Page 122 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 45

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
years since Berlin’s index that, of the some one hundred and
seventy-five Festschriften in Jewish studies which have appeared
(and that excludes the problematic area of Festschriften in Old
Testament study in honor of non-Jews), at least seventy-five have
been for Israeli scholars. Indeed, of the two hundred titles gath­
ered in preparing this article, a full one-half are in Hebrew. This
indicates not only the pre-eminence of Israel in this area of learn­
ing, but the necessity for the would-be scholar to master not only
the classical forms of Hebrew and their texts, but the modern
Israeli language as well.
FOCUS OF CONTENTS
The imposing Israeli presence leads to a new kind of problem
within the definition of what constitutes a Jewish Festschrift, or
perhaps more properly, a Festschrift in Jewish studies. In
reviewing the list of Festschriften produced over the past fifteen
years one cannot but note a growing gray area where the Judaic
component has beome of secondary interest. Indeed, what one
sees in the Festschrift is part of the problem one sees in Israeli
academic publishing in the humanities and social sciences in gen­
eral. An example would be
Iyyun,
a journal of philosophical
inquiry published by the Hebrew University. It has always carried
a number o f articles about Jewish philosophers and the ir
thought, but being an academic journal it has also sought to be of
general philosophical interest. In 1978
Iyyun
issued a volume in
memory of Yehoshua Bar-Hillel, the noted professor of philoso­
phy at the Hebrew University, which was entitled “Language,
Thought, Society.” It did have a few articles of interest to scholars
in the field of Jewish studies, but the contents of this memorial
volume was probably of greater interest to members of the Amer­
ican Philosophical Society than the Association of Jewish Studies.
Similarly, a Festschrift in honor of Moshe Barasch dealt with a r t ,1
one in honor of Curt Wormann dealt with librarianship,2and one
in honor of Moshe Altbauer with Slavic languages, linguistics,
and literature3. In all of these were essays of interest to Judaica
specialists, but for the most part they can be seen as Festschriften
of general academic interest in their specific areas of specializa­
1
Norms and Variations in Art.
Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1983.
2
Essays and Studies in Librarianship.
Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1975.
3
Slavica Hierosolymitana,
volume 7 (1985).