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A History of German Jewish Bible Translation$
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Abigail Gillman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226477695

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226477862.001.0001

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The German Jewish Bible in Context

The German Jewish Bible in Context

(p.1) Introduction The German Jewish Bible in Context
A History of German Jewish Bible Translation

Abigail Gillman

University of Chicago Press

This book examines representative German Jewish translations of scripture published between the seventeenth and the twentieth centuries as part of an evolving cultural project. In attempting to understand why modern German Jews produce far more Bible translations than any other European community, the book argues that four trends in German Jewish religious and intellectual life—Haskalah; Wissenschaft des Judentums; the rise of Reform and neo-Orthodox Jewish movements; and, in the twentieth century, the modernist cultural renaissance—inspired these translations. Rabbis and scholars designed translations to achieve a range of cultural, linguistic, and religious objectives. Within each period, moreover, different translations competed for readers. Studying these works in tandem brings the essential character of this wide-ranging translation tradition into sharp focus: translators were influenced by romantic (literary) as well as rabbinic (exegetical) motives; by contemporary Christian translations, and trends in European culture. Judeo-German (Yiddish) Bibles, such as the Tsene-Rene (Women’s Bible) and two modern Yiddish translations from Amsterdam, also shaped the German translations. Translation, it was hoped, might render the Jewish Bible appealing to modern readers; but the translators remained faithful to the Torah, and constructed a genealogy reaching back to Moses himself.

Keywords:   Hebrew Bible, German Jews, Translation

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