Rabbi Joshua Sperka Translates Proverbs and Arranges
Biblical Work by Topics; Plans More Translations
Rabbi Joshua S. Sperka is the
author of a new hook which has
been published by Bloch. It has a
long title: "Proverbs to Live By.
Arranged by Topics, and the Book
of Proverbs, In a Modern Transla-
tion with Resumes Preceding Each
Chapter." While the main title is
in the first four words, the com-
plete description is relevant be-
cause it explains the author's ap-
proach to the biblical work and
indicates that he has written • his
own translation of the Book of
Proverbs, he has arranged it topi-
cally and has offered resumes of
The Detroit author's contention
is, as stated in his preface, that
"the Bible today is the least-read
best seller," that it is not read popu-
larly because of "external hind-
rances and difficulties." and he
announces that with this work he
intends to proceed to translate '
other biblical hooks to transmit
their messages in modern idiom."
How does he intend to modern-
ize biblical translations? He offers
several examples of his own ap-
proach. Thus. Proverbs 12:24 in a
hitherto translated form reads:
The hand of the diligent shall
bear rule; But the slothful shall
be under tribute.
Rabbi Sperka's version, in his I
translation of this
man shall become
a master; The indolent man will
Under the title "Man and God."
The introduction to his new
book explains the place of Prov- in section three. the Detroit author
erbs among the wisdom literature has grouped selections dealing with''
of the Bible, he explains the as- prayer, punishment. righteousness.
cribed authorship to King Solomon truth. That group is followed by
and defines the message and the Quatrains on morality, economics.
content of the book. He has divid- etiquette, wisdom. Then there is a
ed the first portion of his work section on "Moral Essays." which
includes topics on family life,
woman of valor, the path of wis-
But thereafter he starts anew.
presenting the entire Book of
Proverbs in its sequence. entitling
each chapter in his own fashion,
the first two, for example. being
"Ignorance Leads to Crime" and
"Wisdom, a Protection From the
Perverse," and each chapter starts
with the author's resume. thereby
providing a guide to the book for
With a revised translation df
Proverbs now in process of pre-,L
paration by a group of national.;
ly prominent scholars who repre-
sent the Jewish Publication Soc-
iety of America, it will be in-
teresting to make further com-
parisons between existing, and
planned revisions, and Rabbi
RABBI JOSHUA S. SPERKA
Meanwhile his work emerges as
into numerous sections of related a most unique undertaking—in the
proverbs and in this portion he form in which the book's contents
does not follow the sequence of are subdivided, as well as in the
the verses. Commencing with a form in which the author hopes to
section entitled "Man Himself," popularize biblical works by means
the quoted proverbs begin with of simplification in order to at-
14:17. There is a broad classifica- tract the average modern reader.
tion in this grouping which is fol-
Aid to W. German Jewry
Pointing to the need for empha- lowed with proverbs dealing with
The Conference on Jewish Ma-
sis on the biblical theme, Rabbi - Man and Man," on social rela-
terial Claims Against Germany
Sperka states that "what humanity
last year allocated a total of $180.-
needs is biblical guidance that will lated issues.
000 for medical aid, educational
provide meaning and purpose in
In all instances, the proverbs
and religious activities and general
life," and he urges a "return to are selected where they fit, re-
relief projects for the Jewish com-
the source of our spiritual ideals— t gardless of the sequence of the
munity in West Germany.
Ube Bible." original work.
Friday, April 14, 1967-21
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