Bible translations into Hebrew

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Bible translations into Hebrew primarily refers to translations of the New Testament of the Christian Bible into the Hebrew language, from the original Koine Greek or an intermediate translation. There is less need to translate the Jewish Tanakh (or Christian Old Testament) from the Original Biblical Hebrew, because it is closely intelligible to Modern Hebrew speakers. There are more translations of the small number of Tanakhas passages preserved in the more distantly related biblical Aramaic language. There are also Hebrew translations of Biblical apocrypha.

Hebrew Bible[edit]

The Hebrew Bible (i.e. the Jewish Tanakh or Christian Old Testament) is almost entirely in Classical (or Biblical) Hebrew. However, there are some significant sections in Biblical Aramaic: about a third of the Book of Daniel and several quoted royal letters and edicts in the Book of Ezra. These are written in the same square-script as the Hebrew parts, and many readers of the Bible in Hebrew are sufficiently familiar with Aramaic as not to require translation for them. Nevertheless, numerous Hebrew translations and paraphrases for these Aramaic parts have been written from the Middle Ages to the present day. The medieval commentary of Gersonides on these books, for instance, contains a Hebrew paraphrase of their Aramaic sections which translates them nearly in their entirety. Many modern editions of the Masoretic Text also contain Hebrew translations of these sections as appendices. Such translations may be found for instance in some versions of the Koren edition, in the Dotan [he; fr] IDF edition, and in the text published by The Bible Society in Israel.[1] Hebrew translation of biblical Aramaic is also standard fare in numerous multivolume Hebrew commentaries meant for popular audiences, such as those of Samuel Leib Gordon [he; ru],[2] Elia Samuele Artom, Moshe Zvi Segal, Da`at Mikra and Olam ha-Tanakh.

Some modern Israeli editions[clarification needed] of the Bible have running footnotes rendering more archaic Biblical Hebrew words and phrases into Modern Hebrew. A Christian translation of the Hebrew Bible into Modern Hebrew was completed in 2006 and called "the Testimony" or העדות.[3] Published in four volumes, all volumes are translated into simple, modern Hebrew vocabulary by Shoshan Danielson and edited by Baruch Maoz.[4] The "Ram Bible" (Tanakh Ram; תנ"ך רם) began to be published in 2008. Of a planned four volume set, currently the first two, Torah and Early Prophets, are available. These editions include the original text in a parallel column.


The books of the apocrypha were not preserved in the Jewish tradition (as reflected in the Hebrew masoretic text). Though the majority of them were originally composed in Hebrew, they have reached us mostly in Greek form, as found in the Septuagint and preserved by the Christian church. A few are extant only in (secondary) translations from the Greek into other languages, such as Latin, Christian Aramaic, or Ge'ez. In modern times there has been renewed Jewish interest in these books, which has resulted in a few translations into Hebrew. In the 19th century most of the apocrypha was translated by Seckel Isaac Fraenkel in Ketuvim Aharonim ("Late Writings" 1830),[5] and a few books were translated by other authors.[6] The Hebrew-language website Daʿat, which collects texts related to Jewish education, has published an online version of these public domain Hebrew translations in digital form; the texts have been formatted and slightly modernized.[7]

Two major annotated Hebrew translations of the apocrypha were published in the 20th century. Both editions include commentaries by the editors, both are vowelized, and both of them incorporate parts of the original Hebrew for Ben Sira that were found in the Cairo Geniza and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

  • Avraham Kahana, ed. and trans., Ha-Sefarim ha-Hitsonim. Tel-Aviv: Hotsaat Meqorot, 1937 (2 vols.), most recently reissued in 2006.[8]
  • Eliyah Shemuel Hartom (aka. Elia Samuele Artom), ed. and trans., Ha-Sefarim ha-Hitsonim. Tel-Aviv: Yavneh, 1965-69.

