Page 205 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 48

Basic HTML Version

THEODORE WIENER
Jewish Literary Anniversaries, 1991
t h i s
year
w e
commemorate two major modern Jewish histo­
rians, Heinrich Graetz and Simon Dubnow. While Graetz was
active du ring the German emancipation period, he did not
share the belief o f many o f his contemporaries that Judaism
in the modern world was a religion only, bu t he always stressed
a national component in Jewish existence. Dubnow, a child o f
the East European Haskalah, rejected assimilation and opted
for a secular Jewish nationalism in the Diaspora. Before the
n ineteenth century Jewish history had not been dealt with sys­
tematically by Jewish scholars, who had been primarily in te r­
ested in expound ing Jewish tradition. But as Jews embraced
European culture, they acquired along with all the o ther arts
and sciences o f their surround ings also an interest in their his­
tory and the tools to explore it th rough critical evaluation o f
the available sources.
These two pioneers were the fo rerunners o f so many others
who illuminated special phases o f ou r past, such as Martin
Philippson and Joseph Jacobs, who did not confine themselves
to Jewish history alone, but also wrote in the field o f general
history. T h e latter played an importan t par t in creating that
g reat synthesis o f modern Jewish scholarship at the tu rn o f this
century,
The Jewish Encyclopedia.
More recently Jacob Lestschinsky, Nathan M. Gelber, H e rbert
I. Bloom, Chone Shmeruk, and Walter Laqueur have fu r th e r
extended ou r knowledge in the field o f Jewish economic and
social history and the emergence o f the Zionist movement.
The most celebrated literary figure is the Yiddish writer
Sholem Aleichem, jo ined by Simon Frug, Nachman Mayzel, and
Aaron Glanz-Leyeles. In modern Hebrew literature , we recog­
nize S. Yizhar, Moshe Shamir, Samuel Loeb Blank, and Reuben
Wallenrod.
The modern Jewish Renaissance exemplified by Hebrew and
1 9 7