Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Interview with Daniel Matt on the Zohar

AUDIO INTERVIEW: Zohar translation revives poetry and nuance of Jewish mystical text (KALW Radio, San Francisco).
Western literature’s most important books have been translated, not once, but many times. The book at the top of the charts is the Bible: more than 100 and that’s just in English.

Why so many? It’s hard to capture all the nuances of meaning and style from the original. Which is why a recently completed translation of the Zohar—the book at the bedrock of the Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah—is so important. Scholars say its poetic interpretation captures the original 13th century prose. Berkeley scholar Daniel Matt spends almost two decades doing the translation and writing commentary that goes with it. That’s a long time, but the Zohar is a massive book. When complete, the new work will total 12 volumes, each hundreds of pages long. Matt is responsible for most of it.

Past posts on the Zohar, and Daniel Matt's translation of it, are here with many, many links.