Page 101 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 29

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95
H
oenig
—S
olomon
Z
e itl in
Christianity, becoming thereby the outstanding authority of the
Intertestamental Period. His disclosure, contrary to the opinion
of most scholars, that the so-called Christ Passage in the Slavonic
Josephus was not authentic but only an interpolation by Eusebius
gained him early scholarly fame.
Teaching first at the Rabbinic (Yeshiva) College in New York,
he became in the early twenties Professor of Rabbinics at the
Dropsie College and has occupied this post for close to fifty years,
raising many disciples in his methodology and philosophy of his-
toric research. Nevertheless, the Jewish world is his classroom; the
Jewish national anxieties are his scholarly courses. When the
Ecumenical Council sought to correct a millennial wrong, Pro-
fessor Zeitlin set forth the scholarly documentary proof on the
subject of
Who Crucified Jesus?
In the battle of the Dead Sea
Scrolls he has been a scholarly gladiator,
unus contra multos,
and
has awakened the scholars to their many unsolved problems.
When Professor Toynbee questioned the rights of the Jewish
people to the Land of Israel, Professor Zeitlin presented historic
evidence to prove Toynbee’s error. When the question of “Who
is a Jew?” arose, Zeitlin spoke with authority on the historic scene.
His
Rise and Fall of the Judaean State,
of which two volumes
have already appeared, has become the outstanding work on the
period of the Parting of the Ways.
It is noteworthy that Zeitlin always maintained a non-partisan
perspective in his scholarship. His basic collection of the Pharasaic-
Sadducean controversies in “Ha-Zaddukim vehe-Perushim,” pub-
lished in
Horeb
by Yeshiva University, did not clash with reprint-
ing in the
S A J Review
his paper on the “Jewish Calendar,” read
before the Oriental Society in Cambridge. Similarly, writing on
“The Halakhah in the Gospels and Its Relation to Jewish Law at
the Time of Jesus” in the first volume of the the
Hebrew Union
College Annual
in 1924 could not be considered in conflict with
writing in
Crozier Quartely
or
Jewish Forum
or the
Hadoar.
To
him, true scholarship does not know denominational lines. He
never permitted suppression in scholarship. Thus, the
Encyclo-
ped ia Britannica
recently gave him full freedom in expounding
his views on the “Talmud” in its latest edition.
Zeitlin’s main concern is the analysis of tannaitic sources and the
recognition of a clear distinction in historic eras—to differentiate
institutions, laws and concepts—before and after the Temple
destruction. The institution of baptism (immersion for Jewish
proselytes) is an example; Zeitlin maintains that this practice was
not a requisite in the Second Temple era and thus cannot reflect
on early pre-70 Christian sources. His probings of the Gospels thus
helped clarify the metamorphosis of many basic Jewish and Chris-
tian institutions.