Page 66 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 5 (1946-1947)

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A new series of the Books of the Bible has been inaugurated
by the Soncino Press with the publication of the Psalms and
Proverbs. Each volume contains the Hebrew text, with the
English translation at the side, and a commentary on each verse
at the foot of the page, in the manner of Rashi. Edited by the
Reverend Dr. A. Cohen, the commentary is remarkable for its
scholarship and simplicity. Designed for the average reader, the
explanations, based mainly on authoritative Jewish traditional
interpretations, are lucid and concise. Non-Jewish commentators
on difficult passages are not overlooked, but the direction of the
scholarly editor is towards the exegesis of the Talmud, the Midrash
and all the great Jewish commentators. Other books of the Bible
will follow these two volumes, and when completed, they will
comprise one of the most useful contributions in English to the
study of the Torah for the average reader and student. The
translation of the original text is, by the way, that of the Jewish
Publication Society of America.
, by Dr. I. Epstein (Epworth Press) is an excellent
exposition of Jewish teachings and aspirations. The author, a
young and noted scholar (whose researches in the Responsa have
produced new light on Jewish life in the Middle Ages), has sue-
ceeded in giving a brief, lucid, but nevertheless comprehensive
presentation of Jewish thought and action from the year of 70 C. E.
to the present day. The spiritual and ethical content of Judaism,
its universal message to the world, and other vital principles,
are outlined with clarity and objectivity in eight chapters.
is a most important contribution to the understanding
of Jewish religious teachings, both as a creed and as a way
of life.
Towards Historic Judaism
(East and West Library), by Rabbi
Dr. S. Berkowitz, is concerned with the regeneration of Judaism
in Palestine and in the Diaspora. The author accepts as axiomatic
that Eretz Israel must be the basis of Jewish national life, but
while admitting that the Yishuv has evolved a new type of Jew,
he fears that the type is not Jewish enough and he urges a more
life, in the traditional sense. Stressing the historical and
literary approach to Judaism rather than the dogmatic, he
pleads for a rediscovered and re-interpreted Judaism, based on
the Bible, Talmud and the cultural history developed in the
Diaspora. This should be the basis of the Jewish State in Palestine
and thereby help to regenerate Judaism outside the homeland.
The author strikes a new and interesting note.