Modern Hebrew Literature

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  • Topic: Hebrew language, Israel, Kabbalah
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  • Published : February 26, 2013
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Modern Hebrew Literature
In addition to writing traditional rabbinic literature in Hebrew, modern Jews developed new forms of fiction, poetry, and essay-writing, which are typically called "Modern Hebrew Literature." Eighteenth Century

Moses Hayyim Luzzatto's allegorical drama "La-Yesharim Tehillah" (1743) may be regarded as the first product of modern Hebrew literature. It has been referred to as "a poem that in its classic perfection of style is second only to the Bible." Luzzatto's pupil in Amsterdam, David Franco Mendes (1713–92), in his imitations of Jean Racine ("Gemul 'Atalyah") and of Metastasio ("Yehudit"), continued his master's work, though his works are not as respected as were Luzzatto's. Alsi in the eighteenth century, the Haskalah (Jewish enlightenment) movement worked to achieve political emancipation for Jews in Europe. Moses Mendelssohn's translation of the Hebrew Bible into German inspired interest in the Hebrew language that led to the founding of a quarterly review written in Hebrew. Other periodicals followed. Poetry by Naphtali Hirz Wessely such as "Shire Tif'eret," or "Mosiade," made Wessely, so to speak, poet laureate of the period. Nineteenth Century

In nineteenth-century Galicia, poets, scholars, and popular writers who contributed to the dissemination of Hebrew and to the emancipation of the Jews of Galicia included: •Nachman Krochmal (1785–1840), a philosopher, theologian, and historian. •Solomon Judah Loeb Rapoport (1790–1867), a rabbi, poet, and biographer •Isaac Erter (1792–1841), a satirical poet whose collection of essays, "Ha-Tzofeh le-Bet Yisrael," is one of the purest works of modern Hebrew literature, attacking Hasidic superstitions and prejudices in a vigorous and classical style. •Meir Halevy Letteris (1800–1871), a lyric poet also known for his adaption of Goethe's Faust into Hebrew. In Amsterdam, a circle of Hebrew-language literary artists emerged in the nineteenth century, including the poet Samuel Molder...
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