Pre-eminent among gentiles: Milton’s major poetry in Hebrew translation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

This chapter examines the various extant Hebrew translations of Milton’s Paradise Lost and Samson Agonistes. Both poems were first translated into elaborate biblical and midrashic Hebrew in the nineteenth century by interested Jewish readers with widely differing religious, spiritual, and literary agendas. As this chapter argues, a close examination of these translations, and their implicit and explicit aims, reveals much about the vexed, fertile relationship between Jewish and Christian consciousness. Even more interestingly, this discussion ultimately sheds fresh and important light on the peculiar Hebraic integrity of Milton’s English verse. This chapter proposes that, when viewed in light of these translations, many previous questions raised with respect to Milton’s putative anti-Semitism and his ambivalent Hebraism may be rethought and readdressed from the outside in, as it were, with startling results.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMilton in Translation
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages415-428
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780198754824
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Keywords

  • Conversion
  • English literature
  • Hebraism
  • Isaac Salkinson
  • Joseph masel
  • Judaism
  • Paradise lost
  • Samson agonistes
  • Translation into Hebrew

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