The Torah: A Modern Commentary
Documentation for the Revised Edition
Part I: Hebrew Text
More than a thousand minor discrepancies exist between the Hebrew text of the revised edition and the first edition. This file, prepared by the Hebrew text's editor (Rabbi David E. S. Stein), accounts for two sources of the discrepancy: corrections of typos in the first edition, and changes based upon what scholars now know about the Masoretic text that the first edition's editors did not.
This documentation has an additional purpose. It sheds light on an abiding paradox of the Masoretic text: Plausible readings of the biblical text are often wrong, whereas anomalies are often correct. The documentation here details the widespread yet low-level variance in the text of the Hebrew Bible as we have received it. Thus it turns the revised edition into a teaching tool for understanding the Masoretic text.
These files account for the gender-related changes made to the well-known New Jewish Publication Society (NJPS) translation. More than 500 translator's notes provide what may well be the most detailed and comprehensive analysis of the Torah's gender ascriptions to date.
The revising translator (Rabbi David E. S. Stein) created two-part documentation for each of the last four books of the Torah:
Highlighting of the individual gender-related changes made relative to the 2002 version of the NJPS translation.*
Translator's notes. These establish the gender sense of Hebrew terms according to how the ancient Israelite audience would have understood them in context. They then assess the English rendering in light of that ancient understanding, as well as that of the contemporary audience.**
The project's consulting editors reviewed an earlier version of these files, in order to ensure that the work was defensible and met the standards of academic scholarship. The translator's notes have since been edited for online publication.
* For simplicity, this documentation does not track many straightforward substitutions such as "the Eternal" for "the Lord."
** The typical note closes by giving the corresponding rendering in the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), a widely used gender-accurate translation that was published under ecumenical Christian auspices in 1989. This is provided as a convenience to the reader, because comparison can be instructive.