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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

Modern Jewish Interpretation

S. David Sperling

The most distinctive feature of the modern study of the Bible is its emphasis on history: the attempt to uncover what the biblical texts meant at the time they were composed rather than what they came to mean in later tradition, or how they might inspire the believer. Although a number of premodern scholars pursued the “original sense,” these practicing Jews and Christians were constrained by personal and institutional loyalty to limit the scope of their inquiries. For these reasons, what seem to us to be obvious contradictions and anachronisms within the texts were explained in ways that did not undermine the traditional authority of the Bible.

Among Jews, the return to serious study of the Bible is a modern phenomenon, having been neglected in many European Jewish communities during the medieval and early modern periods (see “Medieval Interpretation,” pp. 1876–1900, and “Post‐medieval Interpretation,” pp. 1900–1908). Beginning with Saadia Gaon (882–942) and continuing for the next several centuries, medieval Jewish scholars had made the Bible a major focus of study. Sephardim (Jews of Spanish and Portuguese origin) and Italian Jews continued that tradition, but on the eve of modernity most Jews lived in Central and Eastern Europe. In contrast to the Sephardim who studied the Talmud only as a source of law, the Ashkenazim (Jews in Franco‐German communities) viewed study of the Talmud as a religious end in itself, deserving undivided scholarly attention. Much like Catholics, Ashkenazim treated the Bible as a liturgical and homiletical text. Premodern Jewish communal life was based not on the Bible but on laws, customs, and traditions derived in the main from the Babylonian Talmud and codified in the 16th‐century Shulḥan 'Arukh legal code and its commentaries. Although these documents of rabbinic Judaism derived their ultimate authority from the Bible, in practice, Rabbis, who served their autonomous communities more as judges than as spiritual leaders, required very little biblical learning. The 17th‐century Rabbi Joseph Hahn of Frankfurt (d. 1637) wrote, “In our generation there are rabbis who never studied the Bible.” Germany saw some improvement in the next century thanks to the Bible translation project initiated by Moses Mendelssohn (1729–1786), which was accompanied by contemporary commentaries (Bi'ur). But even in Germany, and all the more in Russia and Poland, talmudical study carried greater prestige than biblical, and bright students were moved to Talmud by age seven or eight. (The small number of girls given schooling studied more Bible than did boys.)

If Bible study was largely ignored, “higher criticism” of the Bible (the identification of sources behind the biblical text; see “The Modern Study of the Bible,” pp. 2084–96) aspracticed in universities and some Christian seminaries beginning in the late 18th century was condemned. Pious Jews (and many of their Christian counterparts) were horrified that Bible “critics” questioned the reliability of the received biblical texts, denied the historicity of their contents, and detected numerous sources in books attributed by Jewish (and Christian) tradition to a single author. It is true that some features that characterize modern criticism had surfaced much earlier. Abraham Ibn Ezra (1092–1167) noted several anachronisms in the Torah; Joseph Bekhor Shor (12th century) observed contradictory parallel narratives in the Torah; some members of the Hasidei Ashkenaz (12th‐ to 13th‐century German Jewish Pietists) challenged Davidic authorship of certain psalms and Mosaic authorship of sections of the Torah; and Jonah Ibn Janaḥ (ca. 990–ca. 1050) may have emended biblical texts. But none of these scholars, every one of them steadfast in the observance of the Jewish communal laws, developed a systematic critical approach. (The nascent biblical criticism of the excommunicate Baruch Spinoza [1632–1677 ] written in Latin had little influence on 17th‐century Jews.) With the advent of Emancipation, adherence to Jewish law and membership in the Jewish community became voluntary. Just as the Protestant Reformation had made it possible for Christians to study the Bible directly without the authorized interpretations of the Church, Emancipation gave Jews an opportunity to study Bible outside of traditional circles. Those who began to study the Bible in the newer setting tended to sympathize with the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment) Movement or with Zionism rather than with old‐style religious observance and belief.

Particularly odious to the faithful was the Documentary Hypothesis, especially as codified by Julius Wellhausen (1844–1918). The Wellhausen theory, which came to dominate biblical scholarship by the close of the 19th century, claimed that the Torah or Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy) had been written not by Moses but by authors who composed “documents” over a period of centuries. These documents, or sources, were combined to form the Torah, which owed its final shape to the priests of the Jewish “church” of the late first millennium bCE . Because of its priestly orientation, declared Wellhausen, the Torah, in contrast to the prophetic books of an earlier age, was a “legalistic” work obsessed with ritual purity and scrupulous observance of ceremonial minutiae. Wellhausen's view of the development of Judaism, therefore, saw it as inferior to the prophetic faith that scorned the legalistic requirements of Temple observance; this made it easier to embrace the New Testament polemic against “Judaism” (i.e., legalism) while still accepting the Old Testament (as recommending, in its highest development in the prophets, “faith,” not ritual “works”).

