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Koheleth Mussar


KOHELETH MUSSAR (Heb. "The Moral Ecclesiastes"), a collection of moralistic Hebrew literature published in Berlin by Moses *Mendelssohn and Tobias Bock sometime during the 1750s. Considered by many to be the first modern Hebrew periodical, Koheleth Mussar was the publication in which Mendelssohn's lucid, biblically influenced Hebrew style first appeared. Mendelssohn composed descriptions of nature as well as didactic exhortations to a moral way of life, and praises of the neglected Hebrew tongue. Citing the example of other peoples who had begun to revive and develop their languages, Mendelssohn asked, "Why are we dreaming and inert; why do we not apply their example to our language which is most eminent and ancient?" Only two issues appeared, each four pages in length and comprising six chapters. Precise data about the author(s), publishers, place, and year of publication are lacking. There have been many conjectures as to the year of publication, which range from 1750 to 1758. Until World War i three copies of the first issue were known to be extant (one in the British Museum), and only one copy of the second issue (Leipzig University Library). It was reprinted with a preface by J. Edelstein in the Festschrift zum 50 jaehrigen Bestehen der Franz-Josef-Landesrabbinerschule in Budapest ((1927), Heb. pt. (55–76)) and in an amended version in volume 14 of the complete works of Moses Mendelssohn, edited by Borodianski (Bar-Dayyan (d. 1978); Berlin, 1939, the last Hebrew book printed in Nazi Germany; the only extant copy is preserved by the editor in Jerusalem).


J. Toury, in: ks, 43 (1967/68), 279–84; idem, in: blbi, 10 (1967), 93–110; H.M.Z. Meyer, ibid., 11 (1968), 48–60; J. Toury, ibid., 60–65.

[Getzel Kressel]

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