Review of The English Koren Tanakh: The Magerman Edition

The English Koren Tanakh: The Magerman Edition The Hebrew Bible in a New English Translation. Translated by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Rabbi Tzvi Weinreb, et. al. Jerusalem: Koren Publisher, 2021

The Magerman Edition of the English Koren Tanakh is a beautifully put together volume. This translation of the Hebrew Scriptures done by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hirsch Weinreb and several other distinguished Jewish scholars does a good job of capturing both the richness of the Hebrew language in an understandable English syntax. As a Christian reader who has some fluency in the Hebrew language it is a gift to have the loving work of this dedicated group of scholars. This is one of translations I now use when doing a close reading of a text.

One of the gifts of doing work on the scriptures that we share with our Jewish ancestors is being aware of some of the differences in form and structure between how Christian and Jewish interpreters have approached these holy books that we share. The Jewish organization of scripture divides the scripture into three sections: Torah (Genesis-Deuteronomy), Prophets (Joshua-Kings, Isaiah-Malachi excluding Daniel), and Writings (Wisdom literature, Ruth, Lamentations, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles, and Daniel).  The introductions also give several insights into how the scriptures are used in both personal devotion and corporate worship by our Jewish counterparts. The translations themselves capture balance the Hebrew syntax with English flow and readability and manage to capture the form of poetry and prose. The casual English reader will quickly realize that the names of individuals and places have been transliterated from the Hebrew rather than using the English traditional renderings of these names and places which date bank to the original English translations and are often significantly different than the Hebrew pronunciation. Even the layout of the text on the page is attractive to the eye and large enough to easily read. The maps, diagrams, and images at the end of the book are also very well done.

I’ve used several resources from Koren Publishers in the past and they have consistently been insightful and readable. I was given a copy of the Magerman Edition of the English Koren Tanakh to share an honest review of the resource and for those who are interested in a readable translation of the Hebrew Scriptures to inform their reading, devotions, and study I highly recommend this work.

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