In the less‐than‐pious circles of Wissenschaft des Judentums (scientific study of Judaism) critical study of the Bible was also unpopular, but for different and sometimes contradictory reasons. Jewish scholars with university training sought to modernize Judaism, gain general acknowledgment of their own academic legitimacy, and secure broad rights of European citizenship for their people. As such, their research gave priority to Jewish intellectual creativity in the Gentile world. The study of the Jewish philosophers or of the great medieval poets demonstrated that Greek and Arabic speaking Jews had contributed to general intellectual life. Philo, Maimonides, and Judah Halevi could serve as models for 19th‐century European Jews. The study of historic Israel in its own land, in contrast, underscored Jewish separateness. Certainly, the research agenda of the German reformer and scholar Abraham Geiger (1810–1874) was shaped by such concerns. Geiger's exemplary work on ancient translations of the Bible barely engages the literary history of the Bible proper. For his part, the eminent historian and Bible scholar Heinrich Graetz (1817–1891) was willing to study most of the Bible critically, but clung to a traditional view of the Torah's composition. Within some Zionist circlesof the East European Haskalah, biblical criticism was unwelcome because it was too “European” and could lead to assimilation rather than to Zionism. The pleas of such spokesmen as Max Soloweitschik (1883–1957) and Zalman Rubashov [Shazar] (1889–1974; later president of Israel) that the study of the Bible was essential to Zionism went largely unheeded. Finally, it must be observed that many enlightened Jews including the American immigrants I. M. Wise (1819–1900), founder of the (Reform) Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, and Solomon Schechter (1847–1915), the driving force at the (Conservative) Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, were deterred from serious study of the Bible by the triumphalist tone of Christian Bible criticism. Schechter, not without justification, referred to higher criticism as “higher anti‐Semitism” (see discussion of J. Wellhausen, above). After all, Wilhem de Wette (1760–1849), the first to date the composition of Deuteronomy to the time of King Josiah (d. 609 BCE), thus providing a fixed date for the composition of a book of the Torah, had written that Judaism was a “misfortune” for which Christianity provided “consolation.” The pioneering Semiticist and grammarian H. F. Wilhelm Gesenius (1786–1842) observed that the postexilic books Esther, Daniel, and Jonah were the products of “debased Jewish taste.” Wellhausen himself had declared that the Torah's system of commandments turned God into the “manager of a petty scheme of salvation.” The (Priestly) law, he asserted, “takes the soul out of religion and spoils morality.” In studies on the Pentateuch in particular, Christian Bible scholars tended to denigrate “pharisaical” Jews and a “legalistic” Judaism so far removed from the elevated teachings of the great early Hebrew prophets that a completely new revelation was required in the advent of Jesus.

Nonetheless, there were Jewish scholars who saw the necessity for modern scientific Bible study. One such pioneer was the Italian Samuel David Luzzatto (acronym Shadal; 1800–1865). Luzzatto, who was schooled in the earlier Jewish and Christian translations of the Bible, suggested that the vowel points were secondary to the received Hebrew text. (He was here influenced by the earlier Italian Elija Levita [1468 /9–1549 ].) He was the first modern Jewish scholar to propose textual emendations in biblical texts, so long as these were outside of the Torah. With regard to higher criticism he denied the attribution to David of many psalms and to Solomon the authorship of Ecclesiastes, while upholding Mosaic authorship of the Torah. As part of his philosophical program, Nachman Krochmal (1785–1840), an Eastern European Jewish intellectual, wrote The Guide for the Perplexed of This Time (Moreh Nevukhei Ha‐Zeman) and accepted the view of general biblical scholarship that the latter half of Isaiah and the book of Koheleth (Ecclesiastes) were products of Diaspora Judaism in the latter first millennium bCE . In opposition to Christian scholarship, however, Krochmal held that lateness demonstrated not decay but rather continuing Jewish creativity and spiritual innovation. In further defense of Judaism, Krochmal asserted that the great Rabbis of the talmudic period (2nd–6th century) had reached the same conclusions about the lateness of some biblical books but concealed their findings out of concern that their laity had not reached the necessary level of sophistication.

Of particular interest is Markus M. Kalisch (1828–1885), who had rabbinical training and a degree from the University of Berlin (Friedrich‐Wilhems Universität). Thanks to his employment in England by the Rothschild family, Kalisch was able to devote himself to scholarship. Whereas most 19th‐century Jewish scholars, even nonobservant ones, eschewed critical analysis of the “iconic” Torah, Kalisch wrote a two‐volume commentary on Leviticus (1867, 1872), in which he examined the biblical sacrificial systems and determined that the document that was designated as the Priestly Code (“P”) was later than Deuteronomy (“D”). He thus anticipated Wellhausen both in method and in some of his conclusions.

Leopold Zunz (1794–1886), founder of Wissenschaft des Judentums, had studied at the University of Berlin during the tenure there of Wilhelm de Wette. Zunz, though, did not direct his primary early research to the Bible, arguing that postbiblical literature as part of Jewish culture not shared with Christians was in need of scholarly attention, whereas the Bible had many Christian students. Nonetheless, his ground‐breaking study of ancient Jewish preaching, Die gottesdientlichen Vorträge der Juden, historisch entwickelt (The Worship Sermons of the Jews Historically Developed; 1832) revealed the late date of many psalms, dated Ezekiel to the 5th century BCE, outlined the ideological concerns of Chronicles and argued for its shared authorship with Ezra‐Nehemiah, and claimed that the Jewish canon had not been completed until shortly before 70 CE . In his old age Zunz turned to the central concerns of 19th‐century biblical scholarship. He supported de Wette's 7th‐century bCE dating of Deuteronomy with supplementary linguistic evidence. In agreement with Wellhausen, Zunz argued that Leviticus was written after both Deuteronomy and Ezekiel, under the influence of the Jewish priesthood of the later first millennium BCE.

