Page 88 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

Basic HTML Version

80
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
400 titles covering all areas of Jewish cultural endeavor, schol­
arly and fictional. A considerable portion of this production
is given over to juvenile materials for various ages. In the fields
of technical scholarship, however, the Society is no longer the
leading producer. Its greatest achievement is the creation of
a new translation of the Bible, following the masoretic division
into 3 sections: Torah, Neviim (Prophets) and Kethubim (Writ­
ings). This version may not compare in solemnity of style with
the classic King James translation, but it is more intelligible and
accessible to the modern reader. The JPS has also performed
a valuable service by making available its Torah Commentary
on the Five Books of Moses.
The JPS experiences serious competition from other commer­
cial publishers, aside from the above-mentioned agencies that
cater to the Orthodox reading public. Schocken Books, prior
to its absorption by Random House, used to figure as a major
competitor and is still active in the field. Its record includes
trail-blazing works like Gershom Scholem’s
Major Trends in Jew­
ish Mysticism,
1961, and Elias Bickerman’s
From Ezra to the Last
of the Maccabess,
1962. Schocken Books also deserves credit for
introducing writers of the caliber of Franz Kafka to the Western
world. Another serious contender for competence in the pub­
lishing of scholarly Judaica is Ktav of Hoboken, NJ.
The list of Jewish publishers compiled by the Jewish Book
Council includes a number of other enterprises in various parts
of the country, e.g. Jason Aronson, Northvale, NJ, Behrman
House, West Orange, NJ, Bloch Publishing, New York, Hebrew
Publishing, Brooklyn, NY, Hebrew Union College Press, Cin­
cinnati, OH, Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch , Brooklyn, NY,
Shapolsky Publishers, NY, Shengold Publishers, NY, and others.
We have not touched on the literature pertaining to the Dead
Sea Scrolls because much work remains to be done regarding
the identity of the authors of the respective tracts. The con­
tinued deciphering of this literature should eventually provide
a clearer perspective on the period which produced these works.
In the meantime, the following titles may be helpful in clarifying
some of the disputed issues: J. Bright,
History of Israel,
Phila.,
1981; Shaye J.D. Cohen,
From the Maccabees to the Mishnah,
Phila.,
1987; D. Satram and M.E. Stone, eds.,
Emerging Judaism: Studies
in the Fourth and Third Centuries B.C.E.,
Memphis, 1989.