Page 55 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 15

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BERGER AND KAUFMANN — ENCYCLOPEDIAS
47
Entsiklopedia Talmudit
,10
which may well outrun the
Entsiklopedia
M ikrait
in size when both are completed. The
Entsiklopedia
Talmudit
has, however, a much more sharply-defined scope: the
compilation, alphabetically by subject, of all laws and legal
concepts and expressions in the Talmud, as well as the halakhic
aspects of people and things. Articles range from a full discussion
of the principle that a man cannot testify against himself, to an
analysis, with illustrations, of fish, kosher and not kosher.
The encyclopedia was initiated by the late Rabbi Meyer Berlin,
and is now under the editorship of Rabbi S. J . Zevin with the aid
of the Mosad ha-Rav Kook. The articles, well organized, are
written in a clear modern style to make them easily comprehensible
to anyone possessing knowledge of the Talmudic system. Ref­
erences are made not only to the relevant passages in the Talmud,
but also to the later commentators and codifiers down to modern
times. Such an encyclopedia should be of great help to “prac­
ticing” orthodox rabbis and to students of Talmud and of law.
It should prove valuable also to the historian, although hardly
any historical point of view can be noticed in it.
Several important biographical dictionaries have appeared since
the war. The first volume (covering the letters 3-N) of an ex­
tensive new
Leksikon fun der nayer Yidisher Literatur
11 (Biograph­
ical Dictionary of Modern Yiddish Literature), was published
last year by the Congress of Jewish Culture. The editors acknowl­
edge their debt to the dictionary of Yiddish literature by Zalman
Reisen, but the work is completely new. It contains many more
entries, especially for writers who became prominent after the
1920’s, when Reisen’s work appeared. Like Reisen’s dictionary,
the new
Leksikon
is not limited to writers of belles lettres. It
includes also scholars in all fields— journalists, publicists, and
others; even some whose output was quite small and of whom
little is known.
The biographies were written by the office staff on the basis of
information received from all over the world. Most of the articles
are shorter than those in Reisen, and lack his personal touch.
But they are concise and factual, with excellent bibliographies,
including many entries culled from the daily press. The more
important personalities, like Sholem Asch, Hayyim Nahman
Bialik, and M. Olgin, receive fuller treatment.
10
Jerusalem, Entsiklopedia Talmudit, with the assistance o f the Mosad ha-
Rav Kook, 19 4 7 -
v. 1 - .
11
Edited by Shmuel Niger, Jacob Shatzky, and Moshe Shtarkman. New York,
Alweltlekher Yidisher Kultur-Kongres, c l9 5 6 -
v. 1 - .