Solomon Mandelkern (1846–1902), born in Russia, rabbinically educated and holding degrees in Semitics and law, provided the single most important scholarly tool for Bible study with his Hekhal Hakodesh (1896). This concordance was the standard work until the advent of computer concordances at the end of the 20th century. It took twenty years to complete, and made it possible to study every biblical word in context so that a scholar need not rely on memory or inadequate dictionaries.

The United States for most of the 19th century had a small Jewish population, with a correspondingly low level of Jewish knowledge. The major American Jewish contribution to biblical studies was the Bible translation written by Isaac Leeser (1806–1868). A Prussian immigrant, Leeser was employed as a ḥazan (cantor) in Philadelphia. Although Leeser's formal training was sparse, historical circumstances combined with his own sense of purpose and remarkable vision made him the primary architect of American Jewish institutional life. Leeser's Hebrew‐English Bible (1853) was essentially a Jewish version of the King James with its christology removed and some Jewish traditional interpretation inserted. Despite the severe judgment rendered by some critics, the Leeser Bible met the needs of American Jewish life in the mid‐19th century quite well (see “Jewish Translations of the Bible,” pp. 2005–20).

The political revolutions that roiled Western and Central Europe in 1848, followed later in the century by the decline of the state of the Jews of Eastern Europe, encouraged Jewish immigration to the United States and raised the intellectual level of American Jewry. One such immigrant, Benjamin Szold (1829–1902), a rabbi in Baltimore, wrote a Hebrew commentary on Job (1886) drawing on the Jewish exegetical tradition and, conservatively, on 19th‐century Christian scholarship. Szold attempted to resolve the controversy over the date of Job by arguing that an early form of the book was originally composed in the time of Moses, while our extant book is a much later reworking of the original.

Arnold B. Ehrlich (1848–1919), a younger contemporary of Szold, was a unique figure. Born in Wlodawa in Russian Poland and married at an early age, Ehrlich divorced his wife and moved to Leipzig in Germany. There he converted to Christianity and taught at the missionary Institutum Judaicum headed by the eminent biblicist Franz Delitzsch (1813– 1890), helping to translate the New Testament into Hebrew for the purpose of converting Jews. In 1876 Ehrlich reached America and quickly returned to Judaism. Although unable to obtain a regular academic post, Ehrlich managed to produce two major scholarly works: the Hebrew Miqra' Kifshuto (The Bible in its Plain Sense; 1899–1901) and the seven‐volume German Randglossen zur hebräischen Bibel (Marginal Notes to the Hebrew Bible). Both works show their author's knowledge of philology and his ear for biblical language.

Although Ehrlich does not refer to the Documentary Hypothesis, he employs arguments based on linguistic usage, concepts, and institutions to assign relative “late” and “early” dates to specific passages. Numerous historical comments, such as his denial of the historicity of Egyptian enslavement and exodus are buried in notes to specific passages. Ehrlich wrote Miqra' in Hebrew for the express purpose of introducing Jews to the critical study of the Bible. His work has been highly influential on Jewish scholarship, as can be seen in the Bible translations produced by the Jewish Publication Society: the JPS Bible of 1917 and its replacement NJPS (1962– 1982).

Because of the Christian orientation of Bible study in American colleges and universities, it was not easy for Jewish scholars with research interests in the Bible to find academic posts directly in that area. In addition, much biblical research at that time was done in the context of Protestant seminaries rather than in secular institutions. Departments of Semitic or Oriental Languages were more hospitable to Jewish scholars. For example, Morris Jastrow (1861–1922) received the Ph.D. in Semitics at Leipzig and then taught at the University of Pennsylvania from 1885 until his death. Although his primary fields were Assyriology and Mesopotamian religion, Jastrow published books on Ecclesiastes, Job, and Song of Songs. He served as editor of the Bible division for the twelve‐volume Jewish Encyclopedia (New York, 1901–1906; most of the contributors to the Bible division were Christians). Jastrow served as the first Jewish president of the professional society, the Society of Biblical Literature, in 1916, and was an outspoken proponent of higher criticism.

Max Margolis (1866–1932) likewise earned a degree in Semitics. His doctoral thesis on text‐criticism of the Talmud was written in Latin under Richard Gottheil at Columbia in 1891 . Margolis began his scholarly career at Hebrew Union College (1893–1897) where I. M. Wise persuaded him to move into biblical studies. He left HUC for Berkeley and taught Semitics there until 1905, when he returned to HUC, which he once again left after a disappointing two years. In 1908 Margolis became editor‐in‐chief of the Jewish Publication Society's Bible translation. Published in 1917, the JPS Holy Scriptures became the quasi‐official Bible of Jewish anglophones for the next half‐century. An outstanding textual critic with special interest in the Septuagint (the ancient Jewish translation into Greek), Margolis was quite conservative in his attitude toward higher criticism. He served as president of the Society of Biblical Literature in 1923 and editor of its Journal of Biblical Literature (JBL) from 1914 to 1922 . Margolis served as Professor of Biblical Philology at the nonsectarian Dropsie College (later the Annenberg Research Institute for Judaic and Near Eastern Studies and now the Center for Judaic Studies of the University of Pennsylvania) from 1909 until his death.

