First Complete American Translation of the Bible from the Original Hebrew
English Old Testament. The Twenty-four Books of the Holy Scriptures.
Philadelphia: L. Johnson, 1853–1854. (00183)
This first American translation of the Old Testament from the original Hebrew was prepared by Isaac Leeser (1806–1868). The head rabbi of Synagogue Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia, he became the most influential Jewish writer, editor, translator, and teacher in nineteenth-century America. This publication was preceded by Leeser’s 1845–1846 translation of the Pentateuch, the first appearance of any part of the Bible translated by an American Jew. His Pentateuch remained the standard English version for Jews in America until the Jewish Publication Society translation appeared in 1917.