Originally published in The Jewish Chronicle, 14 April 1972.
A Treasury of Traditional Wisdom. By Whitall N. Perry. George Allen & Unwin. London, 1971. £7.50.
The “wisdom” referred to is that of the Philosophia Perennis and the book contains copious selections from the religious classics of mankind arranged according to topics. The basic assumption is the questionable one that these diverse teachings somehow dovetail into one another and that they all refer to the same great Reality.
The author has spent 15 years in compiling this anthology and the result is of interest to anyone concerned with the religious life especially in its mystical forms. However the selections from the classics of Judaism are disappointing in their paucity and they are all from secondary sources, mainly from Scholem’s “Major Trends.” There is only a single quote from the rich literature of Chasidism and then the source is inaccurately transliterated.