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:
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.
(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.