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Friedrich Weinreb

Friedrich WeinrebFriedrich Weinreb (1910 Lemberg 1988 Zrich) war die groe Ausnahmeerscheinung im Judentum des 20. Jahrhunderts. Mit seinem bahnbrechenden Buch "Schpfung im Wort, Die Struktur der Bibel in jdischer berlieferung" ffnete er die Schatzkammer des alten jdischen Wissens fr die Welt.

Website: The Friedrich Weinreb Stiftung (in German).

Friedrich Weinreb was born 1910 in Lemberg, Galizia and died in Zrich 1988. Weinreb's work in Jewish mysticism in the 20th century was truly exceptional. With his groundbraking book "Roots of the Bible - the Creation of the Word According to the Jewish Tradition" he opened the treasure chest of ancient Jewish wisdom for the world.


The "sacred oral teachings," thousands of years old, were kept cloistered in scholarly circles. Friedrich Weinreb tapped them as a source of inspiration for the present. As a writer and lecturer, he left behind an extensive life-work, in which there is a surprising way to discover the connection between the biblical world and humanity, and today's time and life experience.

In his origins Weinreb is deeply rooted in Hasidic Judaism in Eastern Europe. After the First Wordl War he immigrated to Holland and began in his new home to study economics, and at the age of twentyeight he was a professor of mathematical statistics in the University of Rotterdam.

The German occupation of the Netherlands in 1940 temporarily ended his academic teaching. During the occupation he conducted his private war against the Nazis, probably one of the most memorable and exciting of the century. 'S Collaboratie verzet ", his three volumes of memoirs about the drama of pursuit, persecution, and spectators and about human behavior in the gray area of collaboration and resistance are" is a climax in the Dutch postwar literature, the German translation, with the title "Die langen Schatten des Krieges"appeared in 1989.

After the war a variety of tasks in different countries was waiting for the sought-after expert on the application of mathematical statistics in the economy. In addition to the mathematics he was involved with Norbert Wiener in preparing the second five year plan for India, was teaching as a visiting lecturer in the Institut des Hautes Etudes International in Lausanne, wrote reports for various bodies of the United Nations in Geneva, held office as Rector of the Middle East Technical University in Ankara ; and retained his role as research director and lecturer at the Netherlands Economic Institute in Rotterdam and professorships at universities in Indonesia.

In 1973 he can finally settled in Zurich. From the mid sixties, he could devote himself more and since 1980, thanks to the relationship with Marian Castel Mountain and the Friedrich Weinreb Stiftung, entirely to writing books and tireless lecturing in Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Belgium. The words of Bible - he often compared the Old and the New Testament with the two halves of the heart - opened up for him an inexhaustible source of answers and questions about the meaning of creation and the meaning of human existence. His numerous recorded lectures and his books document the strong bonds that there are between Judaism and Christianity, although their histories are so different from each other.

Friedrich Weinreb

Roots of the Bible

Author/Artist: Friedrich Weinreb
ISBN: 978-3-905783-34-6
Publisher: Weinreb Stiftung
First published: 1963

"This book should be read as an introduction in a new way of thinking. I believe that as well as the creation is given to man to live in it, the bible is also given to man to live in it. The world is a creation and so is the bible and these two belong together."
Friedrich Weinreb

After this book came out in 1963 it has helped the Bible of the Old Testament to be newly discovered. For the first time every word in the Bible gives comprehensive insights in the old jewish knowledge and keys for understanding the biblical way of telling its stories. In this way at the same time becomes mediated a clear and deep knowledge of the Hebrew as the language of the Old Testament, so much so that it is possible to witness the original text in its fullness.

The narrations of the book from Genesis and the history of the creation of the world and man, Cain and Abel, Sintflut, building of the towers Babel, Abraham and Isaac, Jacob and Esau to the story of Joseph are interpreted in detail as also the flight of Israel from Egypt, the passage through the Red sea and the numerous events on the migration through the desert up to the border of the Promised Land.

It is a constant concern of Weinreb to see the overwhelming multiformity of the world and all life in the world and word of the Bible. On many of the questions, which make the understanding of the Bible so difficult, the reader receives perhaps for the first time satisfying and very surprising answers: How is it with different morally questionable stories, for example that the mother of the earth Sara sends Hagar into the desert, that Jacob gets the benediction, although he cheats his brother Esau and even his father, that Joseph is sold by his brothers? Why in the Bible there are so many sacrifical offerings and particularly animal victims? For what do we have the long lists of ancestors, hundreds of names, which say nothing to us any more?

An extensive appendix contains the notes and source data of the author, literary references of the most important sources, editorial notes, biographic and bibliographic data of Friedrich Weinreb as well as a detailed register: Table of contents and persons, register of the Hebrew words, number register, register of the places in the Bible.

The first strongly shortened version of this work appeared 1965 under the title " Der gttliche Bauplan der Welt". In its preface at that time Weinreb meant it to be "an introduction to the full german edition, which can be expected, hopefully soon; the book needs actually each word of the original version in its full meaning."

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Thank you Mr. Weinreb!
All I wish, now that I am on the last 100 pages of this remarkable book, is that I would have discovered Weinreb before!

This is how things go: after five years I have this year seen some of the perennial flowers and seen the beauty of the writings of Friedrich Weinreb; writings that have been lying on the shelves here where I live also these five years.

Better late than never, goes the old saying, and I am now in a process of going back to the Old Testement, learning the Hebrew necessary to understand the message that is written in the five first books in it, the Pentetauch. So much, so simple and so obvious.

As Weinreb says the Bible is not a history book, it is not a story of a pitiable small nation, it is about us, all of us and each of us, and what is happening is in us, not thousands of years ago, but right now.

Reijo Oksanen, Switzerland
added 2009-11-20

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