Page 96 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 37

Basic HTML Version

8 8
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
A ltm ann’s
Moses Mendelssohn: A Biographical Study
(1973) stands as
a definitive study o f Mendelssohn and as a model fo r the writing
o f intellectual biographies.
T h e p repa ra tion o f translations and analyses o f classics in
medieval Jewish philosophy h ithe rto inaccessible to the English
read e r concerned a num be r o f historians o f Jewish philosophy
du r ing the 1970s. In this reg a rd note must be taken o f the follow­
ing works: Barry Mesch’s
Studies in Joseph Ibn Caspi, Fourteenth-
Century Philosopher and Exegete
(1975); N o rbe rt Samuelson’s trans­
lation and commentary to Gersonides’
The Wars of the Lord,
Treatise Three - On God’s Knowledge
(1977); Menachem Mansoor’s
translation o f Bahya Ibn Pakudah ’s
The Book of Direction to the
Duties of the Heart
(1973) (a vast improvement over Hyamson’s
1925 translation); J . David Bleich’s analysis and translation o f the
fou rth treatise o f Gersonides’
The Wars of the Lord,
published as
Providence in the Philosophy of Gersonides
(1973); M. Herschel
Levine’s discussion and translation o f Shem Tob Ben Joseph Ibn
Falaquera’s
The Book of the Seeker
(1976); and Gersion Appel’s
translation and exposition o f Aaron Ha-Levi’s
Sefer ha-Hinukh
un d e r the English title, ^4
Philosophy ofMitzvot
(1974). In 1970 the
long awaited English translation o f a classic in m ode rn Jewish
philosophy appeared ; namely, Franz Rosensweig’s
The Star of
Redemption
(trans. by William Hallo). Finally, no decade since the
early 1900s has been bere ft o f a work by the venerable Mordecai
M. Kaplan. In 1970, Kaplan continued to enrich his literary
legacy with the publication o f
The Religion of Ethical Nationhood.
MYSTICISM
Since the En ligh tenmen t and the Emancipation, mysticism had
been cons idered a “luna tic f r ing e” within Juda ism . Largely
th rough the works o f Gershom Scholem, Solomon Schechter,
Abraham Heschel, and Louis Jacobs, an increasing awareness o f
the centrality o f mysticism to Jewish life and though t is presently
becoming manifest. T h e growing interest in America in mysti­
cism du r ing the 1970s has undoub ted ly encouraged the publica­
tion o f many works on the history and deve lopmen t o f Jewish
mysticism.
Scholem’s monumenta l contributions to unrave lling the com­
plex and diverse notions which characterize Jewish mystical
speculation continued to see publication in the 1970s. Foremost is