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Kudos for Soncino

The late Dr. Joseph Herman Hertz, The Very Reverend the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire at the time the Soncino Talmud was first published, wrote Forewords for four of the six seders. He praises the Soncino Talmud with these words:

A reliable English translation of the whole Babylonian Talmud has long been looked forward to by scholars. This expectation is beginning be realised by the publication of the Soncino edition of the Order Nezikin. …
This notable achievement is due to the quite extraordinary erudition of the Editor, Rabbi Dr I. Epstein, assisted by his staff of scholarly translators. The Editor's Prefatory Note gives some indication of his colossal task. Aside from planning the scope and character of the work, the Editor Fixed the Text, controlled the translation and interpretation, as well as the introductions and glossaries to the various parts, and supplied the greater portion of the 'cultural' notes.
The Publishers too have done their share in the undertaking conscientiously and efficiently. With the result, that never before has there appeared a translation of the Order Nezikin as helpful to the student as these volumes of the Soncino edition of the Babylonian Talmud in English.

— Rabbi Dr. Hertz (1)

The eight volumes of Seder Nashim have been planned on the same lines as those of Seder Nezikin, alike in regard to Text, rendering and cultural Notes. The Editor and his collaborators have again performed with consummate skill a task of stupendous difficulty, and the standard of scholarship and accuracy set in the previous volumes has been fully maintained. The Publishers also have left nothing undone to render the Soncino Seder Nashim in every way a worthy continuation of their Seder Nezikin.

— Rabbi Dr. Hertz (2)

These accolades are printed on the dust jacket of the 1961 Edition of the Soncino Talmud:

… this translation of the Talmud will open up for the English speaking readers the most varied and indispensable index to the collective wisdom of the post-Biblical Hebrew mind, and afford direct knowledge of the ordinances which have governed and continue to govern the religious institutions and social polity of the Jewish people.

— The late Rabbi Dr. A. Feldman, Dayan of the Beth Din, London (3)

I offer my heartiest congratulations to all who have worked together in producing this translation of the Talmud into English. They have dealt with the enormous difficulties of their tasks with remarkable skill.

— The Rev. Dr. R. Travers Herford,
author of Christianity in Talmud and Midrash and Talmud and Apocrypha (3)

The Editor, Dr. Isidore Epstein, and his band of scholars have produced a translation which is a marvel of skill in dealing with the formidable difficulties which the Talmud presents.

— The Jewish Chronicle (3)

The Soncino Talmud is … an adornment for any library, a hallmark of intelligent Jewishness in a family … an unfailing source of inspiring information to the students of every creed and race.

— Jewish Forum (3)

It [the Soncino Talmud] will have value for Gentile as well as Jewish scholars.

— The Manchester Guardian (3)

These volumes are magnificently produced, and will assuredly take their place among the monuments of modern scholarship.

— The Yorkshire Post (3)

The rendering is accurate and scholarly … In particular the translators deserve praise for their choice of suitable equivalents for technical terms and phrases that are difficult to turn into another language.

— The Times Literary Supplement (3)

Thank you for your consideration of the above,
Carol A. Valentine,  (Ear at come-and-hear dot com)
July 14, 2003 ( This article is on line at )


This and other Come and Hear™ Studies on Talmudic Judaism can be found online:
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Tractate Shabbath:
Tractate Yebamoth:
Tractate Kethuboth:
Tractate Nedarim:
Tractate Nazir:
Tractate Sotah:
Tractate Gittin:
Tractate Baba Kamma:
Tractate Baba Mezi'a:
Tractate Baba Bathra:
Tractate Sanhedrin:
Tractate Abodah Zarah:
Tractate Horayoth:
Tractate Tohoroth:
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  1. Babylonian Talmud, "Foreword by the Very Rev. the Chief Rabbi," Seder Nezikin, Vol. I, page xxvii available at
  2. Babylonian Talmud, "Foreword by the Very Rev. the Chief Rabbi, Marriage, Divorce, and the Position of Woman in Judaism" Seder Nashim, Vol. I, page xxvi available at
  3. Babylonian Talmud, Soncino Press, 1961 Edition, Dust Jacket

© Copyright Carol A. Valentine, 2003. See copyright statement at

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Title: Kudos for Soncino
Version: July 30, 2003
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