Sunday, May 20, 2012

Arabic Translation of Talmud in High Demand

Over 90 Jordanian researchers spend six years translating Babylonian Talmud into Arabic; The 20-volume set sells for $750 and demand across Arab world is said to be strong.
(Ynet) No one knows whether King Abdullah of Jordan knows how to learn a page of Gemara, but now he can, even if he doesn't know Aramaic.

A group of some 90 Jordanian researchers has spent six long years translating the entire Talmud into Arabic – an echo of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, who labored 45 years translating the Babylonian Talmud from Aramaic into Hebrew.

The project is the brainchild of Jordan's Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) an academic group that aims to make the Talmud accessible to the Arab population. Are Arabs taking advantage of that access? Certainly – the 20-volume set, which sells for $750, is in demand throughout the Arab world. According to the Ultra-Orthodox website Kikar Shabbat, the translated Talmud is being sold in markets and at book fairs.

Israel's National Library has also acquired a copy. Dr. Raquel Ukeles, curator of the library's Arabic collection, says: "We learned about the project to translate the Talmud into Arabic by chance, through reports of the storm it was causing among religious leaders in Riyyad, probably because it makes available a text considered so central to Judaism."