Atlas, Eleazar

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ATLAS, ELEAZAR (1851–1904), Hebrew scholar and critic. He was born in Beisagola (district of Kovno) and educated at the yeshivah of Zager, where under the influence of maskilim he secretly devoted himself to the study of Jewish history and literature. His literary work was first published in Ha-Karmel (1875); later he became a principal contributor to Ha-Ẓefirah and published critical essays on important works on Jewish history in Ha-Asif; these included discussions of the works of A.H. Weiss, Graetz, and others. In 1888 he published Ha-Kerem in which leading Hebrew writers were to participate; it was intended to be a periodical, but only one issue appeared. Financial difficulties forced him to move from place to place, until he settled in Bialystok in 1895 and became a bookkeeper. His severe criticism of the growing political Zionist movement, Herzl, Aḥad Ha-Am, and of new trends in Hebrew literature is contained in a collection of articles, Mah le-Fanim u-Mah le-Aḥor ("What is Progressive and What is Retrogressive," 1898). During his later years he served as a private tutor in Moscow and wrote articles on the history of the Jews in Poland. These were stolen from him shortly before his death, while on a journey to Bialystok, to which he was compelled to return when Jews were no longer permitted to live in Moscow.


Hirschberg, in: Ha-Ẓefirah (1904), literary supplement, 263–5; Kressel, in: Me'assef le-Divrei Sifrut, 3 (1962), 439–54; P. Kaplan, Eleazar Atlas (Heb., 1907); B. Kadar, E. Atlas, Zayn Leben, Zayn Shafn, Zayn Kamf (1949).

[Getzel Kressel]