The author's 'Who's Who in the Old Testament together with the Apocrypha' concerned the history of the Jewish people up to the end of the First Book of Maccabees, that is, until 135 BC. The present work continues the story from that point up to the present day, a period of over twenty centuries.
The choice of entries covering this enormous time-span, in all the lands of the dispersion, has of necessity been highly selective. The entries relate to Jews who have made a significant contribution to the history and thought of their own people; individual Jews who have been eminent in the general life and culture of their time; and non-Jews who have had a special impact on Jewish history. From the New Testament, Jesus and Paul have been included.
As a general rule, persons alive at the time of writing have been omitted, as the work is an historical 'Who's Who' rather than a contemporary one. There are a limited number of exceptions-the Israel leaders best known to the general public abroad; and individual Jews who have gained international distinction in politics, the arts and sciences, or other fields. Entries for non-Jews have the symbol . For the reader's convenience cross references have been kept to a minimum, and are shown by the use of small capitals, e.g. AARON OF LINCOLN.