Monday, December 04, 2006

Look it up!

"Reading and translating with my young teacher the book of Job, I commenced in my eighth year to enjoy a foretaste of poetical beauties, and, incited by the political events of the time, I would scribble wretched rhymes in both Hebrew and Italian. "

"The study of Job impressed me forcibly with the necessity of new elucidations to the Scriptures, and I can distinctly recall having said one day to my schoolmates, that as I grew older, I would write comments better than those of Rashi. "

"To give a specimen of the forthcoming exegesis, I told him that I would prove that the country of Job was Beth-El; for, I added, in Genesis we read that "Utz" was formerly the name for "Beth-El." To convince my juvenile audience, who listened closely, I opened the Bible; but what was my surprise and confusion when I found that Luz and not "Utz" was the appellation by which Beth El went previous to Jacobs' vision! The childish arrogance received then a due reprimand, but the spirit of research and criticism was not quenched nor discouraged."

From Autobiografia di S.D. Luzzatto (Autobiography of Samuel David Luzzatto). Translation into English by Sabato Morais, published in The Jewish Record, Philadelphia, August 3-10, 1877.

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