Page 104 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 29

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e w i s h
o o k
n n u a l
and the Third Commonwealth, the present State of Israel. . . .
Then, as now, the restoration of the state was begun with a
proclamation by an outside power. Then, as now, the secular and
the religious viewpoints were in conflict. Then, as now, the neigh-
bors of the new state resented its appearance. For centuries the
Judaean state served as buffer between its powerful neighbors.
Israel should take cognizance of this fact and in shaping her
diplomacy should look to the history of the Second Commonwealth
as a guide.״ The two recent volumes of this major work (with more
in progress) are the culmination of Professor Zeitlin’s historic
probing in the course of more than a half century. They limn an
objective picture of the Second Temple era including all Rabbinic,
non-Rabbinic and classical sources, and are a requisite for those
concerned with Rabbinic sources as well as with the Gospels. In
preparation for his history Zeitlin went to Crete, Cyprus, Greece,
and Turkey—the entire Hellenistic area—in order to capture the
freshness of the environment, to be able to write, not from sec-
ondary sources but with full knowledge of places and events.
Zeitlin’s challenging approach to many critical problems attests
that to understand history one must be fully aware not only of
all the related sources but also of the inner workings of every
generation. He emphasizes that the scholar must not be biased by
theological perspectives and tendencies which often color the
writings on the Second Temple era and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Maintaining that words and ideas are historically conditioned, he
has challenged many generally accepted notions in Judaism and
Christianity, thereby helping to re-shape the contours of the past.
The study of life in the Second Commonwealth is important
because Judaism stems from it. Though his recent book has a
detailed political history, its genius is evident in the clear inter-
pretation of the origin of institutions and of the social and religious
development. He has endeavored to touch upon modern problems,
such as the revival of the Sanhedrin and the enactment of a new
code in Israel. He asserts that although the Jewish Agency pre-
pared men in politics and economics, there is need for a scholarly
preparation of a corpus of Halakhah based on historical develop-
ment. A Sanhedrin is necessary for the interpretation of the
The Dead Sea Scrolls Controversy
In the past two decades Zeitlin’s name has been closely associated
with the Dead Sea Scrolls. He was the first to publish photostats
of the Zadokite Fragment Scroll, proving that many scholars
who relied on copyists erred in details and thus reached fallacious