The Story of Hebrew explores the extraordinary hold that Hebrew has had on Jews and Christians, who have invested it with a symbolic power far beyond that of any other language in history. Preserved by the Jews across two millennia, Hebrew endured long after it ceased to be a mother tongue, resulting in one of the most intense textual cultures ever known. Hebrew was a bridge to Greek and Arab science, and it unlocked the biblical sources for Jerome and the Reformation. Kabbalists and humanists sought philosophical truth in it, and Colonial Americans used it to shape their own Israelite political identity. Today, it is the first language of millions of Israelis. A major work of scholarship, The Story of Hebrew is an unforgettable account of what one language has meant and continues to mean.
Princeton University Pres
Country of Publication:
Series: Library of Jewish Ideas
15 September 2018
Professional and scholarly
List of Figures ix Introduction 1 1 Let There Be Hebrew 8 2 Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome 22 3 Saving the Bible and Its Hebrew 59 4 The Sephardic Classical Age 74 5 Medieval Ashkenaz and Italy: Sciences, Sonnets, and the Sacred 102 6 Hebrew in the Christian Imagination, I: Medieval Designs 124 7 Hebrew in the Christian Imagination, II: From Kabbalists to Colonials 139 8 Can These Bones Live? Hebrew at the Dawn of Modernity 168 9 The Hebrew State 212 Epilogue 246 Acknowledgments 251 Notes 253 Further Reading 261 Index 265
Lewis Glinert is Professor of Hebrew Studies at Dartmouth College, where he is also affiliated with the Program in Linguistics. His books include The Grammar of Modern Hebrew and The Joys of Hebrew.
Reviews for The Story of Hebrew
I cannot recall reading any book about Jewish history that contains as much suspense and as many surprises, [or] that supplies so many 'Aha!' moments. --Susan Miron, ArtsFuse [A] fascinating study that reads easily and wears its scholarship lightly. --Sylvia Rothschild, The Jewish Chronicle To read [this book] is to appreciate Hebrew as the grammar of a dynamic dialogue between the claims of the ever-changing present and the imperatives of the past. --Benjamin Balint, Wall Street Journal In this incandescent narrative of an ever-renewing tongue, masterful linguist Lewis Glinert traces how Hebrew, however severely displaced from its native ground, has continued through centuries of tribulation to nurture its heritage. Elegantly luring us from one intellectual movement to the next, he arrives at history's most moving culmination: the language of the Book returning at last to the everyday voices of little children. --Cynthia Ozick, author of Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays One of CHOICE's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2017 Finalist for the 2017 National Jewish Book Award in History (Gerrard and Ella Berman Memorial Award)
- Commended for 2017 National Jewish Book Award in History (Gerrard and Ella Berman Memorial Award) 2017
- Short-listed for CHOICE 's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2017 2017