In the Beginning: A New English Rendition of the Book of GenesisTranslated with Commentary and Notes by Notes by Everett Fox (New York: Schocken Books, 1983) 248 pp., $14.95
This new translation and concise commentary is unique among English Bible translations. Its orientation derives from Fox’s extensive study of the Buber-Rosenzweig Bible translation, begun by these two Jewish thinkers in 1925 and completed by Buber in 1962, following Rosenzweig’s death in 1929. The underlying assumption of the Buber-Rosenzweig translation was that the Bible was originally oral literature, intended to be read aloud rather than silently. This assumption produced three corollaries:
1. The text should be printed in lines that reflect oral recitation.
2. The ancients were acutely aware of the connection between names and similar sounding words in the surrounding narrative, and this must be reflected in the translation.
3. Leitwörter or leading words that recur throughout a book or a unit should be translated with the same word to retain the ties created between the various contexts.
The uniqueness of Fox’s translation lies in his acceptance of these principles; In the Beinning is thus, in Fox’s own words, a translation “in the Buber-Rosenzweig tradition.”