Israel and the Diaspora

Israel and the Diaspora

Israel and the Diaspora

Israel and the Diaspora

Excerpt

The Jewish Historian

Ben Zion Dinur, dean of contemporary Jewish historians, reached his eighty-fifth year on the last day of Hannukah, 5728 ( December 22, 1968). The first appearance in a Western language of a selection from his writings requires some words of introduction, so that a distant audience may become familiar with a great man whose many books and articles have been published heretofore only in Hebrew -- with the exception of his earliest articles, which he wrote in Yiddish and Russian. For a considerable time now, Dinur, by virtue of his many unique abilities, has held the first rank in the Jewish historiography of our generation. His work encompasses Jewish history from the patriarchal era to contemporary times. Dinur is thoroughly versed in the entire range of Hebrew literature, from the earliest source material of Israel's faith and religion, the books of the Bible, the Talmud, and commentaries, the secular and religious poetry, the literature of Kabbalah and Hasidism, through modern Hebrew literature and the work of contemporary publicists. His critical historical education and his political and pedogogical talents enabled him to assume an active role in the Zionist movement and in the establishment of the State of Israel, as well as in her spiritual development. In addition to all the above, Dinur is a gifted Hebrew writer, one who knows how to write of what his eyes saw and of what occurred in his surroundings and in his time.

His autobiography, which he has begun to write, is in itself an important historical and literary document. Two

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