And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible’s Original Meaning
Joel M. Hoffman, . . St. Martin?s/Dunne, $24.99 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-312-56558-9
Author Hoffman, a linguist and a translator, uses his knowledge and his skills to correct some of the common errors in translating the language of the Bible from Hebrew into English. His initial three chapters are devoted to explaining linguistics and “translation theory,” skillfully clarifying complex concepts. The remaining five chapters ably apply these ideas to biblical phrases that, according to Hoffman, require rewording. He begins with the important commandment, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” He convincingly claims that the Hebrew words for “heart” and “soul” have been “severely mistranslated” and should be rendered as “mind” and “body.” Similarly, Hoffman effectively demonstrates errors in rendering “shepherd,” “my sister, my bride,” two of the Ten Commandments, and “virgin.” Attentive readers will find this book to be valuable for properly understanding the Bible.
Reviewed on: 12/14/2009