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All texts in this compendium have been freshly translated by the author. While scriptural references are located by indicating the appropriate chapter and verse in the Revised Standard Version, the actual wording of the quotation is my responsibility. For ancient authors, both Jewish and Christian, frequently took the wording of a passage of scripture in Hebrew or Greek to mean something quite different than modern English translators.

Moreover, since the sources used here have been preserved in various languages with different alphabets, it has been difficult to produce a standard orthography for transliteration, which is necessary not only in reproducing proper names but in indicating key concepts that acquired a technical usage. The principle I adopt here is to present a spelling that favors recognition by readers of modern English rather than attempt a transcription of the actual original pronunciation by ancient speakers of Hebrew, Greek, etc. Hence, familiar names are given their common English spelling --- e.g., Jesus, Judas, James, John --- even though the text in which they occur indicates a different original pronunciation --- i.e., Yeshua, Yehudah, Yakob, Yochanan. Apart from the regular use of J for Y, the Semitic form of most other Jewish names has been preserved.

In transliterating key Greek terms, common English equivalents have been used. Hence:

c = ch f = ph y = ps q= th h = w=

Hebrew is more difficult, since even among American Jews several systems are current for transliterating the various aspirates, labials and gutturals. I trust the one I adopt here favors popular recognition and aids pronunciation without resorting to cumbersome symbols. Hence,

(Alef) has no equivalent symbol; implied if a Hebrew word begins or ends with a vowel.
(Ayin) = ' (H) = h (cHeth) = ch (Shin) = sh
(Kaph) = k (Qoph) = q (Teth) = t (Taw) = th
Consonantal (Waw) is rendered as w even where Ashkenazic pronunciation favors v.

Italics in square brackets [ ] call attention to a term in the original language whose full significance might not otherwise be grasped in translation. Roman type in parentheses ( ) presents words not based on a word in the text but which are required to facilitate comprehension or avoid an awkward construction. Roman type in square brackets is an editorial clarification providing information with no basis in the text.

To facilitate consecutive reading the pericopes have been arranged in each file by related themes rather than by the relative dates of the texts from which they have been drawn. As for layout, even prose passages that betray a stylistic rhythm --- which is particularly evident in passages originally transmitted orally --- have been blocked to facilitate analysis. Such a format is the responsibility of this editor and should not be taken as a reflection of the way the material is laid out in any source.


Perspective on the World of Jesus

with new translations from primary texts

Copyright 1999-2017 by Mahlon H. Smith
All rights reserved.

an American Theological Library Association Selected Religion Website 
OCLC World catalog no. 62046512

[Hypertext links to this web page are invited. Brief quotations may be used in scholarly reviews and research providing the author is credited & the URL for this web page properly noted. But the text as a whole may not be posted or reproduced elsewhere without express written permission of the author.]