Page 75 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 43

Basic HTML Version

ery word and letter was marked in black, red, green and blue
pencil, according to a system that Mandelkern had devised for
the compilation of his work.5 He left his small room only seldom,
never went to a theater or concert, and spent every free minute
on the concordance, often getting up even at night when he hap­
pened to remember a certain word or passage, working on his
slips until the wee hours of the morning.
Throughout those years he also continued to write Hebrew
poetry. He dedicated a hymn of praise to the great Jewish
philanthropist, baron Edmond de Rothschild in Paris who be­
stowed on the author an annual stipend of 200 francs (then about
$40). Mandelkern could have improved his situation substan­
tially when Franz Delitzsch, a Lutheran Bible scholar and
Orientalist, offered him a well-paid post as professor of Hebrew
at the Institutum Delitzschianum, a seminary of the Lutherischer
Centralverein fur die Mission unter Israel (Lutheran Central So­
ciety for the Mission among Israel). But Mandelkern declined,
since that offer came from a man known for his fervent efforts to
convert the Jews, and was probably tied to the condition to adopt
In 1884 he was ready to publish a pamphlet6 in German in
which he set forth the principles on which his concordance was
going to be based, and showed the faults and shortcomings of
previous and currently used concordances. Several sample pages
were included in order to solicit subscribers. Twelve eminent
German theologians and philologists endorsed the work, which
was, however, still far from being completed even in manuscript.
Meanwhile, he continued to work on a number of philological
and literary works, the former in order to earn money, the latter
5 The enormity of the task is best illustrated by the following figures. The He­
brew Bible contains 23,203 verses, 304,901 words and 1,152,207 letters (an
average of 3.8 letters per word, and 13.1 words per verse). Thus, each verse
will appear in a full concordance as many times as there are words in it, with an
average of 13 times resulting in some 304,000 lines (actually more, because
many of the longer verses need two lines in the narrow columns, even though
they are in small print). The figures cited are from A.M. Habermann’s intro­
duction to the
Thesaurus of the language of the Bible
(note 54), p. xxviii.
Die neubearbeitete hebraisch-chaldaische Bibelconcordanz.
Leipzig: Metzger &
Wittig, 1884. 15 p.