Another annotated Hebrew edition of Ben Sira was published by Moshe Zvi Segal in 1953 and subsequently revised; it also takes into account Hebrew copies found in the Cairo Geniza, among the Dead Sea Scrolls, and at Masada. It is current available from the Bialik Institute.[9]

In the early 21st century, the Yad Ben-Zvi Institute in Jerusalem inaugurated a major project of a scholarly publication called Bein Miqra la-Mishnah ("Between the Bible and the Mishnah"), whose scope includes new Hebrew translations and in-depth commentaries on apocryphal books. So far Maccabees 1 & 2 have appeared; Maccabees 3 & 4 and Jubilees are in preparation.[10]

New Testament[edit]

Polemical rabbinical translations[edit]

Quotes of the New Testament in Hebrew occur in polemical or apologetic Hebrew texts from the 6th century CE. Three medieval polemical rabbinical translations of Matthew predate the Hutter Bible. A fourth rabbinical translation, that of Ezekiel Rahabi, Friedrich Albert Christian and Leopold Immanuel Jacob van Dort, 1741-1756,[11] may have been the same text as the "Travancore Hebrew New Testament of Rabbi Ezekiel" bought by Claudius Buchanan in Cochin, and later given to Joseph Frey. An ecumenical approach is seen in Elias Soloweyczyk's Matthew, 1869.

The Hutter Dodecaglott Bible[edit]

The New Testament was first translated into Hebrew by Elias Hutter in his Polyglott edition of the New Testament in twelve languages: Greek, Syriac, Hebrew, Latin, German, Bohemian, Italian, Spanish, French, English, Danish and Polish, at Nuremberg, in 1599, 1600, in two volumes.

Some individual books were translated before Hutter's complete New Testament, such as Alfonso de Zamora's Letter to the Hebrews (1526). Carmignac (1978) identifies at least 23 translators of the Gospel of Matthew into Hebrew.[12]

Christian translations[edit]

As part of the Christian mission to Jews the Greek New Testament has been translated into Hebrew several times since the 19th century. These versions sometimes exist in bilingual editions.

These Christian versions generally use the Hebrew word משיחיים Meshiẖiyyim ("Messianics") for Greek Χριστιανοί, Khristianoi ("Christians") in the text in preference to the Talmudic term נוצרים, Notsrim ("Nazarenes").

The majority of these versions use the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) when citing quotations from the Hebrew Bible, although this does not mean that Hebrew-speaking Christians necessarily pronounce aloud the name as "Yahweh", any more than Hebrew-speaking Jews, and may read as "Adonai" or "HaShem."[citation needed]

Gospels of Matthew

Gospels of Mark

Gospels of Luke

  • 1574, Gospel of Luke, Fredericus Petrus, Lutheran pastor of the church of Brunswick.
  • 1735, Gospel of Luke, Heinrich Frommann, Halle[19][20]

Gospels of John

  • 1957, Gospel of John, Moshe I. Ben Maeir, Denver

Hebrew Gospels

  • 1576, The Anniversary Gospels in four languages, Johannes Claius (Johann Klaj), Leipzig[21]
  • 1668, Latin-Hebrew Gospels, Jona, Giovanni Battista (1588–1668),[22](originally Jehuda Jona ben-Isaac), Rome[23]
  • 1805, The four gospels, Thomas Yeates, London.[24] Apparently a revision of Jona, Giovanni Battista 1668 (see above)
  • 1831, New Testament, Novum Testamentum, Hebraice ed. William Greenfield (philologist), London[25]

