- Series: Library of Jewish Ideas
- Hardcover: 296 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press (February 14, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691153299
- ISBN-13: 978-0691153292
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Story of Hebrew (Library of Jewish Ideas)
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"The most ambitious attempt since William Chomsky's groundbreaking 1957 study, Hebrew: The Eternal Language, Mr. Glinert's biography of Hebrew succeeds in representing the language not just as a vehicle of communication but as a crucible of national cohesion. To read [this book] is to appreciate Hebrew as the grammar of a dynamic dialogue between the claims of the ever-changing present and the imperatives of the past."--Benjamin Balint, Wall Street Journal
"An insightful, entertaining, and essential guide to the origins and evolution of the Hebrew language. . . . This is a must-read for students of language and Jewish history."--Publishers Weekly
"Glinert brings the Hebrew story to life with such a wealth of intriguing cultural detail in so astonishingly few pages of lively, engaging exposition that his account is must reading for all who revel in the history and elasticity of languages."--Ray Olson, Booklist (starred review)
"Elegant. . . . The Story of Hebrew covers a great deal of ground in a readable style, studded with stories and quotations that make clear how astonishing it is that out of the fossil DNA of this sacred language, a new creation has arisen."--David Wolpe, Weekly Standard
"The Story of Hebrew . . . is enormously rewarding for those wishing to familiarize themselves with the evolution both of the Hebrew language and attitudes toward it. . . . Glinert is an excellent tour guide. Many of the book's most compelling stories are those that help explain how, during the nearly two millennia during which it had generally ceased to be a spoken language, Hebrew continued to be central to the lives of Jews."--Howard Freedman, J Weekly
"Valuable. . . . Glinert has written a scholarly book designed for and accessible to the layman. In a brief 250 pages he succinctly and convincingly demonstrates that through the centuries Hebrew was more living than dead."--David Isaac, Washington Free Beacon
"The Story of Hebrew is a scholarly, engaging history of the language. . . . Richly detailed and wholly fascinating. Glinert is an engaging storyteller, always lucid, wry and accessible."--Jonathan Kirsch, Jewish Journal
"A major work of scholarship, The Story of Hebrew is an unforgettable account of what one language has meant to those possessing it."--Israel News Online
"Witty and learned. . . . I thought that I was well versed in the history of Hebrew, but there was hardly a page in this book on which I didn't learn something new. And Glinert is a pleasure to spend time with; his authorial voice in The Story of Hebrew reminds me of those famous BBC radio talks given by enormously erudite Oxbridge dons: authoritative, amusing, and crystal clear."--Alan Mintz, Jewish Review of Books
"In this meticulously researched but highly readable work of scholarship by Glinert, the Dartmouth professor tells not just a history of the Jewish language but, indeed, its story. From the opening lines of Genesis to its modern Israeli incarnation, Hebrew has packed more symbolic power than almost any other tongue. . . . An entertaining account that should also serve as a fundamental text for any student of language or Jewish history."--Victor Wishna, Jewish Telegraphic Agency
"This book is a gem. . . . The Story of Hebrew is a superb book, meticulously researched and beautifully written. . . . Read this marvelous study."--Curt Leviant, Jewish Independent
From the Back Cover
"In this incandescent narrative of an ever-renewing tongue, masterful linguist Lewis Glinert traces how Hebrew, however severely displaced from its native ground, has continued through centuries of tribulation to nurture its heritage. Elegantly luring us from one intellectual movement to the next, he arrives at history's most moving culmination: the language of the Book returning at last to the everyday voices of little children."--Cynthia Ozick, author of Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays
"An absolutely fascinating story--about the history of Jewish culture, the power of language, and the enduring meaning of Hebrew for Jews and non-Jews alike. Written with command, grace, and charm, this is a marvelous and utterly engaging work."--Barry W. Holtz, Theodore and Florence Baumritter Professor of Jewish Education, Jewish Theological Seminary
"Superb. The Story of Hebrew is a wonderful book--elegantly written, meticulously researched, and exciting to read. A magnificent study."--Curt Leviant, author of the novels King of Yiddish and Kafka's Son
"Masterfully written. Glinert's in-depth account of the sociolinguistic, historical, and cultural aspects of Hebrew is entirely new. A significant contribution to the field."--Aharon Maman, Bialik Professor of Hebrew Language, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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Top Customer Reviews
Fact is, it is difficult to write a book about the entire span of a 3000 year language history. But Glinert has done an admirable job. He focuses on particular eras and important individuals to explore how Hebrew began, expanded, slumbered, and was reawakened as a spoken language. There are two chapters on the impact of Hebrew “On the Christian Imagination” and although interesting, I wonder if the author would have best spent precious pages elsewhere, as Christian investigations into Hebrew, by and large, seldom interested Jews, especially in the time period he explores.
With that said, this is a fascinating book, and long in coming. The history of Hebrew is singularly fascinating. An ancient language, it was at once literary (biblical Hebrew), spoken (rabbinical Hebrew) and a language of poetry, letters, and religious study. When it once again became a spoken language in the late nineteenth century, Hebrew entered the world of European nationalism, forming a cohesive bond in a land of immigrants. In the process, it expanded and modernized, developed modern literary forms and informal, spoken modes of speech.
For fans of language study, this book has about all areas of interest; we are lucky to have this work.