Page:A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature, Volume 1 (1903).djvu/13

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XIII
PREFACE

from the number hitherto accepted in Talmudic lexicography. The Hebrew and Aramaic of the Talmudic period had little to learn from a people which after the close of the Talmudic era became the world's teacher.

The difficulties besetting the study of Talmud and Midrash will be overcome in the degree in which modern scholars will take it up for philological and archaeological purposes as adjuncts of those who are too much engrossed in its practical and doctrinal side to allow themselves time for what seems to them unessential. But even what has been heretofore rediscovered, as it were, thanks to the labors of Leopold Zunz, Samuel Loeb Rapaport, Heinrich Graetz, Zacharias Frankel, Michael Sachs, Solomon David Luzzatto, Abraham Geiger, M. Joel, Joseph Perles, Alexander Kohut, and a host of others, is enough to prove the marvellous familiarity of the Rabbis with the events, institutions, and views of life of the world outside and around their own peculiar civilization. What is more, we have been familiarized with the philosophical impartiality and sober superiority with which they appreciated what was laudable and reprehended what was objectionable in the intellectual and moral condition of the 'nations of the world', as they called the gentile world around them; kings and empires, nations and governments, public entertainments and social habits, they reviewed through the spy-glass of pure monotheism and stern morality.

In conclusion, the author begs to state his indebtedness to Jacob Levy's Targumic and Neo-Hebrew Dictionaries, where an amount of material far exceeding the vocabularies of the Arukh and Buxtorf's Lexicon Hebraicum et Chaldaicum is accumulated, which alone could have encouraged and enabled the author to undertake a task the mere preparation for which may well fill a lifetime.

Thanks are also rendered here for the munificent subventions which enabled the author to publish a work by its nature requiring great pecuniary sacrifices. To the list of subscribers mentioned on the title sheet of the first volume, the following should be added: Mr. Emanuel Lehman, Mr. Louis Stern, the Honorable Isidor Straus, the Honorable Oscar S. Straus, all of New York, and Judge Mayer Sulzberger of Philadelphia (additional subscription). It gives the author considerable pleasure to place among the subscriptions a gift of the school children of the Congregation Rodef Shalom of Philadelphia, on the occasion of the seventieth birthday of its Rabbi Emeritus.

The author also expresses his gratitude to the friends who have assisted him in the arduous task of proof reading, among whom special mention is due to Miss Henrietta Szold, of Baltimore. He also acknowledges his obligation to the Rev. Dr. S. Mendelsohn, of Wilmington, N. C., for the index of Scriptural citations appended to this work, a contribution which, the author is confident, will be welcomed by all Biblical students.

The religious sentiments inspiring the author at the completion of his labors of five and twenty years are too sacred to be sent abroad beyond the sanctuary of heart and home.

Philadelphia, May, 1903.
MARCUS JASTROW