One of the nice aspects of the Steinsaltz Gemaras is that he provides little historical background pieces to figures and objects referenced in the text, as well as linguistic analysis of certain non-Hebrew/Aramaic words. I was wondering how his work is received by academics and if he's considered to be reliable in terms of the history/archaeology/linguistics side of his Shas.

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    explain the -1 please? – Yaakov Kuperman Apr 15 '12 at 23:08
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    FYI: Shavuot, Koren Publishers will launch its Koren Talmud Bavli--a new English edition of the Talmud with commentary by Rabbi Steinsaltz. A team of scholars, translators, designers and editors has been working on this for years. (mod note: this user is affiliated with said publisher.) – user1652 Apr 16 '12 at 7:04
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    Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/17300 – msh210 Jun 26 '12 at 18:59
  • @SherylAbbey - The Koren edition did pique my interest. It would be very relevant to my question if you could provide more information about the team of scholars you mention – Yaakov Kuperman Jun 27 '12 at 23:18

First of all, even though it doesn't fit the question, R. Ahron Feldman's review of the much older version of the Steinsaltz translation should not be missed, because it brings up crucial limitations of these volumes. Equally important, however, is Moshe Sober's response to R. Feldman's "fourteen points", as he calls them.

Having said that, I'm not aware of any good reviews published in the standard academic journals. The Seforim Blog has a good and fairly positive review from someone who fits the definition of an academic scholar (even if Talmud may not be his main focus). The Jewish Review also has a not-so-in-depth review. Both reviews, though, imply that Steinsaltz uses contemporary scholarship, but none have actually discussed his use of scholarship in great details.

The earlier edition was reviewed by Jacob Neusner, who, despite some critiques of a couple of Steinsaltz's scholarship, feels that the translation is good for "Yeshiva uses" (Religious Studies Review 17:3, 1991. p 225-229). His judgement, however, may not be so reliable.

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R Feldman's book gives an academic critique of the the Steinzaltz gemara in this book touching on some of the points in the question

The Eye of the Storm: A Calm View of Raging Issues

By Harav Aharon Feldman

The article was also in Tradition, the full text appears here

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    Sorry, but -1. R' Feldman is a profound and well known Rabbi. He is by no means an academic. – Yaakov Kuperman Apr 16 '12 at 2:02
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    All due respect to the Rav, but I'm interested in the academic perspective on history, linguistics, and archaeology, none of which are proficiencies of R' Feldman. I read the article a few years ago and IIRC its criticizing the perush more than anything else. – Yaakov Kuperman Apr 16 '12 at 2:07
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    I found the article in tradition an linked to it in the answer. Upon rereading it I fully endorse my previous downvote because it's entirely on the perush and format of the english translation of the Gemara. – Yaakov Kuperman Apr 16 '12 at 2:13
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    I think there is more content in the book – simchastorah Apr 16 '12 at 4:20
  • @simchastorah Its not a question of whether the book is worth reading, but whether you have provided a review by academics. You have not, and this is therefore a non-answer, that would more appropriately be a comment. – mevaqesh Nov 4 '16 at 21:03

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