Page 60 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 16

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J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
4 6
fact that some of the books were never printed at all, and others
only once centuries ago. In any case, all are now out of print,
and this compelled Ben Yehuda to spend considerable time in
the great libraries of Paris, Berlin, Oxford, Parma and Florence;
and also in the Vatican Library and in the British Museum in
London. Ransacking their treasures, he found numerous rare
and precious books and manuscripts which incorporated much
of the applied Hebrew language. Thus he collected thousands
upon thousands of notes on useful or unusual words and on fresh
and lively phrases. In this way the “Complete Hebrew Diction-
ary” gradually took shape. Fourteen volumes have already been
published and distributed all over the world. They shed new
light on the rich and variegated life of our national language,
literary and conversational, abstract and colloquial, sacred and
profane. The fifteenth volume will appear shortly, and will bring
this titanic project to triumphant completion.
Although Ben Yehuda did not live to finish his life-work, he
left sufficient material for others to complete it. Soon we shall
be privileged to see the crowning of this prodigious undertaking
all the way from A to Z, or rather from
Aleph
to
Tav.