Page 119 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 45

Basic HTML Version

From Jewish Festschrift to
Festschrift in Jewish Studies,
1937 to 1987
if t y
y e a r s
a g o
1937, Hebrew Union College published the
first work devoted to the Jewish Festschrift. Entitled
An Index to
Jewish Festschriften,
and compiled by Jacob Rader Marcus and
Albert Bilgray, it attempted to do what had not been previously
done, namely, index by au tho r and subject some fifty-three
volumes which had been issued in honor of noted rabbis, scholars
and teachers. For the first time, researchers and students had
immediate access to the contents of these fifty-three significant
volumes of Jewish scholarship. Useful as the index was, it was not
especially attractive, being mimeographed on one side of inex­
pensive paper and fastened by staples. Indeed, one gets the
impression that it was produced as a utilitarian piece of scholarly
Some thirty years later Charles Berlin began compiling and
editing a sequel to Marcus’ and Bilgray’s work, and in 1971 his
Index to Festschriften in Jewish Studies
appeared. Published jointly
by Harvard University Press and Ktav Publishing House, this
index dealt with 243 titles, including a number of volumes not in
the earlier work. Berlin’s work, however, was not to be only a con­
tinuation of the earlier work, but an expansion. In his introduc­
tory essay he spelled out and clarified a number of details regard­
ing the genre. For example, the earlier work concentrated on
volumes issued in honor of certain institutions or in honor or
memory of rabbis, teachers, and scholars.
Because the variety of Jewish scholarship which interested
Marcus and Bilgray was that generated out of the nineteenth cen­
tury style of scholarship called Wissenschaft des Judentums,
volumes issued in honor or memory of rabbis which reflected the
traditional Jewish scholarship of the yeshiva world (volumes such