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Words on Fire: The Unfinished Story of Yiddish
     

Words on Fire: The Unfinished Story of Yiddish

5.0 2
by Dovid Katz
 

ISBN-10: 0465037305

ISBN-13: 9780465037308

Pub. Date: 05/28/2007

Publisher: Basic Books


Words on Fire offers a rich, engaging account of the history and evolution of the Yiddish language. Drawing on almost thirty years of scholarship, prominent Yiddish scholar Dovid Katz traces the origins of Yiddish back to the Europe of a thousand years ago, and shows how those origins are themselves an uninterrupted continuation of the previous three

Overview


Words on Fire offers a rich, engaging account of the history and evolution of the Yiddish language. Drawing on almost thirty years of scholarship, prominent Yiddish scholar Dovid Katz traces the origins of Yiddish back to the Europe of a thousand years ago, and shows how those origins are themselves an uninterrupted continuation of the previous three millennia of Jewish history and culture in the Near East. Words on Fire narrates the history of the language from medieval times onward, through its development as written literature, particularly for and by Jewish women. In the wake of secularizing and modernizing movements of the nineteenth century, Yiddish rose spectacularly in a few short years from a mass folk idiom to the language of sophisticated modern literature, theater, and journalism. Although a secular Yiddish culture no longer exists, Katz argues that its resurgence among religious Jewish communities ensures that Yiddish will still be a thriving language in the twenty-first century. For anyone interested in Jewish history and tradition, Words on Fire will be a definitive account of this remarkable language and the culture that created and sustained it.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465037308
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
05/28/2007
Pages:
512
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsxi
Notes to the Readerxv
Introduction1
1Genesis11
2The Three Languages of Ashkenaz45
3Old Yiddish Literature79
4What Should a Lady Read?89
5Yiddish and Kabbalah113
6In the East131
7Westernization and Language173
8New Visions of Judaism225
9The Twentieth Century257
10In the Twenty-First Century349
11The Future of Yiddish367
Index399

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Words on Fire: The Unfinished Story of Yiddish 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
StanC More than 1 year ago
A fascinating book that I couldn't put down. It raises issues about Jewish life and practices during the past thousand years, the relationship between Jews and non-Jews in Europe, the dispersion and wanderings of Jews across the old world, the relationship of men and women in Jewish culture, the role of talmudic scholars in controlling the spread of knowledge, as well as telling the story of the development of Yiddish as a language.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an extraordinary and compelling book. I received it as a birthday present and expected a somewhat dry discussion of a subject in which I have some personal interest. Instead I was captivated by a story of the Yiddish language presented as a vivid, very human history of the Ashkinazi Yiddish speaking Jewish communities offered as a guidepost to the evolution of the Yiddish language. The writing sparkles and while I lack the background to comment on the scholarship of the contents, from the depth and breadth of the information offered, I sense it is formidable. Rather than a one or two-hundred year story of relatively recent Jewish speaking communities, the book traces Yiddish back to its roots in Germany about a thousand years ago, following the expansion and migration of the Ashkenazi Jewish communities from Germany into Eastern Europe and the resulting evolution of, as well as tensions in, both language and culture. It offers insight into both the everyday lives of European Jews and into the rabbinic influences, and into the manner in which each influenced or was influenced by the evolving Yiddish language and culture. For anyone interested in Yiddish, in Jewish culture or in a little-explored piece of European and Jewish history, this is a must read.