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Introduction to Old Yiddish Literature$
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Jean Baumgarten and Jerold C. Frakes

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199276332

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276332.001.0001

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Yiddish Bibles

Yiddish Bibles

(p.82) 5 Yiddish Bibles
Introduction to Old Yiddish Literature

Jean Baumgarten

, Jerold C. Frakes
Oxford University Press

The Hebrew Bible was the foundation on which most of Old Yiddish literature was based. The Bible played a central role as the basis of education and the transmission of Judaism to the Jewish masses, whether via glossaries, dictionaries, concordances, verse or prose translations, or homiletic commentaries. It also formed the textual basis on which was built the Jewish literary tradition in the vernacular: epics, romance, and biblical poems and dramas. The translations by Isaac Blitz and Alexander Witzenhausen had scarcely any impact on their own era due to the expanding importance of the Tsene-rene. Nonetheless, they proved that vernacular translation was a territory favourable to experimentation and renewal of earlier modes in the transmission of the sacred traditions.

Keywords:   Hebrew Bible, Judaism, Yiddish Bible, Tsene-rene, Blitz, Witzenhausen

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