Page 26 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 21

Basic HTML Version

e w i s h
o o k
n n u a l
Sephardic brethren, felt the need of meeting the challenge of
the Church to whose influence they were exposed for centuries.
Their spiritual leaders were impelled to compose books to bolster
them in their Jewishness. Many of these books, listed by Mayer
Kayserling in his
Bibl ioteca Espanola-Portugueza-Judaica
bourg, 1890), still await publication.
Scholarly investigation of Jewish polemical literature is of
recent date, beginning with the second half of the 19th century.
In 1876 a two volume work appeared,
The Fi f ty-Third Chapter
of Isaiah according to Jewish Interpreters
by Adolf Neubauer
and S. R. Driver. Volume one contains sources, and volume two
English translations. Th is work comprises excerpts from ex-
egetical writings and from a large number of unpublished po-
lemics. It includes also excerpts from French, Spanish and Latin
sources. Neubauer covers the exegetical and polemical literature
until the second half of the 19th century.
There is a book of the same scope by Adolf Posnanski,
(vol. I, pp. 512, LXXVI, Leipzig, 1904). It deals with the render-
ing of the word “Shilo” in Gen. 49.10, which the Church inter-
preted as referring to Jesus. Posnanski lim ited his sources to
those extant up to the end of the Middle Ages. T h e authors of
the two last mentioned works made use of manuscript material
and called attention to the vast amount of polemical books and
tracts preserved in European libraries. A great number have
since been published. (For a detailed bibliography see the pres-
ent writer’s annotated bibliography in the annual
Areshet ,
Mosad Harav Kook, Jerusalem, II, 1960, pp. 130-179; Cor-
rigenda and Addenda,
I l l , 1961, pp. 433-39; New Addenda,
ibid. ,
Renewed Interest in Polemical Li terature
A renewed interest in the polemical literature is noticeable in
the last few years. T h e follow ing editions of medieval polemical
works were published recently: 1.
Mi lhamo t Adona i
(“T h e
Wars of the Lord”) by Jacob ben Reuben, a 12th century
scholar, edited by the present writer and published by Mosad
Harav Kook (Jerusalem, 1963). 2. Excerpts from
Mi lheme t
(“A Religious War”) by Meir ben Simeon, a Provencial
scholar of the 13th century, published by Professor S. Stein in
The Journal of Jewish Studies,
X, 1-2, 1959, 51 f. Professor Stein
is preparing an edition of the entire work from a unique manu-
script in the Biblioteca Palatina in Parma, Italy. 3. Excerpts
from the polemical work
Edu t Adona i Neemanah
(“The Tes-
timony of the Lord is Lasting”), by Solomon ben Moses de
Rossi, an Italian scholar of the 13th century, published by the
present writer in
III (Jerusalem, 1957-58, pp. 258-274).