Joel M. Hoffman
Internationally Acclaimed Teacher, Author and Translator

Joel M. Hoffman, PhD, is an expert in translation, Hebrew, and the Bible. He lectures across the globe on a wide variety of topics and is known for engaging popular and academic audiences alike. He has served on the faculties of Brandeis University and Hebrew Union College, and presents at dozens of events each year. Dr. Hoffman is author of And God Said: How Bad Translations Conceal the Bible’s Original Meaning (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press) and the critically acclaimed In The Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language (NYU Press). He is the chief translator for the popular 10-volume series, My People’s Prayer Book (winner of the National Jewish Book Award) and for My People’s Passover Haggadah,both from Jewish Lights Publishing. His latest book, The Bible’s Cutting Room Floor: The Holy Scriptures Missing from Your Bible, explores what was left out of the Bible and why. He writes a biweekly column on Hebrew for the Jerusalem Post.

Rabbi Deborah Zecher has said about Dr. Hoffman: “We are people that love to talk but when Joel Hoffman comes to teach, we want to listen! Of all the wonderful teachers who have spent time with our congregation, Dr. Hoffman is one of our great favorites. Throughout his weekend as scholar-in-residence, our numbers grew with each succeeding lecture as excited adult learners inspired others to join them. An erudite, witty, engaging and compassionate teacher, Joel Hoffman makes a believer out of anyone who wondered whether learning about the Hebrew language could be fun and engaging.”

Dr. Hoffman lives in Westchester, NY.

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And God Said
How Translations Conceal the Bible's Original Meaning
Thomas Dunne Books

For centuries, translations of the Bible have obscured our understanding and appreciation of the original text. Now And God Said provides readers with an...

The Bible's Cutting Room FloorThe Holy Scriptures Missing From Your Bible
Thomas Dunne Books

The Bible you usually read is not the complete story. Some holy writings were left out for political or theological reasons, others simply because of the...

The Bible Doesn't Say That: From misinterpreting the Ten Commandments to turning courtship into a felony, bad translations of the Bible have led millions of people astray. Learn the fascinating story of what happened and discover the truth behind many of our most common quotes from the Bible.
The Mystery and Majesty of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Since their discovery six decades ago, the Dead Sea Scrolls have captured the popular imagination, and created more controversy and intrigue, than any other ancient find. Hoffman offers a fascinating introduction to the content and history of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The Alphabet Story: Three thousand years ago, a minor change to an otherwise obscure writing system paved the way for the alphabet and widespread literacy. Hoffman explains where writing comes from and why it is so important.
Three Thousand Years of Jewish Continuity as Seen Through Three Thousand Years of Hebrew: An exploration of the remarkable history that links the Jewish people to its historic language and identity through time: the fascinating story of how Hebrew began, why almost every written alphabet today can trace its roots to Hebrew, how Hebrew developed, where the text of the Bible comes from, the relevance of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient manuscripts, and finally how modern Israeli Hebrew developed.
Four Exiles and Four Spiritual Revolutions: From the Ancient Prophets to Modernity: Judaism has seen four spiritual revolutions, each in the wake of a major exile. Hoffman offers an engaging and uplifting look at North American Judaism--the last spiritual revolution--as seen in the context of the last 3,000 years.
How do We Know What the Ancient Words Mean?: An overview of translation in general and the linguistic tools used to probe dead languages.

Praise for And God Said "Deeply welcome as a valuable tool for teaching . . . well-worth acquiring." ---
Jewish Book World

"[Hoffman] unites Biblical scholarship and translation theory, embracing modern science and modern linguistics, to help us understand what the Prophets and our forebears were doing and how they wrote.  He retrieves what the Bible really was and what it can be for us now." 
--The Very Reverend James A. Kowalski, The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine

"A lively tour of the difficulties besetting the Bible's translators, their successes and (more frequent) failures."
--Jewish Ideas Daily