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The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia
Jewish translations of the Old Testament were made from time to time by Jews, in order to satisfy the needs, both in public service and in private life, of those that had gradually lost the knowledge of the ancient national tongue. In Palestine itself, Hebrew was driven out first by Aramaic, then by Greek, and finally by Arabic. Portions of the Bible itself (in Daniel and Ezra) are written in Aramaic; and there is no consensus of opinion among scholars as to whether these parts were originally written in that tongue or were translated from the Hebrew. Though Hebrew remained the sacred and the literary language, the knowledge of it must have faded to such a degree in the second century preceding the common era that it became necessary for a "meturgeman" to translate the weekly Pentateuch and prophetic lessons as read in the synagogue (Berliner, "Onkelos," p. 7; Friedmann, "Akylos und Onkelos," p. 58). The assertion made by the two scholars just cited, that the Targums date from the time of Ezra, is unwarranted; since they are written in a West-Aramaic dialect. The authorities of the synagogue did not willingly allow such translations to be written down. They felt that this would be putting a premium upon ignorance of the text, and that the Biblical word would be in danger of being badly interpreted or even misunderstood. They sought to minimize the danger by permitting only one verse to be read and translated at a time in the case of the Law, and three in the case of the Prophets (Meg. 4:4). Certain passages were never to be translated publicly; e.g., Genesis 35:22; Exodus 32:21-25; Numbers 6:23-26; Leviticus 18:21 (Meg. 4:10; see. Berliner, c. p. 217; Ginsburger, "Monatsschrift," 44:1). These passages are to be found in Pseudo-Jonathan and in the Midrashim for private use. It is distinctly stated that no written copy of the Targum was to be used in the public service (Yer. Meg. 4:1); though for private purposes copies were allowed to be made. The Talmud, it is true, mentions a written Targum to the Book of Job which was in the possession of Rabban Gamaliel I. during the Second Temple, about 20-40 C. E. (Tosef., Shab. 14:2; Bab. Shab. 115a; Soferim 15:2; compare Berliner, c. p. 90), and which was then buried by order of Gamaliel. In Yer. Shab. 16:1 a variant tradition tells of such a Targum having been in the hands of both the elder and the younger Gamaliel. Though this tradition is accepted even by Bacher (see see Aramaic Language), there are no means of verifying this statement, the existing Targum to that book being of a much later date. The tradition certainly can not refer to a Greek translation, as Grätz ("Monatsschrift," 26:87)holds. According to Blau ("Einleitung," p. 79) the reference is to a copy written in the Old Hebrew script. The Targum is largely a paraphrase, reproducing the rabbinical tradition as regards the meaning of the text. For a history of this Targum TARGUM.
In passing a word should be said about the Samaritan version of the Pentateuch in the West-Aramaic dialect, which the Samaritans at one time spoke. It is as yet not possible to say in which century this version was made. Even though the citations under the caption τὸ Σαμαρειτικόυ, which are found in the scholia to Origen's Hexapla, refer to it, Kohn believes that they are drawn from a Greek translation of the Samaritan made in Egypt. The text has been edited in Samaritan characters by H. Petermann and K. Vollers (Berlin, 1872-91), and in Hebrew characters by A. Brüll (1873-75), from the London Polyglot. M. Heidenheim's edition in Hebrew characters, of which Genesis only has appeared ("Bibliotheca Samaritana," , Leipsic, 1884), has been very severely criticized (see Nestle, "Uebersetzungen der Bibel," p. 205).
Influence of Hellenism.
The settlement of large numbers of Jews in various parts of the Greek world, the Hellenization of Palestine, and the presence in Jerusalem of Jews from all countries, especially from those under Greek influence, in course of time forced the Rabbis to treat the question more liberally. According to Meg. 2:1, it was forbidden to read the Megillah in Aramaic or in any other non-Hebrew language, except for the foreign Jews () in Jerusalem (compare the Baraita in Bab. Meg. 18a; Shab. 115b); and that such foreign Jews were in the city in large numbers is seen from Acts 2:5-11. So, also, it is found, according to another tradition (Meg. 1:8), that it was permitted to write the Biblical books in any language (); though R. Simon ben Gamaliel would restrict this permission to Greek (Yer. Meg. 1:1): "After careful examination it was found that the Pentateuch could be adequately translated only into Greek"). Evidence exists of the fact that in the synagogue of the Greek was freely used (Tosef., Meg. 4:13). There is even a tradition that Greek letters were engraven upon the chest in the Temple in which the shekels were kept (Sheḳ. 3:2); and there is also Christian testimony to this effect (Justin, "Cohortatio ad Græcos,"; Tertullian, "Apologia,"; Frankel, "Vorstudien," p. 56). It is reported that in Asia Minor R. Meïr was unable to find a Megillah written in Hebrew (Tosef., Meg. 2:4); and the weekly lessons both from the Law and the Prophets were at an early date read in Greek in Alexandria ("Jew. Quart. Rev." 9:730). This makes comprehensible the statement that "the Law can be read in any language" (Soṭah 33a; Meg. 17b). The well-known passage in the Mishnah (Yad. 4:5) which mentions the Levitical impurity occasioned by touching Biblical books, and which especially excepts the Targum from these provisions, has been very properly explained by Blau as referring to different degrees of sanctity only: no translation could, of course, be put upon the same level with the original Hebrew.
At a later time—perhaps in the second century ofthe present era—a different view seems to have prevailed; and it was said that the day on which the Law was translated into Greek was as unfortunate for the Jews as that on which the Golden Calf was made (Soferim 1:8,9). Even to teach children Greek was forbidden (Soṭah 9:14); though it was still permitted to teach a girl Greek, as a knowledge of that language was considered to be an accomplishment. Evidently this change of view was occasioned by the rise of the Christian Church, which used the Bible only in the Septuagint Version. It will be seen that in the Middle Ages the desire to please the women during the service and to instruct them led to the introduction of the vernacular, especially for the prophetical lessons. The treatise Soferim even makes it a duty "to translate, for the women, the weekly readings from the Pentateuch and the Prophets before the close of the service. The translation was not read verse by verse after the Hebrew, but as one continuous passage" (Abrahams, "Jewish Life in the Middle Ages," p. 345).
The oldest and most important of all the versions made by Jews is that called "The Septuagint" ("Interpretatio septuaginta virorum" or "seniorum"). It is a monument of the Greek spoken by the large and important Jewish community of Alexandria; not of classic Greek, nor even of the Hellenistic style affected by Alexandrian writers. If the account given by Aristeas be true, some traces of Palestinian influence should be found; but a study of the Egyptian papyri, which are abundant for this particular period, is said by both Mahaffy and Deissmann to show a very close similarity between the language they represent and that of the Septuagint, not to mention the Egyptian words already recognized by both Hody and Eichhorn. These papyri have in a measure reinstated Aristeas (about 200 B.C.) in the opinion of scholars. Upon his "Letter to Philocrates" the tradition as to the origin of the Septuagint rests. It is now believed that even though he may have been mistaken in some points, his facts in general are worthy of credence (Abrahams, in "Jew. Quart. Rev." 14:321). According to Aristeas, the Pentateuch was translated at the time of Philadelphus, the second Ptolemy (285-247 B.C.), which translation was encouraged by the king and welcomed by the Jews of Alexandria. Grätz ("Gesch. der Juden," 3d ed., 3:615) stands alone in assigning it to the reign of Philometor (181-146 B.C.). Whatever share the king may have had in the work, it evidently satisfied a pressing need felt by the Jewish community, among whom a knowledge of Hebrew was rapidly waning before the demands of every-day life.
It is not known when the other books of the Bible were rendered into Greek. The grandson of Ben Sira (132 B.C.), in the prologue to his translation of his grandfather's work, speaks of the "Law, Prophets, and the rest of the books" as being already current in his day. A Greek Chronicles is mentioned by Eupolemus (middle of second century B.C.); Aristeas, the historian, quotes Job; a foot-note to the Greek Esther seems to show that that book was in circulation before the end of the second century B.C.; and the Septuagint Psalter is quoted in I Macc. 7:17. It is therefore more than probable that the whole of the Bible was translated into Greek before the beginning of the Christian era (Swete, "An Introduction to the O. T. in Greek," ch. ). The large number of Greek-speaking Jewish communities in Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and northern Africa must have facilitated its spread in all these regions. The quotations from the Old Testament found in the New are in the main taken from the Septuagint; and even where the citation is indirect the influence of this version is clearly seen. This will also explain in a measure the undoubted influence of the Septuagint upon the Syriac translation called the "Peshiṭta."
Being a composite work, the translation varies in the different books. In the Pentateuch, naturally, it adheres most closely to the original; in Job it varies therefrom most widely. In some books (e.g., Daniel) the influence of the Jewish Midrash is more apparent than in others. Where it is literal it is "intolerable as a literary work" (Swete, ib. p. 22). The translation, which shows at times a peculiar ignorance of Hebrew usage, was evidently made from a codex which differed widely in places from the text crystallized by the Masorah. Its influence upon the Greek-speaking Jews must have been great. In course of time it came to be the canonical Greek Bible, as Luther's translation became the German, and the Authorized Version the English. It is the version used by the Jewish Hellenistic writers, Demetrius, Eupolemus, Artabanus, Aristeas, Ezekiel, and Aristobulus, as well as in the Book of Wisdom, the translation of Ben Sira, and the Jewish Sibyllines. Hornemann, Siegfried, and Ryle have shown that Philo bases his citations from the Bible on the Septuagint Version, though he has no scruple about modifying them or citing them with much freedom. Josephus follows this translation closely (Freudenthal, "Hellenistische Studien," 2:171; Siegfried, in Stade's "Zeitschrift," 3:32). It became part of the Bible of the Christian Church.