The first American Jewish Bible scholar to practice higher criticism systematically was the long‐lived Julian Morgenstern (1881– 1976). Morgenstern, ordained at HUC in 1902, earned the Ph.D. in Assyriology at Heidelberg. He not only championed the Documentary Hypothesis but expanded it by claiming to have identified an additional “document” in the Torah. As a professor at HUC from 1907 to 1960 and as its president from 1921 to 1947, he was the first Jewish scholar to make critical study of the Bible central to the curriculum of an American Jewish seminary. Over the years Morgenstern came to the conclusion that the Documentary Hypothesis, although necessary, was insufficient. In his presidential address to the Society of Biblical Literature in 1941, Morgenstern called for a synthesis of classical criticism with archeology, folklore studies, and religious phenomenology.

The modern Hebrew Torah, Nevi'im Ukhetuvim im Perush Mada'i (The Bible with a Critical Commentary), edited by A. Kahana (1874– 1946) in collaboration with scholars from all over the world, was a conscious product of the editor's Jewish nationalism. Although the full series was never completed, the sevenvolumes published over a period of twenty‐six years (1903 /04–1929 /30) made use of the ancient versions, ancient Near Eastern sources unearthed by archeology, comparative Semitics, and the Documentary Hypothesis. Among the contributors were H. P. Chajes, F. Perles, Max Margolis and Kahana himself. Until 1990 the series was the only multi‐volume critical Bible commentary in Hebrew.

The period between the First and Second World Wars had a great impact on Jewish Bible scholarship. The opening of the Hebrew University in 1925 meant that the Bible would be studied in Hebrew in the land of its origin. Zionist successes and the rise to power of the Nazis encouraged the immigration of European Jews to Palestine and the United States. The foundations of what was to become Israeli Bible scholarship were laid by such scholars as Tur‐Sinai (Torczyner), Cassuto, Kaufmann, and Segal.

N. H. Tur‐Sinai (Torczyner; 1876–1973) was an ingenious, sometimes overly ingenious, philologist who uncovered the meaning of many a biblical passage that had long eluded interpretation. Especially noteworthy are his three different commentaries on Job, in which he argues that most of the textual difficulties of the book can be solved by treating the Hebrew as a faulty translation from an Aramaic original. Rather than employing source‐criticism, Tur‐Sinai argued that our surviving biblical literature comes from compilations that were originally organized around the lives of ancient heroes, such as David, Moses, or Samuel. The title of Tur‐Sinai's multi‐volume Peshuto shel Miqra' (The Plain Sense of the Bible; 1962–1968) is an acknowledgment of the author's indebtedness to Ehrlich.

Umberto Moshe David Cassuto (1883– 1951) was an Italian Jew trained as a rabbi at Collegio Rabbinico Italiano. His doctoral studies at the University of Florence brought him under the influence of the critical Bible scholar H. P. Chajes (1876–1927). Cassuto devoted his early scholarship to the history of the Jews of Italy. Appointment to the faculty at the University of Rome caused him to redirect his efforts into Semitics. Cassuto's studies of the Ugaritic literature of the late second‐millennium bCE Syria led him to realize the cultural continuity between ancient Israel and the wider ancient Near East. A lover of Dante, Cassuto's background in literature impelled him to view the Documentary Hypothesis as unsound. Instead, Cassuto advocated what would later be called “synchronic” or “holistic” reading of the biblical text with an eye to its inner unity, an approach which has since become extremely popular in the “Bible as literature” movement. Cassuto moved to Israel (then Palestine) from Fascist Italy in 1939 and became a professor of Bible at Hebrew University. He was the founding editor of the Entziklopediah Miqra'it (Encyclopaedia Biblica; 9 volumes; 1950–1989).

Moses Hirsch (Zevi) Segal (1876–1968) was born in Lithuania, where he pursued a rabbinical education. His university studies in London and Oxford led to an appointment as lecturer at Hebrew University in 1926, where he became professor in 1939 . Orthodox opposition to biblical study restricted the initial appointment to Parshanut (exegesis) rather than Miqra' (Bible) proper; this despite Segal's opposition to the Documentary Hypothesis. (H. P. Chajes, a stronger candidate, failed to get the post because of his critical stance.) Though rejecting most aspects of the critical study of the Torah, Segal clung to the newer tradition that biblical criticism was legitimate outside the Torah, and his commentary on Samuel (1956) is full of observations concerning the complex layers of composition of that book. In several articles and the book The Pentateuch: Its Composition and Authorship and Other Biblical Studies (1967), Segal attempts to demonstrate the essential Mosaic authorship of the Torah, but allows for numerous additions by later authors. Segal also wrote the widely read Introduction to the Bible (4 Hebrew vols. 1946–1950), and contributed much to the study of Mishnaic Hebrew, the Apocrypha, and the history of interpretation.

