Page 33 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 17 (1958-1959)

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ew i sh
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HE ISRAELI LITERARY CR ITIC G. Kressel surveys the
books on Jewish studies that have appeared in the first
decade of the State of Israel. Paradoxically, Jewish studies have
until recently been monopolized by non-Jewish scholars and by
Jews writing in non-Jewish languages. It is to the credit of the
new State that these studies are now becoming favored fields for
investigation by Jews, and in the Hebrew language. Biblical,
Talmudical and Kabbalistic lore, Hebrew philology, the juris­
prudence of the Talmud and the Codes—these are included in
the gigantic strides being achieved by dedicated men of letters
in Israel. The revival of Hebrew as the language of life, labor
and study has given irresistible momentum to many phases of
Jewish studies. The reawakened concern with the Bible has
evoked a lively interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and subjects like
history, historiography and topography have commanded a major
share of erudite activity. This exciting upsurge has fructified in a
generous production of encyclopedias, dictionaries and manuals
of all kinds. Though much is yet to be desired to bring the field
of bibliography to its potential high level, it must be conceded
that the first decade of new Israel has created many first hand
sources overly commensurate with this brief period of history.