Monday, June 27, 2005

How controversial can a dictionary be? Jastrow revisited.

'Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature'

They really don't make thirteen-word titles like that anymore.

R. Berel Wein, who I definitely was not lampooning here writes that
There is no English-speaking yeshiva that does not have a Jastrow dictionary as a research tool in its bookshelves --- and a well-used one at that. The necessity for having a work that would make the Talmud more accessible to the English-speaking student has empowered the success of the Jastrow dictionary. Even those purists of Talmud studies who frown upon the use of the excellently translated volumes of the Talmud into English itself, raise no objection to the presence of Jastrow's dictionary within the walls of the study hall.
This is interesting, expecially because in the yeshiva world great lengths are gone to make sure everyone knows that Marcus Jastrow was an apikores and yet when you wanna know what lulei demistafina means, you gotta open a Jastrow. This phenomenon is an interesting effect of the haskalah's lasting (yet denied) influence on the contemporary yeshiva world.

Menachem Butler writes about the indispensible scholarly achievement that is the Jastrow Dictionary.

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