Tuesday 27 October 2015


GUSTAF HERMANN DALMAN (June 9, 1855-August 19, 1941)
            He was an evangelical theologian, Hebrew language researcher, and archeologist.  He was born in Niesky, Prussia.  He was professor of theology at Leipzig University.  He authored a number of important works in the fields of ancient Jewish history and languages.  He demonstrated his connection to Yiddish and the importance of Yiddish literature in the foreword to his edited collection, Jüdischdeutsche Volkslieder aus Galizien und Russland (Judeo-German folksongs in Galicia and Russia) (Berlin, 1891), 74, 8 pp., and in Berit am (Covenant of the people), a missionary monthly journal in Yiddish (Leipzig, 1893-1928), in which he published a number of articles “on the tongue of holiness” (Hebrew) wherein he apologized: “Our journal is published in Yiddish, and many Jews despise the language as a diseased tongue which is inadequate for matters of religion, but the Yiddish language is also becoming a tongue of holiness”; and he finished by saying “people can laugh in the Yiddish language which makes fun of Jewish history.  This language is a genuine child of Jewish history, a child of much suffering, persecution, and tears, and never an illegitimate child who would become an adult without a profound education and true scholarship.”

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Encyclopaedia Judaica (Berlin, 1929), vol. 5; The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia (New York, 1941), vol. 3.

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