Scholars Convene in Jerusalem
LAST SUMMER a World Congress of Jewish Studies was held at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the third since 1947. About 14 sections, covering Archeology to Yiddish Language and Literature, met simultaneously, more than 150 papers were read, and the attendance sometimes went as high as 2,000. The patron of the Congress was the President of Israel, and a large audience at the opening festive session heard the only two prime ministers Israel has ever had deliver speeches they had obviously written themselves. Besides the Israelis, lecturers and visitors came from all over Western Europe, the United States and Canada, South Africa, and one or two Latin American countries. Scholars from several countries behind the Iron Curtain had been expected, but the only one actually allowed out was a Christian from East Germany, a specialist in the Dead Sea literature. Among the many other Christians present were a large number of Catholic priests, mostly from Belgium, Italy, and especially Spain.
The Congress was an unqualified success despite the absence of some first-magnitude stars like Saul Lieberman, Salo W. Baron, Edwin R. Goodenough (who was to read a paper), Harry A. Wolfson, Leo Strauss, Ezekiel Kaufmann, Gershom Scholem, and Martin Buber (the last two being members of the organizing committee). The average level of presentation and discussion was high. Besides, people from all over the world had a chance to meet and assay each other. Friendships were formed and invitations given and accepted. When any scholarly conference does this, it has done well.
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