Page 36 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 31

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those that cover “Jews,” the former concentrating on religious
aspects, the latter having a broader conception of the Jewish
experience. The dividing lines are not well defined, nor are the
lines between scholarly and popular or between adult and
In the “Judaism” category the largest is
The Encyclopedia of
the Jewish Religion
(Jerusalem-Tel Aviv, Massada—P.E.C. Press,
1966), edited by R.J.Z. Werblowsky and Geoffrey Wigoder. The
less pretentious, and perhaps less well organized,
A Book of Jew-
ish Concepts
by Philip Birnbaum (N.Y., Hebrew Publishing,
1964) may well be the fuller treatment of concepts, but it does
not cover people. The very readable
The Book of Jewish Knowl-
by Nathan Ausubel (N.Y., Crown, 1964) bridges the gap
between types of encyclopedias.
The most authoritative one-volume encyclopedia is
The New
Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
(Garden City, Doubleday, 1970)
edited by Cecil Roth and Geoffrey Wigoder even while they were
working together on the 16-volume
It is basically a fourth
edition of
The Standard Jewish Encyclopedia.
The best of the
simpler books is
The Junior Jewish Encyclopedia
(7th rev. ed.,
N.Y., Shengold, 1970) which might also serve many adults well.
Both of these, like the Ausubel and the Werblowsky, are attrac-
tively produced and illustrated.
Despite my own “ground rule” to omit non-English works, it
should be noted that three volumes of the 16-volume Russian
Jewish encyclopedia (1908-13),
Evreiskaia Entsiklopedaia,
thus far been reprinted (The Hague, Mouton, 1969־
) ; two
volumes on the Holocaust have appeared in the Yiddish
mayne Entsiklopedye
as volumes 6 and 7 of
(N.Y., Dubnov
Fund and Encyclopedia Committee, 1963 and 1966); and the
monumental general Hebrew encyclopedia,
(Jerusalem, etc., Massada and Encyclopedia Publishing
Co., 1949- ) , strong in Jewish subjects, is now about half pub-
lished in 24 volumes plus a supplement volume.
Finally, of course, there is a vast monographic output in many
languages that serves to supplement or substitute for the
clopaedia Judaica.
Encyclopedias are not ends; they are only
starting points in man’s quest for knowledge.