Page 103 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 33

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TEMKIN / JUDAICA IN THE ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA
93
separated from “Israel.” The ancient and medieval periods are
dealt with by no less an authority than Julius Welhausen, and
his article has been reproduced as an appendix to the English
translation of his
Prolegomena.
One is struck by the way he
brings his survey to a close. W ith approval, he quotes Spinoza
as declaring tha t “the so-called emancipation of the Jews must
inevitably lead to the extinction of Judaism wherever the process
is extended beyond the political to the social sphere,” and then
adds, “For the accomplishment of this centuries may be re­
quired ,” as if to sigh over the stubborn persistence of this awk­
ward relic of the past. There is a sentence in the complementary
article on the “Jews” which seems to bear out Welhausen’s ob­
servation: “In France the absence of political restriction has been
unfavourable to the separate development of Judaism.” This
article manages to find a little space for the Jews of the United
States; one sentence could be repeated today: “. . . there is much
laxity in observance bu t all sects agree in building magnificent
synagogues.”
An encyclopedia article is supposed to be a neutral distillate,
containing the essence of the subject under review. But taste and
judgment differ, and tha t which is close at hand looms large. If
familiarity with the contemporary scene encourages doubts as
to the perfection of the latest edition, a close examination of
articles to which time has given a venerable air will show that
they were not perfect either. For example, in the thirteenth
edition (1929) Chief Rabbi Hertz was allowed space to give a
couple of incidents which were quite trivial bu t happened to
involve him personally.
However, time exposes the judgment of scholars even where
they are not swayed by personal experiences. The eleventh edi­
tion of the
Britannica
(1910) is venerated as the embodiment
of classical culture. I t summarizes the history and distribution
of the Jews as at the date of publication, bu t also a new phase
of their modern experience with an article on “Anti-Semitism.”
This was contributed by Lucien Wolf, a respected journalist and
self-taught historian. Towards the end he observes:
The reply of the Jews to anti-Semitism has taken two interesting
practical forms. In the first place there is the so-called Zionist move­
ment, which is a kind of Jewish nationalism and is vitiated by the
same errors that distinguish its anti-Semitic analogue (see Zionism).