Gottheil, Richard James Horatio

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GOTTHEIL, RICHARD JAMES HORATIO (1862–1936), U.S. Orientalist. Gottheil was born in Manchester, England, the son of Gustav *Gottheil, and immigrated to New York with his parents in 1873. He taught Semitic languages at Columbia University from 1886 until his death, except for one year, 1920–21, at the University of Strasbourg; he was director of the Oriental Department of the New York Public Library from 1896 until his death and president of the American Oriental Society, 1933–34. Gottheil was an active Zionist and prominent in American Jewish life. Among other activities he served as president of the American Federation of Zionists, 1898–1904, president of the Society of Biblical Literature, 1902–03, and vice president of the American Jewish Historical Society from 1904 on. He founded the Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity, originally a Zionist society, and was one of the founders of the Jewish Institute of Religion (see *Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion) in New York. Among the works Gottheil published, in addition to numerous articles in scholarly and general periodicals and books, are Zionism (1914), The Holy War (1915), The Belmont-Belmonte Family (1917), and The Life of Gustav Gottheil; Memoir of a Priest in Israel (1936). Among the works he edited and translated are A Treatise on Syriac Grammar by Mâr(i) Eliâ of Sôbhâ (1887), and with W.H. Worrell, Fragments from the Cairo Genizah in the Freer Collection (1927). He was an editor of the Jewish Encyclopedia (1901–06) and the editor of the Columbia University Oriental Series (vols. 1–29, 1901–36).


G.A. Kohut, Professor Gottheilan Appraisal at Seventy (1933); J. Bloch, in: jaos, 56 (1936), 472–9; S. Rosenblatt, in: basor (Dec. 1936), 2–3.