Any Translations of the Christian OT into English considered accurate by Jewish Faith?

This is in response to Debra M.'s question;_ylt=Ak...

My interest was piqued and I'd be interested in reading a translation of the books in the Christian Old Testament into English that is considered accurate by the Jewish faith.

Are there any?


Ok peeps - I am not asking for a Christian translation to read with a Christian perspective I am asking are there any English translations of the Jewish scriptures so a non-Hebrew/Greek speaker can read them.

Be specific if you know of any. Thanks.

Update 2:

Just to clarify my reference to "translation of the Christian OT" was meaning the books contained in the Christian OT which I presume in my ignorance are a part of the Jewish scriptures at some point.

18 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    We don't consider ANY translations, no matter who they are done by to be accurate. Ones done by non-Jews are particularly suspect since they fail to take into account the fact that a single word in the text could have widely divergent meanings dependent on context and the type of interpretation being used.

    See, there are four main ways to study any part of the Tanakh (what you would refer to as the Old Testament but without Revelations and chapter/verse and sometimes even book splits vary).

    1) pshat- the straight literal meaning

    2) remesh- the alluded to meanings in the passages

    3) Derash- often linked to the meaning in the midrash - some legalistic and some allegorical

    4) sod- literally meaniong secret, often called Kaballah and refers to the hidden mystical meaning behind the actal text.

    So, now a translator needs to know WHICH version to use in order to bring out the correct meaning! Obviously, a translator not knowledgeable in the various facets, is not going to get it right, so Jews don't see it as possible for a non-Jew to do a translation of the Tanakh.

    About the best translation there is to get the meaning is the one by Artscroll/Metsorah publications- they generally stick to the pshat understanding as given by Rashi (a major commentator from the 12th century). In their translation of the Torah (the Five Books of Moses), they have also done one which is more in line in line with Ramban and thus the translation tends to be more in line with remesh/derash understandings. In many cases it does not vary- in some cases the variance does not look like much, but the nuance implies a lot!

    Overall- we study and read the Tanakh in Hebrew- we don't rely on translations due to the fact that they miss the essence in trying to render the complex into the simplistic.

    edit: The Old testament is roughly analogous to the Tanakh. The differences are

    1) different verse and chapter breaks

    2) Different book breaks

    3) The book of Revelations is NOT in the Tanakh

    4) The Apocryphy and Pseudographia are not in the Tanakh

    Good translations are the Artscroll Metsorah translation. The Tanakh is excllent, there are also editions with translated Rashi, Baal HaTurim and Ramban (only partially released) of the Torah. Each of these have slightly different translations as each of these commentaries is concentrated on a diffrent method of interpretation (Rashi on Pshat, Ramban on remesh/derash and the Baal HaTurim, as a student of ramban, on areas that ramban didn't comment on such as Gematria and many of the notes of the Masortes.) An excellent translation of both the Torah and the Ramban commentaries has been done by Rabbi Chavel, though I don't know who the publisher is,

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    There are a number of differences. Hebrew is a rich language and lends its self to multiple possibilities when being translated. Added to that problem is the cultural difference between Judaism and Christianity and you are sure to have any conversation on the subject get emotional very quickly. In the Latin translation efforts were made to use as much of the Aramaic Targum translation as possible. Jesus spoke Aramaic and it was most common language in the Israel at that time. Since Jesus’ references to the Jewish scriptures were primarily from the Targum translation it made sense to use them as a reference in translating from the Septuagint (Greek). The first translations were made using the Targums the Septuagint and the original Hebrew. The Targum translation is where I understand the young women/virgin interpretation came from. All Jewish translations come directly from the Hebrew text. The issue of the difference between Christian and Jewish versions is not as much of an issue with Christians since we have so many translations of the OT available. Varity is the norm for us, it is not the same for Jews. The differences within Christian translations are no greater that the differences between any of the them and the Tanakh. Because of this your best source on the differences would be Jewish sources. The problem is that Jewish sources are not interested in why there are differences or how they came about. All efforts are directed towards proving that Christianity is a false religion.

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  • Feivel
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    No. I am Jewish and we are taught there are none. If you want to read the "Old Testament", go get a Jewish Tanakh. That will be the best. If you can't read Hebrew you can get a copy that is translated directly from the Hebrew.

    It is my understanding that Christians and Jews share the Tanakh which Christians call the "Old Testament". If that is true (and I could be wrong and please correct me if I am) then why not read the JPS Tanakh translated directly from Hebrew? What would be the difference?

    Any other version is tranlated from Hebrew to Greek to Latin to whatever other language and it becomes a bit like playing the telephone game.

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  • M
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Translation of OT into any language is like attempting Ballet in a Space Suit.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    One should be very careful here. Jesus, had problems with those who claimed to interpret the old testament. I fear the same applies to us protestants. Every Church has a Judas who has control of the money box. John 13 25-30.

    Throughout history the "Church" be it JUDAIC, Catholic or Protestant have laid claim to the entry keys of heaven, in denial of what is written in John 14 verse 12-17.

    I have been a Christian now for 62 years and have seen my son gain masters degree in Divinity, PLEASE understand you are not asked to have a degree or please some self appointed door keeper to heaven. Your instructions are in in John 14 verses -17. I once met a University lecturer and bible translator

    He was a HINDU with NO knowledge of what the message was. He confused it with the RAJ.

    Source(s): The Gospel of John.
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  • 1 decade ago

    Absolutely not. To begin with, once **anything** is translated into another language it immediately becomes inaccurate almost by definition. Think of how many ways you can say something like "stop": halt, cease, desist, and so on. What gets picked is partly a matter of the translator's viewpoint. Add a decidedly--and, of course, deliberately--Christian perspective on top, and you have a situation ripe for disaster. As a trivial example, in Isaiah 7, the word "almah" is **not** virgin--it's "young maiden" or "young girl". Matthew deliberately mis-translated this for his own purposes.

    I could go on and on, but I think you get the drift.

    Source(s): I'm Jewish.
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  • 1 decade ago

    Several translations had Jewish scholars assisting on the translation.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I have the e-Sword software that contains many English translations of the Bible including The Jewish Publication Society translation of the Old Testament.

    JPS Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters.

    and the Hebrew Names Version Genesis 4:1 The man knew Chavah his wife. She conceived, and gave birth to Kayin, and said, "I have gotten a man with the LORD's help." 2 Again she gave birth, to Kayin's brother Hevel. Hevel was a keeper of sheep, but Kayin was a tiller of the ground.

    You can download it for free from a link on the Free Stuff page @

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  • 1 decade ago

    Just to add to what folks like Feivel and L'Chaim have posted: the reason to read the original (or at least as CLOSE to the original as possible), is because of the mistranslation issues.

    For example, I have a statue of Moses and this statue has horns. The reason it has horns is because of a Greek mistranslation of the Hebrew. Rays of sunlight and horns are very close to one another in the original.

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  • Pazit.
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    The least inaccurate (in my experience) are the ArtScroll translations. The set I bought comes with commentary. (Also essential to reading the translations.)

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