Page 33 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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T h ere is still a tendency in the general American academy to
regard Bible as something apa rt from Jewish studies, and the
history o f the biblical period as something apart from Jewish
history. This is understandab le, historically. In the curriculum o f
the American academy, Bible was, for a long time, a “Christian”
subject; but this atmosphere is fast changing.
We have yet to see the day on the American scene, as it affects
Jewish scholarship, when the
o f the biblical period will
become a regu lar component o f the Bible curriculum , as it is in
Israel. The encyclopedic work,
The World History of the Jewish
appearing in many volumes, in Israel, devotes several
large tomes to the biblical period. A generation or more ago, Salo
W. Baron coasted th rough the biblical period in the first 200
pages o f his multi-volume, and monumental work,
A Social and
Religious History o f the Jews.
In all fairness, it must be said that
today, Baron would have had much more to go on, in treating this
formative period o f Jewish history.
In a related matter, the archeology o f the biblical period, so
vital for historic reconstruction, is not appreciated properly by
the Jewish laity in North America, o r by the academy, either. It
has yet to be considered integral to Jewish scholarly concerns.
The salient exception is Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute
o f Religion. Its late president, Nelson Glueck, himself a noted
archeologist, founded the College’s school in Jerusalem , and
sponsored excavation projects. T he very few Jewish archeologists
o f the biblical and later periods in North America come predom i­
nantly from this
Now, there are several programs in Israel
unde r what we may call Jewish sponsorship, such as the Brandeis
University program , in collaboration with the American Schools
o f Oriental research. Jewish scholarly jou rna ls in North America,
such as
TheJewish Quarterly Review, the AJS Review
(of the Associa­
tion for Jewish Studies), and
the Proceedings, American Academy of
Jewish Research,
as well as the
Hebrew Union College Annual,
tomarily include articles on biblical and biblical-historical sub­
jects, as well as archeology.
T here seems to be a steady flow o f new scholars in biblical
studies, who write and teach in this field; and the outlook for the
1980’s looks quite favorable.