Page 81 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 43

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WELLISCH / HEBREW BIBLE CONCORDANCES
69
cordance to the Talmud, an undertaking immensely larger than
the one he had just successfully concluded. The only thing he
needed to start the work, he said, was a large file cabinet, con­
structed to his own specifications; however, a cabinet maker had
asked eight hundred marks for such a piece of furniture, a sum
that was well beyond his financial means at the time.20 But not
only a lack of money prevented him from fulfilling his ambitious
plans. The incessant toil and turmoil of the years during which he
had labored on the concordance now took their toll, and both his
physical and mental state deteriorated rapidly. In January 1902
he still sent some witty Hebrew epigrams to a literary yearbook,
but soon thereafter his health broke down, and he went to
Vienna in the hope to be cured. No details are known about his
stay there or the exact nature of his illness, except that he had
again to be hospitalized in a psychiatric ward, was released, but
died soon thereafter in his hotel room, alone and forgotten, on
the 25th of March 1902. His remains were later returned to
Leipzig where this tortured soul found his final resting place.
EARLIEST BIBLE CONCORDANCES
In order to appreciate the immensity of the task, the level of
erudition needed to undertake it, and its importance for Bible
studies, it is necessary to consider the concordances that formed
the stepping stones toward Mandelkern’s work. This survey will
be limited to concordances of the Hebrew Bible only, except for
the earliest examples that comprised both the Hebrew Bible and
the New Testament.
Until the 13th century, neither Christians nor Jews felt any
need for a concordance to the Bible. It was of course well known
throughout the early and high Middle Ages that the Scriptures
contained numerous instances of parallel passages, unique words
and other features not easily remembered. It was also realized
that the Latin translation of the Bible by St. Jerome, made in the
4th century C.E. and known as the
Vulgata
(The common one),21
was not always quite accurate. But apart from a few early and
20 ro-in) '*r .T inao cpK» : rnu/n -iao "V't pyp^yjxa nato
rn,,
.n .’ /•pon-mxr
298 '» ,([1902/1903].
21 This name is said to have been coined by Roger Bacon (1214?-1292), a Francis­
can friar famous for his erudition, knowledge of languages, and his scientific
and encyclopedic works.