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The Living Torah and Nach

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The Living Torah is a 1981 translation of the Torah by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, published by Moznaim publishers. It was and remains a highly popular translation, and was reissued in a Hebrew-English version with haftarot for synagogue use.

Rabbi Kaplan had the following goals for his translation, which were arguably absent from previous English translations:

  • Make it clear and readable
  • Keep it close to the basic meaning (peshat) of the text in many places, but in other places translated it to be in accord with post-biblical rabbinic commentary and Jewish codes of law.
  • Keeping it faithful to Orthodox Jewish tradition
  • Provide useful notes, a table of contents, illustrations, and a comprehensive index.

Rabbi Kaplan's translation has been criticised in some circles for mis-translating the text. The dispute comes about because he consciously attempted not to present a straight translation of the text, but rather interspersed the translation with later rabbinic commentary and Jewish law.

The Living Nach

The Living Torah was later supplemented by The Living Nach on Nevi'im (two volumes: "The Early Prophets" and "The Latter Prophets") and Ketuvim ("Sacred Writings" in one volume). These were prepared posthumously following Rabbi Kaplan's format by others including Yaakov Elman.

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