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ALBECK , family of talmudic scholars.

shalom (1858–1920), talmudic and rabbinic scholar, born and educated in Warsaw. Though he earned his living in business, Albeck gained distinction as an astute scholar. His Mishpeḥot Soferim (pt. 1, 1903), a biographical encyclopedia of the tannaim and amoraim, only covered a small part of the letter alef. Albeck also began to publish the Even ha-Ezer of *Eliezer b. Nathan, together with an introduction and commentary (pt. 1, 1904); and the Sefer ha-Eshkol of *Abraham b. Isaac of Narbonne, with an introduction and notes (pt. 1, 1910), completed by his son Ḥanokh (1935–8). Albeck's questioning of the authenticity of the earlier edition of this work by Z.B. *Auerbach gave rise to a keen literary polemic. Albeck also planned to publish the Babylonian Talmud with variant readings on the basis of manuscripts and with a modern commentary, but only a specimen was published, Moda'ah Talmud Bavli (1913). A critical study of the writings of *Judah b. Barzillai al-Bargeloni appeared in Festschrift… Israel Lewy (1911).

His son Ḥanokh (Chanokh; 1890–1972), talmudic scholar, studied at the Theological Seminary and the University of Vienna, became research scholar at the *Akademie fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin (1920) and lecturer in Talmud at the *Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums (1926). In 1936 he immigrated to Ereẓ Israel and was professor of Talmud at the Hebrew University, until 1956. Albeck's work covers almost all areas of talmudic research. In his studies on tannaitic literature, he came to the conclusion that the editors (not only of tannaitic literature, but also of the Talmud) compiled their materials without adapting, abridging, or reworking them, as their only objective was to collect scattered materials. This first attempt to offer a comprehensive solution to the various problems arising out of the study of talmudic literature provoked a keen controversy, not yet settled. In Albeck's opinion, as opposed to that of David *Hoffmann, the principal differences between the two types of halakhic Midrashim stem from divergent redactions. Albeck even set out to prove that both the *Tosefta and the halakhic Midrashim, as they are known, were unknown to the two Talmuds. In his work on the halakhah in the Book of Jubilees Albeck argued that it does not stem from any of the three known sects (Pharisees, Sadducees, or Essenes), but that it originated in the circles of another sect, the "Circle of*Enoch," and shows affinity to the halakhah of the *Damascus Covenant. These conclusions have assumed special importance since the discovery of the *Dead Sea Scrolls. After the death of J. *Theodor, Albeck completed the publication of the latter's monumental critical edition of Genesis Rabbah and he wrote the comprehensive introduction as well. This work is a striking example of an extremely accurate critical edition. Albeck also edited the Hebrew translation of Zunz's Gottesdienstliche Vortraege, adding a great amount of new material. His major works are an edition of *Meiri's Beit ha-Beḥirah on Yevamot (1922); Untersuchungen ueber die Redaktion der Mischna (1923); Genesis Rabbah (1926–36); Untersuchungen ueber die halakischen Midrashim (1927); Das Buch der Jubilaeen und die Halacha (1930); Ha-Eshkol by Abraham b. Isaac, 1-2 (1935–38); Bereshit Rabbati (1940); Meḥkarim bi-Veraita ve-Tosefta (1944); Ha-Derashot be-Yisrael, Zunz's work (1947); The Mishnah (with introductions, commentary, and notes; 1952–59); Mavo la-Mishnah (1959); Mavo la-Talmudim, 1 (1969). Beside his major works, he also wrote many scholarly essays in Hebrew and German.


Ch. Tchernowitz (Rav Ẓa'ir), in: Ha-Tekufah, 8 (1920), 491–4; A.M. Habermann, in: S.K. Mirsky (ed.), Ishim u-Demuyyot be-Ḥokhmat Yisrael be-Eiropah ha-Mizraḥit (1959), 319–23; Sefer ha-Yovel le-… Ḥanokh Albeck (1963).

[Moshe David Herr]

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