Page 48 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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portant theme may receive treatment in a supplement to the
Encyclopedia.
VIEW OF HISTORY
If
The Encyclopedia of Religion's
treatment of Judaism may be
considered a success using the first criterion, on the basis of
the second, a somewhat more restrained estimate is in order.
There is yet a third criterion of evaluation that suggests itself
and that involves the general picture of the development of
Judaism that is presented here. That is, Judaism, as all the re­
ligions dealt with in the
Encyclopedia,
is presented as a historical
phenomenon. It is therefore appropriate to seek the overarch­
ing view of the course of that history.
Given that the articles themselves were written by many schol­
ars, some of whom strongly disagree with others regarding fun ­
damental issues, we cannot seek this overarching vision in the
articles themselves, but must rather look at the editorial plan
— to what and to whom does the
Encyclopedia
introduce us?
If nothing else, chronology dictates that the discussion begin
with the Hebrew Bible; there is, however, much beside chro­
nology that makes this an interesting place to start. I do not
know which of the editors is responsible for commissioning the
articles and conceiving of the larger plan for the entries per­
taining to the Hebrew Bible, but my guess is that these were
handled by more than one person, as the
Encyclopedia
seems
unable to make up its mind whether the discussion of the books
and primary figures of the Hebrew Bible is a legitimate part
of “Jewish” Studies or “Christian” Studies. Many of the entries
were written by Jewish scholars (in both the ethnic and voca­
tional senses of the term), and do attempt to deal with the ap­
propriation of these books and figures by later Jewish tradition.
As a rule, though, such scholars ignore Christian appropriations
of these books and figures. On the other hand, some of the
articles were written by Christian scholars (again in both senses),
and these tend to ignore the place of their subjects within Jewish
tradition. As far as I could tell, it is only in the entries penned
by John Van Seters that some attempt is made to briefly review
the legacy of the subject to Jewish and Christian (and Muslim)
traditions. If, then, one were to look only at the many smaller
entries relating to biblical books and figures, one would be left
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