For all its importance, Christian Kabbalah is usually deemed a curiosity of intellectual history, and is certainly seen as a side branch in the development of the Hebrew language. The fact that Glinert devotes two fascinating chapters to Christian Hebraicists like Newton is representative of his overall approach. Eschewing the familiar, triumphalist narrative of ancient glory and modern rebirth in Zion (with nothing worth mentioning in between), “The Story of Hebrew” follows the twists and turns, false starts and blind alleys of the Hebrew language from its biblical beginnings to contemporary Israeli usage. Glinert describes how, throughout the ages, Hebrew has fended off linguistic competitors — Aramaic, Greek, Arabic, German and, now, English — and, under the right circumstances of social stability and intellectual opportunity, has risen to the highest levels of scientific and poetic expression. “The Story of Hebrew” recasts Jewish history as a whole as a struggle to preserve not Judaism or Jewish culture, but the Holy Tongue itself.It's an Haaretz premium article, so read it fast, before it goes behind the subscription wall.
An earlier review of the book was noted here.