Read the Press Release

Publication Date: February 2, 2010

Contact: Joe Rinaldi, Director of Publicity, Thomas Dunne Books, 646-307-5565, Joseph.rinaldi@stmartins.com

AND GOD SAID

How Translations Conceal the Bible’s Original Meaning

By Dr. Joel M. Hoffman

Praise for Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, Ph.D.

“It is of course truism that ‘every translation is an interpretation.’ Joel Hoffman has taken his cue from that truism to go deeper into the wonder, difficulty, and frequent mistakes of modern translations of the Bible. I am especially taken by his rich probe of the elusiveness of the term for ‘soul’ (nephesh) and our many long-standing misconstruals of the term. 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

“And God Said dares to face the problem that centuries of mistranslation have made the Bible – including our most familiar understandings – less available to us. Hoffman asserts the underlying sameness of all human languages to decode and recover the clarity of the Bible’s original messages. He 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 Dr. James A. Kowalski, Dean, The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine

“A wise and important book, and a lot of fun to read.” -Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People

“Attentive readers will find this book to be valuable for properly understanding the Bible.” -Publishers Weekly

Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, a linguistics and translation expert, is consumed with proper translations of the Bible and other historical religious text. He is the author of In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language and the chief translator for the 10-volume series, My People’s Prayer Book. His new work, AND GOD SAID: How Translations Conceal the Bible’s Original Meaning is an accessible explanation of what the Bible originally meant before poor translation masked the meaning of the text. It is a fun and academically responsible look at the numerous and severe translation mistakes that have led to misunderstandings of the most vital parts of the Bible.

About AND GOD SAID

AND GOD SAID guides the reader through the nature of translation, how we know what the ancient text means, how we convey those ancient meanings to English, some of the mistaken approaches that led to common but inaccurate translations, and the correct translations for many familiar quotations. Along the way, the book touches on topics as diverse as the law, morality, the nature of human life, and much more. Whether the missteps in translation are simple mistakes in familiar English or more substantial, Hoffman notes they are nonetheless widespread, including:

  • The Ten Commandments don’t forbid coveting (or killing).

  • The Ten Commandments allow some killing.

  • The “virgin birth” from Isaiah that Matthew quotes isn’t about a virgin at all.

  • The “shepherd” in “The Lord is my shepherd” doesn’t mean what most people think it does.

  • The “heart and soul” of Jesus’ most important commandment doesn’t mean “heart” and “soul.”

  • The “jubilee” year in Leviticus has nothing to do with jubilation orcelebration.

  • The first line of the Bible is not about what God did, it’s about when God did it.

  • Eve didn’t give Adam an apple.

  • The lovers in Song of Songs are not married or even engaged.

  • The image of “king” isn’t what most people think.

Appropriate for both progressive and traditionally religious readers, the book should also appeal to those interested in language and translation as well as crossover scholarship. AND GOD SAID is easy to read, enjoyable and contains information not available elsewhere. Dr. Hoffman sheds light on the original intention of the text, uniting the topics of religion, language and linguistics to offer the first modern understanding since the Bible was written.

About the Author

Dr. 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 bi-weekly column on Hebrew for The Jerusalem Post. He has held faculty appointments at Brandeis University and at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

AND GOD SAID

AND GOD SAID: How Translations Conceal the Bible’s Original Meaning

By Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Publication Date: February 2, 2010

Price: $25.99, Cloth

Pages: 256, includes 2 tables

ISBN # 0-312-56558-9

We Would Appreciate Receiving Two Tear Sheets Of Any Reviews Or Mentions.

A THOMAS DUNNE BOOK

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