Yehezkel Kaufmann (1889–1963), best known for his opposition to Wellhausen, was,ironically, the most enthusiastic proponent of the Documentary Hypothesis among the pioneering Israeli biblicists. Kaufmann challenged the chronological order of the sources of the Torah proposed by Wellhausen. Tacitly accepting the view of Christian Bible scholarship that “earlier is better,” Kaufmann argued that the P(riestly) source was a preexilic composition and not a late, inferior “Jewish” development. Kaufmann challenged as well Wellhausen's chronology of Israelite religion. From his dating of the sources Wellhausen had concluded that Israelite monotheism evolved out of polytheism over centuries as the teachings of the prophets finally took hold among the masses. Kaufmann in his magnum opus, Toledot ha'Emunah ha‐Yisra'elit (8 vols. 1937–1957; English: Religion of Israel, translated and abridged by Moshe Greenberg, 1960), asserted that Israelite monotheism began as an original religious intuition in the time of Moses. Ancient Israelites, common folk and religious elite alike, were united by the monotheistic worship of the god YHVH . The Bible's repeated references to Israelite worship of “wood and stone idols” were to be explained as denunciations by religious zealots of what in reality were vestiges of superstition from pre‐Mosaic times. Kaufmann's thesis stripped Torah criticism of its animus to Judaism and found eager acceptance among non‐Orthodox Israelis and American religious moderates, particularly at the Conservative movement's Jewish Theological Seminary. Especially attractive was Kaufmann's description of monotheism as an original religious intuition, which supported Jewish claims to religious genius without appealing to supernaturalism.

During the 1st century of modern biblical scholarship, the field was largely restricted to source‐critical examination of the biblical books themselves. The expansion of ancient Near Eastern archeology in the period between the World Wars heightened interest in comparative studies, both linguistic and cultural. To some extent the recovery of the world in which the Bible had been produced mitigated opposition to critical study by producing “positive” results. Through “biblical archeology” (as it used to be called, since it was done in conjunction with, and usually in support of, the biblical text), some textual emendations were vitiated by the discovery that a biblical text thought corrupt actually preserved a hitherto unknown word. Other discoveries substantiated the existence of biblical figures or provided background to biblical institutions. Jewish scholars such as the founder of Israeli archeology, Benjamin (Maisler) Mazar (1906–1995), learned from W. F. Albright (1891–1971) to combine field researches with biblical text‐study. Nelson Glueck (1900–1971) was the only American Jew centrally involved in the “biblical archeology” movement. Glueck was president of HUC from 1947 to 1971 and the founder of its archeology school in Jerusalem, which now bears his name. Bold syntheses of text and archeology were also undertaken by a student of Margolis, E. A. Speiser (1902–1965) of the University of Pennsylvania, notably in his influential commentary on Genesis (Anchor Bible, 1964). Somewhat similar was the approach of Cyrus Gordon (1908–2001), a far‐ranging comparatist who included the Aegean world within the purview of biblical and Near Eastern studies, and trained several generations of students. Within this same generation the most far‐reaching comparative work was done by Theodor H. Gaster (1906–1992), whose Myth, Legend and Custom in the Old Testament (1969), based on the methods of the anthropologist James Frazer, attempts to gather “all that can be derived from comparative folklore and mythology for the interpretation of the Old Testament.”

Perhaps the greatest of American Jewish biblicists trained between the wars was Harold Louis (or H. L.) Ginsberg (1903–1990). Born in Montreal, Canada, Ginsberg earned his doctorate at the University of London and moved to mandatory Palestine where he worked closely with Benjamin Mazar, concentrating on ancient Semitics. In 1936 he published a pioneering Hebrew translation andgrammatical study of ancient Ugaritic tablets unearthed in Syria in 1929 . Ginsberg was one of the first to employ Ugaritic to recover forgotten grammatical features and “lost” words in biblical Hebrew. He also demonstrated the value of Ugaritic in textual criticism of the Bible. Ginsberg's arrival at Jewish Theological Seminary in 1936 transformed the seminary's role in Jewish Bible studies. Although JTS had no Ph.D. program at that time, at least two generations of Jewish Bible scholars received their “basic training” and inspiration while studying Bible at JTS with Ginsberg. Ginsberg employed philology both for itself and as a clue to reconstructing inner‐biblical literary and ideological development. For most of his scholarly career Ginsberg championed and publicized the view of Yehezkel Kaufmann that “D(euteronomy)” was later than “P(riestly Code).” As he began to concentrate on Torah, however, his research in biblical diction demonstrated to him that Wellhausen had been substantially correct. The results of much of Ginsberg's work are available to the larger public because he served as an editor and translator of the first two sections of the NJPS. He was also Bible editor of Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971), to which he contributed original articles far more documented and detailed than is usual in contemporary encyclopedias. These are characterized by brilliant intuitiveness and occasionally, by excessive ingenuity.

Another outstanding figure trained between the wars was Harry M. Orlinsky (1908–1992), likewise Canadian by birth. Orlinsky earned his Ph.D. at Dropsie and spent most of his teaching career at HUC in New York City (at the time the independent Jewish Institute of Religion). His 1967 study on the “Suffering Servant” in Deutero‐Isaiah is a classic of modern scholarship, and is significant for its use of scholarly method to polemicize implicitly against Christian theological interpretation of the Bible. Most of Orlinsky's work, however, was in textual studies and translation. Especially noteworthy are his numerous articles on the Greek Septuagint translation. Orlinsky crusaded for years in behalf of a Jewish translation to replace the 1917 JPS. His wishes were fulfilled when he served as editor‐in‐chief of the New JPS Torah (1961) and as an editor for the Prophets and Megillot (scrolls) sections (1985). Orlinsky was the only Jewish scholar involved in the Protestant Revised Standard Version translation of the Old Testament (1952) and its revision, the New Revised Standard Version (1989); no Christian scholars participated in the New Jewish Publication Society Bible (1985).