Two things, however, rendered the Septuagint unwelcome in the long run to the Jews. Its divergence from the accepted text (afterward called the Masoretic) was too evident; and it therefore could not serve as a basis for theological discussion or for homiletic interpretation. This distrust was accentuated by the fact that it had been adopted as Sacred Scripture by the new faith. A revision in the sense of the canonical Jewish text was necessary. This revision was made by a proselyte, see Aquila, who lived during the reign of Hadrian (117-138). He is reported to have been a pupil of R. Akiba and to have embodied in his revision the principles of the strictest literal interpretation of the text; certainly his translation is pedantic, and its Greek is uncouth. It strove only to reproduce the text word for word, and for this reason it grew rapidly in favor in strictly Jewish circles where Hebrew was yet understood. Not only in the days of Origen was it thus popular, but, according to the testimony of Jerome and Augustine, down to the fourth and fifth centuries. Of this translation a few fragments have come down to us, together with many citations made by Christian writers from Origen's Hexapla. In the middle ofthe sixth century a certain section of the Jews in Byzantium wished to read the Sabbath lections in Greek as well as in Hebrew; but the Rabbis and authorities desired that only Hebrew should be read. The discussion came before the emperor, Justinian, who in the year 553 issued a novella in which it was expressly stated that "the Hebrews are allowed to read the Holy Writ in their synagogues in the Greek language"; and the emperor advised them to use either the Septuagint or the version of Aquila (Grätz, "Gesch. der Juden," 5:435).
Theodotion and Symmachus.
A second revision of the Septuagint was made by one Theodotion, perhaps a native of Ephesus, who may have lived toward the end of the second century. He is sometimes said to have been a convert to Judaism. His revision, also, is in the nature of a recurrence to the Hebrew text, but he avoids entirely the pedantry of Aquila, and his Greek gives a readable text; the only evidences of pedantry are his transliterations of a number of Hebrew words. Strange to say, his version of Daniel entirely displaced that of the Septuagint; and in other portions his translations are occasionally found in ordinary Septuagint manuscripts. For this fact no sufficient reason has yet been given. Fragments of his work are also found in the remains of Origen's Hexapla. A third translator, Symmachus, whose date is not known, tried to smooth down Aquila's un-Grecian Greek by the use of both the Septuagint and Theodotion. He seems to be the best stylist of all. According to Epiphanius, he was a Samaritan convert to Judaism; but Eusebius and Jerome make him out an Ebionite. Of the three other fragmentary translations into Greek used by Origen in compiling his Hexapla, very little is known. It is not even certain that they are the work of Jews.
Toward the end of the fourteenth century or at the beginning of the fifteenth another translation ofthe Bible into Greek was made, of which the portion covering the Pentateuch, Ruth, Proverbs, Canticles, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and Daniel is still preserved in manuscript (MS. Gr., No. ) in the library of St. Mark's, Venice. It has been edited in a final form by Oscar von Gebhardt ("Græcus Venetus," Leipsic, 1875), with a preface by Franz Delitzsch. According to Von Gebhardt, Delitzsch, and Freudenthal ("Hellenistische Studien," p. 129), the author was a Jew, who for some reason or other preferred the commentary of David Ḳimḥi to that of Rashi. The author has also used the former Greek versions. The body of the work is done into Attic Greek; the Aramaic portions of Daniel are rendered into Doric. Delitzsch has tried to identify the author with a certain Eliseus, a learned Jew at the court of Murad I. (see "Theol. Lit. Zeit." 1:107; Swete, c. p. 56; Nestle, c.p. 84). On the other hand, P. Frankl has tried to show that the translator was a Christian and not a Jew ("Monatsschrift," 24:372). According to Grätz ("Gesch. der Juden," 7:318), Shemariah of Negroponte (1328-46) rendered the Book of Genesis into Greek, in an attempt to bridge over the cleft separating Karaites from Rabbinites. But Shemariah's work was a commentary and not a translation (Steinschneider, "Hebr. Bibl." 15:39). On translations of the Hafṭarot into Greek see "Magazin," 2:5.
The first attempt to translate the Bible into modern Greek was made by a monk of the island of Crete, Agapiou by name. In 1543 he published a rendering of the Psalms which followed closely the Septuagint translation. This preceded the first Jewish translation by only a few years. One column of the Polyglot Pentateuch (Constantinople, 1547) contained a Neo-Greek version in Hebrew characters. The dialect used is that of Epirus; and no single word of Turkish is to be found in it. Though full of Hebraisims, it is said to be of importance for the study of Greek linguistics. The few copies of this edition which are now known to exist do not agree; and it has been suggested that corrections were made in the text during printing. In the "Revue des Etudes Grecques" (3:288 et seq.) Belleli has reprinted the first four chapters of Genesis; and a facsimile of the whole has been published by D. C. Hesseling, "Les Cinq Livres de la Loi" (Leyden, 1897; compare the discussion in "Rev. Etudes Juives," 35:132,314). A translation of Jonah into modern Greek is found in a manuscript volume of prayers in the library of the University of Bologna; and it is known, from R. Meïr Katzenellenbogen, that in his day (1470-1565) it was customary in Padua to read the Hafṭarah of the Atonement Day in the vernacular; this was also the case in Candia (Kapsali, ed. Lattes, p. 22). L. Modena has shown ("Cataloghi dei Codici Orientali," p. 335, Florence, 1876) that this thirteenth-century manuscript, which came originally from Canea, is similar to MS. No. 1144 in the Bodleian collection (Neubauer, "Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS." col. 333; "Rev. Etudes Juives," 23:135). In 1576 Moses ben Elijah Phobian, or Popian, published at Constantinople a Neo-Greek translation of Job for the express purpose of facilitating the teaching of Hebrew (Belleli, in "Rev. Etudes Juives," 22:250; compare ib. 23:136, 24:160, and Güdemann, "Quellen'" pp. 239-289).
The Syriac translation of the Old Testament was undoubtedly made directly from the Hebrew; though at Antioch, during the third century of the present era and at later periods, it was revised so as to make it conform to the Septuagint. The history of its origin is obscure; but it was probably made in Mesopotamia during the first century. As with most of the older translations, various hands have been at work here. Perles ("Meletemata Peschittoniana," Breslau, 1859), Prager ("De Veteris, Testamenti Versione Peschitto," Göttingen, 1875), and Bacher (Aramaic Language) believe it is the work of Jews: but this has not yet been proved; and the view of Dathe, Eichhorn, Hitzig, Nöldeke, and Renan, that it owes its origin to Judæo-Christians, seems more probable. Perles, however, has shown that there are unmistakable evidences in the Peshiṭta of the influence of the Targum, especially in Genesis. This has been confirmed for Ezekiel by Cornill ("Das Buch Ezekiel," p. 154), for Chronicles by S. Fränkel (in "Jahrb. für Protestantische Theologie," 1879), and for Job by Stenig ("De Syriaca Libri Jobi Interp." Helsingfors, 1887), Mandl ("Peschitto zu Hiob," Leipsic, 1892), and Hauman (in Stade's "Zeitschrift," 29). The closest agreement between the two versions is found in the Book of Proverbs; but it is now generally held that in this case the Targum reflects the Peshiṭta and not vice versa, as Maybaum contends (Merx, "Archiv," vol. ). This view is upheld by a consideration of the general character of the translation (Pinkuss, in Stade's "Zeitschrift," 14:101; see also Duval, "Littérature Syriaque," 1899, pp. 31 et seq.).
