Page 124 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 45

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
Then there is the question raised by the Festschriften pre­
sented to Schalom Ben-Chorin9 and Gunther Harder10, where
the life’s-work of these men in the area of Jewish-Christian dia­
logue is celebrated. There are those who would deny the aca­
demic value of their work and hence deny their worth and rele­
vance both for Jewish studies in particular and general scholar­
ship in general. Less mean-spirited, but perhaps more to the
point, is the problem of a Festschrift presented to a worker in the
service of the Jewish community. For example, in 1954 the Jewish
Welfare Board published a volume entitled
Aspects of the Jewish
Community Center
in memory of Benjamin Rabinowitz, on behalf
of the National Association of Jewish Center Workers. While
there was a snobbish element at that time which perforce would
have excluded such a volume from consideration among Fest­
schriften in the textual and historical traditions of Wissenschaft
des Judentums, today it would be recognized among the new
methodologies employed in research and therefore of impor­
tance to social historians, suburban anthropologists, etc.
BIBLICAL MATERIALS
As was indicated earlier, biblical and Old Testament studies
have presented a number of problems when it came to consider­
ing whether they are part of Jewish studies. Berlin was undoubt­
edly correct in wanting to include the great contributions made in
this field by non-Jewish scholars, but he failed to recognize that
there is perhaps a substantial difference between a Jewish
approach to the Hebrew Bible and that of a believing Christian or
a secular scholar. Many Christian scholars of the Old Testament
are clearly partisan in their approach. Others, who would claim to
be neutral, ultimately are not since their concern and interest in
in constructing political models to explain the history and reli­
gion of ancient Israel, Judea, and Samaria, models which gener­
ally turn out to be theological.
Jewish scholars in this field are rarely, if ever, concerned with
matters theological. Our interest in and understanding of the
Bible comes from two sources, one internal and one external.
The internal source is classic exegesis; how did our ancestors
9
Israel hat dennoch Gott zum Trost.
Trier: Paulinus-Verlag, 1978.
10
Treue zur Thora: Beitrage zur Mitte des christlich-jiidischen Gesprache.
Berlin:
Institut Kirche und Judentum, 1977.