Page 43 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 13

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37
COHEN — DROPSIE COLLEGE
with a most important introduction to them by Dr. Zeitlin. The
second monograph is
On the Apocalyptic in Judaism
, by Joshua
Bloch, to which attention was called above.
The
Jewish Quarterly Review
, like the College itself, is above
party line. Its pages are open to all scholars and subjects relevant
to the major purposes of Hebrew and cognate languages and
cultures. Proudly, though unostentatiously, the
Quarterly
keeps
the sacred lamp of Jewish learning lighted for all men everywhere.
JEWISH APOCRYPHAL LITERATURE
What will undoubtedly prove to be one of the notable, if not
the most notable, contribution to Jewish literature by The Dropsie
College is the comprehensive project of a new edition and trans-
lation of the
Apocrypha
and
Pseudepigrapha
under the general
title “Jewish Apocryphal Literature.”
The significance and present status of this new literary effort
by the College have been succinctly set forth by the editors:
“ I t is well-known that besides the books of the Bible, early
Judaism also possessed other scriptures which were not regarded
as inspired or authoritative. These scriptures, now known as the
Apocrypha
and
Pseudepigrapha
, were the product of that twilight
period which intervened between the closing of the canon of the
Hebrew Bible and the dawn of Christianity.
“Although rejected by normative Judaism, they enjoyed con-
siderable favor, and the ideas expressed in them left their mark
upon the rabbinic literature of Talmud and Midrash but espe-
cially (in view of their apocalyptic content) upon the formation
of Christian doctrine.
“Nevertheless, these writings have come down to us in a form
replete with misunderstandings. Although written for the most
part in Hebrew or Aramaic, they have been preserved only in
Greek and other translations made, in a majority of cases, by
persons insufficiently acquainted with the original languages. The
misreadings and misrenderings of these ancient versions have
been perpetuated in subsequent renderings.”
Believing that it will contribute materially towards a better
understanding of this forbidden literature and because of its impor-
tance for the interpretation of both the Jewish and the Christian
religions, The Dropsie College has sponsored the ambitious project
of publishing a new edition of these scriptures with translations
and commentaries. The “Jewish Apocryphal Literature” series
is under the direction of an editorial board of which Dr. Abraham