What makes the new Hobbes translation so interesting to Israelis? The word leviathan in Hobbes' title is Hebrew, of course. (It's the name of a great sea creature mentioned in Job 40:25.) And more generally, Hobbes is something of a Hebraizer: Large sections of "Leviathan are devoted to commentary on the Hebrew Bible, which Hobbes happily invokes while excoriating Christians for "mixing with the Scripture... much of the vain and erroneous philosophy of the Greeks."
But this "Hebraic" Hobbes is something of a novelty in Israel. Why? Because the earlier incomplete translation of "Leviathan" had quietly dropped anything Hobbes had to say about the Bible. For decades, Israelis read Hobbes without any inkling that he is, in a way, part of their own story.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.