In the period between World War II and the late 1960 s, Jewish scholarship became increasingly productive as a significant number of Jewish scholars entered the mainstream of biblical scholarship. The increased number of Jewish biblicists led to the emergence of a “Jewish School” with a common educational profile. At the time there were few university‐supported programs in Judaic Studies. Almost all the scholars of this period (they were all men; no seminaries admitted women at that time), mostly now emeriti or deceased, had studied or taught at rabbinical seminaries, notably the Jewish Theological Seminary, and all were conversant with the Jewish exegetical tradition, even when they ignored it. Unlike Christian seminaries, the Jewish institutions emphasized historical method rather than theology. The Christian orientation of advanced biblical studies led most of these men to pursue their education in secular graduate schools, in Near Eastern Studies departments, where they studied the ancient languages and cultures of Western Asia, Mesopotamia, and Egypt. A crucial development unifying Jewish biblical scholarship was the rise of the State of Israel (1948), which led to interaction between American and Israeli scholarship. United in their common knowledge of modern Hebrew, Americans and Israelis studied and taught in each other's countries. A number of American scholars emigrated to Israel, most maintaining their American connections. A smaller number of Israeli biblicists settled in America, but maintained Israeli connections. Jewish Bible scholarson both sides of the globe were the foremost advocates of interpreting difficult biblical Hebrew texts in the light of other languages, particularly Ugaritic and Akkadian, and of interpreting biblical institutions, laws, and narratives in light of “parallels.” In their approach to ancient Israelite religion, many were influenced by Yehezkel Kaufmann.

Of special note was the engagement of the Jewish scholars trained before the late 1960 s in Torah‐criticism, often avoided in earlier Jewish biblical scholarship, and absent from the curriculum of JTS until 1966 . All the Torah volumes in the nonsectarian Anchor Bible are by Jews: E. A. Speiser (1902–1965; Genesis), Jacob Milgrom (b. 1923; Leviticus), Baruch Levine (b. 1930; Numbers), Moshe Weinfeld of Israel (b. 1925; Deuteronomy). The most recent volume, Exodus, is the work of a younger Jewish scholar, William Propp. In the JPS Torah Commentary, also all written by Jews, Genesis and Exodus are by Nahum Sarna, (b. 1923), Leviticus by Baruch Levine, Numbers by Jacob Milgrom, and Deuteronomy by Jeffrey Tigay. Both Milgrom and Levine are known for their studies of the Israelite cult.

Most influential have been Moshe Greenberg and Nahum Sarna. Greenberg, a student of E. A. Speiser, left the University of Pennsylvania, where he had been a young star, for Hebrew University. Greenberg was a pioneer in employing rabbinic midrash and medieval commentaries in pursuit of the original sense of the text. Over thirty years ago Greenberg called for emphasis on the individual books of the Bible as literary units. Greenberg's call heralded the new emphasis on “Bible as literature” and legitimated literary‐aesthetic study among mainstream biblicists. In addition, his emphasis on the integrity of the Hebrew text offered an important corrective to much (German) biblical scholarship, which often corrects the Hebrew on the basis of the Greek Septuagint. Greenberg authored the Ezekiel commentary in the Anchor Bible (2 volumes published, a third to follow). He co‐edited Miqra' le‐Yisra'el, a multi‐volume commentary in Hebrew designed to bring biblical scholarship to the Israeli public as well as to scholars. Sarna, a student of Gordon, was originally interested in rabbinic literature; he thus shares with Greenberg a great appreciation of the rabbinic and medieval commentary tradition. Again like Greenberg, Sarna is a born teacher. His pedagogical skills, evident in all of his writing, come to the fore in the JPS Torah Commentary, particularly in Genesis, which masterfully synthesizes textual study, archeology and rabbinic tradition. A prescient essay on Psalm 89 (1963) brought the notion “inner‐biblical exegesis” into scholarly consciousness. At Brandeis University Sarna trained large numbers of students, including Michael Fishbane, who has developed “inner‐biblical exegesis” (see “Inner‐biblical Interpretation,” pp. 1829–35). Jeffrey Tigay has aptly written: “No scholar has done as much as Sarna to educate English‐speaking Jewry about the Bible.”

Another significant figure was the Israeli expatriate Moshe Held (1924–1984), who taught at Dropsie College and then at Columbia University. Held was an outstanding philologist and comparative Semiticist with a commanding personality. Held's years of teaching at nearby JTS brought “cuneiform‐consciousness” to students in his Bible classes and attracted many of them into the advanced study of Bible and comparative Semitics. In Israel the figure of Menahen Haran (b. 1924) looms large. A student of Kaufmann, Haran's work has concentrated on biblical religion and cult within Kaufmann's model that the Priestly tradition is early. More recently his work has been on the formation of the biblical canon and its scribal transmission. Other highly influential Israeli figures are the late I. L. Seeligmann and the late S. E. Lowenstamm, as well as Abraham Malamat (b. 1922) and Moshe Weinfeld (b. 1925). Malamat has a comparative approach to Israelite institutions such as prophecy and monarchy. Weinfeld, a wide‐ranging comparatist with a strong interest in institutions, was an early advocate of using Assyrian vassal treaties to understand the Bible, especially Deuteronomy; he is openingnew vistas in his work comparing Israelite settlement patterns with ancient Greek colonization.

