Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World
This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in
the world byJSTOR.
Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries.
We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial
Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.istor.org/participate-istor/individuals/early-
JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please
A POSTHUMOUS CHANGE OF NAME
(BiRKENTHAL NOT BoLECHOWEr)
In No. 1, vol. XH, of this Review Dr. Vishnitzer published some
details concerning a diary of a Polish Jew who lived and wrought during
the second half of the eighteenth century. Since I have previously
edited a great part of another work by the same author, I feel myself
obliged to object to a posthumous change of the name of the author.
This is how the matter stands:
In the early part of 1911 I found in the library of the well-known
leader of the Haskalah movement in Galicia, Joseph Perl, a manuscript
entitled Dibre Binah. The work, composing 329 pages small octavo,
deals with the history of pseudo-Messiahs in Israel. Excepting the story
of the Frankists, which the author knew partly from his own observa-
tion, and other interspersed personal experiences, it does not call for
publication. The author of the work, as appears from the title-page,
from passages in the book itself, and from attached letters, is Reb Dob
Ber Brezower properly Birkenthal, who lived in Bolechow in Galicia
and died there in 1805 at an advanced age. In order to get exact data
concerning the two names I instituted an inquiry in Bolechow and I found
out that as late as 1850 a family by the name of Birkenthal was still
domiciled there, called commonly "Brezower". Moreover, Reb Dob
Ber is entered in the book of the yebra IJadisha under the name Bir-
kenthal. Birkenthal is a Germanization of Brezower (Birke =bereza in
Ukrainian) and goes back to the regulation of Jewish family names under
Joseph II. There is therefore no doubt concerning the name: until the
middle of the eighties of the eighteenth century exclusively Brezower,
later officially Birkenthal.
Unfortunately the family name does not occur in the diary which
found its way to London. Dr. Marmorstein, who in 1913 first published
a bibliographical notice about it, therefore called the author "Bolecho-
wer" after his native place. When Dr. Vishnitzer in 1918 or 1919 under-
took the elaboration of this diary and drew the public attention to its
100 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW
importance, my biography of Birkenthal and part of the Dibre Binah
had already been printed in Hashiloah. Nevertheless he preferred
to continue Marmorstein's error and furnish the author with a post-
humous name. He did the same in an article in Der Jude, although
he should have been aware that the author was never known by this
name to his contemporaries.
Why should Dr. Vishnitzer state that the diarist was named "Bole-
chower or Birkenthal " and then call him Bolechower throughout the
article? Where is the evidence for the name Bolechower? To be sure,
names are unessential, but one must not deal arbitrarily with the name
of a deserving man, even if that man has been dead 120 years. Dr.
Vishnitzer will cause confusion if he does not edit the diary under the
name Birkenthal. For in such case two works by the same author will
be known under two different names. Surely the author has a right to
have his name on the title-page.
Jerusalem. A. J. Brawer.