This article focuses on trans-linguistic relationships between the German aphoristic writings of Israeli, Hebrew poet, and rabbi Elazar Benyoëtz (*1937) and his personal library, which is one of the last and largest private book collections in Israel to contain the German-Jewish literary canon. By reading traces from the library’s marginalia and paraphernalia, analyzed here for the first time, the article presents five case studies that sketch Benyoëtz’s transformation during the 1960s and 1970s from a Hebrew poet into the most influential contemporary writer of aphorisms in German. The article also presents points of departure for future research into the development of the Archiv Bibliographia Judaica, the largest encyclopedia of Jewish authors in the German language.
The authors would like to thank Joshua Shelly, Arndt Engelhardt, and Shira Yael Naveh for their comments on earlier drafts. The research for this article was conducted in close collaboration with the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center at the Hebrew University. We are grateful to Benjamin Pollock, Naama Seri-Levi, Tammy Bashmashnikov, Ma’ayan Aharony, and Enrico Lucca for their kind cooperation. Special thanks are to Elazar Benyoëtz, as well as to both careful anonymous reviewers.
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