Page 45 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 5 (1946-1947)

Basic HTML Version

versions for some years and a previous work of his published in
English was devoted to
The Targum Jonathan to the Prophets.
his present work he deals with each of the existing Aramaic trans-
lations of the books of the Hagiographa and discusses the prob-
lems of their composition and final form. He accounts for the
variations in translation by at tributing them to later additions or
layers. The work compares the Targum to the versions of Onkelos
and Jonathan and analyzes its methods. Dr. Churgin’s book is a
contribution to our understanding of the role of the Targum as
an instrument not only of translation but also of exegesis and
Midrashic interpretation.
Two novels, both of lasting significance because of their subject
mat ter and method of treatment, are among the books written by
American authors and published in Palestine. The first, by Johanan
Twersky of Boston, is an historical novel entitled
and built
around the figure of the great Jewish commentator of the Bible
and Talmud. Twersky has applied the historical method to the
novel with great success and with amazing erudition in his
Alfred Dreyfus.
In his latest novel, published by
riat Hapoalim
(Workers’ Library), we see Rashi pictured not only
as a scholar, but also as a judge, an understanding father and
teacher and particularly as a leader of his people at a critical
time in Jewish history — the days of the First Crusade at the end
of the eleventh century. Twersky has used his research to good
advantage in making the past live again and in giving us a picture
of the light which illuminated Jewish life during the darkness of
the Middle Ages. He has worked into the tapestry of the novel
many of the proverbs of Rashi and of the folklore of his time.
For a rich and pulsating picture of the outstanding representative
of traditional Judaism, this book is good reading.
The second novel, by Simon Halkin, is an at tempt to probe
deeply into the soul of American Jewish life and to expose its
inner workings. The first par t of the work, which is to form a
trilogy, is entitled
Ad Mashber
(Towards a Crisis), and describes
the spiritual crisis and the dissatisfaction of Jewish intellectu-
als, particularly, the youth. Halkin knows the spirit of America
and the problems of Jewish adjustment to the American scene.
His work is not a novel in the usual sense of the word. Its plot
is loosely connected, the link between the chapters being the com-
mon quest of the characters for a rationale of life. Depicting the
period of “Winter, 1929,” Halkin brings into purview such char­