Page 31 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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LEVINE / JEWISH BIBLE SCHOLARSHIP
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early 1980’s. Present assignments include: Nahum M. Sarna
(Genesis); Baruch Levine (Leviticus); Jacob Milgrom (Numbers);
and Jeffrey Tigay (Deuteronomy). Work will continue with the
Five Megilloth, with the participation o f Jonas Greenfield, and
o ther scholars, and will eventually result in a complete Bible
commentary.
In the guidelines p repa red for au tho rs o f the various volumes,
it was stated tha t the purpose o f the new endeavor was to utilize
the riches o f the Jewish tradition o f exegesis, together with the
finds o f modern scholarship, especially the inpu t o f Semitic
studies and archeology. This commentary is intended to p resen t
the Hebrew Bible as a monument o f the Jewish religious civiliza­
tion, that has become the property o f mankind. Basic to the entire
project is the confidence that scholarly objectivity need not be
sacrificed in the process o f drawing on the traditions o f the past.
On a somewhat more popu lar level, bu t buttressed by consider­
able scholarly erud ition , is the commentary on the T o rah p ro ­
duced by the Union o f American Hebrew Congregations, p rim a r­
ily for synagogue use. The brief, runn ing commentaries: are
augmented by topical introductions and appendices, containing
later interpre tation . O f particular interest are the introductions
to each book o f the T o rah by William W. Hallo (Yale U.) on the
background o f the T o rah books, within the larger context o f
ancient Near Eastern literature. T he commentaries were p re ­
pared by em inent Reform rabbis, by the late Bernard Bamberger,
and by G un ther Plaut.
An indication o f Jewish Bible scholarship in North America is
the participation o f more than 40 Jewish scholars from the United
States and Canada who contributed articles on biblical subjects to
the sixteen-volume
Encyclopaedia Judaica
(1970). T he division
editor for Bible was H.L. Ginsberg (Jewish Theological Semi­
nary). In fewer numbers, American Jewish scholars also contrib­
uted to a Hebrew biblical encyclopedia,
Encyclopaedia Miqra^ith,
published in Israel.
No survey o f Jewish biblical scholarship in North America
would be adequate without reference to the emergence o f major
publishing ventures du ring the past decade, that created a much
wider audience fo r biblical studies. T h e re are two principal ven­
tures that deserve special mention:
Scholars Press
has become an