Page 52 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 4

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
40
events also to teach and educate, it follows that Ginzberg’s work
not only presents the outpourings of the Jewish imagination and
national emotion, but also views on almost every theological,
ethical, and historical subject dealt with by Judaism. And here,
too, the construction is distinguished by its art; the intellectual
and narrative elements are joined together in an almost imper-
ceptible way. As a result, readers of different types, from the
juvenile to the scholar, can enjoy and benefit by the work.
This, however, is not all. The last two volumes containing
3026 notes reserved for the scholar, raise the work to a first class
scholarly contribution which few can equal. These notes not
only prove to us the wide erudition of the author, for whom little
in Jewish and cognate literatures remain closed, by the thousands
of citation of sources and bibliographical data, but also shed much
light on numerous subjects in the wide fields of Jewish theology,
philosophy, history of Jewish literature, and folklore, as well as
the relation of the Jewish view to those of Islam and Christianity
and many ancillary subjects. Some of these notes are succinct
but comprehensive monographs on a number of important prob-
lems in all these fields. That Ginzberg’s Legends occupies an
honorable place among few outstanding works of the century is
self-evident.
POEMS OF SAUL TSCHERNICHOWSKI
The works hitherto discussed were not written in Hebrew but
in other languages. Hebrew literature, however, which reached
a high degree of development during the four decades of the
present century, presents a considerable number of distinguished
and outstanding works. I t is enough to mention the poems of
Bialik or the essays of Ahad ha-Am to prove the assertion. But
we will select the poems of Saul Tschernichowski (1873-1944),
a poet somewhat less known to readers not conversant with
Hebrew than Bialik, but who is nonetheless great in his field.
His poems consist of nine volumes, four of which are songs, one
of dramas, and four of translations of world renowned poetic
works, such as the
Epics of Gilgamash
, the
Iliad
, and the
Kale-
vallah
(Finnish national epic).
I t is almost sacrilegious to characterize the poetic genius of
Tschernichowski in the limited space at our disposal, but we will
attempt it. He is the only Hebrew poet who came to the Hebrew
muse not by way of the ghetto of the small town and the Yeshibah
where the air they breathed was surcharged with intense Jewish­