It is impossible to tell at how early a time the Jews commenced to translate the Bible into Arabic. After the early victories of the Mohammedans, Arabic civilization and Arabic surroundings brought the Jews into very close connection with the Arabic language. Even where Hebrew was still kept up, the Hebrew alphabet must at times have gone out of fashion; for there exist some Karaite manuscripts of the tenth century, giving the Hebrew text in Arabic characters and with the letters used as vowel-signs (R. Hörning, "British Museum Karaite MSS." London, 1889; Margoliouth, "Cat. Hebr. and Samaritan MSS. Brit. Mus." , Nos. 103, 104). That the Jews had little scruple in reading the Bible in Arabic may be seen from Judah ibn Tibbon's advice to his son to read the Sabbath lections in that tongue ("Jew. Quart. Rev." 12:484). There are no facts, however, which prove that the early Jews of Arabia possessed any Arabic translation of the Bible. There is a tradition, going back to Abu Huraya, a contemporary of Mohammed, that "The People of the Book used to read the Taurah [Torah] in Hebrew and interpret it in Arabic to the followers of Islam"; which tradition is the basis of the polemics of Abu Mohammed ibn Ḥazm (d. 1064). Another tradition says that "Ka'ab the rabbi brought a book ["sifr"] to Omar the calif and said, 'Here is the Torah, read it'" (Goldziher, in "Z. D. M. G." 32:344). The evidence is insufficient; and thereis even less warrant for Sprenger's idea that apocryphal writings were current in Arabia during Mohammed's days (see Kuenen, "Volksreligion," p. 297). At a later time, however, such translations must have existed, even though little credence can be placed upon the assurances of the polemical writers that they had "read this in the Torah" or "in the Zabur [Psalms]" (ib. p. 351; compare Stade's "Zeitschrift," 13:315). The Fihrist (ed. Flügel, 1:22) of Al-Nadim mentions an Aḥmad ibn Abd Allah ibn Salam who translated the Bible into Arabic, at the time of Harun al-Rashid. Faḥr al-Din al-Razi mentions a translation of Habbakuk by the son of Rabban al-Ṭabari ("Z. D. M. G." 42:645). Many of the Arabic historians, as Al-Ṭabari, Mas'udi, Ḥamza, and Biruni, cite passages and recount the early history of the Jews in a most circumstantial manner. Ibn Ḳutaibah, the historian (d. 889), says that he read the Bible; and he even made a collection of Biblical passages in a work which has been preserved by Ibn Jauzi of the twelfth century (see Haupt and Delitzsch, "Beiträge zur Assyriologie," 3:46; Stade's "Zeitschrift," 15:138).
The first important Arabic translation is that of Saadia Gaon (892-942). The influence of this translation was in its way as great as that of the gaon's philosophical work. It has remained to this day the version for the Jews in Arabic-speaking countries: it is dignified by the name "Targum"; and in many of the South Arabian Bible manuscripts it follows the Aramaic verse by verse, as the Aramaic follows the Hebrew. Saadia in the main takes the Targum as his guide, especially in doing away with all anthropomorphisms. His chief thought, however, is to produce a readable and intelligible translation. In this sense his translation may be called free; he was evidently working for a general reading public, both Jewish and Mohammedan, and not for scholars. Ibn Ezra blames him for the apparent case with which he passes over difficulties. But, in calling this translation a "tafsir" (explanation), he meant to indicate that he aimed to present the simple sense ("basiṭ"="peshaṭ") of the Biblical text; and Abu al-Walid looks upon him as the chief representative of this method. His fervent belief in the verbal inspiration of the Biblical text kept him free, on the one hand, from the influence of his rationalistic philosophy and, on the other, from the allegorical method of the Talmud (Editio Derenbourg,; Bacher in Winter and Wünsche, "Jüdische Litteratur," 3:244). When no word in Arabic will exactly express his meaning, he uses the Hebrew word or adopts the Hebrew construction. In addition, he attempts to reproduce Hebrew words by Arabic words with a similar sound (Munk, in Cahen's "Bible," 9:127). Saadia, in the introduction to the commentary on the Pentateuch, states that he translated it twice: once with a diffuse commentary; the second time without the commentary. Of the first translation only a few fragments and citations by Abraham ibn Ezra, Baḥya ben Asher, Abraham Maimonides, etc., have been preserved (Derenbourg's ed. of the Pentateuch, Hebrew part, p.; "Monatsschrift," 41:205; "Jew. Quart. Rev." 12:536). Of this work, at one time complete, only the Pentateuch, Isaiah, Minor Prophets, portions of Judges, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, and Daniel are now extant.
Saadia's translation was first printed in the Polyglot Pentateuch, Constantinople, 1546. It was reproduced in Arabic characters in the Paris and London Polyglots (1645-57). From time to time more or less critical editions of various portions have been published; a complete list of these editions as well as of the extant manuscripts is given by Steinschneider in the "Kaufmann Gedenkbuch," pp. 153 et seq. (see also "Monatsschrift," 41:124, and Engelkemper, "De Saadiæ Gaonis Vita, Bibliorum Versione, etc.," Münster, 1897). A definite edition of the translation and commentaries was commenced by the late Joseph Derenbourg, "Œuvres Complètes de R. Saadia," Paris, 1893 et seq., and is being carried on by Hartwig Derenbourg and Mayer Lambert; the Pentateuch, Isaiah, Proverbs, and Job have appeared (1902).
Other Arabic Versions.
A number of other translations into Arabic must have existed. Abu al-Walid mentions some of them, though it can hardly be determined to-day to which translations he refers (Bacher, "Leben und Werke des Abulwalid," p. 99). Some of them, though bearing no direct relation to that of Saadia, show evident traces of his influence. This is true at least of a translation of the Minor Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, found in Codex Huntington (No. 206 in the Bodleian Library, Oxford). From this manuscript Hosea was published by R. Schröter in Merx, "Archiv," 1:28 et seq. M. Peritz has edited "Zwei Alte Uebersetzungen des Buches Ruth," Berlin, 1900 ("Monatsschrift," 1899, pp. 49 et seq.). The second of these, from a manuscript in the British Museum, though it shows most of the peculiarities of Saadia's translation, is not by him (see also Poznanski, in "Zeit. für Hebr. Bibl." 4:167). Nothing is known of the fragments of the Arabic version of the Pentateuch found in the twelfth-century manuscript, St. Petersburg, Nos. 137 and 138 (Harkavy-Strack, "Catalog," p. 164). Another translation of the Five Scrolls is found in British Museum MSS., Nos. 146, 147 (Poznanski, in "Rev. Etudes Juives," 41:302). A rimed version of the Psalms was made by one Ḥafẓ al-Ḳuṭi (tenth century), which is contained in a manuscript of the Ambrosian Library in Milan (Hammer-Purgstall in "Bibl. Ital. di Letteratura," 104:36), copied in 1625 from a manuscript in the Escurial, which has since been lost. It is cited by Moses ibn Ezra in his "Poetics"; but it is evident that this translation was made by one who was not even, as has been supposed, a baptized Jew ("Hebr. Bibl." 10:26). Neubauer has pointed out ("Rev. Etudes Juives," 30:65) that it contains Christian quotations; and the term "the Goth" (ib. p. 318) would sufficiently indicate that the author was a Christian. A version of Ecclesiastes by Judah ibn Ghayyat has been published by J. Löwy, Leyden, 1884 (see Rahmer's "Jüdisches Litteratur-Blatt," May 29, 1884, p. 88). In the thirteenth century a translation of the Pentateuch was made by an African Jew, who also based his work on that of Saadia. It is known as the "Arabs Erpenii" ("Pent. Mosis Arabice," Lug.-Bat. MS., No. 1622). (On a supposed translation ofthe Psalms by Saadia ben Levi Azankot see Steinschneider, "Cat. Bodl." col. 2227.) In modern times several Arabic translations of the Bible have been published in India; e.g., by Ezekiel Shem-Ṭob David, Bombay, 1889, and the Apocrypha by Joseph David, Bombay, 1895.
It was natural that the Karaites should refuse to make use of the version in Arabic made by their arch-enemy, Saadia. Only two or three of their attempts to replace it have come down; and even these have been preserved in a most fragmentary form only. One of the earliest of these attempts was that made by Joshua b. Ari, or, to give him the name by which he is better known, Abu al-Faraj Furḳan ibn Asad, a learned Jerusalem Karaite of the middle of the eleventh century. A portion of his Arabic translation of the Pentateuch is to be found in MS. Or. 2491 of the British Museum. It shows occasionally a decided rationalistic tendency, explanatory glosses being introduced here and there into the text (G. Margoliouth, in "Jew. Quart. Rev." 11:190). Whether Japheth ha-Levi (Ibn Ali al-Baṣri) really translated any parts of the Bible (Margoliouth, "Descriptive List," pp. 25 et seq.), is undetermined; but it is known that he had the ambitious desire to write an extensive commentary upon the whole Bible (Steinschneider, "Hebr. Uebers." p. 941). According to Margoliouth ("Cat. Hebr. and Samaritan MSS. Brit. Mus." p. 71), MS. Brit. Mus. 101 (Or. 2481) contains an Arabic translation of the Pentateuch based upon that of Japheth.
Samaritan Revision of Saadia.
The translation of Saadia, as is said above, had become a standard work in Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. But to the Samaritans it was as distasteful (Harkavy, "Ḥadashim," No. 7, p. 22) as it no doubt had been to the Karaites, because of the rabbinical interpretations which it represented. At some time, perhaps during the thirteenth century, it was revised by a Samaritan with the express purpose of adapting it to the use of his coreligionists. This revision is usually held to have been made by Abu Sa'id ibn abu al-Ḥusain ibn abu Sa'id, and has claimed the attention of European scholars such as De Sacy ("Mémoires de l'Académie," 1808, 49:1 et seq.), Gesenius ("De Pentateuchi Samaritani Origine, Indole et Auctoritate," p. 120, Halle, 1815), and Juynboll ("Commentatio de Versione Arabico-Samaritana," Amsterdam, 1846). Of it Genesis, Ezodus, and Leviticus have been edited by A. Kuenen (Leyden, 1851-54; see Kohn, "Zur Sprache der Samaritaner," p. 134; Nestle, c. p. 153). Abu Sa'id was supposed to have lived about the year 1070; but Wreschner ("Samaritanische Tradition," 1888, p. ) has shown that he flourished in the thirteenth century. According to Joseph Bloch, "Die Samaritanisch-Arabische Pentateuch Uebersetzung," p. 16, Berlin, 1901, the real translator is perhaps the Tyrian, Abu al-Ḥasan, and Abu Sa'id is only a scholiast. If this be true, it was not the first translation; for one was made in the twelfth century by Ṣadaḳa ibn Munajja of Damascus, a physician in the service of Sultan Malik al-Ashraf (Haji Khalifah, 2:402; Neubauer, "Chronique Samaritaine," p. 112).
