A New Translation with Introductions, Commentary, and Notes

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy: A New Translation with Introductions, Commentary, and Notes

Article excerpt

The Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy: A New Translation with Introductions, Commentary, and Notes. By Everett Fox. The Schocken Bible, vol. 1. New York: Schocken Books, 1995. xxxii + 1024 pp. $50.00 (cloth).

Fox's impressive volume is the result of years of study and translation work. Following the footsteps of Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig (Die funf Bicher der Weisung, Heidelberg, 1976), Fox attempts to echo Hebrew style while translating the Hebrew Bible into a modern language. In his own words, the translation must be done "with careful attention to rhythm and sound. The translation therefore tries to mimic the particular rhetoric of the Hebrew whenever possible, preserving such devices as repetition, allusion, alliteration, and wordplay" (p. ix). The result is an unusual, yet compelling rendering of a familiar text.

Although presented from a Jewish perspective, Christians with an interest in the Bible should pay close attention to this book. The research behind it reflects both Christian and Jewish scholarship and where translations differ with explicitly Christian tradition concerning the text, Fox generally provides notes to explain his translation decision.

Brief outlines of each of the five biblical books are presented. The commentary, although not extensive, is insightful. The Jewish tradition concerning the texts, which is sometimes less than accessible to Christian readers, is clearly demonstrated and readily available. Having the commentary on facing pages can be distracting for a straightforward reading of the book, but if taken a pericope at a time, this layout is functional.

The element, however, which requires the most comment is the translation itself. As I stress to my students, every translation is an interpretation. …

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