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Friedlaender, Michael


FRIEDLAENDER, MICHAEL (1833–1910), Orientalist, educator, and author. Born in Jutrosin (Posen province), Friedlaender served first as head of the talmud torah school in Berlin (from 1862), and from 1865 as principal of *Jews' College, London, Anglo-Jewry's rabbinical seminary, which under his leadership first became a fully developed rabbinical seminary. He remained in this position for 45 years, and exercised a great influence on generations of graduates. He published a German translation (with commentary) of the Song of Songs (Das Hohelied, 1867). His illustrated Jewish Family Bible (Hebrew and English, 1881, 1884, repr. 1953) became very popular, as did his standard work Jewish Religion (1891, 19133) and its companion volume Textbook of the Jewish Religion (1891), which was also reprinted in many editions. Both represent a strictly traditionalist view.

He took an active part in the Society for the Diffusion of Jewish Literature under whose aegis he published his works on *Ibn Ezra and *Maimonides. The first was an edition of Abraham Ibn Ezra's commentary on Isaiah with an English translation together with the English translation of Isaiah, revised in accordance with Ibn Ezra's commentary, as well as a volume of essays on the latter's writings (4 vols., 1873–77; vols. 1 and 3 repr. 1964). His translation into English (with annotations) of Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed (3 vols., 1881–85; repr. 1953) was an edition which owed much to S. Munk's Arabic text and translation (1856–66). A revised one-volume edition of the English translation (without the notes, 1904 and many reprints) was long the standard English version of the Guide. He took an active part in the communal and cultural life of Anglo-Jewry. His knowledge of mathematics and astronomy made him an expert on the Jewish calendar. Moses *Gaster was his son-in-law.


jc (May 8, 1903 and Dec. 16, 1910); I. Cohen, in: L. Jung, ed., Men of the Spirit (1964), 467–76; Jews College Jubilee Volume (1906), xxxi–lxvi. add. bibliography: Biographisches Handbuch der Rabbiner, vol. 1 (2004), 345–46.

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