By Robert Chazan
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Extra resources for Ajs Review, 1993, Part 1
Over the next decade or decades, these views will be carefully identified and reevaluated. At some point, a This paper was originally delivered as part of a plenary session devoted to the historical legacy of Salo Wittmayer Baron, held at the 1990 conference of the Association for Jewish Studies. I have made modest changes in the original, but have decided to retain the lecture format. 29 30 ROBERT CHAZAN major study of Baron's legacy, including his influence on the study of medieval Jewish history, will of necessity eventuate.
To be sure, I have found no written statement of Baron's intentions. The preface to volume 1 of the second edition of A Social and Religious History of the Jews does not spell out the overall plan of the revised edition. The preface to volume 3 does acknowledge a change in approach and attempts to explain it. " Some of the considerations that Baron advances for the shift are not terribly convincing. Perhaps the most persuasive 32 ROBERT CHAZAN the first two volumes, which appeared in 1952, conformed precisely to the projected scheme.
Gartner notes Baron's upper-middle-class roots and his immersion, from childhood on, in the world of business and affairs. This gave Baron, according to Gartner, a perspective significantly different from that of most Jewish historians, recruited from the world of the yeshivot and the intelligentsia. Gartner's observations seem to me very important. As noted at the outset and the conclusion of this essay, much work remains to be done on the historical oeuvre and thought of Salo Wittmayer Baron.