This article addresses the Hebrew translation of the Qur’an – an exceptional philological and cultural project – in the context of the Hebrew culture of Mandatory Palestine. It examines this project through the figure of the translator, Yosef Yo’el Rivlin, and the various circles within which he operated: the “Jerusalemite Group” of native Jewish intellectuals, the milieu of Oriental Studies in Frankfurt, the Zionist “Kinnus Project,” and the recently-founded Hebrew University. The article scrutinizes the different cultural, social and political trends that lay at the core of this unique project as well as the political and cultural meanings it bore for Rivlin and his colleagues at the Dvir publishing house – first and foremost among them H.N. Bialik, who lent a hand in editing the translation. The article contributes to the understanding of Oriental research in Mandatory Palestine and abroad, and of the development of Jewish national culture in Mandatory Palestine.
Naharaim is a peer-reviewed journal of the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Centre at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It is devoted to current research in philosophical, literary, and historical aspects of German-Jewish culture. The contributions are mainly in German or English.