Page 105 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 36

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TOM L. FREUDENHEIM
Books on Art in the Jewish Tradition:
1965-1978
P
e rh a p s
t h e
m o st
exciting aspect
o f
any discussion dealing with
recent books in the Jewish art field is the fact tha t there is so
much material to survey. This review does not pretend to be
all-inclusive, and reflects the writer’s own personal favorites,
as well as subjects of special interest. We have come a long
way from being able to identify the field of art and Judaism
in terms of a few people writing in the field—Krautheimer,
Keyser, Wischnitzer, Schoenberger, et al—and can now point to
much greater diversity of interest and a wider range of scholars
trying to tackle a field still desperately in need of serious atten-
tion. There are now a number of younger people in the field,
and a community of interest has developed, with international
discussion taking place—as evidenced at the Conference on
Jewish Art held in August, 1977, at Oxford, England.
T he creation of two journals in the field is one of the most
important signs of change. Bezalel Narkiss, one of the prime
scholars of the younger generation, has taken on the editing
of a rather erudite
Journal of Jewish Art,
which has published
some very significant articles in the field, along with excellent
photos. Guido Schoenberger’s last article, dealing with Torah
breastplates, appeared in the 1974 issue, and reminds us of
the varied contributions of this wonderful scholar to the field
of Jewish ceremonial art. Other articles published here have
dealt with the field of Jewish folk art—as yet very lacking in
adequate attention—and it is precisely the attempt to confront
such subjects that makes Narkiss’
Journal
such a potentially
seminal influence in the field. A more populist, but also excellent
journal,
Jewish Art,
edited by Michael Kaniel, has also recently
appeared, with a fine quality of production, and interesting
articles, although one must await more issues before having
a sense of its direction. In any case, both journals constitute
perhaps the most encouraging aspects of recent publishing in the
Jewish art area, because they will foster writing and investiga-
tion which is not always suited to full-length books.
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