- On Beyond Gender: Representation of God in the Torah and in Three Recent Renditions into English
- Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues
- Indiana University Press
- Number 15, Spring 5769/2008
- pp. 108-137
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Three recently published English translations of the Torah refer to God in unusual ways: They offer the reader the rare experience of encountering the biblical God as a persona who is "beyond" gender. The three renditions, which are of related provenance and presented as "gender accurate" or "gender sensitive," appear in The Torah: A Modern Commentary, revised edition (2005); The Contemporary Torah (2006); and The Torah: A Women's Commentary (2008). Having served as the central member on the translation teams that addressed gender issues, I review considerations for construing God's gender as represented in the Torah. The analysis, based on a reconstruction of ancient plain-sense reading conventions and concepts about deity, explains why a (mostly) gender-neutral translation produces the least distortion of the Torah's God-language. The article then characterizes the three new renditions and their God-language, including the representation of God's name and the rendering of ascriptive imagery.