New Testament

  • 1560s? unpublished manuscript of the New Testament. Erasmus Oswald Schreckenfuchs (1511–1579) Professor of Mathematics, Rhetorics, and Hebrew, first at Tübingen, afterwards at Freiburg in Breisgau.
  • 1569, Tremellius publishes an edition of the Syriac Peshitta in Hebrew letters.
  • 1599, New Testament in 12 languages, Elias Hutter, Nuremberg
  • 1661, New Testament, William Robertson, London. Revised version of Hutter 1599
  • 1796, New Testament, Dominik von Brentano, Vienna and Prague
  • 1798-1805, NT, Richard Caddick, London. Revised version of Hutter 1599 and Robertson 1661[26]
  • 1817, New Testament: Berit hadasha 'al pi Mashiah: ne'etak mi-leshon Yavan lileshon 'Ivri. London: A. Mactintosh, 1817. Early edition of the London Jews' Society's New Testament in Hebrew. T. Fry, G.B. Collier and others
  • 1838, New Testament, Alexander M'Caul (1799–1863), Johann Christian Reichardt (1803–1873), Stanislaus Hoga and Michael Solomon Alexander for the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews.
  • 1846, New Testament, Johann Christian Reichardt (1803–1873), London
  • 1863, New Testament, Hermann Heinfetter, London[citation needed]
  • 1865, New Testament, Ezekiel Margoliouth,[27] London Jews' Society, London.[28] This is the only complete cantillated translation of the New Testament.[29]
  • 1866, New Testament, J. C. Reichardt and J. H. R. Biesenthal, London
  • 1877-1889, New Testament, Franz Delitzsch (1813–1890), Leipzig. The first edition was published in 1877, the 10th edition - which was the last one revised by Delitzsch himself - in 1889.[30] The first edition was based on the Codex Sinaiticus. However, at the behest of the British and Foreign Bible Society, subsequent editions followed the Textus Receptus, a more traditional and less critical edition. The translation was revised by Arnold Ehrlich (1848–1919).
  • 1885, New Testament, Isaac Salkinsohn (c. 1820-1883)
  • 1886, New Testament, I. Salkinson and C. D. Ginsburg, London. This edition is a profound revision of Salkinsohn 1885 by Christian David Ginsburg (1831–1914). It was first distributed by the Trinitarian Bible Society, now distributed by The Society for Distributing Hebrew Scriptures. Background information on the translation is available,[31] and there is a revised and modernized by Eri S. Gabe (2000).[32] The translation is issued in bilingual editions (such as Hebrew-English on facing pages) with the explicit aim of making it appealing to Jews.[33]
  • 1892, New Testament, Delitzsch and Gustaf Dalman. This is the 11th edition of Delitzsch, extensively revised by Dalman, based on older manuscripts. Most later printed editions of Delitzsch are based on this one.[34]
  • 1975, New Testament, J.-M. Paul Bauchet and D. Kinneret Arteaga, Rome. In modern Hebrew, without vowel points.
  • 1977, New Testament, United Bible Societies, Jerusalem. This is a modern Hebrew translation prepared by an ecumenical team of scholars in the beginning of the seventies.[35] The translation was first published by The Bible Society in Israel in 1977. It has been revised several times, latest in 2010.[36] Part of this translation - primarily the four gospels and to a lesser grade the Book of Revelation - is apparently based on Delitzsch (see above), while the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles seem to be independent translations.
  • 1977, New Testament, Living Bible International, translator unknown. This is more a paraphrase than a literal translation in modern Hebrew, in line with other translations of The Living Bible.[37] The four gospels and the Acts of the Apostles were published in Israel in 1977 under the title Beit ha-lahmi.
  • 1979, Habrit Hakhadasha/Haderekh “The Way” (Hebrew Living New Testament) 2009 by Biblica, Inc.
  • 2013, New Testament, New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania.[38]


  • 1851-1867, Luke, Acts, Romans and Hebrews, Johann Heinrich Raphael Biesenthal (1800–1886), Berlin[39]


  • 1557, Epistle to the Hebrews, Sebastian Münster, Basel
  • 1586, The Anniversary Epistles in four languages, ed. Conrad Neander,
  • 1598, Epistles to the Galatians and the Ephesians, György Thúri (Georgius Thurius), Wittenberg[40]
  • 1734, Epistle to the Hebrews, Friedrich Albert Christian, Halle[41]
  • 1766, Epistle to the Hebrews, György Kalmár, Amsterdam[42]


