(De-)Texturing the Text: The Reception of Second Temple Scripture in the Contemporary English Bible

Jonathan Campbell

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paperpeer-review


A fascinating, if neglected, aspect of Biblical Studies/Jewish Studies concerns the ways in which ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts have been received in the many English Bibles published since WWII. That is particularly true of the last decade or so, since, with the completion of the DJD series (1955-2011), all versions appearing during that time have had available the full evidence of the Dead Sea Scrolls from Judaism’s Second Temple period pertaining to the books of the Hebrew Bible and Apocrypha. Yet, tension exists between the traditional Bible format, with its goal of a single authoritative rendering, and the Scrolls’ evidence which shows remarkable textual diversity. Indeed, the existence of multiple editions of Jewish scriptural books is arguably the main finding of recent research on the scriptural Scrolls and related Second Temple sources. This means that contemporary translators are faced with the unenviable choice of either smoothing out that uncomfortable fact (‘de-texturing’) or finding ways of somehow representing the complexity accurately (‘texturing’) without losing their readers or publishers. Hence, this paper will seek to unpack in more detail the theoretical and practical issues of that dilemma, drawing on three representative recent English translations: Common English Bible (2011), New American Bible (revised edition, 2011), and New International Version (2011 edition). It will tentatively conclude that only the production of a new scholarly version can provide a properly ‘textured’ English rendering.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusIn preparation - 2020
EventBritish Association for Jewish Studies Conference, 2016: The Texture of Jewish Tradition - University of Birminham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Jul 201612 Jul 2016


ConferenceBritish Association for Jewish Studies Conference, 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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