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Praise for And God Said

Dr. Walter Brueggemann:

"Hoffman is wise and gentle as he exhibits the issue of distortion by way of translation. Short of all readers learning Hebrew, Hoffman's work is the best gift for a careful reader of a text that defies easy contemporary rendering."
  Dr. Brueggemann is Professor Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary

Rabbi Harold Kushner:

"A wise and important book and a lot of fun to read."
  Rabbi Kushner is author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People

The Very Reverend Dr. James A. Kowalski:

"[Hoffman] unites Biblical scholarship and translation theory, embracing modern science and modern linguistics, to help us understand what the Prophets and our forebears were doing and how they wrote. He retrieves what the Bible really was and what it can be for us now."
  Dr. Kowalski is Dean of The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine

Publishers Weekly:

"Author Hoffman, a linguist and a translator, uses his knowledge and his skills to correct some of the common errors in translating the language of the Bible from Hebrew into English [...] skillfully clarifying complex concepts.... Attentive readers will find this book to be valuable for properly understanding the Bible."

Library Journal:

"Scholar and translator Hoffman (In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language) brings us a work of both levity and erudition.... Starting with the King James Version (KJV) and offering comment on subsequent English translations, e.g., New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), English Revised Version (ERV), American Standard (ASV), and Revised Standard Version (RSV), the author insightfully discusses the biblical lexicon (e.g., words like king, shepherd, and heart) and how best to translate them.

VERDICT Full of interpretive insight, Hoffman's work is a good resource for those interested in the topic of English Bible translation, or the challenges of translation generally. Recommended for synagogue, church, and public libraries."
  Anthony Elisa, JKM Theological Lib., Chicago

Jerusalem Post:

"Joel Hoffman's book raises our expectations of how we read the Bible ... he is a clear and affable guide."
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Sacramento Book Review:

"Dr. Joel M. Hoffman does an excellent job of helping the reader understand what the original texts were all about. His clear and concise tone makes this a very interesting read. This is an excellent companion for every Bible owner."
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Strand Books:

"Since it's creation, the Bible has been a document which has seemingly found its way into nearly every language imaginable. Yet, with so many translations, born of their translators intrepretation of the original Hebrew text, one can't help but wonder what concepts and key elements of the original have been omitted or otherwise re-interpreted. In And God Said, author and Hebrew translator Joel M. Hoffman, Ph.D, offers readers a remarkable work which seeks to provide us with a new understanding of the Bible in its original context, while shedding new light on how some of the most fundamental doctrines of many Judeo-Christian sects were arrived at and passed down."
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Selected Praise for In The Beginning
In The Beginning Cover
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Times Literary Supplement:

"Hoffman has a flair for explaining how languages work."

The Jewish Press:

"A tour de force."

Dr. Marc Zvi Brettler:

"A wonderful contribution ... really brings the study of Hebrew into the twenty-first century."
  Dr. Brettler is the Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies at Brandeis University

Rabbi Larry Kushner:

"Joel Hoffman is equal parts sleuth, archaeologist, linguist, historian, and above all master raconteur.... On virtually every page of In the Beginning we are delighted by at least one surprsing fact, amazing theory, or delicious metaphor. This book is a must-read...."
  Rabbi Kushner is author of Kabbalah: A Love Story


"Reads like an adventure novel.... A fascinating account of Hebrew as a language."

The Jerusalem Post:

"Hoffman does a good job of pointing out the different traditions that existed in antiquity."

Religious Studies Review:

"[w]ritten in an energetic style ... in ways that a broad audience can comprehend."

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