Page 21 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 5 (1946-1947)

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9
BLOCH — THE YEARNS BOOKSHELF“
(University of Chicago Press, 1946) shows how much light is shed
on the true goals of life by the books of Proverbs, Job and Ecclesi-
astes and the books of the Wisdom of Joshua ben Sira, the Wisdom
of Solomon, Baruch, Fourth Maccabees and Pirke Abot.
The
wisdom of Ecclesiastes
by Robert Gordis (New York, Behrman,
1945) presents a new English version, in the idiom of today, of
the Book of Ecclesiastes and an interpretation of the man Koheleth
against his social and cultural environment. In
Beneath the sur-
face
by Maxwell Berger (New York, Bloch, 1946) the biblical era
comprised in the Pentateuch is discussed by a rabbi who combined
history, science and Jewish theological ideas to form an explana-
tion for student and layman. Biblical in character are the books
of the Apocrypha. They too deserve larger attention from Jews
than they have received heretofore. A stimulating though brief
introduction to their contents is offered in
The Apocryphal litera-
ture
by Charles C. Torrey (New Haven, Yale University Press,
1945). I t presents a survey of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
in themselves, in their historic position, and in relation to the
canonical books. I t endeavors to give an account of all of the Old
Testament literature lying outside the canon.
TENETS AND PRACTICES OF JUDAISM
Not many books appeared during the year in which the tenets
and practices of Judaism are discussed. The few tha t have ap-
peared are rather insignificant.
Faith through reason
, a modern
interpretation of Judaism by Charles and Gertie G. Schwartz
(New York, Macmillan, 1946) is a feeble, if not unsuccessful,
at tempt at an exposition of modern Judaism in which two laymen
endeavor to reconcile faith and reason and to point out similarities
in Jewish and Christian principles. Disappointing, too, is
Con-
servative Judaism
, an American philosophy, by Robert Gordis
(New York, Behrman, 1945). I t attempts, likewise without sue-
cess, to establish the virtues, for the Jewish people, of so-called
Conservative Judaism which endeavors to follow a middle-of-the-
way course between orthodoxy and reform in Judaism. But there
is no middle way. The term Conservative Judaism can be cor-
rectly applied only to tha t kind of a movement in Jewish religious
life which endeavors to conserve existing beliefs, institutions and
forms of religious practice without change or innovation. The
Conservative Judaism which Dr. Gordis at tempts to describe is
neither orthodox nor liberal; it is a conscious effort to continue the
work of the pioneers in the reform movement in Judaism. Dr. Louis
Finkelstein’s “Judaism” in
Religion and our divided denominations
,