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Gutmann, Joshua


GUTMANN, JOSHUA (1890–1963), scholar of Jewish Hellenism. Born in Belorussia, Gutmann studied with Chaim *Tchernowitz (Rav Ẓa'ir) in Odessa at the Slobodka Yeshivah, at Baron Guenzburg's Institute of Oriental (i.e., Jewish) Studies, and at the universities of St. Petersburg, Odessa, and Berlin. From 1916 to 1921 he taught in Odessa, and from 1921 to 1923 he was principal of the Hebrew Teachers' Seminary in Vilna. He settled in Berlin in 1923 and in 1925 joined the editorial board of the German Encyclopaedia Judaica and that of the Hebrew encyclopedia Eshkol, contributing hundreds of articles in a wide range of Jewish subjects; he also lectured at the Hochschule (Lehranstalt) fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums. Gutmann emigrated to Palestine in 1933, at first teaching in the Reali school in Haifa and later becoming head of the Hebrew Teachers' Seminary in Jerusalem. From 1942 to 1953 Gutmann served on the editorial staff of the biblical encyclopedia Enẓiklopedyah Mikra'it and from 1946 to 1961 on that of the Encyclopaedia Hebraica. In 1949 he began teaching Jewish-Hellenistic studies at the Hebrew University. In 1954 with M. *Schwabe he founded Eshkolot, a periodical for classical studies, serving as its sole editor from 1956.

Gutmann's main work in Jewish Hellenism was the first two volumes of Ha-Sifrut ha-Yehudit ha-Hellenistit (1958, 1963), which deal with the beginnings of that literature. He also contributed to Hebrew, Russian, and English periodicals and to several Festschriften; he edited with M. Schwabe the Hans Lewy memorial volume, Sefer Yoḥanan Levi (1949). Gutmann's wide-ranging scholarship in both Judaism and the classics enabled him to make significant contributions to the understanding of the Hellenistic period in Jewish history and literature. He gave fresh insight into the Greek philosophers' interest in Judaism, which was an important element in the growth of Jewish Hellenism.


A. Fuks, S. Safrai, and M. Stern, Al Profesor Yehoshu'a Gutmann (1964), includes bibliography.

[Moshe David Herr]

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