Page 18 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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ish history it offers a history and an interpretation of the develop-
ment of the concepts of Jewish diaspora life. Dr. Baer shows that
no matter what explanation was given for the suffering of the exile
most of the leading theologians and philosophers in Jewry always
have looked forward hopefully to national redemption. Altogether,
it is a brilliant essay examining
, the diaspora, as the central
concept of Jewish history from the time of the dispersion of the
Jews from Palestine to the present day. In another group of
illuminating studies translated from the German and published
under the title
The Pharisees and other essays
(N. Y., Schocken,
’47) Leo Baeck, the spokesman for German Jewry in its most
tragic hour, likewise examines some of the spiritual and historic
forces which made possible the perpetuation of Judaism in the
centuries of their dispersal. He endeavors to interpret the meaning
of Judaism and of Jewish ideas in terms of universal ethical values.
Pharisaism itself is presented as the endeavor “to achieve the full
domination of religion over life” as an “heroic effort to prepare
the ground for the kingdom of God.”
The Hebrew Scriptures forming as they do the foundation of
the teachings of Judaism and Christianity inspire a flow of writ-
ings tending to elucidate their texts and contents from every
possible approach. There is an annual output of literature so
large as to make it virtually impossible to give it sufficient atten-
tion in this survey. I t is only possible to take cognizance of selected
titles which for one reason or another are of interest to the Jewish
reader. There appeared the first of a projected thirteen volume
work on the Hebrew Bible entitled
The Book of Books
: an intro-
duction by the Rev. Dr. Solomon Goldman (N. Y., Harper;
Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society of America, ’48). In it
the learned author endeavors to trace the history of biblical criti-
cism through the centuries and to analyze the great influence of
the various books. A large section of the book is devoted to a list
of quotations from famous people speaking on the Bible. A re-
markable collection of papers in which current trends in biblical
research are surveyed by Jewish, Catholic and Protestant scholars,
covering every phase of present-day research into the lore and
literature of Sacred Scripture, is presented in
The study of the
Bible today and tomorrow
, edited by Harold R. Willoughby (Chi-
cago, University of Chicago Press, ’47).
An analysis of the factors, spiritual and historical, that shaped
the religion of the Israelites and gave it a distinctive form is con­