It is not known at what time the first translations of the Bible were made into Persian. From quotations in the "Dinkard" and the "Shikand Gumanik Vijar" (theological works of the Sassanian period), James Darmesteter has supposed that one existed in Pahlavi ("Rev. Etudes Juives," 18:5); but the supposition is unsupported by any real evidence. Blau also ("Einleitung," p. 95) seems to incline to this opinion, because Bab. Meg. 18a speaks of a scroll of Esther in the Elamite and Median languages. According to Maimonides, the Pentạteuch was translated into Persian many hundred years previous to Mohammed (Zunz, "G. V." 2d ed., p. 9). This statement also can not be further substantiated. The earliest version of which we have any knowledge is that made by Jacob ben Joseph Tawus, and printed in Hebrew characters in the Polyglot Pentateuch, Constantinople, 1546. This was transcribed into Persian characters and translated into Latin by Thomas Hyde, in which form it was published in the London Polyglot. Kohut ("Beleuchtung der Persischen Pentateuch-Uebersetzung," 1871) places Tawus in the first half of the sixteenth century (compare also Zunz, "G. S." 3:136). According to Steinschneider ("Jewish Literature," p. 321), Tawus made use of an earlier translation made in the thirteenth century (see Munk, in Cahen's "Bible," vol. ), which followed the Targum and the commentary of David Ḳimḥ A number of translations into Persian are to be found in the various collections of manuscript, of which the following is a partial list:
- Pentateuch: Vatican MS. 61 (Guidi, in "Rendiconti . . . dei Lincei," 1885, p. 347).Codex Adler B. 63, written in 1776 ("Jew. Quart. Rev." 10:596).Codex St. Petersburg 141 (not by Tawus; Harkavy-Strack, "Cat." p. 166).
- Psalms: Vatican MS. 37; Bodleian MS. 1830.Vatican MS. 42; Bodleian MS. 1827 (Jewish? Horn, in "Z. D. M. G." 51:7).Codex Adler B. 27 ("Jew. Quart. Rev." 10:592).Brit. Mus. MSS. 159, 160 (transl. about 1740 by Baba b. Nuriel of Ispahan; Margoliouth, "Cat. of Hebr. and Samaritan MSS. Brit. Mus." p. 120).Brit. Mus. MS. Or. 4729 (dated 1822; "Jew. Quart. Rev." 7:119).
- Proverbs, Canticles, Ruth, Ecclesiastes: Paris MS. 116 ("Cat. des MSS. Héb. de la Bibl. Nat.").
- Proverbs, Canticles, Ecclesiastes: Codex Adler B. 46 ("Jew. Quart. Rev." 10:595).Paris MS. 117 ("Cat. des MSS. Héb. de la Bibl. Nat.").
- Proverbs: On a translation now lost, see Lagarde, "Symmicta," 2:14.
- Job and Lamentations: Codex de Rossi 1093 (Zunz, "G. S." 3:135).Paris MS. 118 ("Cat. des MSS. Hébreux de la Bibl. Nat.").
- Job: Codex St. Petersburg 142 (Harkavy-Strack, p. 167.).Paris MSS. 120, 121 ("Catalogue," etc.).
- Song of Songs: Codex Adler B. 12 ("Jew. Quart. Rev." 10:589).
- Daniel: Paris MSS. 128, 129 ("Catalogue," etc.).
- Esther: Codex Adler T. 16 and 27 ("Jew. Quart. Rev." 10:598,599).Paris MS. 127 ("Catalogue," etc.).
- Tobit, Judith, Bel and Dragon, Antiochus: Codex Bodleian 130.
- Minor Prophets: Codex St. Petersburg 139 and Codex B. 18 (Harkavy-Strack, pp. 165, 262).
- Hafṭarot: Codex St. Petersburg 140 (Harkavy-Strack, p. 166).
There are also some quite modern translations into Persian, as , Vienna, 1883 (transl. by Benjamin Cohen of Bokhara; see "Lit.-Blatt für Or. Phil." 1:186); , Jerusalem, 1885; Job, ib.; the latter two also translated by Benjamin Cohen.
For the use of the Karaites in the Crimea and Turkey, a translation has been made into the Tshagatai-Tatar dialect. The Pentateuch was printed (text and Tshagatai in Hebrew characters) by 'Irab Ozlu & Sons, Constantinople, 1836, with the title ; on the margin are the ; and acrostic poems are added by Abraham ben Samuel, Simḥah ben Joseph (Chages?), Isaac Cohen, and Isaac ben Samuel Cohen of Jerusalem. The whole Bible was printed in Tshagatai by Mordecai Trishkin (4 vols., Goslov, 1841-42; see "Jew. Quart. Rev." 12:686). Extracts are also to be found in the of Musafia, printed at Ortaköi (Constantinople), 1825, and published by the same firm that edited the Pentateuch of 1836 ("Jew. Quart. Rev." 13:549). Manuscripts of such translations exist also in the Imperial Library at St. Petersburg (Nos. 143-146; Harkavy-Strack, "Cat." pp. 167-170).
Coptic and Hungarian.
Talmud tradition expressly speaks of a Coptic translation of the Bible (Meg. 18a; Shabbat 115a). Cornill, in his examination of the Coptic text of Ezekiel, finds the one published by Tattam to be of composite character and not simply a translation of the Septuagint. Blau believes that it was made directly from the Hebrew text ("Einleitung," p. 91; "Jew. Quart. Rev." 9:728).
No Jewish translation into Hungarian was made until quite recently, the Jews of Hungary making use of the Catholic and Protestant versions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. About the middle of the nineteenth century M. Bloch (Ballaghi) attempted such a rendering; but he was not successful. His plan has recently (1902) been carried out; and the Pentateuch (by M. Bernstein and M. Blau), Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings (by Julius Fischer, Bánóczi, Bacher, and Krauss) have appeared (see "Rev. Etudes Juives," 43:158).
The translation of the Bible into the German dialect spoken by the Jews of middle Europe was commenced at an early date. A manuscript in the collection of De Rossi, dated Mantua, 1421, contains a Judæo-German translation of Joshua, Judges, Jonah, and four of the Megillot. De Rossi supposed them to be written in Polish because they were brought to Italy by Polish Jews (Neubauer, in "Jew. Quart. Rev." 4:703). Such translations were technically known as "Teutsch-Ḥummash." A printer had innocently placed the words (Song of Solomon 3:11) on the title-page of such a translation made by Jacob ben Isaac of Janow (Lublin, 17th century?), from which they became familiarly called "Ze'enah U-re'ennah"; and down to the time of Mendelssohn's translation they were popular reading-books, especially for women on Saturdays. They were embellished with all manner of explanations, legends, and moral sayings, which were inserted into the text (Steinschneider, "Volkslitteratur der Juden," p. 17). The first rendering of this kind was made by a convert, Michael Adam, the translator of Yosippon into Judæo-German. It was published by Paulus Fagius, Constance, 1543-44 (Steinschneider, "Cat. Bodl." Nos. 1187, 4333; Perles, in "Monatsschrift," 25:361; id. "Aramäische Studien," p. 167; "Rev. Etudes Juives," 5:143,315), and was reprinted at Basel in 1583 and 1607. It has nothing in common with Luther's translation, as Wolf ("Bibl. Hebr." 4:198) supposes. This Pentateuch was reprinted at Cremona, 1560 (ed. Judah ben Moses Naphtali); Basel, 1583; ib. 1603; Prague, 1608, 1610; Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1687. A rimed version of it appeared at Fürth, 1692, and Wilmersdorf, 1718; and a second rimed version of Genesis was made by a certain Aaron of Prague during the seventeenth century. In 1543-44 Paulus Æmilius published a similar translation of the Pentateuch (Augsburg, 1544). It is uncertain whether Æmilius simply copied the edition of Adam or not (Steinschneider, in "Zeit. für Gesch. der Juden in Deutschland," 1:286). Æmilius also edited at Ingolstadt (1562) the Judæo-German rimed translation of Samuel in German characters. This was a mere copy of the edition in Hebrew characters by Ḥayyim ben David Schwartz, Augsburg, 1544 (ib. 1:285). It was called the ("Samuel Book"). This was reprinted at Mantua about 1562; Cracow, 1593; Prague, 1609; Basel, 1612. Schwartz also published a rimed translation of Kings, , Augsburg, 1543; Prague, 1607. A translation of Judges (rimed) appeared at Mantua in 1561; one of Joshua, "derneut in teutscher Sprach, wol gereimt . . . hübsch mit Midraschim," at Cracow in 1588 or 1594; one of Canticles, by Isaac Sulkes, at Cracow in 1579; another by Moses Särtels, Prague, 1604; one of Jeremiah, ib. 1602; one of Ezekiel (rimed), ib. 1602; and one of Jonah, " mit viel und alle Midraschim" (rimed), Prague, before 1686.
