By Naomi Seidman
Devoted Renderings reads translation historical past in the course of the lens of Jewish–Christian distinction and, conversely, perspectives Jewish–Christian distinction as an impression of translation. Subjecting translation to a theological-political research, Seidman asks how the charged Jewish–Christian relationship—and extra relatively the dependence of Christianity at the texts and translations of a rival religion—has haunted the speculation and perform of translation within the West. Bringing jointly crucial matters in translation experiences with episodes in Jewish–Christian background, Naomi Seidman considers various texts, from the Bible to Elie Wiesel’s evening, delving into such controversies because the accuracy of varied Bible translations, the medieval use of converts from Judaism to Christianity as translators, the censorship of anti-Christian references in Jewish texts, and the interpretation of Holocaust testimony. devoted Renderings eventually unearths that translation isn't really a marginal phenomenon yet fairly a vital factor for figuring out the family among Jews and Christians and certainly the improvement of every non secular group.
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Extra info for Faithful Renderings: Jewish-Christian Difference and the Politics of Translation (Afterlives of the Bible)
68 What mattered to the rabbis about translating the Torah was as much audience as content. A talmudic lecture by Emanuel Levinas on the the dense passage in tractate Megilla that is perhaps the most extended rabbinic discussion of transla- introduction 27 tion is remarkably sensitive to the degree to which translation, for the rabbis, involved the negotiation of cultural boundaries. The Mishnah with which Levinas opens his analysis distinguishes between two varieties of Hebrew texts, one for which translation is permitted and another for which it is not: mishnah: Between the [holy] books on the one hand and the teﬁllin and mezuzot on the other, there is only one diJerence: the books are written in all languages, whereas the teﬁllin and the mezuzot only in “Assyrian” [Hebrew].
The absence of the Jew, as both privileged and suspect interpreter of Hebrew sources, not only is necessary for the Christian appropriation and German domestication of the Bible, it is also paradoxically central to the development of modern translation in the West. The fourth chapter,“A Translator Culture,” examines German-Jewish culture through the lens of translation, beginning with Moses Mendelssohn’s Bible translation and ending with the translation theory of Walter Benjamin. While previous scholarship has tended to conceptualize German-Jewish translation in the light of cultural integration or symbiosis, I argue that the formulation of translation as a variety of cultural encounter (itself a GermanJewish notion) has served to conceal a variety of tensions and asymmetries in the German-Jewish translation project.
Such a dichotomizing of Jews and Christians in antiquity, though, strips the discussion of all nuance: the various beliefs about Mary’s virginity and Jesus’s parentage, and the value of the Septuagint, were fairly ﬂuid among the populations from which rabbinic Judaism and orthodox Christianity emerged, a population that we can now see included, inter alia, Jewish Christians, Judaizing Christians of Gentile origin as well as Judaizers of non-Christian aIliation, and Jews attracted to various aspects of Christian belief or practice.