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German to English: EZECHIEL LANDAU’S PETITION TO MARIA THERESIA General field: Art/Literary Detailed field: History
Source text - German [From the Monatschrift für Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judenthums, vol. 26, ed. H. Graetz, 1877, pp 20-22 – Original German text available at:
Translation - English EZECHIEL LANDAU’S PETITION TO MARIA THERESIA
[From the Monatschrift für Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judenthums, vol. 26, ed. H. Graetz, 1877, pp 20-22 – Original German text available at:
[A petition from the Chief Rabbi of Prague who previously had spoken up for Jonathan Eibeschütz] confirms in every way Emden’s accusations against him and proves that this opponent absolutely did not make them frivolously or mendaciously. Those who are interested in this grotesque story from the previous century or in Eibeschütz must consider this document as highly relevant; it overcomes all doubt. It reads as follows:
“Most Excellent Supremely Sovereign Roman Empress, also Queen in Germany, of Hungary and Bohemia, Archduchess of Austria.
“Most Gracious Princess Ruler and Lady Lady [sic] of the Hereditary Land.
“Of Your Imperial Royal Apostolic Majesty in deepest humility to plead is occasioned by the manner that it has been formally requested, on behalf of Jonas Nath Eybeschitz, formerly Rabbi of Metz, at this time however Chief Rabbi of the City of Hamburg, by means of an intercession of the Royal Danish Ambassador, of Your Majesty to the effect that the same might be graciously granted in Your Majesty’s Hereditary Land, the Kingdom of Bohemia, specifically in the Royal City of Prague to receive again the incolat and be peacefully received by the Jewish Community of Prague.
“For Your Majesty’s review via attached Lit: A: B: etc. and other documents, especially this present writing, which characterize the Petitioner regarding his depraved manner of living, primarily however ut Lit: Act B: That the same during the upheavals of the recent times of war through collusion with the French troops who were at that time Your enemy withdrew secretly with them to the city of Metz, for which reason You were pleased to banish the same together with his wife and children from the entirety of your Hereditary Lands as a matter of the Criminal Offense Lesé Majesté; when though the Jewish Community of Metz would not accept the above named Petitioner on account of his depraved manner of living, the same then migrated to the City of Hamburg, where through his innate cunning and cleverness the same has succeeded in being named Chief Rabbi, despite all of which the same has rigidly persisted in his depraved manner of living, for he has renewed and disseminated that false teaching which has been utterly rejected by all Jewish Communities in the world concerning the false Messiah Schabshetzvi and his successor Brachia, spreading throughout the Jewish family various epicurean principles in conflict with all religion in the entire world, in consequence of which the often discussed Jonas Nath Eibeschitz has been formally banished ut Sigl. by such Chief Rabbis, as for instance of Frankfurt am Main, of Amsterdam, by the present Chief Rabbi of Metz, as well as by all the Chief Rabbis of Italy.
“And since from these circumstances which have been briefly cited for Your Majesty, and also by reference to those decrees above cited Sub Lit: A: B. etc: from Your Majesty issued with force of law against this Petitioner, as well as from that which Your Supreme Grace might easily infer from the aforesaid Petitioner’s depraved and immoral life, and also from him directly since the same, despite the penalty and decrees which have been issued against him from the highest authority, has so long persisted without changing his depraved manner of living, and insofar as nothing good is to be expected, the obligation falls to me as Your Majesty’s appointed Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community of Prague to caution that the Jewish population and in particular its youth not be filled and led astray by false doctrine; additionally, at this point Your Majesty might in supreme grace consider that I may not, as a Chief Rabbi, in accordance with our laws live in the same city as a Jew who has been formally banished, since even the simplest Jew is prohibited on penalty of Excommunication from having the least contact or conversation with a Jew thus banished, in which condition an ongoing conflict and disorder between myself and the aforementioned Petitioner, likewise great disunity among the entire Jewish Community are to be feared, as well as that our laws would necessarily be violated should Your Majesty accept the request of this disturbing and immoral Petitioner, which would follow from these humbly submitted and here locally prevailing circumstances.
“ Wherefore I submit to Your Imperial Royal Apostolic Majesty my most humble, truly obedient request that it may graciously please You from your maternal concern for all of your Hereditary Lands, and with regard to the devotedly offered services I have provided Your Majesty as well as the entire Prague Jewish Community, especially those of the last Prussian Siege Anno 1757 when I repeatedly ordered the Jewish Community under penalty of Excommunication (in consequence of which for the well being of the City of Prague all these Jews carried out the orders of the General Staff then residing in Prague), and not least in consideration of the Prague Jewish Community, to reject with force of law the Petitioner Jonas Nath Eybeschitz with his request and Plea for Pardon which might lead to the crippling of our faith and against the best possible unity of the Prague Jewish Community.
“I, trusting in the supreme decision with most humble devotion, remain
“Your Imperial Royal Apostolic Majesty’s
Jechskel Lando Chief Rabbi.
General Comment on the Translation:
The original presents a number of features worth noting. There is a significant number of spelling inconsistencies throughout, which in many cases I surmise were likely the result of typographical errors. For a translator, the greater difficulties are posed by the fact that this is a piece of legal prose, highly circuitous, at times repetitious, and frequently overdrawn, in which the grammatical structuring of the text seems occasionally to collapse altogether. A greater familiarity than I possess with the specific conventions of the eighteenth century legal language known as “Kanzleisprache”, such as would have been used at the Imperial Court in Vienna, would be required in order to achieve a more definitive rendering.
Nevertheless, I believe this adequately conveys the nature and style of Landau’s argument, sufficient for the use of people whose interest is in understanding from a historical point of view the stance he is taking with relation to the controversies surrounding Eibeschütz and his relationship to the Sabbatean heresy referenced in the second paragraph of Rabbi Landau’s petition.
Along with high levels of fluency in Danish and German, and familiarity with EN(UK) as well as my native EN(US), I bring a wide range of professional experience to my work as a translator. With a PhD in Comparative Literature, I have a high level of expertise in literature, philosophy, history, art, and cultural studies. As shown in my CV, I have however worked in a variety of disciplines - as proprietor of a small business in the art field, as a specialist in fundraising and development in the not-for-profit social sector, and as a consultant and administrative leader in the State of Connecticut (USA)'s clean energy policy and implementation arena. I continue to take a strong interest in the humanities, in social issues, organizational development and strategic planning, technological innovation, clean energy, and public policy broadly. While I am not a specialist in law, marketing, or business administration, due to the nature of my career I have a reasonable level of familiarity in each of those areas. As a translator, I have translated medical and personnel records and funding applications for environmental programs, along with a variety of literary and historical texts.
Keywords: Danish - English, German English, humanities, education, public policy, environmental sustainability, clean energy, organizational planning/development