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Maimonides' "Guide of the Perplexed" in TranslationA History from the Thirteenth Century to the Twentieth$
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Josef Stern, James T. Robinson, and Yonatan Shemesh

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226457635

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226627878.001.0001

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Moreh ha-nevukhim

Moreh ha-nevukhim

The First Hebrew Translation of the Guide of the Perplexed

(p.35) 1 Moreh ha-nevukhim
Maimonides' "Guide of the Perplexed" in Translation

James T. Robinson

University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on the literary and cultural dimensions of Ibn Tibbon’s translation, the first Hebrew translation (1204; rev. 1213) of Maimonides’ Guide, in particular its use of biblical and rabbinic language, the possible sources of and influences on the translation, its literalistic and non-literalistic tendencies, the mechanical process of transferring a word from one linguistic-cultural context to another, and the impact of translation choice on reception. Examples fit into the following five categories: (1) The use of biblical language mediated by Saadia Gaon’s Tafsir, Saadia’s translation of the Bible from Hebrew into Arabic; (2) The original use of Biblical language unrelated to Saadia’s Tafsir and often with exegetical significance; (3) The use of rabbinic language and its repercussions; (4) The literalistic and non-literalistic tendencies of the translation, focusing on technical and non-technical terms and on the rendering of proper names; (5) Translation by loan translation and calque.

Keywords:   Samuel ibn Tibbon, Translation, Literal vs. non-literal translation, Saadia Gaon, Biblical language, Hebrew Names, Rabbinic language

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