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2019 | 8 | 103-115

Article title

Languages of the Bible and Polish—Jewish Relations


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This paper brings together two phenomena not commonly regarded as closely connected: linguistic patterns in ancient Biblical transmission, and Jewish-Christian relations as manifest in Polish-Israeli dynamics. After summarizing the nature of Jewish-Greek language in the Septuagint (LXX) and related texts, the discussion proceeds to an explanation of the “bifurcation of meaning” that arose between Jewish and Christian interpreters who read the same words. This exegetical and translational reality exerted a strong real-world effect on Jewish-Christian interaction throughout history. Medieval and modern Polish-Jewish and Polish-Israeli relations continue to bear the stamp of such ancient linguistic and theological reconfigurations. Today a renaissance of Jewish cultural life in Poland has energized Christians as well as Jews, opening up new possibilities for collaboration and mutual understanding. At the same time, political tensions related to conflicting versions of the past—particularly the Holocaust and its memory—have laid bare fundamental contradictions between and within Israeli and Polish self-perceptions. The paper argues that study of Biblical languages and early Judeo-Christian traditions is of great relevance for the current situation and for prospective future progress in fellow feeling and inter-national understanding.


  • Israel Study Center


Document Type

Publication order reference


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