The first Judæo-German translation of the Psalms was that of Elijah Levita (Venice, 1545; Zurich, 1558, etc.); it was arranged in the order of the psalms said on each day of the week. A rimed by Moses Stendal appeared at Cracow in 1586. Proverbs was translated by Mordecai ben (Isaac) Jacob Töplitz, Cracow, 1582 (a version also appeared at Amsterdam, 1735); and Job by the same (?), Prague, 1597. A translation of Kings appeared at Cracow in 1583 (Neubauer, in "Rev. Etudes Juives," 5:144); one of Esther, ib. 1596; and one of Daniel, " in teutscher Sprach hübsch und bescheidlich, gar kurzweilig darin zu leien Weiber und Meidlich," Cracow, 1588. These editions of Cracow came from the press of Isaac ben Aaron Prossnitz, whose intention it was to publish the whole Bible in Judæo-German in order that "women and children might be able to read without the help of a teacher" (Perles, in "Monatsschrift," 25:353).
Isaac Blitz's Bible.
The first complete Bible in Judæo-German was that of Isaac Blitz, Amsterdam, 1676-78. It was for the use of the Polish Jews who had fled thither a few years previously because of the Chmielnicki persecutions. It must have been the intention of the translator to push its sale in Poland also; for letters patent were granted for it by John Sobieski III. This translation exercised very little influence, as the Judæo-German in which itwas written contained many Dutch words and expressions (Wiener, "Yiddish Literature," p. 19). A second translation, in opposition to that of Blitz, was published in Amsterdam in 1679 by Joseph Witzenhausen, formerly a compositor in the employ of Uri Phoebus, the printer of the former edition. Witzenhausen was able to secure the approbation of the Council of the Four Lands, and his attempt to make the Athias edition supersede that of Phoebus occasioned much bad blood (see Joseph Athias). A second edition of this last translation was published at Amsterdam in 1687, and a third, in German characters, at Wandsbeck in 1711. A third translation, by Süssman Rödelheim and Menahem Man Levi, under the title , appeared at Amsterdam in 1725-29. At the same place in 1735 there was published an edition of Proverbs ("Cat. Rosenthal. Bibl." 1:207). It was more than one hundred years before another complete German translation was published, namely, at Prague, 1833-37; but this was of a composite character, as its editor, W. Meyer, made use of various translations (in general, compare Grünbaum, "Jüdisch-Deutsche Chrestomathie," Leipsic, 1882).
The growing acquaintance of the Jews with German literature soon produced a marked discontent with these Judæo-German translations. This discontent was voiced by the rabbis of Berlin, Mecklenburg, and Courland (Zunz, "G. V." 2d ed., p. 467). To meet this want Mendelssohn stepped into the breach; and his translation of the Pentateuch is worthy of more than a passing notice. It had a special importance in that it not only aroused an esthetic interest in literature on the part of those who read it, but also paved the way for a more general use of High German among the Jews of Germany, among whom it may be said to have introduced a new literary era (Kayserling, "Moses Mendelssohn," p. 286; "Literaturblatt des Orients," 1840, p. 320; Auerbach, in "Zeitschrift für Gesch. der Juden in Deutschland," 1:25; Wogue, "Hist. de la Bible et de l'Exégèse," p. 329). Mendelssohn undertook the work for the instruction of his own children; but upon the advice of Solomon Dubno, consented to its publication on condition that Dubno should write a commentary explaining the reasons why Mendelssohn chose his various renderings. A specimen, "'Alim li-Trufah," was edited by Dubno (Amsterdam, 1778), and aroused the liveliest interest on the part of Christians as well as of Jews. It was natural that it should also evoke strenuous opposition, especially on the part of those Jews who feared that the reading of High German would cause the Jewish youth to neglect their Hebrew studies. Foremost in this opposition were the rabbis Ezekiel Landau (d. 1793) of Prague, Raphael ha-Kohen (1722-1803), of Hamburg, Altona, and Wandsbeck, Hirsch Janow (1750-85) of Fürth, and Phineas Levi Horwitz (1740-1803) of Frankfort-on-the-Main.
In June, 1799, the proposed translation was put under the ban at Fürth. It was also forbidden in some cities of Poland, and is said even to have been publicly burned. An additional ban was laid upon it by Raphael ha-Kohen (July 17, 1781; see Grätz, "Gesch. der Juden," 11:585, note 1). Work on it was, however, continued with the assistance of Solomon Dubno, Hertz Homberg, and Aaron Jaroslav. Dubno became frightened at the continued opposition, and retired, forcing Mendelssohn himself to do an additional share of the work. Though the translation was in High German, it was printed in Hebrew characters under the title , with a Hebrew commentary or "biur," the commentaries of Rashi, etc., and an introduction by Naphtali Hertz Wessely. It appeared in parts—Genesis, Berlin, 1780; Exodus, ib. 1781; Leviticus, ib. 1782; Numbers and Deuteronomy, ib. 1783—and has often been republished both in German and in Hebrew characters.
An attempt was made in Mendelssohn's time to issue an edition in German characters; but the German Jews at that time looked upon the work as so exceptionally strange that its publication had to be suspended (Bernfeld, "Juden im 19 Jahrhundert," p. 9). Mendelssohn also published (Berlin, 1783) a translation of the Psalms (which, however, follows closely that of Luther; "Literaturblatt des Orients," 1840, p. 320) and one of the Song of Solomon (ib. 1788). These translations attempted a conscientious reproduction of the text, and sought to make the pathos of the original felt in the German; and they were followed by a large school of translators (see BIURISTS). C. E. J. Bunsen ("Vollständiges Bibelwerk," I. ) calls these and similar translations "Synagogenbibeln." He says "they do not speak in the historical German language, but in the Hebræo-rabbinical Judæo-German"; a verdict which is wholly one-sided, if one excepts the proper names, where an attempt was made to reproduce the Hebrew originals ("Monatsschrift," 9:156).
Only a few of Mendelssohn's followers can be mentioned here. His translation of the Song of Solomon was published after his death by Joel Löwe and Aaron Wolfson. The first of these also published a translation of Jonah (Berlin, 1788); while the second translated Lamentations, Esther, and Ruth (Berlin, 1788), Job (ib. 1788; Prague, 1791; Vienna, 1806), and Kings (Breslau, 1809). Isaac Euchel translated Proverbs (Berlin, 1790; Dessau, 1804), introducing, however, philosophical expressions into the text, thereby often clouding the meaning. David Friedländer, who translated Ecclesiastes (in German characters, Berlin, 1788), wrote in a belletristic style. Meïr Obernik translated Joshua, Judges, and Samuel, and, together with Samuel Detmold, the Second Book of Samuel (), Vienna, 1792). M. Philippson, Joseph Wolf, Gotthold Salomon, Israel Neumann, and J. Löwe were the translators of the Minor Prophets published in Dessau, 1805, under the title (stereotyped as early as 1837). Wolf also published a translation of Daniel (Dessau, 1808); David Ottensosser one of Job (Offenbach, 1807), Isaiah (Fürth, 1807), and Lamentations (ib. 1811), and together with S. J. Kohn, of Jeremiah (ib. 1810). A translation of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles by Ottensosser, Kohn, and Schwabacher appeared at Fürth, 1807-23. Isaiah was also translated by Isaiah Hochstetter (Winter and Wünsche, "Die Jüdische Litteratur," 3:744), Jeremiahby Heinemann (Berlin, 1842), Job by Beer Blumenfeld (Vienna, 1826), and Psalms by Shalom Kohn (Hamburg, 1827). The period of the Mendelssohnian biurists may be fittingly said to end with the Bible published by Moses Landau (20 parts, Prague, 1833-37, mentioned above. Of this work the translations of the Pentateuch, Psalms, and Five Scrolls were those of Mendelssohn; the translations of the other books were contributed by Moses Landau, J. Weisse, S. Sachs, A. Benisch, and W. Mayer; and the Minor Prophets were reprinted from the edition of Dessau, 1805 (Steinschneider, "Cat. Bodl." No. 972). It may also be added here that an edition of Proverbs, Job, and the Five Scrolls, with translations by Obernik, Euchel, Wolfson, Mendelssohn, and Friedländer, had already appeared at Vienna in 1817-18; and in Hebrew characters at Basel in 1822-27.
Other German Versions.
