Page 14 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 44

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
a series of volumes entitled
Bibliographica Judaica,
which serve as
indispensable guides to various fields of Jewish research.
I I
The Seminary had its origin in the Jewish Theological Semi­
nary Association founded in 1886 under the leadership o f Sabato
Morais and it began to hold regular classes in January o f the fol­
lowing year. Its aims included not only the training o f rabbis and
teachers but also the pursuit of scholarly research. The first schol­
arly publication of the Seminary, in 1890, was a volume by Morais
entitled
Italian Hebrew Literature.
The Seminary’s early years were marked by various difficulties
which were accentuated with the death of Morais in 1897. It soon
became evident that the school would have to undergo reorgani­
zation and this was accomplished in 1902 with the appointment
of Solomon Schechter as president. He proceeded to recruit a
number of promising young scholars for the faculty, including
Louis Ginzberg, Israel Friedlaender and Alexander Marx, who
also became chief librarian, and later Israel Davidson and Morde-
cai M. Kaplan.
Schechter, who had himself already earned his scholarly lau­
rels, provided the stimulus for much productive scholarly effort.
Ginzburg, in particular, produced such major works as his
Leg­
ends o f the Jews
and his studies of the Jerusalem Talmud and
Geonic literature. Schechter continued to head the Seminary
until his death in 1915 and his years of stewardship coincided
with a flourishing of scholarly activity which was evidenced in
such projects as the
Jewish Encyclopedia
and the publication pro­
gram of the Jewish Publication Society of America.
In 1939 there appeared
The Jewish Theological Seminary o f
America, a Semi-Centennial Volume,
edited by Cyrus Adler, which
presented an overview of the history and accomplishments o f the
institution. In that volume Louis Finkelstein, who was to succeed
Adler as president, devoted an article to “The Seminary as a Cen­
ter of Jewish Learning.” He presented here a summary o f the
scholarly activities of Schechter and his faculty members, as well
as o f the men who were appointed during Adler’s tenure.
Finkelstein himself made outstanding contributions to rabbinic
scholarship and brought to the Seminary faculty a number of