Page 94 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 3

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By M. Z.
r a n k
Of the three articles devoted to important Hebrew publishing
houses today, two deal with the famous Maecenases of Modern
Hebrew literature — Stybel and Schocken and one with the Rabbi
Kook Foundation in Palestine established by the Mizrachi for the
publication, and the financing of the writing of scientific and
popular books in the spirit of traditional Judaism. The latter
article is written by Rabbi Aaron Pechenik. The article on the
Stybel Publishing House is written by M. Z. Frank, the one on
the Schocken Publishing House, by Dr. Judah Rosenthal. The
personalities as well as the activities of the two Maecenases are
discussed. Abraham Joseph Stybel, a Polish-born rabbinical
student who came under the influence of modern literature in his
boyhood, has used the fortune he made in the leather business to
finance the most ambitious literary project in Jewish history and
is responsible for the translation of most great classics in world
literature into Hebrew. Salmann Schocken, a German-Jewish
intellectual, who became a Zionist and a student of Hebrew in
his thirties, has used the fortune he made in the largest department
stores in Germany to finance mainly research and scientific
literature, first in German and later in Hebrew.
Dr. Simon Federbusch contributes an article on the Basic Books
of Jewish Thought, dealing with the works of Jewish religious
thought which have influenced the broad masses of the Jews in
the past one thousand years. The eight works which come under
discussion are: Emunoth ve-Deoth (Creeds and Opinions) by
Saadia Gaon; Hoboth he-Leboboth (Duties of the Hearts) by
Bahai ibn-Pakuda; Mekor Hayim (Source of Life, Fons Vitae) by
Solomon ibn-Gabirol; the Kuzari by Judah Halevi; the Guide
for the Perplexed by Maimonides; Milhamoth Adonai (Wars of
the Lord) by Levi ben-Gershon; Or Adonai (Light of the Lord) by
Husdai Crescas; and Sefer ha-Ikkarim (Book of Principles) by
Joseph Albo.
The books are given in chronological order. During a period
covering roughly some five hundred years, eight books were
produced in the countries of Moslem civilization (or, as in the
case of Southern France, greatly influenced by that civilization)
which are still the classics of Jewish religious thought.
The remarkable personality and career of HI DA (Hayim
— 80 —