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Buchner, Abraham

BUCHNER, ABRAHAM

BUCHNER, ABRAHAM (1789–1869), assimilationist and linguist, born in Cracow. Buchner left Cracow in 1820 for Warsaw at the invitation of the banker Joseph Janasz to teach his children. On his recommendation, Buchner was appointed teacher of Bible and Hebrew at the rabbinical seminary of Warsaw. In his Hebrew works, Doresh Tov (Warsaw, 1823), Yesodei ha-Dat (ibid., 1836; with Pol. tr.), and Ha-Moreh li-Ẓedakah (ibid., 1838), a commentary on the reasons for the mitzvot according to Maimonides, Buchner advocates loyalty to the state, religious tolerance, and "productivization" of the Jews. He also compiled Oẓar Lashon Ivrit (1830), a Hebrew-German dictionary with an appendix on grammar. His Kwiaty wschodnie ("Flowers of the East," 1842) attempts to show the talmudic legends in a positive light. He also praises the Talmud in his Polish "The True Judaism" (Warsaw, 1846). From 1848, however, an inimical tone appears; he was in contact with the antisemitic priest *Chiarini, for whom he translated portions of talmudic and rabbinic literature. Buchner's German work Der Talmud in seiner Nichtigkeit ("The Worthlessness of the Talmud," 1848) expresses this attitude. His two sons converted to Christianity.

bibliography:

J. Shatzky, Geshikhte fun Yidn in Varshe, 2 (1948), 98, 118, 125; R. Mahler, Ha-Ḥasidut ve-ha-Haskalah (1961), 258–61; S. Lastik, Z dziejów oświecenia żydowskiego (1961), 184–6; I. Schipper (ed.), Żydzi w Polsce odrodzonej, 1 (1932), 444.

[Moshe Landau]

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