Sifre Deuteronomy

As explained in a previous post (here) and in keeping with our earlier revision of SBLHS 2 §8.3.8, which specifies a single spelling for the titles of mishnaic, talmudic, and related works, one based on general-purpose transliteration (here), we are revising §8.3.10 to list only Sifre (Sipre is discouraged, as is Sifrei, which is also occasionally encountered).

This preference relates to any work with Sifre in its traditional title, including Sifre Numbers, Sifre Deuteronomy, Sifre Zuta Numbers (fragmentary), and Sifre Zuta Deuteronomy (not extant). Although sometimes scholars use Sifre to mean Sifre Deuteronomy, SBL Press prefers full references to Sifre Deuteronomy, Sifre Numbers, and so on.

Sifre Deuteronomy is a midrash on six sections (but not the entirety) of Deuteronomy: 1:1–30; 3:23–29; 6:4–9; 11:10–26:15; 31:14; 32:1–34:12 (Hammer 1986 offers a slightly different list of texts). The work is divided into 357 pisqa’ot, or chapters.

A reference to Sifre Deuteronomy generally cites only the relevant pisqa’, even when the pisqa’ extends over several pages and a translation has introduced internal divisions. It is often helpful to readers to identify the verse in Deuteronomy on which a pisqa’ is commenting (example 2 below). Such additional information may be omitted when the reference is listed in an index.

Sifre Deut. 49

Sifre Deut. 49 on 11:22

Note that the abbreviation for the biblical book following Sifre is closed by a period.

The most commonly referenced edition of Sifre Deuteronomy is:

Finkelstein, Louis. 1969. Siphre ad Deuteronomium. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

Two modern English translations of Sifre Deuteronomy are frequently cited:

Hammer, Reuven. 1986. Sifre: A Tannaitic Commentary on the Book of Deuteronomy. Yale Judaica Series 24. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Neusner, Jacob. 1987. Sifre to Deuteronomy: An Analytical Translation. 2 vols. BJS 98, 101. Atlanta: Scholars Press.

In addition, a new online translation by Marty Jaffee is available here.

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