Page 128 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 21

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Editorial Board. He was charged with the preparation of the
translation, which was then submitted as the manuscript for
discussion by the entire Editorial Board. Dropsie College became
the natural site for most of the meetings of the translators.
Differences in religious interpretations are apt to brew stormy
clouds. Dr. Adler invoked all the resources of tact and conciliatory
techniques in which he was supreme master, to calm the threaten-
ing storms. When the work was finally completed in 1917 after
seven years of strenuous labors, Dr. Adler was acclaimed “the
great conciliator who brought the task to a successful conclusion.”
The new translation was an imposing work on a par with
the classic Bibles of the Catholic and the Protestant churches.
Avoiding individual vagaries and ingenuities, it followed the
broad traditions of the Jewish commentators of the ages, and
opened to the English-speaking world the classic interpretation
of the word of God by the People of the Book. Consequently,
it was universally accepted as the Jewish version of the Bible in
the English language.
The Jewish Classics Series
The acclaim with which the new Bible translation was received
led to another major project, the publication of a series of
Jewish classics under Adler’s leadership. Initially Dr. Schechter
assumed the chairmanship, but upon the death of the great
master shortly thereafter, Dr. Adler succeeded to the chairman-
ship of the committee which comprised the foremost scholars
of the major institutions of higher Jewish learning in America.
The classics in seventeen volumes were published handsomely in
critically edited texts with masterly English translations. The
selections, drawn from the entire gamut of Hebrew literature
—Talmud, poetry, philosophy, ethics and folklore—revealed to
the English-reading public a glimpse of the Jewish creative
genius in the Middle Ages. Adler’s role in this magnificent
achievement was in coordinating the diverse talents of the
scholars and the literary personalities from many parts of the
world for the building of an harmonious monumental literary
The link between Dr. Adler and Dr. Schechter in life endured
and reached its climactic effect after the death of Dr. Schechter
on November 20, 1915. A layman without ordination or claim
to rabbinic erudition, Dr. Adler was chosen by the Board of
Directors of the Jewish Theological Seminary to the post Dr.
Schechter had made famous as the brilliant interpreter of the
Jewish religion and theology, and as the expositor of its vast
treasure of rabbinic thought and literature. For eight years