GULAK, ASHER (1881–1940), historian of Jewish law. Gulak, who was born in Dackira, Latvia, obtained a diploma in law at Dorpat University in 1911, and pursued further legal study in Germany (1919–24). He returned briefly to Latvia, where he taught at government-sponsored courses for Jewish teachers, before settling in Palestine in 1925. Gulak was appointed lecturer (1926) and subsequently professor (1936) of Jewish law at the Hebrew University. He published books and numerous articles on talmudic and Jewish law, which were comparative studies on the Jewish, Greek, and Roman legal systems, as well as articles on current problems, particularly in the field of education. Gulak's pioneering four-volume work Yesodeiha-Mishpat ha-Ivri ("Foundations of Hebrew Law," 1922) was the first to present Jewish law systematically. This was followed in 1926 by an anthology of Jewish legal formularies and documents, Oẓar ha-Shetarot ha-Nehugim be-Yisrael (1926), later enlarged by his Urkundenwesen im Talmud (1935), Le-Heker Toledot ha-Mishpat ha-Ivri bi-Tekufat ha-Talmud ("Research in the History of the Talmudic Law of Property," 1929), and Toledot ha-Mishpat be-Yisrael bi-Tekufat ha-Talmud (1939), a similar study of the law of obligations.
Shochetman, in: ks, 17 (1940), 211–4; Alon, Meḥkarim, 2 (1958), 285–97; Kressel, Leksikon, 1 (1965), 436–7.
[Chaim Ivor Goldwater]