Page 105 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 29

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e itlin
conclusions. He is the main protagonist against any dating of these
into the intertestamental period, maintaining this position despite
constant attack and new discoveries. He comes up again and
again with questions about their authenticity—mode of discovery,
scientific value of paleography, internal evidence and especially
Karaitic allusions, matters which the biblical or Christian scholar
cannot perceive. He has opposed the hasty pronouncements of
scholars and the sensationalism connected with the scholarly finds.
Zeitlin has also devoted much time to the study of the canoni-
zation of the Scriptures. He shows that in 65 C.E. the Sages
canonized the last part of the Bible (Ketubim). Kohelet was rati-
fied at Jabneh in 90 C.E. Esther, because of its popularity, entered
the Canon after Usha in 135. Hence Josephus mentions only 22
books, but rabbinic tradition later has 24.
His study of the Apocrypha explains that many books were
omitted because they were contrary to Halakhah. Thus Susanna
contravened the laws of “alibi witnesses.” The ban against Ben
Sira was voided later when the biblical canon was already well
established, and no fear existed of adopting its teachings. There-
fore it is quoted in the Talmud. Zeitlin insists that the Ben Sira
Cairo text discovered by Schechter is not an original Hebrew, but
only a late translation from the Syriac. The Zadokite Fragment
which Charles first included in the Pseudepigrapha, and is now
regarded as one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, is nothing but a Karaitic
compilation, as first suggested by Biichler and Marmorstein.
Zeitlin declares that normative Judaism did not recognize that
the Jews are a chosen people. At the time of the Second Common-
wealth Judaism became a universal religion; the concept of chosen
people was abandoned. It became popular with the Jews of the
Middle Ages and the main idea was to counteract the Christians.
Likewise, pursuing his view of Judaism as a universal religion,
Zeitlin criticized the mode of dealing with Jewish national
minority rights at the peace conferences. He asserts that his fre-
quent visits to Eastern Europe convinced him that the minority
treaties were a failure, that the clause for minority rights of Jews
was not only a mistake but harmful. Jews never considered them-
selves a separate nation or a national minority, only people of a
different religion.
Though writing about the past he looks forward to the future
of scholarship. For his article “On Jewish Learning in America,”
Zeitlin visited many yeshivot and found that American born
students possess a profound knowledge of Talmud, but with it,
fanaticism. He insists that Rabbinics is the substance of Judaism
and he criticizes the decadence of learning among Jews in general.
He deplores the present status of Jewish scholarship both in Israel