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Scholar Brings Bible Translation to Masses
Contact: Joel M. Hoffman, 718-834-1080

NEW YORK, Feb. 3, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- "Are you a poet?" Bible scholar and translator Dr. Joel M. Hoffman wants to know. "If so, we want your help translating Isaiah."

A scholar known for applying modern translation techniques to the Bible, Hoffman says that translating poetry requires input from poets as well as translators and researchers. So he started his on-line "Isaiah Translation Challenge" to help people with different backgrounds collaborate. His site provides a detailed analysis of the original biblical text so anyone can participate in the project.

"The ancient poetry of Isaiah is exceedingly beautiful and moving," Hoffman notes, "but those qualities make it difficult to translate." He says his goal is to bring the beauty of the Bible's poetry to English readers. "I know what the original Hebrew here means," Hoffman adds, "but that doesn't mean that I'm always the best person to compose poetic English to match."

Hoffman, who holds a Ph.D. in linguistics and has taught at both religious and secular institutions of higher learning, is author of the popular "And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible's Original Meaning."

Hoffman says he got the idea for the Isaiah Translation Challenge from a 1997 book published by Douglas R. Hofstadter that explores different modern English translations of the same 16th-century French poem.

"Somewhere out there someone has a better way of translating Isaiah," Hoffman says, lamenting the shortcomings of most published translations. "I hope the Isaiah Translation Challenge will bring that better way to light."

Dr. Joel M. Hoffman has written or contributed to nearly twenty non-fiction volumes, most recently "
The Bible's Cutting Room Floor: The Holy Scriptures Missing From Your Bible" (2014, St. Martin's Press). He Holds a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of MD at College Park. He has held faculty appointments at Brandeis University and at Hebrew Union College, and presents widely to academic and lay audiences.

He can be reached through his website at