The Invention of Jewish Identity
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Bible, Philosophy, and the Art of Translation
by Aaron W. Hughes
Jews from all ages have translated the Bible for their particular times and needs, but what does the act of translation mean? Aaron W. Hughes believes translation has profound implications for Jewish identity. The Invention of Jewish Identity presents the first sustained analysis of Bible translation and its impact on Jewish philosophy from the medieval period to the 20th century. Hughes examines some of the most important Jewish thinkers—Saadya Gaon, Moses ibn Ezra, Maimonides, Judah Messer Leon, Moses Mendelssohn, Martin Buber, and Franz Rosenzweig—and their work on biblical narrative, to understand how linguistic and conceptual idioms change and develop into ideas about the self. The philosophical issues behind Bible translation, according to Hughes, are inseparable from more universal sets of questions that affect Jewish life and learning.