For believers dedicated to understanding Jewish thoughts on Scripture, ArtScroll Mesorah Publications just rolled out a new Bible. The “ArtScroll English Tanach” is a Jewish Bible that offers classical rabbinic thought.
The Hebrew term “Tanach” refers to all 24 books of the Jewish Bible. In fact, the term Tanach is formed from the first letter of each Hebrew word for each of the the three major divisions of the Bible: Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim, the five books of Moses, the Prophets, and the Writings. the Ketuvim includes the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and other books of wisdom.
“This is more than a contemporary English translation of the Hebrew Scripture,” says Meir Zlotowitz, publisher of ArtScroll. “The running commentary on nearly every page provides a wealth of insights drawn from over 2,000 years of classic rabbinic thought. There are also explanations from the Hebrew language which enrich the English reader’s understanding and appreciation of the intent of the original.”
The commentary includes clarifications of Bible texts that the publisher deems commonly misunderstood or misapplied. Take “an eye for an eye,” as an example. The ArtScroll English Tanach commentary notes, “The term an eye for an eye means that the responsible party must pay the monetary value for an eye.”
Another example comes from the Sixth Commandment, “You shall not kill.” The ArtScroll’s commentary offers this insight: “Although the Hebrew lo tirzach would usually be translated as do not murder, we prefer ‘kill’ in this context because murder, by definition, means ‘with malice aforethought,’ but this prohibition includes manslaughter, as well. The Sages extend this prohibition to include such moral crimes as publicly embarrassing someone or causing someone to lose his livelihood.”
“While many of our publications presume a familiarity with Hebrew, this Bible is for anyone who wants to understand the Jewish Scripture in English, with illumination from
our greatest of Sages and commentators through the ages,” says Nosson Scherman, general editor at ArtScroll. “Our Jewish future is inexorably tied to our rich spiritual heritage. The Tanach—the Jewish Bible—is the source code for Jewish identity, values, observance, as well as our personal and communal relationship with the Creator.”