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Joel Hoffman - . Westchester, NY, US

Joel Hoffman Joel Hoffman

Westchester, NY, UNITED STATES

Speaker, author, and scholar






TEDxEastHampton - Joel Hoffman - Interpreting Language Dr. Joel M. Hoffman on Bible Translation Dr. Joel M. Hoffman on the Ten Commandments



Known for combining laughter with learning as he engages audiences, Dr. Joel M. Hoffman presents to popular and academic audiences around the world on a surprising variety of topics.

Dr. Hoffman, who holds a Ph.D. in linguistics and has served on the faculties of Brandeis University and Hebrew Union College, iis 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." He is the author of the critically acclaimed "In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language" (NYU Press), and, most recently, "And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible's Original Meaning" (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press), which explores how translation mistakes mask the original meaning of the Bible.

Dr. Hoffman lives in Westchester, NY.

Industry Expertise (3)


Religious Institutions

Media - Print

Areas of Expertise (6)

Ten Commandments






Accomplishments (2)

Published "And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible's Original Meaning" (St.Martin's Press) (professional)


For centuries, translations of the Bible have obscured our understanding and appreciation of the original text. Now, "And God Said" provides readers with an authoritative account of significant mistranslations and shows how new translation methods can give readers their first glimpse into what the Bible really means.

Published "In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language" (NYU Press) (professional)


Hoffman follows and decodes the adventure that is the history of Hebrew, illuminating how the written record has survived, the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls and ancient translations, and attempts to determine how the language actually sounded. He places these developments into a historical context, and shows their continuing impact on the modern world.

Education (2)

Brandeis: BA, Linguistics 1989

Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, with departmental honors

Univ of MD at College Park: PhD, Linguistics 1996

Testimonials (3)

Ann Kimball, Director of Programming | ISJL, Jackson, MS

Joel Hoffman has the 'it' factor ... [Hoffman] is one of the most engaging speakers today.

Rev. Richard Vosko, Sacramental Minister | Church of St. Vincent de Paul

For fresh insights and interpretations about religious life in the 21st century, Joel will not disappoint you.

Rabbi Debbie Zecher, Rabbi | Hevreh of Southern Berkshire

An erudite, witty, engaging and compassionate teacher.

Event Appearances (3)

The Bible Doesn't Say That

  Birmingam Rotary Club, Birmingham, AL

Identifying, Understanding and Translating the Metaphors of a Dead Language.

  Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

The Mystery and Majesty of the Dead Sea Scrolls

  West Lafayette, IN

Sample Talks (4)

The Bible Doesn't Say That

From misrepresenting 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.

What Did Jesus Quote?

Jesus frequently quotes the Old Testament. But we read about what he said in translation, and we read about what he quoted in double translation, first from Hebrew into Greek, then from Greek into English. Learn what Jesus thought the Hebrew meant when he quoted it.

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. Dr. Joel M. Hoffman offers a fascinating introduction to the content and history of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Midrash and the New Testament: A Shared Heritage

The surprising connection between the prophecies highlighted in the New Testament and the fanciful wordplays of Midrash.



  • Keynote
  • Panelist
  • Author Appearance


2000 to 8000 *Will consider certain engagements for no fee