||On the history of Bible criticism, reflected in its title Toledot Bikkoret ha-Mikra (History of Bible Criticism) by Menahem Soloveichik (Solieli) & Shneur Zalman Rubashov (Shazar), the latter the third president of the State of Israel. The introduction begins by noting that for many centuries was the center of Jewish knowledge and also a cornerstone of European belief. The injection of Bible criticism wrought changes addressed and chronicled in this work. Toledot Bikkoret ha-Mikra is in three parts with thirteen chapters. The first part addresses the tradition of bible studies, from the completion of the canon, the Talmud, earlier critics, grammarians, non-Jewish commentators, concluding with Spinoza. The second part deals with more modern critics, and the last part, in two chapters, deals with nineteenth century Jewish commentators and critics. Shazr was encouraged by Bialik to compose, together with Soloveichik, a book on the history of Bible criticism, Toledot Bikkoret ha-Mikra, the first of its kind in Hebrew and containg some completely original material. Shazar served as editor and wrote the chapter on Jewish Bible criticism.
The two authors are highly distinguished individuals. Shneur Zalman Rubashov (Shazar) the and third president of the State of Israel , was a scholar, writer, orator, and the first minister of education. He was born in Russia to a family of Habad Hasidim, but at an early age, he left the path of Hasidism for that of Zionism. He always retained a strong emotional attachment to Hasidism and in his later years established close, personal contact with the Lubavich (Habad) Rebbe of New York. Shazar began his Zionist activities while still in his teens, and by the age of 18 had already served a two-month jail sentence in Russia for his activities in the Po'alei Zion movement. On his release he took up the study of Jewish history, and at the same time began a long career as an editor and writer for Yiddish newspapers in Russia and the United States. His interest in Jewish history brought him to Germany in 1912 to pursue university studies. He eventually developed into a scholar and writer on East European Jewish history, the Shabbatean movement, and Bible criticism. Shazar the student and scholar did not, however, forego his Zionist activities while in Germany, and remained active in the Po'alei Zion movement. He settled permanently in Palestine in 1924 and combined his Zionism and writing talents in his position as editor of the Histadrut daily newspaper, Davar, and later as editor-in-chief of the Histadrut publishing house, Am Oved. He also wrote poetry, essays, autobiographical fiction, biographies and scholarly articles.
As early as his student days, Shazar had been drawn to the study of the Shabbatean movement and to biblical criticism. In 1970 the Hebrew University published Ha-Tikvah li-Shenat ha-Takh. Shazar's study of a Shabbatean text written in Italy in 1700. His treatise on the Frankist movement, which first appeared in 1920 in Brenner's Ha-Adamah, was published in book form as Al Tillei Beit Frank (1923).
Shazar played a pioneering role in introducing modern Bible criticism into Hebrew. He had himself studied under Professor Novak at Strasbourg, and in 1914 he translated from Russian into Hebrew essays on the subject by Max Soloveichik (Solieli). Shazar's contribution to Yiddish philology grew out of his study under Dubnow of responsa literature as a source for East European Jewish history from the 15th to the 17th century. Coming upon numerous Yiddish phrases in the testimony of witnesses, he collected and analyzed the linguistic material (in YIVO Historishe Shriftn, 1 (1929), 115–96). A picture of the evolution of Yiddish and the distinction between its literary and colloquial forms emerged here. In "Erstlinge der Entjudung," Shazar's preface to an edition of Eduard Gans's speeches of 1821–23 (in Der juedische Wille, vol. 1, 1918–19), light is cast upon the inner world of early 19th-century German-Jewish assimilationists and founders of Jewish scholarship. His essays on Marx and Lassalle expressed his interest in the Jewish role in socialism, while his essays on Borochov, Ben-Zvi, Syrkin, and B. Katznelson illuminate the beginnings of the Socialist Jewish Labor movement. His latest publications are Ziyyon va-Zedek (2 vols., 1971), articles on the labor movement, and Orei Dorot (1971), scholarly studies. The wide scope of Shazar's cultural knowledge and interests added depth to the many contacts and meetings involved in his activity as president of the state.
Menahem Soloveichik (Solieli, 1883–1957) was a public figure and biblical scholar. Born in Kovno, Lithuania, Solieli was one of the founders of the Russian-language Zionist newspaper, Yevreyskaya Zhizn (later Razsvet), in 1904. During the Russian Revolution he left Russia for Lithuania. Solieli was elected to the Lithuanian Sejm (parliament) and served as minister for Jewish affairs (1919–21). In 1921 he was elected to the Zionist executive, but as a result of differences of opinion with Weizmann on the question of establishing a Jewish Agency and because of other problems, he resigned in 1922/23. Solieli (along with Yizhak Gruenbaum, Nahum Goldmann, and others) was a leader of the "radical faction." From 1923 to 1933 he contributed to the (German) Encyclopaedia Judaica in Berlin and edited its Bible and Ancient Near-East section. In 1933 he emigrated to Palestine, where he settled in Haifa and was active in public life there. From 1944 to 1948 he served as the head of the department of education for the yishuv. When the State of Israel was established he was made director of its broadcasting service Kol Israel and later became chairman of the public council attached to the broadcasting service. His works include Toledot Bikkoret ha-Mikra (with Zalman Rubashov-Shazar, 1925); Sekhiyyot ha-Mikra (illustrations and documents in biblical research, 1925); and Lexicon Biblicum (Hebrew; posthumous, edited by M. Borochov, 1965).