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Salkinson, Isaac Edward


SALKINSON, ISAAC EDWARD (Eliezer ; 1820–1883), Hebrew translator who converted to Christianity and became a missionary. Raised in Belorussia, he trained as a teacher, then studied grammar, Bible, and German, and translated the first act of Schiller's Kabale und Liebe into Hebrew. While living in London he converted to Christianity (1849). He became a Presbyterian pastor in 1856, and in 1876 was sent as a missionary to Vienna, where he spent the rest of his life. Despite his conversion Salkinson regarded himself as a Jew. Emotionally and intellectually he had strong ties to the Hebrew language, which he believed should replace Latin as the sacred language of Christianity. His translations reflect his dual motives and fall into two categories: some were intended to bring Jews closer to Christianity; others were done for purely artistic reasons. The first type included Va-Yegaresh et ha-Adam (1871), a translation of Milton's Paradise Lost; and Ha-Berit ha-Ḥadashah (The New Testament), published posthumously in 1883. The second type included translations of Othello (Ithiel ha-Kushi) and Romeo and Juliet (Ram ve-Ya'el; Vienna, 1874 and 1875). A conscientious craftsman who wrote in lucid, neo-biblical style, Salkinson was one of the finest translators of the Haskalah period.


I. Cohen, Isaac Edward Salkinson (Heb., 1942); Kressel, Leksikon, 1 (1965), 751–3.

[Elieser Kagan]

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