The translation of Mendelssohn threatened to become canonical: but the German Jews had tasted of modern learning; and toward the latter end of the first half of the nineteenth century various individual attempts were made to provide better translations for the general public, which should reflect the progress then already made in Biblical science. The first in the field was Joseph Johlson (Asher ben Joseph of Fulda), whose attempt, though worthy of notice here, was not successful, notwithstanding the fact that the text was accompanied by learned philological notes (Minor Prophets, Carlsruhe, 1827; Pentateuch, ib. 1831; the historical books, ib. 1836). Bunsen (c. p. ) even declares his work to be "geistreich und scharfsinnig" (compare Geiger's "Zeitschrift," 1836, p. 442; 1837, p. 121). Mention may also be made of A. A. Wolff's double translation (word for word and metrical) of Habakkuk; Phœbus Philippsohn's "Hosea, Joel, Jonah, Obadiah und Nahum in Metrisch-Deutscher Uebersetzung," Halle, 1827; A. Rebenstein's (Bernstein's) sentimental translation of the Song of Solomon (Berlin, 1834; compare "Literaturblatt des Orients," 1840, p. 324); S. H. Auerbach's Ecclesiastes (Breslau, 1837), into which he reads his own philosophy; and Michael Sachs's Psalms (Berlin, 1835). The last was a clear protest against previous attempts, which reflected too much the individuality of the translators. Sachs tried to give "a purely scientific and philological" rendering of the original, taking Rückert as his guide, whose translation of Psalms 68 he inserted bodily (see Zunz, in Geiger's "Wiss. Zeit. Jüd. Theol." 2:499, and in "G. S." 3:116, who characterizes the work as "somewhat stiff and awkward"). It was reprinted in the edition of the Prophets and the Hagiographa , Fürth, 1842-47 (Zedner, "Cat. Hebr. Books Brit. Mus." p. 119), and was revised for Zunz's Bible ("Monatsschrift," 38:507). This protest was carried to excess by Gotthold Salomon, who, in addition to his work on the Dessau edition of the Minor Prophets (see above), translated the Pentateuch (Krotoschin, 1848-49; see the criticism of Hess in "Allg. Zeit. des Jud." 1839, p. 80, and of L. Skreinka in "Literaturblatt des Orients," 1840, pp. 468 et seq.). The translations of Job (Glogau, 1836) and of the Pentateuch (ib. 1840) by Heimann Arnheim, though in Hebrew characters and intended chiefly for use as part of the ritual, show good judgment and philological schooling ("Literaturblatt des Orients," 1840, p. 641). Only a mere mention can be made of L. Herzberg's Ecclesiastes (Brunswick, 1838; see Zunz, in Jost's "Annalen," 1839, p. 102) and of L. H. Löwenstein's metrical translation of Proverbs and Lamentations (Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1837-38). Gotthold Salomon's "Deutsche Volks- und Schul-Bibel" (Altona, 1837) was the first translation of the entire Old Testament in German characters made by a Jew. It was stereotyped and was intended to be sold so cheaply that every one could afford to buy it (see the correspondence in Jost's "Annalen," 1839, Nos. 12 et seq.).
More important was the attempt made by L. Zunz to provide a Bible for school and home. As editor, he translated only the books of Chronicles, the rest of the work being done by H. Arnheim, Julius Fürst, and M. Sachs (Berlin, 1838). Zunz succeeded in a large measure in producing a translation which, while it kept strictly to the Masoretic text, was abreast of the scholarship of his day and free from the circumlocutions and idiotisms of previous translators, though it still preserved the transliteration of the Hebrew names (Nestle, "Bibel-Uebersetzungen," p. 142). Mendelssohn had translated neither Prophets nor Hagiographa; and it is therefore no wonder that the Zunz Bible passed through at least six editions up to 1855 and twelve up to 1889 (see Rosin, in "Monatsschrift," 38:512). Only a few years later another popular translation was produced by Solomon Herxheimer (Berlin, 1841-48; 3d ed. of the Pentateuch, 1865), to which an explanatory and homiletic commentary was added. Though evidently meant to take the place of Mendelssohn's biur, Herxheimer expressly states that his work was done "for Jews and Christians" (Jost's "Annalen," 1839, pp. 312 et seq.; "Literaturblatt des Orients," 1840, p. 513).
A still more ambitious attempt was that of Ludwig Philippson. He translated the text anew, aiming to include the latest assured results of criticism and to produce what in every sense might be called a family Bible. For this reason for the first time illustrations were added, together with introductions and an extensive commentary intended for the intelligent layman. This work occupied Philippson for eighteen years, and was published at Leipsic, 1839-56; 2d ed., 1858-59; 3d ed., 1862. His translation was then published, together with the Doré illustrations, by the Israelitische Bibel-Anstalt, revised by W. Landau and S. I. Kämpf (Stuttgart, 1875). Of this translation separate editions of the Pentateuch, the Psalms, and of the Pentateuch together with Isaiah, were published (see M. Philippson, in "Rev. Etudes Juives," 42:30). But even the slight concessions made in these translations to the modern exegetical spirit gave offense in some quarters; a rival Bible-house, the Orthodoxe Israelitische Bibel-Anstalt, was established, which, on the basis of J. Z. Mecklenburg's "Ha-Ketab we-haḲabbalah" (Leipsic, 1839), produced a translation of the Bible strictly on the lines of Jewish traditional exegesis (ib. 1865). The Pentateuch translation byJ. Kosmann (Königsberg, 1847-52) had a similar end in view. Still further in this direction, and in evident protest against modern Christian radical exegesis, which he entirely ignores, went Samuel Raphael Hirsch. In his translation of the Pentateuch (Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1867; 3d ed., 1899) and of the Psalms (1882), as well as in the translation of the Minor Prophets by his son, M. Hirsch (ib. 1900), a return is seen to the "derash," from which the whole school of Mendelssohn and his followers had tried to free themselves (see "Zeit. für Heb. Bibl." 5:78). Of L. J. Mandelstamm's "Die Bibel Neu Uebersetzt," partly with the assistance of M. Kirchstein, only Genesis and the Song of Solomon seem to have appeared (Berlin, 1862-64). In 1901 a new translation by S. Bernfeld was commenced. It keeps strictly to the Masorah and preserves the Hebrew form of the proper names.
During all this time many translations of individual books appeared, of which the following is a partial list, cited under the names of their respective authors:
- Israel ben Abraham, Job, in Hebrew characters, Prague, 1791.
- Shalom Kohn, Psalms, Hamburg, 1827.
- Mendel Stern, Proverbs, in Hebrew characters, Presburg, 1833.
- Wolfson, "Das Buch Hiob. . . . Neu Uebersetzt . . .," Breslau-Leipsic, 1843.
- J. Blücher, "Ruth, mit Deutscher Uebersetzung," Lemberg, 1843.
- Löwenthal, " . . . Nebst Uebersetzung . . . ," Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1846.
- "Das Hohe Lied . . . Neue Deutsche Uebersetzung," Vienna, 1847.
- Samuel Aschkenazi, (Song of Solomon, in Hebrew characters), Presburg, 1847.
- (A new translation of the Pentateuch, in Hebrew characters), Königsberg, 1856.
- "Odiosus," "Das Buch Ijob im Engeren Anschluss an den Mass. Urtext" (see "Hebr. Bibl." 6:101).
- Horwitz, "Das Hohe-Lied, das Aelteste Dramatische Gedicht," Vienna, 1863 (see ib. 6:62).
- Adolph Brecher, "Die Psalmen Nebst Uebersetzung," Vienna, 1864.
- Israel Schwarz, "Tikwat Enosh" (Job, in German characters), Berlin, 1868.
- Sänger, Maleachi, 1868.
- Benjamin Holländer, Das Hohelied, Budapest, 1871.
- Hermann Tietz, Das Hohelied, 1871.
- Levin, (with Judæo-German translation), Odessa, 1873.
- Grätz, "Krit. Commentar zu den Psalmen, Nebst . . . Uebersetzung," Breslau, 1882 (compare his Kohelet, 1871, and Song of Songs, 1871).
- I. Kämpf, Das Hohelied, Prague, 1877; 3d ed., 1884.
- Kohler, Das Hohelied, Chicago, 1878.
- Hermann Tietz, "Das Buch der Elegien Metrisch Uebersetzt," Schrimm, 1881.
- Landsberger, Das Buch Hiob, Darmstadt, 1882.
- Leimdörfer, "Kohelet . . . Nebst Uebersetzung," Hamburg, 1892.
- Herman Rosenthal, "Worte des Sammlers (Kohelet) . . . in Deutsche Reime Gebracht," New York, 1885; 2d ed., 1893. Idem, "Das Lied der Lieder, in Neue Deutsche Reime Gebracht," New York, 1893.
- Jastrow, "Der Neunzigste Psalm; Uebersetzt," Leipsic, 1893.
- Salomon Plessner (transl. of Nahum, in his "Biblisches und Rabbinisches," pp. 29 et seq.), Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1897.
It was not before the forties of the nineteenth century that the desire made itself really felt among the English Jews for a Bible translation of their own in the vernacular, though David Levi had in 1787 (London) produced an English version of the Pentateuch (Steinschneider, "Cat. Bodl." No. 926). Wherever an English Bible was needed by them, they had freely used the King James Version; as is seen in the Pentateuch (including Hafṭarot and Scrolls) which was published in London, 1824, under the title . But the impropriety of the use of this version, with its Christian headings and its Messianic interpretations, did in the end impress itself upon the English Jews (see, for example, S. Bennett, "Critical Remarks on the Authorized Version," London, 1834; Seelig Newman, "Emendations of the Authorized Version of the O. T." London, 1839; Benjamin Marcus, " (Fountain of Life): Mistranslations and Difficult Passages of the O. T. Corrected and Explained," Dublin, 1854).