The last thirty years have been momentous for Jewish Bible scholarship in both numbers and diversification of approaches. In the United States the academic legitimation of ethnic studies enabled the creation of programs in Jewish Studies in private and public institutions of higher learning. Court decisions permitting the teaching of religion in publicly funded schools were an additional stimulus to growth. The influence of feminism brought women into a field that had been completely male. Women scholars regularly addressed questions that had been ignored, influencing men to do the same. Prominent women scholars of this first generation include: Adele Berlin, Tikva Frymer‐Kensky, Susan Niditch, Carol Meyers, Tamara Eskenazi, and in Israel, Sara Japhet, Yaira Amit, and the late Sara Kamin. Some Jewish scholars, notably Jon Levenson at Harvard and the late M. H. Goshen‐Gottstein (1925– 1991) have engaged biblical theology, heretofore mostly restricted to Christians.

Additional diversity has come from Or‐ thodox Judaism. In the past, Orthodox Jews were on the periphery of Jewish biblical studies. Their most important contributions were critical editions of medieval Jewish Bible commentators, famous and (undeservedly) obscure alike. An outstanding example is the ongoing M. Cohen (ed.) Miqra'ot Gedolot Haketer (Bar‐Ilan University, 1992 ff.) based on the Aleppo Codex of the Bible and accompanied by a comprehensive selection of medieval commentaries edited from the best texts. Notable exceptions are two Israeli scholars, Meir Weiss and Uriel Simon, who pioneered the literary study of the Bible. At the present time scholars personally affiliated with Orthodox Judaism engage the central questions of textual criticism, literary history, and historicity, applying critical method even to Torah literature.

The changing profile of the biblical field has implications for the future of Jewish biblical scholarship that are hard to predict. The founders of Jewish biblical scholarship had acquired much of their learning in Europe. The scholars who trained the current senior generation received a grounding in Jewish studies in seminaries. The experience of both groups differed significantly from that of more recent scholars whose background is more pluralistic. Precisely because the Jewish approach is not self‐evident, and training in rabbinics and Talmud is not as strong, the newer crop has worked harder to articulate the ways in which their work is distinctively Jewish. At the same time the newer generations come with new disciplines and approaches, thereby moving the study of Bible beyond literary and historical criticism, and comparative philology. “Biblical archeology” has declined in popularity. The need to articulate the theoretical basis of one's approach became itself a trend beginning in the 1970 s. Some of the newer approaches including ideological criticism, structuralism, deconstruction, and narrative criticism have come from comparative literature. Several younger Jewish scholars have also been involved in the serious application of sociological theory to biblical studies.

Jewish scholars have certainly benefited from the opportunity to study the Bible outside of departments with a Christian orientation, but the blessing is not unmixed. The earlier Christian orientation of biblical studies forced Jewish biblicists to earn degrees in the larger disciplines of text‐criticism and ancient literary languages. This is no longer the case. Ironically, the attentive reading of a text as literature demands mastery of these disciplines. Fortunately, there have been countervailing trends. The American Michael Fox (b. 1940) has in particular broadened the application of Egyptology to biblical study. Jonas Greenfield (1926–1995) performed a similar service for Iranian languages. William Hallo (b. 1928), recently retired from Yale, and his student Peter Machinist (b. 1944) of Harvard have brought new sophistication to the study of the Bible in the light of Assyriology. Adele Berlin's (b.1943) NJPS commentary on the book of Esther (2001) exemplifies the disciplined synthesis of philology, text, and historical criticism with the literary approach. In Israel, Alexander Rofé (b. 1932 in Pisa, Italy) makes extensive use of the ancient versions to combine classical source criticism with the literary‐aesthetic approach. Emanuel Tov (b. 1941 in Holland) is the leading textual critic of the Hebrew Bible, and produced the indispensable Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (first edition, 1992). He also spearheaded the completion of the standard scholarly publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Hebrew University Bible Project, whose driving force was the late Moshe Goshen‐Gottstein, has thus far (2003) provided the critical editions of Isaiah (1995) and Jeremiah (1997). Avi Hurvitz (b. 1936) has attempted to establish the history of biblical Hebrew on a solid linguistic basis.

In concluding this essay we turn our attention to a number of important collaborative projects, scholarly as well as popular, under Jewish sponsorship in the United States and Israel. The ongoing Hebrew University Bible Project has as its primary aim the publication, at long last, of a true critical text of the Hebrew Bible. HUBP is based on the authoritative 10th‐century Aleppo Codex and its accompanying scribal notes (Hebrew: masorah). The base text is accompanied by variations attested in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the ancient translations, medieval Hebrew manuscripts, and in biblical citations in early rabbinic literature.

