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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 Third Wave: The Bible as Gesamtkunstwerk

The Third Wave: The Bible as Gesamtkunstwerk

(p.144) Chapter Three The Third Wave: The Bible as Gesamtkunstwerk
A History of German Jewish Bible Translation

Abigail Gillman

University of Chicago Press

In the mid-to-late nineteenth century, two highly prolific rabbis—representing opposing religious ideologies—took similar approaches to the German Jewish Bible. Ludwig Philippson, a liberal rabbi, and Samson Raphael Hirsch, founder of neo-Orthodoxy, both composed vast, comprehensive commentaries to accompany their German translations, not merely to explain language or interpret verses, but to illustrate the Bible’s internal unity and to magnify its religious Weltanschauung. Philippson’s Israelite Bible incorporated three tables of contents and 500 engraved illustrations featuring the realia of the biblical world—plants, animals, and Orientalist images—to showcase the Bible as a book of the world. Hirsch’s Pentateuch incorporated extensive analyses of Hebrew roots, their sound and spelling patterns, which, he believed, formed an internal symbolic language. Philippson’s illustrations and Hirsch’s Lautverwandtschaften (aural affinities) exemplify the desire to present scripture as a unified totality with aesthetic, religious, and nationalist dimensions. Bible translation was one of many initiatives by which these two rabbis hoped to regenerate their respective religious communities. The approaches of Philippson and Hirsch also reflect nineteenth-century innovations in print media and cultural production; the expansion of biblical studies into orientalism; and the Jewish turn to historicism and Geistesgeschichte.

Keywords:   Ludwig Philippson, Samson Raphael Hirsch, Lautverwandtschaften, Israelitische Bibel, Gustave Doré, Rabbi Seligmann Bamberger, Orthodox Bible Society, Baumgärtner, Berleburger Bible, Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums

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