Page 116 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 49

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dish. During the 18th century there were added books for the
study o f German through private lessons that supplemented
the Jewish schooling received in the
The knowledge o f
German was a necessity for Jewish merchants in the p re ­
cap ita list period in Holland, Italy and Germany. During this
period there continued to appear books on gramm ar study and
Bible stories, such as
Mafteah Leshon ha-Kodesh
by Israel ben
Avraham Avinu (Amsterdam, 1713) and the first text for Bible
Mikra Meforash
(Amsterdam, 1749), by Eliezer Zussman
Rudelsom who summarized the contents o f the Bible in Yiddish
in question and answer form.
During the Haskalah period the need grew for various text­
books, especially for the study o f religion, since as pa r t o f their
quest for emancipation many considered themselves members
o f a religious community and not o f a nation. Since the time
o f Naphtali Herz Wessely, who had advocated the prepara tion
o f texts for the study o f religion, there appeared some 200 such
books, some even with Hebrew names
(Dat Moshe, Dat Yisrael
T h e re also appeared textbooks for Hebrew, mathematics, gen­
eral history, natura l sciences and even songsters “for synagogue
and school.”
The first book for the study o f Hebrew in the spirit o f Has­
kalah was
(Berlin, 1790) by Aaron Wolfsohn-Halle. The
book, which contained Bible stories and ethical teachings, was
written as an introduction to the Bible for children. It did not
gain wide acceptance bu t it did delineate the main areas that
were to serve as the subject m atter o f fu tu re similar works. In
1800 there appeared in Vienna the book
Moreh Derekh
by Sam­
uel Ditmiller, bu t it too did not achieve popularity.
In each period Hebrew textbooks were based on the methods
then cu rren t in the teaching o f foreign languages. We shall en ­
deavor to view the various textbooks according to the app roach ­
es and the philosophies which were followed by the adheren ts
o f the various methods.
For many years the teaching o f foreign languages followed
the T ranslation Approach, according to which language study
was based on classic literature . The classics were taugh t by literal
translation and much repetition. This approach was adop ted