OVERRIDE

And God Said

How Translations Conceal the Bible's Original Meaning

Dr. Joel M. Hoffman

Thomas Dunne Books

For centuries, translations of the Bible have obscured our understanding and appreciation of the original text. Now And God Said provides readers with an authoritative account of significant mistranslations and shows how new translation methods can give readers their first glimpse into what the Bible really means.

And God Said uncovers the often inaccurate or misleading English translations of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament that quotes from it. Sometimes the familiar English is just misleading. Other times the mistakes are more substantial. But the errors are widespread. This book tackles such issues as what’s wrong with the Ten Commandments (starting with the word “commandments”), the correct description of the “virgin” birth, and the surprisingly modern message in the Song of Solomon, as well as many other unexpected but thought-provoking revelations.

Acclaimed translator Dr. Joel M. Hoffman sheds light on the original intention of the text and the newly developed means that readers can use to get closer to it. In And God Said his fresh approach has united the topics of religion, language, and linguistics to offer the first modern understanding since the Bible was written.

For centuries, translations of the Bible have obscured our understanding and appreciation of the original text. Now And God Said provides readers with an authoritative account of significant mistranslations and shows how new translation methods can give readers their first glimpse into what the Bible really means.

And God Said uncovers the often inaccurate or misleading English translations of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament that quotes from it. Sometimes the familiar English is just misleading. Other times the mistakes are more substantial. But the errors are widespread. This book tackles such issues as what’s wrong with the Ten Commandments (starting with the word “commandments”), the correct description of the “virgin” birth, and the surprisingly modern message in the Song of Solomon, as well as many other unexpected but thought-provoking revelations.

Acclaimed translator Dr. Joel M. Hoffman sheds light on the original intention of the text and the newly developed means that readers can use to get closer to it. In And God Said his fresh approach has united the topics of religion, language, and linguistics to offer the first modern understanding since the Bible was written.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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PART I

Getting Started

1

THE KING’S ENGLISH: WHY WE’RE ALL STUCK IN THE MIDDLE AGES

"If the King’s English was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me."

That quip by Miriam Amanda "Ma" Ferguson to her Texas constituents last century actually reflects a common attitude toward the Bible. While of course most people know that it wasn’t originally written in English, they also think that the ancient text is conveyed pretty accurately in the familiar English quotations: "The Lord is my shepherd . . .," "In the beginning, God created

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REVIEWS

Praise for And God Said

PRAISE FOR AND GOD SAID

"Deeply welcome as a valuable tool for teaching . . . well-worth acquiring."

Jewish Book World

"A sensitive . . . discussion of the structure of languages in general and of Biblical Hebrew in particular."

The Jerusalem Post

"A lively tour of the difficulties besetting the Bible's translators, their successes and (more frequent) failures."

Jewish Ideas Daily

“A wise and important book, and a lot of fun to read.”

Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People

“Hoffman is wise and gentle as he exhibits the issue of distortion by way of translation. Short of all readers learning Hebrew, Hoffman’s work is the best gift for a careful reader of a text that defies easy contemporary rendering.”

Walter Brueggemann, author of The Prophetic Imagination

"[Hoffman] unites Biblical scholarship and translation theory, embracing modern science and modern linguistics, to help us understand what the Prophets and our forebears were doing and how they wrote.  He retrieves what the Bible really was and what it can be for us now."

 
The Very Reverend James A. Kowalski, The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine
 
 
PRAISE FOR IN THE BEGINNING
 
"Hoffman has a flair for explaining how languages work."
 
The Times Literary Supplement (London)
 
"Written in an energetic style with a commitment to exploring the evolution of Hebrew from ancient times to the present in ways that a broad audience can comprehend."
 
Religious Studies Review
 

PRAISE FOR AND GOD SAID

"Deeply welcome as a valuable tool for teaching . . . well-worth acquiring."

Jewish Book World

"A sensitive . . . discussion of the structure of languages in general and of Biblical Hebrew in particular."

The Jerusalem Post

"A lively tour of the difficulties besetting the Bible's translators, their successes and (more frequent) failures."

Jewish Ideas Daily

“A wise and important book, and a lot of fun to read.”

Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People

“Hoffman is wise and gentle as he exhibits the issue of distortion by way of translation. Short of all readers learning Hebrew, Hoffman’s work is the best gift for a careful reader of a text that defies easy contemporary rendering.”

Walter Brueggemann, author of The Prophetic Imagination

"[Hoffman] unites Biblical scholarship and translation theory, embracing modern science and modern linguistics, to help us understand what the Prophets and our forebears were doing and how they wrote.  He retrieves what the Bible really was and what it can be for us now."

 
The Very Reverend James A. Kowalski, The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine
 
 
PRAISE FOR IN THE BEGINNING
 
"Hoffman has a flair for explaining how languages work."
 
The Times Literary Supplement (London)
 
"Written in an energetic style with a commitment to exploring the evolution of Hebrew from ancient times to the present in ways that a broad audience can comprehend."
 
Religious Studies Review
 

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Dr. Joel M. Hoffman

  • JOEL M. HOFFMAN, PH.D., is the author of In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language and is the chief translator for the 10- volume series, My People’s Prayer Book (winner of the National Jewish Book Award) and for My People’s Passover Haggadah. He writes a biweekly column on Hebrew for The Jerusalem Post. He has held faculty appointments at Brandeis University and at Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion. He lives in New York.
  • Joel M. Hoffman Yair Gil

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Available Formats and Book Details

And God Said

How Translations Conceal the Bible's Original Meaning

Dr. Joel M. Hoffman

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Thomas Dunne Books

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