The New ‘BHS Reader’s Edition’ by the German Bible Society

Bobby K. of Hendrickson has sent along one of the first copies of this new reader’s edition (which is to be discussed along with other primary texts by the German Bible Society at a session in San Diego).  And although CBD lists someone named ‘Vance George’ as one of the editors, it’s actually our own George Athas.

At any rate, here are some observations on the edition.

First, the volume contains a handy but brief Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon.  It also contains a series of Verbal Paradigms- for instance strong roots with prefixes and suffixes, etc. along with Paradigms for nouns.  Each page of the text of the Bible itself is printed in a really lovely Hebrew font which is quite easy to read, being neither large nor small.  A bit smaller are the notes at the bottom of each page where words are defined in a way far more thorough than in the Zondervan Hebrew Reader’s Bible.  Sometimes the footnotes of definitions fill up to half the page and sometimes a third or a fourth.

The introduction to the volume, written by the editors contains descriptions and rationales for the glossary, the parsings, the Aramaic, and the text.  By far the largest discussion is reserved for the section describing their methodology of parsing verbs.

At the end of the introduction readers are encouraged to contact the editorial director of the project if they discover any typographical or substantive error.

The material just discussed is followed by the editor’s offering their own personal acknowledgments.  First Yael, then George (who doesn’t even so much as mention me… the hurtful Aussie), and then Donald.

Before the actual text of the Hebrew Bible is presented, there is a brief listing of abbreviations and an even more succinct (one page) bibliography.  In the text the footnotes are keyed to the verses for which they provide definitions by number and letter.  The number of the verse is at the bottom of the page and the letter corresponding to the word defined is superscript over the word and in the footnote.  All of the abbreviations are explained in the previously mentioned discussion in the introduction to parsing- a section readers must familiarize themselves with if they wish to benefit fully from the information in the notes.  Below in the center is a photo of a typical page.

The volume I was sent to review is a really lovely soft black leather bound copy with more than substantial pages (not the usual onion paper most Bibles feature).

This is a really lovely book, both in terms of the quality of the physical components and the content of the editorial work.   I recommend it unreservedly.  It far surpasses its competitors in both of the areas just mentioned.

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