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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. This article or section includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... Funk and Wagnalls is a publisher based in New York City. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...

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." [1] 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".[2] The University of Toronto (U of T) is a coeducational public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. ... Reform Judaism can refer to (1) the largest denomination of American Jews and its sibling movements in other countries, (2) a branch of Judaism in the United Kingdom, and (3) the historical predecessor of the American movement that originated in 19th-century Germany. ...


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 (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. Wissenschaft des Judentums or the scientific investigation of Judaism, refers to a 19th-century movement premised on the critical investigation of Jewish literature and culture, including rabbinic literature, using scientific methods to analyze the origins of Jewish traditions. ... Jewish studies also known as Judaic studies is a subject area of study available at many colleges and universities in the Western World. ... Exegesis (from the Greek to lead out) involves an extensive and critical interpretation of a text, especially of a holy scripture, such as of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, the Talmud, the Midrash, the Quran, etc. ... Leopold Zunz (1794-1886), Jewish scholar, was born at Detmold in 1794, and died in Berlin in 1886. ... Moritz Steinschneider ( March 30, 1816, Prostějov (Prossnitz), Moravia - 1907) was the Austrian bibliographer and Orientalist. ... Solomon Schechter (1847-1915) was a Romanian Jewish rabbi, academic scholar, and educator, most famous for his roles as founder and President of the United Synagogue of America, President of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and architect of the American Conservative Jewish movement. ... Wilhelm Bacher (1850–1913) Wilhelm Bacher (January 12, 1850–1913) was a Hungarian scholar, Orientalist, and linguist, born in Liptó-Szent-Miklós, Hungary to the Hebrew writer Simon Bacher. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Rabbi David Zvi Hoffman lived from 1843- 1921 He was the leading authority on traditional Jewish Law (halacha) in Germany in his lifetime and was also well known for his efforts to disproof the Documentary Hypothesis as expressed by the Graf-Welhausen theory. ... Heinrich Graetz (October 31, 1817 - September 7, 1891) was the first historian to write a comprehensive history of the Jewish people from a Jewish perspective. ...

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 English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... German (called Deutsch in German; in German the term germanisch is equivalent to English Germanic), is a member of the western group of Germanic languages and is one of the worlds major languages. ... The word Hebrew most likely means to cross over, referring to the Semitic people crossing over the Euphrates River. ... Arabic ( or just ) is the largest living member of the Semitic language family in terms of speakers. ... The Jewish Quarterly Review (JQR) is the oldest English-language journal of Judaic scholarship, established in 1888 by Israel Abrahams and Claude G. Montefiore as an outgrowth of the Wissenschaft des Judentums movement. ...

Online version

The unedited text of the original can be found at the Jewish Encyclopedia website. The site offers both JPEG facsimiles of the original articles and Unicode transcriptions of all texts. In computing, JPEG (pronounced JAY-peg; IPA: ) is a commonly used standard method of compression for photographic images. ... Unicode is an industry standard designed to allow text and symbols from all of the writing systems of the world to be consistently represented and manipulated by computers. ...

The search capability is somewhat handicapped by the fact that the search mechanism fails to take into account the decision to maintain all diacritical marks in the transliterated Hebrew and Aramaic from the 1901–1906 text, which used a large number of diacriticals not in common use today. Thus, for example, to successfully search for "Halizah" (the ceremony by which the widow of a brother who has died childless released her brother-in-law from the obligation of marrying her), one would have to know that they have transliterated this as "Ḥaliẓah". The alphabetic index ignores diacriticals so it can be more useful when searching for an article whose title is known. A diacritical mark or diacritic, sometimes called an accent mark, is a mark added to a letter to alter a words pronunciation or to distinguish between similar words. ... Transliteration is the practice of transcribing a word or text written in one writing system into another writing system. ... “Hebrew” redirects here. ... Aramaic is a group of Semitic languages with a 3,000-year history. ... Halizah or Chalitzah (Hebrew: חליצה) - Under the system of levirate marriage known as Yibbum described in the Hebrew Bible, was the ceremony by which a widow and her husbands brother could avoid the duty to marry after the husbands death. ...

The scholarly apparatus of citation is thorough, but can be a bit daunting to contemporary users. Books that might have been widely known among scholars of Judaism at the time the encyclopedia was written (but which are quite obscure to a lay reader today) are referred to by author and title, but with no publication information and often without indication of the language in which they were written. A list of abbreviations used in the encyclopedia is provided (See Listing of Abbreviations).

Jewish Encyclopedia in Russian language

The Jewish Encyclopedia was heavily used as a source by the 16-volume Jewish Encyclopedia in the Russian language, published by Brockhaus and Efron in Saint Petersburg between 1906 and 1913. Russian ( , transliteration: , ) is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia and the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages. ... Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary (35 volumes, small; 86 (?) volumes, large) was published in Imperial Russia in 1890-1906. ... Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербу́рг, English transliteration: Sankt-Peterburg), colloquially known as Питер (transliterated Piter), formerly known as Leningrad (Ленингра́д, 1924–1991) and...


  1. ^ Jenny Mendelsohn, Academic Guide to Jewish History: Encyclopedias and Biographies, University of Toronto Libraries. Last update: August 13, 2006. Accessed October 7, 2006.
  2. ^ Joshua L. Segal, 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.


  • Singer, Isidore; Alder, Cyrus; (eds.) et al. (1901-1906)The Jewish Encyclopedia. Funk and Wagnalls, New York. LCCN:16014703

See also

The Catholic Encyclopedia, also referred to today as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language encyclopedia published in 1913 by The Encyclopedia Press. ... This article contains a list of encyclopedias, including projects to create new works. ...

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Jewish Encyclopedia
  • Online version of the 1901–1906 Jewish Encyclopedia: www.jewishencyclopedia.com
  • The Jewish Encyclopedia system of transliteration for Hebrew and Aramaic
  • The Making of the ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA and the JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA (2002), by David B. Levy.

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