Gordon, Samuel Leib
GORDON, SAMUEL LEIB
GORDON, SAMUEL LEIB (1865–1933), Hebrew writer and Bible scholar. Born in Lithuania, he immigrated to Palestine in 1898 and taught at the Jaffa Boys School. When the school was taken over by the *Alliance Israélite Universelle, he left for Warsaw (1901) where he established a Hebrew school for boys. In 1924, he returned to Palestine and devoted the latter years of his life to the composition of an extensive commentary on the Bible. Gordon contributed poems, articles, and translations to the Hebrew periodicals of the late 19th century, and also wrote extensively for children. His books include Kinnor Yeshurun (3 vols., 1891–93); Torat ha-Sifrut (2 vols., 1900), which was reprinted many times; and a revised edition of his poems, Shirim u-Fo'emot (with foreword by S. Halkin), which was published in 1955. He translated three books by I. *Zangwill, La Fontaine's Fables, and Shakespeare's King Lear. Gordon's textbooks played a vital role in Hebrew education in the Diaspora at the turn of the century; Ha-Lashon (3 vols., 1910–19) was one of his most popular works. He also edited several journals for the young: Olam Katan (1901–05), Ha-Ne'urim (1904–05), as well as Ha-Pedagog (1903–04), a journal of education to which the best writers of his generation contributed.
From 1907 he worked on a vocalized Bible commentary which was to provide a "new scientific pedagogical interpretation for advanced students and teachers, edited in the accepted traditional spirit." Known as Shalag after the initials of his name, it was largely based on German Bible criticism. Gordon explained words and subject matter simply and fully enough for school pupils and teachers without elaborating on the religious significance of the Bible. His introduction to the prophetic and hagiographic books deal with the literary aspect as well as with personalities and events. Gordon's commentary is still used extensively in the secondary schools in Israel, with the exception of those which are religiously oriented.
[Jacob S. Levinger]
H.N. Bialik, Devarim she-be-Al-Peh (1935), 242–3; M. Gluecksohn, Ishim ba-Madda u-va-Sifrut (1941), 309–12; J. Fichmann, Be-Terem Aviv (1959); idem, Ruḥot Menaggenot (1953), 383–6; Kitvei A. Levinson, 1 (1957), 161–5; M.Y. Fried, Yamim ve-Shanim, 2 (1939), 147–50; H.A. Kaplan, Pezurai (1937), 198–201.
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