Page 32 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 12

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enough to complete his projected ten volume work which he had
hoped to publish in English, German and Hebrew. Of the German
Geschichte der juedischen Philosophic
(Berlin, 1907-1928) only
three volumes and a supplement appeared, while of the Hebrew
Toldot ha-Pilusufiah be-Yisrael
, no more than two volumes were
published in New York (1921-1929). Of the English some portions
were issued in monographs and in scattered contributions to
learned periodicals. Neumark’s writings had a profound influence
upon several younger scholars such as N ina H. Adlerblum, Z.
Diesendruck, Israel Efros, Meyer Waxman, Philip D. Bookstaber
and others whose contributions to Jewish philosophical writings
have all been published in this country. Isaac Husik’s
History of
Mediaeval Jewish Philosophy
(New York, 1916) presents a general
bu t dependable survey of the subject within the compass of a
handy one volume work. Unsurpassed are the writings of H a rry
A. Wolfson. Brilliant in thought, elegant in literary expression
and supported by testimony drawn from primary sources which
he masters fully, Wolfson has unfolded the background and
described the impact upon religious ideas of the philosophical
teachings of
Philo
(2 vols., Cambridge, 1947),
Crescas' Critique of
Aristotle
(Cambridge, 1929) and
The Philosophy of Spinoza
(2 vols., Cambridge, 1934).
Jewish philosophy is in a very large measure theological in
character. No system of Jewish theology can be properly evolved
without recourse to the writings of the Jewish philosophers. There
is an affinity which binds the two together.
I f Jewish theology in modern times has assumed a more or less
definite form it is in no small degree due to the publication of
outstanding works by Jewish theologians in this country. Solomon
Schechter’s
Some Aspects of Rabbinic Theology
(New York, 1909)
conveys in fine language a goodly measure of Jewish theological
speculation revealed in classical rabbinic lore. On the other hand,
Kaufmann Kohler, no doubt the leading Jewish theologian Amer-
ican Jewry possessed, presented in German and English
Jewish
Theology
(New York, 1918). I t gives comprehensively and in
systematic form the essential beliefs and doctrines of Judaism .
I t has had a profound influence upon modern Jewish religious
thought. Mordecai M. Kaplan, in his a ttem p t to define Judaism
anew and to interpret its teachings in broad sociological terms,
conceives it as a civilization. His
Judaism as a Civilization
(New
York, 1934),
Judaism in Transition
, (New York, 1937) and
The
Future of the American Jew
(New York, 1948) have gained for him
many followers in all camps of American Jewry and the Jewish
Reconstructionist movement guides itself largely by his ideas. The
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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL