'Reading the Bible in translation is like kissing your mother through a veil'. -Hayim Nahman Bialik (1873–1934)

Most of us use translations of the Tanakh in synagogue and for study purposes, but do we ever stop to think about what kind of translation we are using, or what relationship it bears to the original Hebrew text? And how did the Hebrew text reach us---where did the vowels come from, for instance?

In this series you will examine how Jews have translated and transmitted the Bible through the ages, starting with the Dead Sea Scrolls, and moving on to the 2000-year-old Septuagint, the translation made by Greek-speaking Jews in Egypt in Temple times. 

We’ll then take a look at the Targums, the Aramaic ‘translations’ that guided Rashi and merge into midrash, detour into the explosion of translations in the late Middle Ages/Renaissance (including the King James Bible), and end up at the bewildering array of English translations of the Bible available today. You’ll find out how translators work and the problems they seek to overcome, as well as learning to evaluate modern translations and decide which one---or ones---suit your needs best. 

October 18: Why does Tanakh translation matter? And how did our Tanakh arrive at its current shape?

October 25: The Septuagint: is translation divinely aided or a national curse?

November 1: The Targums: when is a translation not a translation?

November 8: The Masoretes: how did these unsung heroes preserve the Tanakh for us to read today?

November 15: Battle of the Bibles: should everyone be allowed to read the Bible?

November 22: Choosing a Translation (part 1): what’s on offer in English?

November 29: Choosing a Translation (part 2): how can we choose the right translation for each of us?