Translation John (Yohanan) 3:16
Giovanni Battista Jona (1668) כִּי כָּל־כַּךְ אָהַב אֱלֹהִים לָעוֹלָם שֶׁנָּתַן בְּנוֹ יְחִידוֹ כְּדֵי שֶׁכָּל־הַמַּאֲמִין בּוֹ לֹא יֹאבַד כִּי־אִם יִהְי לוֹ חַיִים לַנֶצַח׃
Richard Caddick (1799) כִּי־כֵן אָהַב אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר אֶת־בְּנוֹ יְחִידוֹ נָתַן לְמַעַן־כָּל־הַמַּאֲמִין בּוֹ לֹא יֹאבֵד כִּי אִם יִהְיוּ לוֹ חַיֵּי עוֹלָם׃
Thomas Yeates (1805) כי־יען אלֹהים אהב לעוֹלם שׁלח בנוֹ יחידוֹ אשׁר כל־המּאמין בוֹ לֹא יאבד כּי־אם יהי לוֹ חיים לנצח׃
Fry and Collyer (1817) וְכֹה אָהַב אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָאָרֶץ כִּי־נָתַן אֶת־בֶּן־יְחִידוֹ וְכָל־הַמַּאֲמִין בּוֹ לֹא יֹאבֵד כִּי אִם־חַיֵּי עוֹלָמִים יִהְיוּ לוֹ׃
William Greenfield (1831) כִּי כֹה אָהַב אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָעוֹלָם כִּי־נָתַן אֶת־בְּנוֹ הַיָּחִיד לְמַעַן כָּל־הַמַּאֲמִין בּוֹ לֹא יֹאבַד כִּי אִם־חַיֵּי עוֹלָם יִהְיוּ לוֹ׃
Ezekiel Margoliouth (1865) כִּי כָּכָה אָהַב הָאֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָעוֹלָם עַד אֲשֶׁר נָתַן אֶת־בְּנוֹ יְחִידוֹ לְמַעַן כָּל־הַמַּאֲמִין בּוֹ לֹא יֹאבַד כִּי אִם־יִהְיוּ לוֹ חַיֵּי עוֹלָמִים׃
Delitzsch, 10th edition (1889) כִּי־כָכָה אָהַב הָאֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָעוֹלָם עַד־אֲשֶׁר נָתַן אֶת־בְּנוֹ אֶת־יְחִידוֹ לְמַעַן לֹא־יֹאבַד כָּל־הַמַּאֲמִין בּוֹ כִּי אִם־יִחְיֶה חַיֵּי עוֹלָמִים׃
Salkinsohn and Ginsburg (1891) כִּי־כֵן אֹהֵב אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָעוֹלָם עַד־אֲשֶׁר נָתַן בַּעֲדוֹ אֶת־בְּנוֹ אֶת־יְחִידוֹ וְכָל־הַמַּאֲמִין בּוֹ לֹא־יֹאבַד כִּי בוֹ יִמְצָה חַיֵּי עוֹלָם׃
Dalman and Delitzsch (1892) כִּי־אַהֲבָה רַבָּה אָהַב הָאֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָעוֹלָם עַד־אֲשֶׁר נָתַן אֶת־בְּנוֹ אֶת־יְחִידוֹ לְמַעַן אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יֹאבַד כָּל־הַמַּאֲמִין בּוֹ כִּי אִם־יִחְיֶה חַיֵּי עוֹלָם׃
The Bible Society in Israel (1977) כִּי כֹּה אָהַב אֱלֹהִים אֶת הָעוֹלָם עַד כִּי נָתַן אֶת בְּנוֹ יְחִידוֹ לְמַעַן לֹא יֹאבַד כָּל הַמַּאֲמִין בּוֹ, אֶלָּא יִנְחַל חַיֵּי עוֹלָם׃
The Living Bible (1977) כי אלוהים אהב כל כך את העולם עד שהקריב את בנו היחיד, כדי שכל המאמין בו לא יאבד כי אם יחיה לנצח׃


