Page 20 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

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10
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
other Italian cities—the Vatican burned all the copies of the
Talmud which had previously been confiscated. Six years later,
the Talmud was included in the very first Index of prohibited
books; and six years after that, in 1565, Pope Pius IV com­
manded that the Talmud be deprived of its very name.
And so the story went on and on. The term Talmud Jew, with
all its hatred and loathing, was coined. This defamation and
destruction of Jewish books—against which the dedication of
this library is intended to stand as one of many and, hopefully,
ever-increasing bulwarks—gives you an inkling of how firm the
theological foundation for the denigration of the Jews was laid.
Arno ld J . Toynbee, on the other hand, has tried to exterminate
the Talmud in another way; in the course of the ten volumes
that he needed for his Study of History and of the eleventh
volume for his Reconsiderations, Toynbee—you may not believe
it!—merely suppressed all reference to the Talmud. From his
scores of thousands and thousands of words—verbiage piled upon
verbiage—one would never know that the Jews had created a
Talmud. (But then to Toynbee, the greatest passage in the
entire Hebrew Bible is the genealogy of Genesis 10, with its
“begats!”) If you are looking for a bit of irony here, then let
me remind you that immediately after W o rld W a r II and the
liberation of the Jewish survivors in the concentration camps,
the United States Army officially printed a very fine edition of
the Talmud for these survivors.
Permit me a final reference to the Talmud, one that re-creates
the atmosphere in Germany that helped make possible the exter­
mination of its Jewry and the Jewries of Europe generally. It
is a quotation from the Foreword to the fourth edition of the
famous Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash by the Chris­
tian scholar, Hermann L. Strack, written in 1908:
Even at the present moment, certain ignorant agitators
(most of them are at the same time malevolent) seek to
make the Christian-German people believe the Jews “are
solicitous, with every possible means at their hands, to keep
the Talmud a secret book” for fear lest its contents should
become known, indeed that they consider it a crime worthy
of death for any Jew to make its contents known. . . .
The Talmud . . . contains no report of utterance which, as-