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Michael Schwarz’s Hebrew Translation of Maimonides’

Michael Schwarz’s Hebrew Translation of Maimonides’

Guide of the Perplexed

(p.279) 10 Michael Schwarz’s Hebrew Translation of Maimonides’
Maimonides' "Guide of the Perplexed" in Translation
Aviram Ravitsky
University of Chicago Press

The problems raised by the Guide of the Perplexed and the methods that Maimonides used to solve them have set an agenda for Jewish philosophy since the Middle Ages. Its Hebrew translation from the Arabic original was more than a matter of transferring a text from one language to another. The translation of the Guide from Arabic into Hebrew was the transformative moment for this geo-cultural change. There were two complete, roughly contemporaneous medieval translations of the Guide into Hebrew, one by Samuel Ibn Tibbon and another by Judah al-Ḥarizi. Shem Tov Ibn Falaquera subsequently translated significant parts of the Guide as part of his commentary entitled Moreh ha-moreh (The Guide of the Guide), which includes an entire chapter dedicated to criticism of Ibn Tibbon’s translation. There were a number of modern attempts to translate or paraphrase the Guide, or parts of it, into Hebrew. Until recently, the most important, widely used, and successful modern Hebrew translation was that of Rabbi Yosef Qafih (1972). The latest in this series of attempts to translate the complex contents of the Guide, with its loaded terminology and nuanced literary style, from Arabic into Hebrew is that of Professor Michael Schwarz.

Keywords:   Judeo-Arabic, Translation, Modern Hebrew, Israel

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