Page 60 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 19

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JEWISH LITERATURE IN SWEDEN AND
IN SWEDISH
By C.
V
i l h
. J
a c o b o w s k y
T
HE last official census of Jews in Sweden, dated 1930, is given
as 6,653. Refugees from the Nazi persecutions in Germany
and later from the German occupied countries augmented this
number, and when the victims from the concentration camps
arrived in 1945, the number of Jews in Sweden may have reached
15,000. Since most of “the saved of 1945” have immigrated to
other countries, the present Jewish population is estimated at
between eight and ten thousand. It is thus evident that the
Jewish concentration in Sweden has never been large.
In view of this numerical paucity and of the fact that Jews
have lived in Sweden only since 1774, it is surprising to find
so many Hebrew books, printed more than 200 years ago, in all
the Swedish university and diocesan libraries. These books, deal­
ing with exegetical, philological and kindred subjects, bear witness
to a period when rabbinical studies flourished at the universities
in Sweden. As early as the 17th century, Christian scholars studied
Talmud and Rabbinica. Among them were Gustaf Peringer
(who edited tractates Avodah Zarah and Tamid, Altorf 1680,
and who visited the Karaites), Joh. Palmroot, Daniel Lundius,
and Ol. Celsius sen. In “Rabbinische Studien in Schweden 1676-
1750,” which is the third chapter in his interesting book
Philo-
semitismus im Barock
(Tubingen, 1952), Professor H. J . Schoeps
of Erlangen, Germany, enumerates thirty works by Swedish
scholars, some translations into Latin of rabbinical commentaries
and other independent publications. He also listed eighty-four
dissertations in 144 parts on rabbinical subjects, defended at the
Swedish universities in the years 1682-1747 under 24 professors,
and ten dissertations by Swedes in German universities, all written
in Latin. After a hiatus of more than a century, another appeared
in Uppsala in 1857. When F. A. Fehr defended his dissertation
on Sanhedrin I in 1872, Chief Rabbi G. Klein functioned as
opponent.
Swedish exegetes and philologists have made valuable con­
tributions to Rabbinica. Herman Almkvist edited Mechilta Bo
(Uppsala, 1892). Among recent and contemporary scholars I may
mention Hugo Odeberg, Gillis Gerleman and Erik Sjoeberg
(deceased 1960). Th. Ysander (a bishop, deceased 1960) was
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