Page 108 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 33

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
International events were by then moving toward a second world
war. This made British appeasement of the Arabs imperative, as
German propaganda was gaining wide support in Arab nationalist
circles; the Jews, persecuted in Germany, had no choice as to which
side to support in the coming war. The White Paper of 1939 was a
renewed concession to the Arab position.
Sadly one concurs.
If one has reservations about the general scheme of arrange­
ment, it must be affirmed tha t in general Judaica are adequately
and fairly dealt with.
The article on “Judaism” is by L. H. Silberman; “Judaism,
History of” is a composite work introduced by Salo Baron and
divided between Moshe Greenberg (Biblical), L. H. Feldman
(Hellenistic), Gershon Cohen (Talmudic) and A rthur Hyman
(Modern*). H. Z. Dimitrowsky contributes the article on “T a l­
mud and Midrash.” The names of these distinguished scholars
cause no surprises. There is a touch of the unexpected in the
name—always welcome—of Isaac Bashevis Singer in the section
on “L itera ture” in “Jewish Peoples, Arts of.” Not tha t one does
not recognize Mr. Singer as anything bu t an eminent authority
on the subject, bu t that the rigid limits of the encyclopedia style
did not seem the likely channel for his notably vivid imagina­
tion. But he shows himself a man of parts. Contributors in this
field are mainly American and one congratulates Dr. Judah
Goldin, who acted as advisor, for his part in bringing distin­
guished scholars to the work. But the
Encyclopedia
ranged be­
yond these shores; for example, it secured the services of David
Ben Gurion to write the article on Theodor Herzl. He quotes
* In this section the interpretation of Nineteenth Century German
Judaism seems to rely too much on conference declarations and too
lit'tle on the
Sitz in Leben .
One reads: “In England and France, more
than in Germany or Russia, Wisenschaft des Judentums . . . with its
enlightenment ideology was the central focus of Jewish experience”
(x, 323). Was it not just in Germany, its birthplace, that it was
something of a “central focus of Jewish experience”? The following
lays itself open to argument: “In Anglo-Jewish life in the last decades
of the 19th century the two most pronounced modernist tendencies
were Solomon Schechter’s moderate romantic traditionalism and the
‘renewed Karaism’ of Claude Joseph Goldsmid Montefiore, whose
version of religious reform was ‘Back to the Bible’ ” (x, 327). Schecht'er
would have been reckoned as a traditionalist, not a modernist'; Claude
Montefiore’s religious development was a revolt against the “renewed
Karaism” in which he had been brought up.