5 June 1883 Death of Isaac Salkinson, translator of the Hebrew New Testament and Milton’s “Paradise Lost” #otdimjh
Salkinson, Isaac Edward, was born at Wilna, and died at Vienna, June 5th, 1883. According to some, his father’s name was Solomon Salkind. As a youth he set out for America with the intention of entering a rabbinical seminary there; but whilst in London he was met by agents of the L.J.S., from whom he heard the Gospel and was converted and baptized. [Bernstein records]
His first appointment as a missionary to the Jews was at Edinburgh, where he became a student in the Divinity Hall. He was ordained a minister of the Presbyterian Church at Glasgow, in 1859. He was then a missionary of the British Society in various towns, including Pressburg, and finally settled in Vienna (1876).
Salkinson translated “Philosophy of the Plan of Salvation” under the title “Sod ha-Jeshu’ah” (Altona, 1858); “Milton’s Paradise Lost,” under the title “Wa Yegaresh et haadam” (Vienna, 1871);
Shakespeare’s “Othello” and “Romeo and Juliet,” under the titles “Itiel ha kushi” (ib., 1874; preface by P. Smolensky); and “Ram we-Yael” (ib., 1878); Tiedge’s “Urania,” under the title “Ben Koheleth” (ib., 1876, revised); and the New Testament under the title “Haberith Hahadasha.” The last mentioned translation was undertaken for the British Society in 1887; it was published posthumously under the supervision of Dr. C. D. Ginsburg at Vienna in 1886.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for Isaac Salkinson, his faith in you and his language skills that have left a lasting impact on the Hebrew New Testament and modern Hebrew literature. May we be accurate and faithful translators of your Word of Truth, and sensitive interpreters of and communicators in our contemporary culture. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen.
Of Man’s First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal taste
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful
Seat, Sing Heav’nly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen
Seed, In the Beginning how the Heav’ns and Earth
Rose out of Chaos: Or if Sion Hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa’s Brook that flow’d
Fast by the Oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my advent’rous Song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th’ Aonian Mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhyme.
His most famous translations:
1871 – John Milton’s Paradise Lost as Vaygaresh et ha-adam (“And He drove the man out”, a phrase from Genesis 3:24).
The New Testament, published posthumously in 1886, although his translation is now difficult to find, as the one by Franz Delitzsch is more prevalent.
Two works by William Shakespeare: 1874 – Othello as Ithi’el ha-Kushi, and in 1878 – Romeo and Juliet as Ram ve-Ya’el.