A Treasury of Jewish Letters: Letters from the Famous and the Humble - Vol. 1

By Franz Kobler | Go to book overview
Save to active project

PREFACE

Remember me by your letters, as is the custom among the Children of Israel, so that, when they are separated, writing brings them near again.

LEONE DA MODENA

MESSAGES have been exchanged between men since the beginning of civilization. For thousands of years they were conveyed to their destinations by the spoken words of messengers. But when readable signs replaced oral transmission a new and momentous phenomenon came into being: the letter. Whatever the material used for it -- whether it was cut into clay, wood or wax, or written on bamboo, potsherds, parchment, papyrus or paper -- the letter gave the first wings to man. It became the magic vehicle by which he himself -- not a stranger -- transmitted news, wishes, thoughts and feelings to other men in distant places. The written message extended the sphere of the individual and widened infinitely the range of human neighbourhood. It has multiplied the richness of our life, and from a merely utilitarian means of communication has become the most intimate link between men.

Letters have been written in almost all languages, and they have played an outstanding part in the development of all nations which have acquired the skill of writing. But the function of the letter in the life and history of one nation, the people of Israel, is peculiar and, indeed, unique. There are many reasons for this. One can certainly hardly conceive that letter-writing should anywhere have been put to better use or been more urgently necessary than among a people that from an early period continuously suffered the fate of exile and dispersion, and yet remained one family, striving incessantly to preserve its own unity and at the same time to maintain fruitful relations with the surrounding world. The combination of all these exceptional conditions led to a letter-writing activity the records of which extend -- with rare intervals -- over a period of nearly three thousand years -- almost the whole of Jewish history itself.

A few traces only are left of Jewish letters written in antiquity --

-xix-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A Treasury of Jewish Letters: Letters from the Famous and the Humble - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 330

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?