Several significant Israeli projects are aimed at larger audiences. In general the Israeli projects reflect the greater emphasis of Israeli scholarship on the realities of fauna, topography, and geography with which Israelis have direct experience. The Miqra' leYisra'el series (A Bible Commentary for Israel), begun in 1990, is the first multi‐volume Hebrew language critical commentary on the Hebrew Bible in over fifty years. The target audience, like that of the American nondenominational Anchor Bible, is not only the scholar, but the educated nonspecialist. The members of the Israeli target audience come to the Bible with a general knowledge of its language and content. More popular is the Entziklopedya 'Olam ha‐tanakh (The World of the Bible; 1982–1996), a 24 ‐volume illustrated running commentary on the individual books of the Hebrew Bible, with particular attention paid to the realia of the ancient world in which the Bible was produced. The project combines the talents of biblicists and archeologists with those of specialists in such areas as ancient technology, military history, and the natural sciences.

The multi‐volume Da'at Miqra' series (Knowledge of the Bible) is especially intriguing. Produced by the Rabbi Kook Institute, the Hebrew volumes written between 1970 and 2001 boldly walk the narrow line between solid popularized scholarship and commitment to Orthodox beliefs. “Corroborative” archeological data and numerous illustrations orient the reader to the material world of ancient Israel and its surroundings. Parallels between biblical and other ancient Near Eastern literature are often noted. Interestingly, the commentary on Ezra which inaugurated the series in 1970 included Gentile critical commentaries in its bibliography, a feature abandoned in subsequent volumes.

As is the case with its Israeli counterpart, American Jewish biblical scholarship has not neglected the Jewish public. The JPS Torah Commentary, completed in 1996 provides the New Jewish Publication Society translation of the Torah with running semi‐popular commentaries by leading Jewish Bible scholars. Periodic references to earlier Jewish scholarship and discussions of relevant postbiblical Jewish beliefs and practices provide a Jewish flavor. The continuation of the series, the JPS Bible Commentary, edited by Michael Fishbane, will cover the Haftarot, Five Megillot (or scrolls)—Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther—as well as the book of Jonah, each of which is read within the liturgical cycle of the Jewish year. The commentaries to Jonah by Uriel Simon (1999) and Esther by Adele Berlin (2001) have also appeared in Hebrew in the Miqra' leYisra'el series.

More popular works have been produced with the needs in mind of the different Jew‐ ish denominations and synagogues. American Orthodoxy is less centralized than its Conservative and Reform counterparts, so one cannot speak of an official Orthodox Bible commentary. Nonetheless, one cannot ignore the beautifully produced Artscroll Series (1976–2001) edited by Rabbis Meir Zlotowitz and Nosson Scherman. Noteworthy more as a sociological and publishing phenomenon than as a Bible commentary, Artscroll is largely aimed at Jews without strong Jewish educational backgrounds seeking what they perceive to be “authentic” Judaism. Unabashedly obscurantist, Artscroll proudly eschews data drawn from archeology, Gentile scholarship, non‐Orthodox scholarship, and suspect‐Orthodox scholarship. As a result, the richness of traditional and Orthodox commentary is reduced in this series to harmonization, continuous apologetic, and pietistic moralizing.

The Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) of the Reform movement produced the Torah: A Modern Commentary in 1981 . Written primarily by Rabbi Gunther Plaut, who completed the work several years before he was able to get it published, the UAHC commentary is an excellent synagogue Bible, less detailed than the JPS commentary. Though now a bit dated, “The Plaut,” as it is popularly known, brings the results of scholarship through the early 1970 s before a wide audience.

The Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary edited by David Lieber of the University of Judaism was published in 2001 by the rabbinical and synagogal arms of Conservative Judaism. Long delayed, Etz Hayim's appearance immediately generated controversy in the movement and outside of it. Although biblical criticism is taught at Jewish Theological Seminary, University of Judaism, in Conservative seminaries around the world and in Conservative Jewish day‐schools, the de facto Bible in most Conservative synagogues has been the Hertz Pentateuch completed in 1936 . Edited by Joseph Hertz (1872–1946), Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, this literate but apologetic commentary is theologically committed to the notion that Moses himself authored the historically accurate Torah, a notion which most Conservative congregational rabbis (though not all) had failed to dispel. As a result their congregants were shocked to learn, among other things, that the exodus from Egypt and the conquest of Canaan might have (p. 1342) “little or no historical basis.” Outside the movement some ultra‐Orthodox rabbis equated Etz Hayim's questions about the Bible's factuality with the blood libel. A calmer perspective reveals Etz Hayim to be a highly useful digest of the JPS Torah Commentary in one volume, with the addition of homiletical comments, and notes and essays of special interest to Conservative Jews.

Thus, the status of Jewish Bible scholarship at the beginning of the 21st century is quite different from that at the beginning of the 20th century. A significant number of scholars at Israeli universities are part of the mainstream of biblical scholarship, and Jewish Bible scholars now teach in many North American academic departments that previously had strong Protestant biases. In addition, the methods of critical study of the Bible are no longer perceived as anti‐Semitic, and are entering into the Jewish consciousness, even into the new Bibles used liturgically by some Jews. Jewish Bible scholarship, for its part, including concern with traditional Jewish interpretation, has likewise entered mainstream academic scholarship, and is studied by Jews and non‐Jews alike. One can only ponder what further developments the coming century will bring. [S. DAVID SPERLING]

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