Page 38 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
writing on the subject o f the Holocaust was p roduced in a variety
o f languages, notably by Philip Friedman, p rio r to the 1970’s, the
past decade has witnessed an enormous upsu rge o f interest and
emergence o f a professional body o f historical writings in the field
o f Holocaust studies. At the same time, the historical testimony in
the form o f survivor literature has continued to flow from the
pens o f survivors.
The present essay will endeavor to survey some o f the more
prom inent books which have appeared in English in the past ten
years, principally in America. It will be ne ither exhaustive no r
all-inclusive. In keeping with the most widely used modes o f
organizing the data and problematics o f Jewish history, this essay
will examine the literature in the field by period — ancient,
medieval and modern . Within the field o f modern Jewish history
separate consideration will be given to Europe, America and
Holocaust historiography. Brief mention will be made o f synthe­
tic works and “readers” for student use.
ANCIENT JEW ISH HISTORY
The history o f Jews and Judaism in late antiquity has u n d e r ­
gone a veritable revolution in the past two decades, largely as a
result o f the research o f Jacob Neusner. Rabbinic materials have
been freshly re-examined by Neusner and his students (now
practising scholars themselves) to fashion fresh perspectives on
Jewish society and Juda ism in Palestine and the D iaspora.
Neusner’s multi-volume work
A History o f the Jews in Babylonia
(Leiden, 1965- ) has been regularly appearing together with his
seminal studies o f the rabbinic
Weltanschauung
and society in
A Life
ofYohannan ben Zakkai
(Leiden, revised 1970),
There We Sat Down
(Nashville and New York, 1972), and
First CenturyJudaism in Crisis
(Nashville and New York, 1975), to cite ju s t a few o f his many
works. S. Safrai and M. Stern (eds.) have incorpora ted a num ber
o f important studies on the ancient period in
TheJewish People in
the First Century: Historical Geography, Political History, Social, Cul­
tural and Religious Life and Institutions
(Assen and Amsterdam ,
1976).
The period o f late antiquity has been the subject o f great
ferm ent and revisionist historiography, partially as a result o f the
new knowledge gleaned from the Qum ran Manuscripts and