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Bibliographie - Einleitung

Bibliographie

Introduction

Recent years have witnessed unprecedented growth of Jewish law (Mishpat Ivri) as a subject of both practical and theoretical interest. Courses in the field are being offered at many universities around the world to an ever-widening and ever-more inquisitive student body, by lecturers with ever-greater demands of their own research. Interest amongst the general public has surged dramatically, and in the State of Israel the results find expression in an ever-expanding web of new legislation and jurisprudence. While such developments are indeed gratifying, they have also highlighted an unquestioned need for the kind of research tools available in other disciplines.


Experiencing such a need in my own work, I have, for a number of years, been working on an exhaustive bibliography of Jewish law. In 1975, I was privileged to publish A Bibliography of Jewish Law (Otzar haMishpat), a bibliography of Hebrew material, and although this is fully updated by the imminent publication of Volume II, there has, to date, been no similar work to catalogue the growing literature in languages other than Hebrew. The present volume comes to fill this void.


Even a superficial perusal of The Multi-Language Bibliography of Jewish Law confirms the maxim that there is nothing not anticipated by the Torah. The entries here, nearly fifteen thousand in all, cover an unusually diverse range of topics, and this, of course, reflects the field of Jewish law itself, encompassing, as it does, all that is of human concern. Thus, the reader will find such topics as religion and state, ecology, artificial insemination, abortion, euthanasia, human rights and dignity, morality, clemency for criminals, post-mortem examinations, war and the military, philosophy of law, and many more.


Special attention has been given to topics relevant to our time and those related to Israeli legislation. Thus, not only my colleagues in the field of law, but anyone wishing to apply the wisdom of Jewish law to contemporary reality through the study of such topics, will, I believe, find the present work to be of assistance. The Multi-Language Bibliography of Jewish Law is not the first work of its type. No bibliographer of Jewish law can ignore the contribution of the late Prof. Shmuel Eisenstadt, who in 1931 published his Ein Mishpat (which remains the authoritative reference work for material in the Slavic languages). Since that date, however, the field has grown so rapidly that it was necessary to assemble subsequent contributions.


The present work makes reference to books, monographs, journals, festschriften, and encyclopedias, but not to newspapers, responsa, or the primary sources of Jewish law. Due to their great utility, however, unpublished doctoral dissertations have been included. These may be readily located through university libraries. In preparing A Multi-Language Bibliography of Jewish Law, development of an efficient system of classification was of extremely high priority. At the same time, my main aim was to satisfy the user's desire to find what he needs. As a result, entries connected to several categories appear in each. On the other hand, the same entry does not appear in more than one sub-category of the same classification. While the index includes topics that do not appear as chapter titles, investigation should begin with the general topic, where an appropriate one exists. It is often important to check a particular point in a number of chapters.


Entries are arranged alphabetically by author, and multiple entries by the same author are arranged according to date of publication. Anonymous works appear at the end of each topic. Wherever possible, works written under pseudonym or signed with initials only, have been attributed to the true author, by his full name. Reviews and criticism appear under the main subject of the work reviewed according to the date of the review's publication. Entries appearing under the headings 'Communities - Organization and Administration' and 'Biographies of the Sages' are arranged by community or scholar according to the Hebrew alphabet in order to correspond to the Hebrew edition of A Bibliography of Jewish Law (Otzar haMishpat). Special indices have been prepared to facilitate the use of these two sections.


While the vast majority of works listed here have been examined, despite our best efforts, a few remained unavailable. Such items are marked with an asterisk at the end of the entry. Determining whether particular material falls within his scope is certainly one of the bibliographer's most difficult tasks. Nevertheless, one has no choice but to impose limitations. On the other hand, I have included listings on subjects, such as 'Maimonides' and 'the Geonim', which, strictly speaking, do not fall within the bounds of a bibliography of Jewish law. The inclusion of such material, accumulated in the preparation of the current volume, is upon the strong recommendation of experts in the various fields.


Additional material on 'Biographies of the Sages' may be found in many recent editions of the classic sources. These often contain an introduction to the author and his work.


There is probably no such thing as a 'complete bibliography', and I have little doubt that relevant works have inadvertently been omitted. I therefore solicit the reader's assistance in bringing such omissions to my attention, and I will be most grateful to receive such comments. The present volume covers material published prior to 1988, and it is my intention to publish updates from time to time.


Since its inception, some fifteen years ago, the multi-language bibliography project has received the encouragement of various individuals and institutions, and it is a great pleasure to express my deep appreciation to all of them: The Littauer Foundation, in conjunction with the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies of Brandeis University and its director Professor Marvin Fox; the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture under the Direction of Dr. Jerry Hochbaum; Prof. Emanuel Rackman, Chancellor of Bar Ilan University; and Prof. Isadore Twersky, Head of the Center for Jewish Studies of Harvard University.


The present work could not have come to fruition without the help of a number of colleagues. Dr. Esriel Hildesheimer took charge of the difficult task of gathering and organizing material, from the project's beginning until 1982, and I am particularly grateful for his contribution. Pinhas Leibson and Alexander Klein continued the work and contributed greatly to its present quality. Baruch Kahane helped in organizing the material in its final phases and in preparing it for printing. Various libraries, especially the Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem, have extended their assistance to us.


To all of the above, my heartfelt gratitude.

Jerusalem

Nahum Rakover

Tevet 5749 - January 1990