Sefaria, a website founded in 2013 that aims to put the seemingly infinite Jewish canon online for free, has published an acclaimed translation of the Talmud in English. The translation, which includes explanatory notes in relatively plain language, was started by scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz in 1965 and is considered by many to be the best in its class.A long, informative article. Background here.
The Steinsaltz edition of the Talmud has been in print for decades in modern Hebrew, with an English translation coming out more recently, and parts of it already exist on the internet. But this is the first time it is being put online in its entirety for free.
“Ninety percent of the world’s Jews speak Hebrew and English,” said Daniel Septimus, Sefaria’s executive director. “The Talmud is in Aramaic. It will now be online in Hebrew and English. From an accessibility point of view, it’s a game changer.”
Sefaria rolled out 22 tractates of the Steinsaltz English edition last week and will be publishing the entire Hebrew translation over the course of 2017. The rest of the English edition, which is not yet finished, will be published online as it is completed. The translation’s publication was made possible by a multimillion-dollar deal with the Steinsaltz edition’s publishers, Milta and Koren Publishers Jerusalem, and financed by the William Davidson Foundation, a family charity based in Metro Detroit.
The edition will be known as the William Davidson Talmud.
Besides its edition being free, Sefaria’s founders say its version of the Steinsaltz Talmud is better than competitors’ because it is untethered to the Talmud’s classic printed form. Since the mid-15th century, the Talmud has been published with unpunctuated text in a column in the middle of the page, its commentaries wrapping around it.
Friday, February 17, 2017
More on the Sefaria online Talmud
TALMUD WATCH: Talmud & Commentaries (Louis Finkelman, Detroit Jewish News).