Rabbi David E. S. Stein David @ DavidESStein.name

Selected Publications Available Online

III. Hebrew Bible: Text, Translation, and Liturgical Use > Articles


The Impact of Discourse Functions on Rendering the Biblical Hebrew Noun אִישׁ in a Gender-Sensitive English TranslationA case study that addresses Hebrew-to-English Bible-translation projects for which contextual precision is a higher priority than word-for-word rendering. It reassesses how the noun אִישׁ (which is prominent in gender representation) was handled in The Contem­porary Torah: A Gender-Sensitive Adaptation of the JPS Translation (2006), whose scholarly abbreviation is CJPS. It views that translation in light of the author’s recent dissertation (2020), which found that both אִישׁ and English ‘man’ function as the default label for communicating about participants in situations (a matter of keen and abiding human interest). Thus אִישׁ carries out four specified discourse functions. (Here “discourse” refers to communications between a speaker and an audience.) Via one example for each function (Gen 4:1, 24:65, 6:9, and 30:43, respectively), evaluates the optimal rendering of אִישׁ into English. It concludes by proposing a refinement of CJPS in each instance. Forthcoming in Bible (Re)Translation as Empower­ment, edited by Sabine Dievenkorn (Berlin: Frank & Timme). [Final author manuscript version, PDF]


Cognitive Factors as a Key to Plain-Sense Biblical Interpretation: Resolving Cruxes in Gen 18:1–15 and 32:23–33Reassesses the accounts of Abraham’s three visitors (Gen 18:1–15) and of Jacob’s overnight wrestling partner (32:23–33), to show how the plain sense is that both Abraham and Jacob recognize right away that the newly introduced figures represent their deity. Accounts for the place of messengers in the mental life of ancient Israel. Emulates the processing of language that an audience’s mind automatically employs. Establishes a biblical narrative convention regarding messengers, which enables the fact of their recognition to go without saying. Resolves a third crux at the same time (32:2–3). Documents that Niphal ראה rā’â is a verb that marks the advent of communication. Confirms that the noun אִישׁ ’îš functions as the generic label for designating an “agent”—that is, someone who is representing the interests of another party. Published in Open Theology (Volume 4), Dec. 2018. [PDF]

A Rejoinder concerning Genesis 3:6 and the NJPS TranslationJournal of Biblical Literature Vol. 134 (2015): 51–52. [PDF]

Gender Representation in Biblical HebrewEncyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics Geoffrey Khan, General Editor (E.J. Brill, 2013). [PDF]

Unavoidable Gender Ambiguities: A Primer for Readers of English Translations from Biblical HebrewSBL Forum (Summer 2009). [HTML]

The Grammar of Social Gender in Biblical HebrewHebrew Studies XLIX (2008): 7–26Question addressed: When does the Hebrew Bible’s masculine or “male” wording allow for women to be in view?Cites biblical examples in order to correct common misconceptions regarding referential semantic gender. [PDF]

On Beyond Gender: Representation of God in the Torah and in Three Recent Renditions into EnglishNashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues 15 (Spring 2008): 108–37Exploration of biblical God-languageArgues that the Torah’s composer(s) had good reason to believe that its original, ancient audience would construe its deity as being beyond human gender categoriesCompares the URJ, CJPS, and TAWC translations. [PDF]

The Noun איש in Biblical Hebrew: A Term of AffiliationThe Journal of Hebrew Scriptures Vol. 8, Art. 1 (Feb. 2008)Establishes ’ish as a relational noun Explains the philology behind the most innovative aspect of the CJPS translation. [PDF]

God’s Name in a Gender-Sensitive Jewish TranslationSBL Forum (Summer 2006) [HTML]. Also reprinted in Technical Papers for the Bible Translator58/3 (July 2007) [PDF]


The Haftarot of Etz Hayim: Exploring the Historical Interplay of Customs, Humashim, and HalakhahConservative Judaism 54/3 (Spring 2002)Jewish ritual diversity meets publishing conventionsFocuses on the history of haftarah selections. [PDF]



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