Page 103 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 8 (1949-1950)

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GLIMPSES OF PROFESSOR LOUIS GINZBERG*
(On the occasion of his 75th Birthday)
By
S o l o m o n G o l d m a n
P
ROFESSOR Ginzberg’s sustained productiveness over a
period of half a century is quantitatively staggering and quali-
tatively inestimable. His magna opera, opuscula, monographs,
essays, and annotations and comments on the works of others
have followed close behind each other in quick succession, each an
original and distinct contribution. From his earliest investigations
into the utilization of the Haggadah by the Church Fathers and
Apocryphal writers, the import of which he was the first to com-
prehend fully, to the latest published sample of his manuscript
on the relation between the
Mishnah
and
Mekilta
there have been
the same freshness of approach, keenness of insight, envisagement
of the whole, mastery of detail, and wonderful cunning work-
manship, which have brought him the universal recognition of
savants as being at home in every branch of Jewish learning.
Seldom has any one Jewish scholar achieved equal pre-eminence
in Halachah and Haggadah as he has, or produced stupendous
treatises in both, such as his
Commentary on the Yerushalmi
and
his
Legends of the Jews.
The general observer loitering in the long corridors and great
halls of the first four volumes of the monumental
Legends
and
viewing the famed frescoes and beautiful friezes on their mountain
walls, will hardly suspect that the architect of this imposing and
magnificent structure was himself its builder, and himself had
gathered straw for bricks not only along the banks of the Jordan,
Nile, and Euphrates, but in the remotest places, whithersoever
the winds had wafted the faintest echo of a Jewish tale or fancy.
The design of the work is all his own, new and unconventional,
no one before him having thought of reshaping the Haggadah
according to a pattern of Biblical events and personages.
His work on the Halachah has been if anything even more
distinguished. Combining perhaps to a degree no scholar ever
did “ the thorough Talmudic learning of the Eastern Talmudist
*A more complete study of Professor Ginzberg by the author appears in the
Louis Ginzberg Jubilee Volume
(New York, American Academy for Jewish Research,
1945).