Page 120 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 45

Basic HTML Version

112
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
as those issued in 1930 in honor of Rabbi Shimon Shkop of
Grodno, for example) were excluded. Berlin agreed with this cri­
terion and omitted them as well. Berlin also left out anniversary
books and jubilee volumes in honor of persons, places, or institu­
tions which might call themselves a Festschrift when they were
simply compilations of an individual’s writings re-issued in honor
of a major birthday or anniversary, or impressionistic essays and
reminiscences by members of a society or club, or people who
shared experiences of a certain time or place. Consequently, Ber­
lin excluded much material which, although could be styled or
called a Festscrift by itself and others, did not contain material
which fit his definition of Jewish studies. Simply stated, then, a
Festschrift was a work issued to honor a person, living or dead, or
institution, which contained articles whose scholarly content
reflected the standards of the secular university.
On the other hand, Berlin recognized that there was a rich area
of scholarship which Marcus and Bilgray excluded. This was the
Festschrift in the area of Bible and Old Testament study, and
Semitic philology, volumes written by and for recognized and
noted non-Jewish scholars and theologians, which contained
material relevant to the study of the Jewish people at the earlier
stages of its historical existence. Berlin wanted to include such
volumes which departed from the norm established by and
derived from Wissenschaft des Judentums, but found himself
caught on the horns of a dilemma: in expanding the definition of
Jewish studies to include such material, Berlin could have
flooded his index with items whose sheer volume would have
overwhelmed the index’s intended area of concentration. He
compromised, selectively including material which appeared
after World War II. However, this selective inclusion did give his
index a certain lack of balance, one which some see as the weak
point of his work.
MARKED GROWTH
There is significance in numbers. Marcus and Bilgray indexed
fifty-three Festschriften which were produced between 1864 and
1936; Berlin indexed two hundred and forty-three. (While Ber­
lin attempted to include what Marcus and Bilgray did not, the
number of additions is not all that significant.) The number of
problematic volumes relating to Old Testament studies notwith­