The veneration for this masterpiece of English literature had impressed itself upon the Jews also. When the Revised Version was published (May 17, 1881) it was eagerly seized upon as being much more suitable for Jewish readers, since in it the headings had been removed and the Christology of many passages toned down. The Revised Version is used as a basis for such books as C. G. Montefiore's "Bible for Home Reading," London, 1896, 1901. That the revision is not complete from the Jewish point of view can be seen from the leaflet issued by the Jewish Religious Education Board, "Appendix to the Revised Version" (London, 1896), which sets forth the "alterations deemed necessary with a view to placing the Revised Version in the hands of members of the Jewish faith." These alterations were limited to the following sets of cases: viz., "where the R. V. departs from the Masoretic text," and "where the R. V. is opposed to Jewish traditional interpretation or dogmatic teaching." Isaiah 52:13-53:12 is there reprinted in full.
The first to attempt to produce an independent Jewish translation was D. A. de Sola of London, who in 1840 issued a "Prospectus of a New Edition of the Sacred Scriptures, with Notes Critical and Explanatory." Morris J. Raphall and J. L. Lindenthal were associated with him in the work. Only one volume, Genesis, appeared (London, 1841; 2d ed., 1843). Of a similar attempt by S. Bennett, "The Hebrew and English Holy Bible," only Genesis 1- appeared (1841); though in the same year Francis Barham published "The Hebrew and English Holy Bible," which contained Bennett's revision of the English and a revision of the Hebrew by H. A. Henry. Another translation was published by A. Benisch, "Jewish School and Family Bible" (1851-56); and still another by M. Friedländer, ", The Jewish Family Bible" (1884). This last has had the sanction of the chief rabbi of the British Jews. A. Elzas has published translations of Proverbs (Leeds and London, 1871), Job (1872), Hosea and Joel (1873), in an attempt "to put the English reader, at least in some degree, in the position of one able to read the Hebrew text." None of these versions, however, can be said to have replaced either the Authorized or the Revised Version in the esteem of the Jewish Bible-reading public.
The United States.
In the United States the same feeling as in England had been engendered against the headings of the Authorized Version. Isaac Leeser attempted to rectify this and at the same time so to translatethe Bible as to make it represent the best results of modern study. The Prophets, Psalms, and Job are practically new versions. In the other parts, the Authorized Version is very closely followed; and though in most cases the changes Leeser made bring the translation nearer to the Masoretic text, the beauty of the English was often sacrificed. A quarto edition was published in 1854, and a duodecimo edition in 1856. Despite its insufficiencies, the smaller edition has had a wide circulation, due especially to the development of Jewish religious school instruction in the United States. The inadequacy of Leeser's translation has, however, been felt; and the Jewish Publication Society of America in 1898 took in hand the preparation of a complete revision. This is now (1902) being made by a number of scholars, with M. Jastrow, Sr., as editor-in-chief, and K. Kohler and F. de Sola Mendes as associate editors (see Reports of the Jewish Publication Society of America, 1898 et seq.).
Nowhere in Europe is the history of the translation of the Bible into the vernacular so interesting as it is in Spain. Translations were here made as early as the thirteenth century, despite the fact that in 1234 Jaime I., by means of secular legislation, prohibited their use (Lea, "History of the Inquisition in the Middle Ages," 1:324). As Berger has shown, the earliest Castilian renderings, even when made by Christians, stand much closer to the Hebrew original than do those of any other country. This seems to have been due to the early and intense influence of the Jews in the peninsula and to the Oriental coloring of its whole culture. This similarity is seen even in the outward form. The Spanish translations follow the Hebrew division of the Bible into three great parts; and it is significant that the first polyglot (Complutensian) saw the light of day in Spain. In the production of these translations both Jews and converts took a laudable part. One of the earliest of such Castilian translations is found in the Aragonese MS. j, 8 in the Escurial Library, Madrid. The Psalms in this manuscript are distinctly said to be the translation "que fizo Herman el Aleman, segund cuemo esta en el ebraygo." Herman must undoubtedly have known Hebrew, though Berger thinks that he made use of Jerome's "Psalterium Hebraicum" and not of the "Psalterium Gallicum." This Herman the German is the well-known Latin translator of Aristotle, and lived between 1240 and 1256.
In the fifteenth century several revisions of these older translations were made, but always according to the Hebrew text. Such a revision is represented by MSS. j, 5 and j, 3 in the Escurial and MS. 124:1,2 (dated 1429) in the Library of Evora. In a number of places these translations ostentatiously follow the Hebrew original and run counter to the usual Church tradition. MS. j, 3 of the Escurial is richly illuminated with miniatures, which may perhaps have been the work of Hebrew miniaturists. In this manuscript not only is the order of the books in the Canon the same as in the Hebrew, but the Pentateuch is divided into sections which agree with the parashiyot and sedarim. The proper names also follow the Hebrew and not the ordinary Latin version. Berger thinks that this manuscript may be the work of the baptized Jew, Juan Alfonso de Buena, who was in the service of Jaime II. (1416-54). An additional interest attaches to these revisions, as they formed the basis for the Spanish of the Constantinople Pentateuch of 1547 and for the Ferrara Bible; the Ferrara Bible, in its turn, was the basis for the Protestant Bible translation by Cassidoro de Reina (1569); for the revision by Cyprian de Valera (1602), the "Psalterio de David Conforme a la Verdad Hebraica" (Lyons, 1550), and the Psaltér of Juan Perez (Venice, 1557; see Samuel Berger, in "Romania," ).
A still further revision, again upon the basis of the Hebrew, was made by Rabbi Moses Arragel (1430) for Don Luis de Guzman, master of the Order of Calatrava. According to Berger, this revision was made on MS. Escurial j, 3. It is provided with a commentary, and profusely illustrated, perhaps by Jewish artists. A manuscript of the Prophets, in two languages, in the library of the Academy of History in Lisbon follows Arragel's translation so closely that it may possibly represent the first attempt of Arragel.
This Castilian translation (or revision) was carried by the Spanish exiles into Italy and Turkey. It also became the Bible of the Spanish Jews in the Netherlands. It appears first in Hebrew characters in the Polyglot Pentateuch (Hebrew, Onkelos, Rashi, Neo-Greek, and Spanish), published at Constantinople by Eliezer Bekor Gerson Soncino (see Belleli, in "Rev. Etudes Juives," 22:250; Grünbaum, "Jüd.-Span. Chrestomathie," p. 6). The Neo-Greek represents a different translation from that of the Spanish. From this polyglot it found its way into the celebrated Ferrara Bible of 1553, which bears the title "Biblia en Lengua Española, Traduzida Palabra por Palabra de la Verdad Hebrayca por Muy Excellentes Letrados, Vista y Examinada por el Oficio de la Inquisicion. Con Privilegio del Ylustrissimo Señor Duque de Ferrara." Two editions seem to have been published: one, for Jews, signed by Abraham Usque; the other, for Christians, signed by Jerome of Vargas (De los Rios, "Juifs d'Espagne," p. 432).
De los Rios (c. p. 436) thinks that the author of "Retratos o Tablas de las Historias del Testamento Viejo," Lyons, 1543, a popular exposition of the Bible, was a Marano; but this does not seem to have been proved.
The Ferrara Bible of 1553 became the basis for the Spanish and Ladino translations which were published at Salonica and Amsterdam. This is seen also in the title, which usually runs "Biblia en Lengua Española, Traduzida Palabra por Palabra de la Verdad Hebrayca." This is also true of the " con Ladino y Agora Nos a Parecedo Comenzar de los ," etc., published by Joseph b. Isaac b. Joseph Jabez in 1568, as Kayserling (c. p. 28) has clearly shown. In Amsterdam the translation remained substantially the same, though it was often revised ("reformada"): 1611; 1630 and 1646, Gillis Joost; corrected by Samuel de Caceres and printed by Joseph Athias (1661);corrected by Isaac de Abraham Dias and printed by David Fernandes (1726); "con las annotaciones de Or Torah," Proops, 1762. This translation also appeared in Venice, 1730; Constantinople, 1739-43; idem, 1745; Vienna (ed. by Israel Bahor Haim and Aaron Pollak), 1813-16; and Smyrna, 1838. A Ladino translation, in Rashi script, was published at Vienna, 1841 (2d ed., 1853), by W. S. Schauffler for the American Bible Society (see Twenty-sixth Annual Report of the society, 1842, p. 120). According to Grünbaum, it bears many points of resemblance to the Pentateuch of 1547 and to the Ferrara Bible.
Various portions of this translation appeared separately, an edition of the Pentateuch appearing in the same year (1553) and at Ferrara. To this may be added the following:
"Humas de Parasioth y Aftharoth," ed. Manasseh ben Israel, Amsterdam, 1627; ed. Ymanuel Benveniste, ib. 1643; another edition was published by Manasseh himself, ib. 1655 (though he says of it, "Obra nueva y de mucha utilidad"); "Parafrasis Comentada sobre el Pentateucho," ed. Isaac da Fonseca Aboab, ib. 1681; "Cinco Libros de la Ley Divina . . . de Nuevo Corrigidos," by David Tartas, ib. 1691; "Los Cinco Libros . . . Interpretados en Lengua Española," ed. Joseph Franco Serrano, ib. 1695; 1705 and 1724 (Isaac de Cordova); "Cinco Libros," corrected by David de Elisha Pereyra, ib. 1733; "El Libro de la Ley," published in Constantinople in 1873, is, according to Grünbaum (c. 12), a different translation.
