Page 80 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 3

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But the entire method and purpose of Jewish historiography have undergone
radical changes since his day. What is his history? A martyrology, a study of
literature and learning and a lament.
I f its popularity persists, tha t is for want of something other and better — for
the want, above all things, of an English translation of Simon Dubnow’s
History of the Jewish People
, one of the supreme achievements not only of Jewish
but of universal historiography of our time. I am sure tha t others must have
urged the Jewish Publication Society to publish Dubnow. To their pleas I now
add my own.
The first and best thing to be said about the late Professor Ismar Elbogen is that
he and his work are far more akin to Dubnow than they are to Graetz. He was to
write a history of his own time, in which he played a part not only, not merely, as
an observer. He strives after objectivity and by doing so he does enough. For
objectivity in history can never be anything but a goal in view. The mind of the
historian must re-create his material and re-interpret it in the light of his age and
personality. I f the age is one of true insight and the historian’s mind an illuminated
one, we get good history. Both of these conditions are met in Elbogen’s book. Our
age, despite immeasurable tragedy, has reached a deep and sharp insight into the
character of the Jewish people and its destiny and Ismar Elbogen’s mind was
luminous, distinguished and devout. Therefore, we have a volume tha t is highly
readable and highly instructive and which richly deserves the widest reading study.
I should like to call the attention of Zionists more especially to Elbogen’s brilliant
and sagacious treatment of
The Jewish Renaissance
in Book Three, also to the
greater part of Book Five with especial reference to Chapter V of that Book, called
The Jewish National Home in Palestine.
In these books and chapters and in the
beautiful epilogue we have contributions to the history of our people which, as
was said o f history long ago, teach by example. But, indeed, the entire volume is
authentic, learned, fine-spirited, clear and admirably readable.
I think it can be truly said that the general reader will find this book as interesting
as a novel, while the scholar will be richly rewarded by the more than 100 pages of
notes and bibliographies. The appearance of the volume, including the fly-leaf
maps, compares excellently with the products of any American publishing house.
The Jewish Publication Society of America is to be congratulated on this handsome
and dignified volume.
— S a u l
S . S p i r o in
The New Palestine
The Epic of
B y A . A d d l e s o n .
New York,
B l o c h .
359 pages.
To compress the annals of the race into a comprehensive but popularly-written
work is a major accomplishment. Yet, with self-confessed trepidation, this is
the task which a South-African lawyer, A. Addleson, undertakes. He maintains
tha t there is need for the sort of history that the average reader can digest, the
sort of history tha t he would have enjoyed reading.
Without reference to completeness or accuracy, the writer attains his objective.
He telescopes Biblical history for a more extensive treatment of the medieval and
modern periods and achieves a balanced, readable account which steers a middle
course between erudition and oversimplification.
Its conciseness permits observation of broad trends in Jewish history which
are buried in more detailed accounts. I t shows, for example, tha t for every country
which persecuted Jews and sought their extinction — some other nation offered
refuge and opportunity — however shortlived, and that in every generation,
down to the present day, the unity of the folk was disturbed by Jewish appeasers
and champions of the racial status quo.
—M. B. in
New York Post
In the Steps of Moses.
By Louis
o l d i n g
h e
ew i s h
u b l i c a t io n
oc i ety
m e r i c a
556 pages.
In the Steps of Moses
is a unique book of travel. I t represents an effort to re-
capture and restate with present meaning the greatest episode in the history of
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