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Jewish-Christian-Islamic Origins -> Jewish Authorship

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The page: Jewish Authorship, includes (in chronological order) scholarly and fictional works on Second Temple Judaism (Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Origins), authored by Jewish authors, from the second half of the 15th century to the present, as well as biographical information about their authors.

Jewish : Scholars, Authors, & Artists
Jewish : Scholars, Authors, & Artists


Jewish Authorship -- Scholarship -- Overview
Jewish Authorship -- Scholarship -- Overview

Traditionally, Jewish scholarship was not interested in the study of Second Temple Judaism and Christian Origins, rather focusing on the Hebrew Bible and Rabbinic literature. Only Jewish converts, like Guglielmo Raimondo Moncada and Sisto da Siena, served the curiosity of Christian scholars in the field. At the end of the 15th century, only the work of Isaac Abravanel on the Book of Daniel, in which he contrasted the Jewish and the Christian interpretation of the prophetic text, was of some interest for Second Temple Studies. The rediscovery of antiquity in the Renaissance, however, prompted Jewish scholars to revisit that period of their past in the chronicles of Abraham ben Samuel Zacuto and David ben Solomon Gans. After a long period of neglect, authors like Samuel Usque and Azariah de' Rossi went back to Josephus and Jewish-Hellenistic sources.

In the 17th century, the Historia de' riti hebraici (1617) by Leone Modena offered the first summary of post-biblical Jewish rituals and beliefs, written by a Jew for a non-Jewish audience. Equally sensational in Europe was the treatise on the Jerusalem temple (Retrato del templo de Selomo, 1643) by Judah Leon Templo. A more critical approach to Pharisaic and early rabbinic sources emerged with Uriel Acosta and Baruch Spinoza, while Abraham ben Joseph ha-Levi published the first commentary on the Megillat Taanit.

By the end of the 18th century, the early Haskalah movement produced its first fruits. Naphtali Herz Wessely and Judah Leib Ben Ze'ev published the first Jewish commentaries on the "deuterocanical books of Judith, Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon. In 1908 Peter Beer wrote an Introduction to Second Temple Judaism based on Josephus.

In the first half of the 19th century, as a consequence of the Emancipation, Jewish scholars are now active in the Universities where they actively promote the scientific study of Judaism. Isaak Markus Jost translated the Mishnah in German and in 1820-29 published the first comprehensive history of "post-biblical" Jews written by a Jewish historian. In France Joseph Salvador authored the first major work on Jesus by a Jewish scholar as well as a history of the Roman domination in Judea. In Italy Samuel David Luzzatto played a similar pioneering role for the development of Second Temple Studies.

By the end of the 19th century Jewish scholars have an establish presence in the field of Second Temple Judaism. Their interests now cover the study of the OT Pseudepigrapha ([[]]) as well as early Islamic Studies.

In the first decades of the 20th century Claude G. Montefiore established himself as one of leading international scholars in the New Testament. In 1910 Solomon Schechter published some Fragments of a Zadokite Work he had discovered at the Cairo Genizah; the document will be later identified of the Essene Damascus Document.

After the HolocaustFrench historian Jules Isaac denounced the continuity between Christian anti-Judaism and racial Anti-Semitism, calling for a radical change in the Christian-Jewish relations.

Jewish scholars, especially in the United States and Israel, were now active in all fields of Second Temple Judaism.


Jewish Authorship -- Literature & the Arts -- Overview
Jewish Authorship -- Literature & the Arts -- Overview

In the Jewish tradition, we don't see a development of works of fiction and art on Second Temple comparable to what Christianity developed since the Renaissance. There are two notable exceptions--composer Salomone Rossi and playwright Leone Modena. They were the product of the closest integration achieved by some Jewish communities in Northern Italy at the beginning of the 17th century.

With the Emancipation Jewish authors had more opportunities in Europe to contribute to the cultural life of their time. In 1774 Venetian-born rabbi Jacob Raphael ben Simhah Judah Saraval commissioned Italian-Austrian composer Cristiano Giuseppe Lidarti to set to music an Esther oratorio for the Jewish community in Amsterdam. In the first half of the 19th century, composers Isaac Nathan, Samuele Levi, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, and Ferdinand Hiller, and Julius Kossarski authored music, oratorios and dramas on biblical figures like Judith or Paul and events, like the Destruction of Jerusalem, which were also popular in Christian tradition. For some time the struggle of oppressed Jews became a symbol of the universal struggle of oppressed peoples for their own freedom, in works of non-Jewish authors like Gioachino Rossini and Giuseppe Verdi.

In the second half of the 19th century, Jewish writers and rabbis influenced by the Reform movement began addressing some subjects of the Second Temple period from a more distinctive Jewish point of view, for a Jewish audience. We can now talk of the emergence of a distinctively "Jewish" fictional literature.

Credit goes to Isaac Mayer Wise, leader of the Reform movement in the United States, with his groundbreaking novels, The First of the Maccabees (1855) and The Combat of the People; or, Hillel and Herod (1858). The Jews were no longer described as a suffering people longing for a savior but as a fighting people, eager to take their destiny into their own hands.

The example of Wise inspired in Europe the rise of a similar fictional literature in Hebrew (Kalman Schulman, Judah Loeb Landau), and German (Leopold Stein, Ludwig Philippson). In 1873 Anton G. Rubinstein and Salomon Hermann Mosenthal

Soon, most of this literature, aimed to educate the masses, was written in Yiddish, the popular language of Jews in Eastern Europe by authors such as Isaac Meir Dick, Israel Meir Wohlman, Abraham Goldfaden, Nahum Meir Shaikewitz, Joseph Judah Lerner, Ya`akov Ter.

In the United States, the example of Wise was followed by Henry Iliowizi and Herman Milton Bien. The emphasis on education also produced the emergence of a literature specifically addressed to children (Henry Pereira Mendes). For the first time Jewish women, such as Minnie Dessau Louis, Janie Jacobson and Elma Ehrlich Levinger, contributed to the field.

In the 1920s and 1930s, some Jewish authors began to investigate subjects of the Christian tradition from a Jewish perspective, as a reaction against rampant anti-Semitism. Egon Friedell, Meir Wiener, and Franz Werfel in Germany, Nathan Bistritzky in Palestine, Cecil Roth in England, Edmond A. Fleg (1933) and Marc Chagall in France, up to the controversial and very successful trilogy of Sholem Asch in the United States.

Other authors published novels aimed to strengthen the endurance of the Jewish people if difficult times of persecution

After the Holocaust, Jewish authors focused on the reconstruction and the rebirth of the Jewish people around the new State of Israel. The leading author was Howard Fast (My Glorious Brothers, 1948; Spartacus, 1951; Agrippa's Daughter, 1964).

The relationship between Christians and Jews was now more critically examined in light of the moral failure of Christianity to contrast the Holocaust.

With the demise of Yiddish literature, a national literature in Hebrew developed in Israel, drawing inspiration from events of heroism and national unity from the past.


Jewish Authorship -- Highlights
Jewish Authorship -- Highlights


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Pages in category "Jewish"

The following 200 pages are in this category, out of 372 total.

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