Page 70 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 36

Basic HTML Version

6 2
commentaries of Rashi, Kimhi, Ibn Ezra, Nahmanides, Ger-
sonides, Abravanel and others are found in first p r in t and sub-
sequent editions. T he great number of supercommentaries, cul-
minating in Elijah Mizrahi’s commentaries on Rashi and the
limitless literature of Exegetics and Homiletics of different times
and lands, place the Bible section of the Hebraic Collections in
the first rank.
Next in volume and value is what is known as the ,Rabbinical
literature.’ T h e Mishnah is represented by quite a series of
editions, containing the text only or the text with commentaries
and translations, from the very first up to the latest Vilna edi-
tion, containing 37 commentaries. Of the T a lm ud there are 36
editions, including the editio princeps of the Jerusalem T a lm ud
(Venice, 1523?), the editio princeps of the Babylonian T a lm ud
by Bomberg (Venice, 1520-23), the edition of Giustiniani (Ve-
nice, 1546-50), and the rare parts of the Constantinople edi-
tion which is supposed to have been prin ted about 1582. The
Midrash also is represented in all its various phases. T he books
relating to the Talmud fill a very large and importan t place
in the Collections and include the commentaries, or the com-
mentaries on the commentaries, and the various Novellae which
have been continued in an endless chain to the present day. To
the Rabbinical literature belongs also the Halakah. This com■
prises the entire civil and ritua l law and extends to all the
usages, customs, ordinances, and decrees for which there is no
authority in Scripture. T he works on these subjects, including
the most prominent codes, such as those of Alfasi, Maimonides,
Jacob ben Asher, Joseph Caro, as well as the extensive Shulhan
‘Arukh literature, are a well cultivated branch of Rabbinical
literature. In this connection may be mentioned the great body
of the Responsa written by Sephardic and Ashkenazic Talmud-
ists. T he Responsa, originating in various lands during many
centuries, offer unique sources for research in Jewish history.
The Hebraic Collections show an equally voluminous rep-
resentation of books bearing on liturgy, ritual, religious cere-
monies and practices, apologetics and polemics, and on Jew-
ish sects. Suffice i t to mention here the various editions of the