I attended part of conference on the new Tanakh Ram (see here and here for an overview of the debate; see here for an overview of the book) today. For those who have not been following, there has been a bit of controversy in
There was one lecturer who pretty much stated the obvious – that the Tanakh is already translated into Modern Hebrew in classrooms, even Haredi ones. I think that misses the point of these criticisms, as I will explain.
I got a chance to look at the translation, and, honestly, was not impressed. I thought that the original and the translation are too equally weighted (they have slightly different fonts, but are the same size and stand side by side in columns; I would have much preferred to see the original in a much larger font). The translation itself was really not so good. The term “yerei Hashem” is consistently translated as “mi she-ma’amin ba-Shem”. Aside from being an inaccurate and even misleading translation, I don’t understand the need to translate the phrase into Modern Hebrew in general. The purpose of this translation should not be to create a Hebrew Biblia Pauperum, in a manner of speaking. It should facilitate the mastery or comfort with the original text. The current set-up is not conducive to that goal, though. I’d much rather see a Tanach with a brief commentary to elucidate difficult words on the bottom.