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Jewish Publication Society Initiates New Series of Judaica Books

May 5, 1965
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Jewish Publication Society announced here today the publication of a famous, 16th century Jewish work, “Consolation for the Tribulations of Israel, “by Samuel Usque, in an English translation by Dr. Martin A. Cohen, of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. The work inaugurates the resumption by the Jewish Publication Society of making important Judaica available to the American reading public.

Samuel Usque’s “Consolation” is a long prose poem written in Italy in 1552, designed to encourage Marranos to keep the Jewish faith and not to yield to apostasy. A historian as well as a poet, Usque, scion of a distinguished family, moved later to Palestine, where he died at Safed.

The JPS had discontinued publication of Hebrew classical works after publishing a number of such books in the 1920’s. The effort was revived five years ago under a committee headed by Prof. Salo W. Baron, including a group of noted scholars, among them Professors Alexander Altmann, Moses Hadas, Abraham J. Heschel, M. M. Kaplan, Shalom Spiegel and Harry A. Wolfson.

The series, called “Judaica: Texts and Translations,” is to consist of the three different types of classical works. Some of these will include the original Hebrew or Aramaic texts; others, like the Usque book, will be put out only in translation; and a third series would include more modern texts, especially those dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. One volume in the general series is expected to be issued each year. Before the end of this year, the JPS announced, it will publish the “Sefer ha-Kabbalah,” by Abraham Ibn Daud, with original text, edited by Gerson D. Cohen.

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