golem

/goh"leuhm, -lem/, n.
1. Jewish Folklore. a figure artificially constructed in the form of a human being and endowed with life.
2. a stupid and clumsy person; blockhead.
3. an automaton.
[1895-1900; ( < Yiddish goylem) < Heb golem embryo, larva, cocoon]

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In Jewish folklore, an image that comes to life.

From the Middle Ages stories were told of wise men who could bring clay effigies to life by means of magic charms or sacred words. Golems began as perfect servants, whose only fault lay in fulfilling their master's commands too literally or mechanically. Later golems were imagined as protectors of the Jews in times of persecution, but also had a frightening aspect.

Golem (right) in the German film Der Golem (1920)

By courtesy of Friedrich-Wilhelm Murnau-Stiftung, Wiesbaden; photograph, Museum of Modern Art Film Stills Archive, New York

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▪ Jewish folklore
 in Jewish folklore, an image endowed with life. The term is used in the Bible (Psalms 139:16) and in Talmudic literature to refer to an embryonic or incomplete substance. It assumed its present connotation in the Middle Ages, when many legends arose of wise men who could bring effigies to life by means of a charm or of a combination of letters forming a sacred word or one of the names of God. The letters, written on paper, were placed in the golem's mouth or affixed to its head. The letters' removal deanimated the golem. In early golem tales the golem was usually a perfect servant, his only fault being a too literal or mechanical fulfillment of his master's orders. In the 16th century the golem acquired the character of protector of the Jews in time of persecution but also had a frightening aspect. The most famous tale involves the golem created by the 16th-century rabbi Judah Löw ben Bezulel of Prague. It was the basis for Gustav Meyrink's novel Der Golem (1915) and for a classic of German silent films (1920), which provided many details on the movement and behaviour of man-made monsters that were later adopted in the popular American horror films on the Frankenstein theme.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • golem — golem …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • GOLEM — (Heb. גֹּלֶם), a creature, particularly a human being, made in an artificial way by virtue of a magic act, through the use of holy names. The idea that it is possible to create living beings in this manner is widespread in the magic of many… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • GOLEM — Être, le plus souvent de forme humaine, le golem est créé par un acte de magie grâce à la connaissance des dénominations sacrées. Dans le judaïsme, l’apparition du terme golem remonte au Livre des Psaumes et à l’interprétation qu’en donne le… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Golem.de — www.golem.de Motto IT News für Profis Kommerziell …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • golem — golém s.m. Fiinţă creată artificial (după o legendă iudaică) din lut şi însufleţită de un rabin, care, devenind primejdioasă prin forţa sa, a fost nimicită; monstru leviatan (1). (< engl. golem) Trimis de blaurb, 13.09.2007. Sursa: MDN …   Dicționar Român

  • golem — artificial man, automaton, 1897, from Heb. golem [Psalm cxxxix:16] shapeless mass, embryo, from galam he wrapped up, folded …   Etymology dictionary

  • golem — gòlem prid. <odr. ī> DEFINICIJA 1. koji je vrlo velik; ogroman 2. koji je veličinom neprikladan; glomazan ONOMASTIKA pr. (nadimačka): Gòlem (290, S Dalmacija, Bukovica), Golémac (120, Metković, J Dalmacija), Golémović (Slavonija)… …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • golem — [gō′ləm, gōlem΄] n. [Heb, orig., embryo; later, monster (> Yiddish goylem, dolt), akin to Ar ghulām, lad] Jewish Legend a human being artificially created by cabalistic rites …   English World dictionary

  • Golem — (hebr.), eine ungeformte Masse, Erdklumpen; Figur aus Ton, nach einem Menschen gebildet …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • gòlem — prid. 〈odr. ī〉 1. {{001f}}koji je vrlo velik; ogroman 2. {{001f}}koji je veličinom neprikladan; glomazan …   Veliki rječnik hrvatskoga jezika

  • Golem — Golem,der:⇨Gespenst(1) …   Das Wörterbuch der Synonyme

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