Page 165 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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by the opinions o f Graetz, who had identified the papacy as the
main source of Jewish suffering in the Middle Ages. This view
clearly needed refocusing, as well as refinement. Solomon
Grayzel was, therefore, responding to two major desiderata
when, in the brief preface to the 1933 edition of
The Church and the
he stated that “the (study of the) relations between the
Church and the Jews offered the best starting point” for a series
of Dropsie monographs devoted to elucidating the essence of
medieval Jewish life.
To produce his work, Grayzel first gained admission to the
Vatican Secret Archive, becoming perhaps the first Jew to enter
the Archive for exclusively Jewish research purposes. A large
proportion, if not all of Moritz Stern’s labors were carried on
through the intermediary of a Roman monk who copied texts and
sent them off to Stern in Germany. By electing to work in the
Vatican itself Dr. Grayzel was unwittingly performing a piece of
Jewish diplomacy. To this day, a Jew researching Jewish issues in
the Vatican Archive cannot help but feel that the staff is especially
ready to give him its fullest aid. This attitude was certainly engen­
dered by Dr. Grayzel’s modesty, studiousness, friendship and
warmth. And it is no accident that in the Vatican Archive the
recollection of the Grayzel name evokes smiles o f pleasant
memories, as well as the feeling that those who count themselves
among Grayzel’s students are more than welcome there to con­
tinue his work.
What lies within the
Church and the Jews
is known to all. The
texts, the translations, and their critical apparatus are a model for
every reseacher. They display the patience and diligence without
which the transcription and publication of textual manuscripts is
a useless endeavor. Indeed, if Dr. Grayzel had a weakness, it lay in
his unmitigated insistence on perfection in the presentation of
textual materials. At the time of his death he still had in his hands
hundreds of manuscripts in various stages of transcription. For
no amount of urging during his last years could move him to
violate a lifetime of self-discipline and publish prematurely. He
preferred to leave the publication of these manuscripts to some­
one else, with the provision, o f course, that his own rigid