The Psalms were reprinted: Ferrara, 1553; Salonica, 1582; Amsterdam, 1628, 1730; Vienna, 1822; Constantinople, 1836. Several other translations of the Psalms were produced during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. David Abenatar Melo, a Marano who escaped the Inquisition at Madrid and became a Jew again in 1611, published in 1626 ("En Franquaforte") "Los CL Psalmos de David, en Lengua Española, en Varias Rimas." In these Psalms he has inserted, when appropriate, an account of his own and his people's sufferings (De los Rios, c. pp. 468 et seq.; Kayserling, "Bibl. Esp.-Port.-Jud." pp. 67, 68). A prose translation was made by Ephraim Bueno and Jonah Abravanel (Amsterdam, 1650; 2d edition, 1723; see De los Rios, c. p. 498). A third translation was made by Jacob Judah Leon Templo (, "Las Alabancas de Santidad," Amsterdam, 1671)—a verbatim prose translation of the original (De los Rios, c. p. 570; Kayserling, c. p. 58).
Of all the Biblical books, Canticles was most frequently reprinted. A translation was published in Hamburg, 1631, by David Cohen Carlos "de lengua Caldayca"; but the favorite rendering was that of Abraham de Isaac Lañado, published in Hebrew characters at Venice, 1619, 1654, 1655, 1672, 1716, 1721, 1739, 1805; Leghorn, 1769, 1787; Vienna, 1820. The Venice edition was published in Roman characters by Moses Belmonte, Amsterdam, 1644, and was reprinted at Amsterdam, 1664, 1683, 1701, 1712, 1724, and 1766. An edition of the Megillot appeared at Constantinople in 1813 (see Kayserling, c. p. 30); a Megillah in Spanish, dating from the early part of the eighteenth century, exists in the British Museum ("Jewish Chron." March 21, 1902, p. 24); but the provenience of the translation is unknown (on such Megillot see Abrahams, "Jewish Life in the Middle Ages," p. 345). A Portuguese translation of the Psalms, under the title "Espejo Fiel de Vidas," by Daniel Israel Lopez Laguna, appeared in London, 1720 (Kayserling, c. p. 55).
Both Zunz ("G. V." 2d ed., p. 457) and Güdemann ("Erziehungswesen in Italien," p. 206) refer to early translations of the Bible into Italian; the latter even speaks of their existence in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Steinschneider has shown ("Monatsschrift," 42:117) that this is an error. It is true that some of the authorities (such as Zedekiah ben Abraham and Isaiah de Trani, the younger) laid stress upon the necessity of translating the Bible into the speech of the country; but Judah 'Azahel del Bene (Ferrara, c. 1650) advised against the practise of teaching girls Italian, as he feared they would conceive a love for amorous poetry (Vogelstein and Rieger, "Juden in Rom," 2:300). It was not before the sixteenth century that attempts were made to produce versions of portions of the Bible in Italian. Steinschneider (c. p. 318) has given a list of the existing manuscript translations. It was toward the end of that century that the first translations were published. David de Pomis (died after 1593) brought out an edition of Ecclesiastes with Italian translation at Venice in 1571. It was dedicated to Cardinal Grimani of Aquileja (Steinschneider, "Cat. Bodl." No. 218). He also translated Job and Psalms, but never published them ("Monatsschrift," 43:32). Hezekiah Rieti published (Venice, 1617) the text of Proverbs with Italian translation ("Cat. Bodl." No. 418); but no reliable account can be found of a translation of Job (Rome, 1773) mentioned by Zunz.
The translations made in the nineteenth century were all more or less under the influence of Mendelssohn's biur. In 1818 I. S. Reggio published at Vienna, as a specimen, ten verses of Genesis. He then brought out the whole Pentateuch ( "colla Traduzione Italiana"), Vienna, 1821; and ten years later "Il Libro d'Isaia, Versione Poetica" (Udine, 1831). Severe criticism was passed upon this version, because it seemed to weaken the force of many of the Messianic prophecies (see Fürst, "Bibl. Jud." 3:140). In 1844 there appeared at Leghorn () an Italian translation of Job (Fürst, "Bibl. Jud." 2:282, says it is by Luzzatto); and in 1872 a "Pentateuch, rev. von Letteris, mit Ital. Uebersetzung von Diodati" (Vienna; perhaps also London, 1836, 1864). Lelio della Torre of Padua translated the Psalms (Vienna, 1845). But these were completely overshadowed by the exact and careful versions of S. D. Luzzatto, whose poetical and literary judgment made him an excellent stylist (see "Hebr. Bibl." 6:99; Elbogen, in "Monatsschrift," 44:460). He translated the greater part of the Old Testament: Isaiah ("Il Profeta Isaia Volgarizzato"), Padua, 1855-63; Pentateuch, Rovigo, 1860, Padua, 1876; Prophets, Rovigo, 1868; Isaiah, Padua, 1867; Job, Triest, 1853; generally with a valuable Hebrew commentary. Other Italian translations were produced: by Giuseppe Barzilai, "El Cantico dei Cantici" (Triest, 1865) in dramatic form, following Mandelstamm's and Horowitz's German translations; Lamentations (Trieste, 1867); by David Castelli, Ecclesiastes (Pisa, 1866); by Benjamin Consolo, Lamentations, Job, and Psalms (Florence?);by Gino Morpurgo, Ecclesiastes (Padua, 1898), and Esther (1899).
Translations of the Old Testament into French were not made by Jews prior to the first half of the nineteenth century. In 1831 Samuel Cahen began a monumental work, "La Bible, Traduction Nouvelle" (Paris, 1833-46, in 18 volumes), to which were added many essays by Munk, Zunz, Dukes, and others, and also a somewhat rationalistic commentary. This work was somewhat severely criticized (Abbé B. M. B., "Quelques Mots sur la Traduction Nouvelle," etc., Paris, 1835; "Allg. Zeit. des Jud." 1839, p. 30; "Literaturblatt des Orients," 1840, pp. 368 et seq.; Wogue, "Hist. de la Bible," p. 342); but it held the field for many years. A more faithful version of the Pentateuch was published in 1860 by Lazare Wogue. Among other translators may be mentioned A. ben Baruch Créhange (Psalms), and B. Mossé of Avignon (Psalms). But a popular and cheap Bible in French was sorely needed by the French Jews. Such a work has been taken in hand by the present chief rabbi of France, Zadok Kahn, and the other members of the French rabbinate. Wogue's translation was employed as the basis for the Pentateuch. The author himself made the necessary corrections; and before his death he was able to finish the translation of the prophetical books down to the First Book of Kings (vol. , Paris, 1899). At the same time and under the same auspices, a children's Bible ("Bible de la Jeunesse") is being brought out.
Few translations have been attempted by the Dutch Jews into their vernacular: the Spanish and Portuguese Jews in Holland made use of Spanish; the Ashkenazic Jews, of the Judæo-German version. The version of the Psalms in Dutch printed by Joseph Athias was made by Johann Leusden. During the nineteenth century translations were made by Samuel J. Mulder (see his "Tets over de Vertalingen der Heilige Schrift," Amsterdam, 1859): Pentateuch, 1826-42; Major Prophets, 1827; Five Scrolls, 1835, 3d ed. 1859; Proverbs, 1836; Psalms, 1838; all published in Amsterdam. He also published a "Bijbel voor de Israel. Jeugd," Leyden, 1843-54. In 1844 Gabriel J. and M. S. Polak published a Dutch translation of Job, which was to have been followed by a translation of the Prophets and the Hagiographa. This seems never to have been completed. A translation of Isaiah by G. A. Parsen also exists; while a new translation of the Pentateuch, together with Targum and Rashi, was brought out by A. S. Ondervijser in 1901.
Jewish translations into Russian are of very recent date. The writer knows only of L. I. Mandelstamm's Psalms (Berlin, 1864; 3d ed. 1872), Pentateuch (, 3d ed., Berlin, 1872); Aaron Pumpiansky's Psalms (Warsaw, 1871); J. Cylkow's Psalms (1883); and a version of Esther in German (Hebrew characters) and Russian (Warsaw, 1889). A Polish translation has been published by D. Neufeld.
- See especially Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. cols. 1-198;
- idem, Jewish Literature, pp. 232 et seq.;
- Jost, Neuere Gesch. der Israeliten, 3:37,139,161;
- Kayserling, in Winter and Wünsche, Die Jüdische Literatur, 3:751 et seq.;
- Jacobs and Wolf, Bibl. Anglo-Jud. pp. 199 et seq.;
- Urtext und Uebersetzungen der Bibel, in Real-Encykl. für Protest. Theologie und Kirche, vol. , Leipsic, 1897.
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Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Septuagint'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/s/septuagint.html. 1901.