The Bible and Critical Theory, Vol 6, No 1 (2010)

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Do Israelis Understand the Hebrew Bible?

Ghil‘ad Zuckermann

Abstract


The Hebrew Bible should be taught like a foreign language in Israel too, argues Ghil‘ad Zuckermann, inter alia endorsing Avraham Ahuvia’s recently-launched translation of the Old Testament into what Zuckermann calls high-register ‘Israeli’. According to Zuckermann, Tanakh RAM fulfills the mission of ‘red ’el ha‘am’ not only in its Hebrew meaning (Go down to the people) but also – more importantly – in its Yiddish meaning (‘red’ meaning ‘speak!’, as opposed to its colorful communist sense). Ahuvia’s translation is most useful and dignified. Given its high register, however, Zuckermann predicts that the future promises consequent translations into more colloquial forms of Israeli, a beautifully multi-layered and intricately multi-sourced language, of which to be proud.

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Bible and Critical Theory: ISSN 1832-3391