Cassel, David

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CASSEL, DAVID (1818–1893), German educator and scholar. Cassell was one of a group including L. *Zunz, M. *Steinschneider, and others that founded the *Wissenschaft des Judentums movement for the scientific study of Judaism. Cassell was born and educated in Gross-Glogau, Silesia. While still a student in Berlin, he helped found the Hilfsverein fuer juedische Studierende, a society for assisting poor Jewish students. Though ordained (by Z. *Frankel), he chose not to pursue a rabbinical career but instead dedicated himself to teaching and research. His educational posts included a principalship at the educational institute Dina Nauenschen Erziehungsanstalt in Berlin (1846–79) and a lectureship at the *Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judenthums (1872–92). Among Cassel's works written primarily for use by students and teachers are Sabbath Stunden zur Belehrung und Erbauung der israelitischen Jugend (1868); Lehrbuch der juedischen Geschichte und Literatur (1879, 18962; Manual of Jewish History and Literature, 1883, 19022); Hebraeisch-deutsches Woerterbuch (1871, 19169); Schulwoerterbuch der hebraeischen Sprache (1854, 18763); and Leitfaden fuer den Unterricht in der juedischen Geschichte und Literatur (1868, 18959), translated into many languages.

Cassel translated the Apocrypha into German (1866) and edited several critical editions of classical works. Noteworthy among these are Bonfils' compilation of responsa (1848, reprinted 1959; 1964); Conforte's Kore ha-Dorot (1846); Judah Halevi's Kuzari (1853); Isaac Israeli's Yesod Olam (1848). Cassel and Steinschneider attempted to publish an encyclopedia of Judaica. Their outline, Plan der Real-Encyclopaedie des Judenthums, was published (1844), but the plan did not materialize; instead he wrote all the articles on Judaism and the Jews in the widely read Brockhaus'sche Konversationslexikon. Cassel's other works include Psalmenueberschriften (1842); Geschichte der juedischen Literatur (2 vols., 1872–73); and Gesetze fuer das Leben (1843). He also wrote numerous articles for Jewish and Christian magazines and contributed to the publications of the Society of Hebrew Literature of London.


H. Brody, Toledot Dr. David Cassel (1893). add. bibliography: R. Heuer (ed.), Lexikon deutsch-juedischer Autoren, 5 (1997), 32–38.

[Charles Cutter]