  1. ^ "Bible Society in Israel".
  2. ^ See Works by Samuel Leib Gordon on the Hebrew Wikisource website.
  3. ^ "haedut". Archived from the original on 2013-08-13.
  4. ^ Evanoff, Tommy. "Helping Teenagers Read The Bible Is Fundamental". Fellowship Bible Church.
  5. ^ Scanned versions of the original edition may be found at the website here [1] and at the Google Books website here [2] (Leipzig, 1830). Scanned version of a later edition may be found at the website here [3] (Warsaw, 1863).
  6. ^ Scanned versions of other nineteenth century Hebrew translations of Ben Sira may be found here [4] (Vienna, 1814) and here [5] (Warsaw, 1842); other short apocryphal books were translated by Salomon Plessner in this volume (1865, also entitled Ketuvim Aharonim).
  7. ^ An index to the online texts is found here [6].
  8. ^ Scanned versions of the original edition may be found here: Volume I Archived 2016-03-05 at the Wayback Machine (apocryphal books related to the Torah), and here: Volume II Archived 2015-05-13 at the Wayback Machine (apocryphal books related to Nevi'im and Ketuvim). These scans were originally published at the site
  9. ^ "THE COMPLETE BEN-SIRA : Bialik Publishing". Archived from the original on 2015-02-23. Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  10. ^ Information on the project may be found here [7] (Hebrew).
  11. ^ Commissioner, purpose, translators, copyist and age of the Hebrew New Testament of Cochin and the Quran of the Library of Congress, Mascha van Dort, DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.20148.58242,
  12. ^ Jean Carmignac, "Hebrew Translations of the Lord's Prayer: A Historical Survey," in Biblical and Near Eastern studies: essays in honor of William Sanford LaSor (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), pp. 18."My list of translators (or editors) is as follows: Shem Tob ben Shafrut, Sebastian Munster, [Jean Mercier and Jean Cinqarbres for Bishop] Jean du Tillet, Marco Marini(?), Elias Hutter, Domenico Gerosolimitano, Georg Mayr, Giovanni-Battista Jona, William Robertson (Hebraist), Rudolph Bernhard, Johan Kemper, Simon Rosenbaum, Ezekiel Rahabi, Richard Caddick, Thomas Yeates (orientalist), The London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews, William Greenfield, Robert Young (biblical scholar), Elias Soloweyczyk, Franz Delitzsch, Isaac Salkinson and J.-M. Paul Bauchet."
  13. ^ Scanned version of Münster's Matthew can be found here
  14. ^ In: Qol qore: ha-talmud ve-ha-brit ha-hadasha
  15. ^ The Greek Testament, Hebraistic edition [St Matthew]
  16. ^ Scanned versions of this translation can be found here (1813 - this scan contains only the gospels of Matthew and Mark) [8], here (1817)[9], here (1821)[10] and here (1828) [11]
  17. ^ Robert Lisle Lindsey A Hebrew translation of the Gospel of Mark - 1969 p159 "The Hebrew Text The history of Hebrew translations of the New Testament is much longer than is commonly known. ... The London Jews' Society published a quite new translation by T. Fry and others in 1817 the original proofsheets of which "
  18. ^ Lindsey, Robert Lisle: A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark. Jerusalem, 1969
  19. ^ Scanned versions of this translation can be found here [12][permanent dead link] and at Google Books [13]
  20. ^ Hebrew in the Church: The Foundations of Jewish-Christian Dialogue 1984 p77 Pinchas E. Lapide, Helmut Gollwitzer - 1984 "Under the aegis of the Institutum Judaicum which was founded in Leipzig in 1728, the Gospel of Luke (through 22:14) appeared in Hebrew in 1735 in a translation by the proselyte Dr. Heinrich Christian Immanuel Frommann.
  21. ^ Scanned version of this book can be found here
  22. ^ Encyclopaedia Judaica: Ja-Kas Fred Skolnik, Michael Berenbaum - 2007 "apostate scholar. Jona was born Judah Jona at Safed in Galilee and for that reason was known also as Galileo. ..Giovanni Giuda Giona
