Page 22 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 6 (1947-1948)

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JEWI SH BOOK ANNUAL
12
writer of biblical days, succeeds in making real the life and spirit
of the man and his times.
Virtually every prophet has a t one time or another a ttrac ted
the attention of writers of fiction. In this year’s ou tpu t of so-
called biblical fiction there is
The Herdsman
, a novel by Dorothy
Clarke Wilson (Philadelphia, Westminster, 1946) dealing with
the life and time of Amos of Tekoa, the dimly-known “minor
prophet” who conceived the idea of a God of justice and who lived
in an age when men were forced to sell their sons and daughters
into slavery to pay for the lush extravagances, the lavish appease-
ment of the semi-heathen gods of their rulers. Mrs. Wilson has
drawn with unrelieved bitterness the wickedness of the Northern
Kingdom of Jeroboam. The story is told in soaring, figurative
language. I t is written in a semi-poetic style, yet one which
transplants the vernacular of today back almost three thousand
years, making the reader experience with the characters in the
book, the attitudes, beliefs and the events which brought change
of belief.
To fiction of Jewish interest belongs also a number of publica-
tions, the scenes and characters of which have been .placed in the
Palestine of the second Commonwealth. While they are decidedly
Christological they are not without interest to the Jewish reader,
for the life they describe reflects in a measure the experience of
the Jews in tha t period. Such is the case of
King Jesus
by Robert
Graves (New York, Creative Age, 1946), a historical novel, depart-
ing radically from traditional theories of Jesus’ birth, life and death
in which the lore of Jewish and pagan religions is intertwined
generally with the narrative. A portrayal of Jerusalem at the
time of the rise of Christianity is presented in
M y vineyard
by Dorothy Hoyer Scharlemann (St. Louis, Mo., Concordia,
1946).
Biblical themes are not neglected in drama and poetry. To be
sure, such works are not so numerous as in the realm of the novel
and short story but they are significant. This is certainly true of
Jacob's dream
by Richard Beer-Hofmann [translated by Ida
Bension-Wynn] with a biographical sketch by Solomon Liptzin
(Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society of America, 1947). [There
is another edition issued in New York, Johannes Press, 1947, which
includes an introduction by Thornton Wilder.] W ritten in 1915
this biblical drama has come to be regarded as one of the out-
standing creations of modern European literature.
The firstborn
;
a play in three acts by Christopher F ry (New York, Macmillan,
1947) is a dramatization of Moses’ revolt against Pharaoh and of
the eventual tragedy of the royal family.
Judith of Bethulia
, a
play in three acts by Mortimer J. Cohen (New York, 1947) was