Thursday, September 20, 2018

Sefaria update

TALMUD WATCH: The quest to put the Talmud online (Noah Smith, Washington Post).
The Internet of 2010 contained many things, and free of charge. It had the full works of Shakespeare. It had robust English translations of classical Greek philosophy. It had just about every Miley Cyrus lyric.

But when Joshua Foer, author of “Moonwalking With Einstein” and creator of the travel website Atlas Obscura, sat down one day to find a modern, complete English translation online of the Talmud, or Jewish Oral Law, he came up mostly empty, save for some pirated PDFs and a host of anti-Semitic sites.

Frustrated, he called a friend he had met a decade earlier on a trip to Israel, Brett Lockspeiser, an engineer who had worked at Google, to see what he thought about putting English translations of the Talmud and other foundational texts of Judaism in one place online that anyone could access free.

This article is more about the Sefaria website than about the specific project to put the Talmud on it. I first heard about Sefaria in 2014. And the effort to add the Talmud to it has been in the works since at least 2015 (see here, here, and here). They seem to be still in the process of uploading the whole Steinsaltz Talmud.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.