Jewish Encyclopedia


Jewish Encyclopedia

The "Jewish Encyclopedia" was an encyclopedia originally published between 1901 and 1906 by Funk and Wagnalls. It contained over 15,000 articles in 12 volumes on the history and then-current state of Judaism and the Jews as of 1901. It is now a public domain resource.

Jenny Mendelsohn, of University of Toronto Libraries, in an online guide to major sources of information about Jews and Judaism says of this work, "Although published in the early 1900s, this was a work highly regarded for its scholarship. Much of the material is still of value to researchers in Jewish History." [Jenny Mendelsohn, [http://eir.library.utoronto.ca/jewishhistory/getItems.cfm/majorCatID=6 Academic Guide to Jewish History: Encyclopedias and Biographies] , University of Toronto Libraries. Last update: August 13, 2006. Accessed October 7, 2006.]
Reform Jewish rabbi Joshua L. Segal calls it, "a remarkable piece of Jewish scholarship" and adds, "For events prior to 1900, it is considered to offer a level of scholarship superior to either of the more recent Jewish Encyclopedias written in English". [ Joshua L. Segal, [http://www.betenu.org/rabbi/nov03.html Rabbi's Message: Nov. 2003 - Cheshvan 5764: A Jewish Reference Library at Betenu] , "Betenu", Volume 21, No. 4: Nov. 2003. Accessed online October 7, 2006.]

The "Jewish Encyclopedia" and "Wissenschaft des Judentums"

The scholarly style of the "Jewish Encyclopedia" is very much in the mode of Wissenschaft des Judentums studies, an approach to Jewish scholarship and religion that flourished in 19th century Germany; indeed, the Encyclopedia may be regarded as the culmination of this movement [http://www.jewishlibraries.org/ajlweb/publications/proceedings/proceedings2002/levy.pdf (Levy 2002)] , anticipating the movement's ultimate dispersion in the 20th century to Jewish Studies departments in the United States and Israel. The scholarly authorities cited in the Encyclopedia—besides the classical and medieval exegetes—are almost uniformly Wissenschaft personalities such as Leopold Zunz, Moritz Steinschneider, Solomon Schechter, Wilhelm Bacher, J.L. Rapoport, David Zvi Hoffman, Heinrich Graetz, etc. This particular scholarly style can be seen in the "Jewish Encyclopedia's" almost obsessive attention to manuscript discovery, manuscript editing and publication, manuscript comparison, manuscript dating, and so on; these endeavors were among the foremost interests of Wissenschaft scholarship.

The "Jewish Encyclopedia" is an English language work, but the vast majority of the encyclopedia's contemporary sources are German language sources, since this was the mother tongue of the Wissenschaft scholars and the "lingua franca" of scholarship in general in that period. Of the works cited which are not German—usually the more classical works—the large part are either Hebrew or Arabic. The only heavily cited English-language source of contemporary scholarship is Solomon Schechter's publications in the "Jewish Quarterly Review". The significance of the work's publication in English rather than German or Hebrew is captured by Harry Wolfson writing in 1926

*.

See also

* Catholic Encyclopedia
* List of encyclopedias
*
* Encyclopædia Biblica

External links

* [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/ Online version of the 1901–1906 "Jewish Encyclopedia": www.jewishencyclopedia.com]
* [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/systems.jsp The "Jewish Encyclopedia" system of transliteration for Hebrew and Aramaic]
* [http://www.jewishlibraries.org/ajlweb/publications/proceedings/proceedings2002/levy.pdf The Making of the ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA and the JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA (pdf document)] (2002), by David B. Levy.
* [http://www.eleven.co.il/ Electronic Jewish Encyclopedia] based on "The Shorter Jewish Encyclopedia" (Краткая еврейская энциклопедия) published in Jerusalem in 1976-2005. The Society for Research on Jewish Communities in cooperation with The Hebrew University, Jerusalem


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