Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Faithful RenderingsJewish-Christian Difference and the Politics of Translation$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Naomi Seidman

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780226745053

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226745077.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022

False Friends

False Friends

Conversion and Translation from Jerome to Luther

(p.115) Chapter Three False Friends
Faithful Renderings
University of Chicago Press

This chapter argues that the ideological stakes for what has been called “the invisible theory of translation,”—the assumption that languages are neutral media for a separable “content”—can be read in the controversy that pitted the Christian Hebraist and New Humanist Johannes Reuchlin against the Jewish apostate Johannes Pfefferkorn at the dawn of the Reformation. In taking the side of Reuchlin over Pfefferkorn and in recommending that translators go to the Jews for the Hebrew grammar and to the [Christian] theologians for the sense, Martin Luther separated the (Jewish) body of the Hebrew letter from its (Christian) spirit and laid the groundwork for a Protestant approach to the Hebrew Bible unmediated by either the Jews or Rome. The invisibility of the translator, from this perspective, is no historical accident—it is a politically and religiously overdetermined erasure. The absence of the Jew, as both privileged and suspect interpreter of Hebrew sources, is not only necessary for the Christian appropriation and German domestication of the Bible, but is also paradoxically central to the development of modern translation in the West.

Keywords:   invisible theory, Johannes Reuchlin, Johannes Pfefferkorn, translators, Martin Luther, Jews, Christians, Bible

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.