Page 135 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

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SCHMELZER / ALEXANDER MARX
125
sense of the word. As a result of fifty years of dedicated and
singleminded search for such treasures, the Seminary Library
became quantitatively, as well as qualitatively, one of the
most significant Jewish book collections ever assembled. T h a t
he succeeded in this endeavor is due not only to the great impact
his master had on him, bu t to his total devotion to the per­
petuation of Jewish learning.
Marx considered the establishment of important Jewish lib ­
raries in this country only a preliminary step to the develop­
ment of Jewish studies. For him this was like assembling bricks
for the erection of a magnificent building of learning. Marx
was not concerned merely with providing the raw materials; he
himself contributed significantly to Jewish scholarship by pub ­
lishing numerous learned monographs. As a matter of fact,
Marx’s scholarly works may be looked upon as models of re­
sponsible, original, and creative utilization of the old editions
and manuscripts he had so diligently assembled. Marx fully
realized tha t without reliable, critical texts, and a thorough
understanding of their meaning, Jewish scholarship might rap id­
ly and easily degenerate into a stream of shallow generalizations.
He knew tha t only through attention to the minutest detail,
through accuracy, and through the application of the correct
methodology of research could one hope to obtain new insights
into the heritage of our past. His works demonstrate how skill­
fully and imaginatively he was able to place at the service of
scholarship the sometimes obscure and ephemeral primary
sources.
Alexander Marx wrote only one full length book. His con­
tributions consisted mainly of long essays and monographs on
various subjects, many of which were later issued as collective
volumes. His main scholarly interests were in the fields of his­
tory, biography, text editions and bibliography. Marx is pro­
bably best known for his one volume
H istory of the Jewish
P eople,
which he coauthored with Max L. Margolis. In this
compact book one finds what may still be regarded the best,
most complete and reliable survey of the long and eventful
history of the Jewish people. Although not always attractive
stylistically, the book has been repeatedly reissued and it has also
appeared in Spanish and French translations.
Marx’s
Studies in Jewish H istory and Booklore
contains 26