  23. ^ Reprinted in: Traductions hébräiques des Evangiles rassemblées par Jean Carmignac. Vol. 2: Evangiles de Matthieu et de Marc traduits en hébreu en 1668 par Giovanni Battista Iona retouchés en 1805 par Thomas Yeates. Turnhout, 1982. Vol. 3: Evangiles de Luc et de Jean traduits en hébreu en 1668 par Giovanni Battista Iona retouchés en 1805 par Thomas Yeates. Turnhout, 1982.
  24. ^ Manuscript. Facsimile edition: Traductions hébräiques des Evangiles rassemblées par Jean Carmignac. Vol. 2: Evangiles de Matthieu et de Marc traduits en hébreu en 1668 par Giovanni Battista Iona retouchés en 1805 par Thomas Yeates. Turnhout, 1982. Vol. 3: Evangiles de Luc et de Jean traduits en hébreu en 1668 par Giovanni Battista Iona retouchés en 1805 par Thomas Yeates. Turnhout, 1982.
  25. ^ The four gospels are reprinted in: Traductions hébräiques des Evangiles rassemblées par Jean Carmignac. Vol. 1: The four Gospels Translated into Hebrew by William Greenfield in 1831. Turnhout, 1982.
  26. ^ Original title: 'The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in Hebrew and English, in three volumes, Corrected from the version published by Dr. Hutter, at Nuremberg, 1599; and republished by Dr. Robertson, at London, 1661. By the Rev. Richard Caddick, of Christ-Church, Oxford'
  27. ^ "See the translator's biography here". Archived from the original on 2012-04-25. Retrieved 2011-10-11.
  28. ^ According to the book 'Some Jewish Witnesses for Christ' Archived 2012-04-25 at the Wayback Machine by Aaron Bernstein (London, 1909) the translation was made in 1865. According to the 'Messianic Archive Page' of Jorge Quiñónez the translation is from 1866.
  29. ^ Scanned versions of this translation can be found here [14] and here "Vine of David | Remnant Repository : Ezekiel Margoliouth". Archived from the original on 2012-01-19. Retrieved 2011-10-12.
  30. ^ The four gospels from the 10th edition from 1889 reprinted in: Traductions hébräiques des Evangiles rassemblées par Jean Carmignac. Vol. 4: Die vier Evangelien ins Hebräische übersetzt von Franz Delitzsch (1877-1890-1902). Turnhout, 1984. This critical edition contains all textual versions of the four gospels in editions I - XII of the translation.
  31. ^ "See here". Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2011-06-01.
  32. ^ Available online in a vowelized version here [15] (PDF) and here [16] (HTML).
  33. ^ As described by the Society for the Distribution of Hebrew Scriptures here [17] Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine.
  34. ^ Available online in two versions (with and without vowel points) here
  35. ^ About the background of this translation, see the publisher's website, and for even more details see the "History" page of the website of the Hebrew Speaking Catholics in Israel, particularly under the years 1969, 1972, 1973 and 1977
  36. ^ It is available online in two versions, with and without vowel points. See here [18]. See also the latest revised version at the publisher's site [19]
  37. ^ A version copyrighted in 1979 is available online here.
  38. ^ "Online Bible—Read, Listen or Download Free: PDF, EPUB, Audio".
  39. ^ The translation of Luke might predate 1851 as it is the publishing date of the second, revised edition. Scanned version of the 1851 edition can be found here. Scanned versions of the fourth edition of Lukas from 1869 and the translations of the other three books can be found here Archived 2012-01-19 at the Wayback Machine.
  40. ^ Epistolae Pauli apostoli ad Galatas et Ephesios e graeca in pure hebraeam lingvam translatae ... Witebergae, 1598, Johannes Crato, in 4.
  41. ^ It was published in the same volume as the 1735 Gospel of Luke by Heinrich Frommann. Scanned versions of this translation can be found here [20][permanent dead link] and at Google Books [21]
  42. ^ Epistola divi Pauli ad Hebraeos hebraice cum annotationibus criticis