Kalisch, Markus Moritz

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KALISCH, MARKUS MORITZ (1825–1885), Hebraist and biblical commentator. Kalish was born in Treptow, Pomerania and studied at the Berlin University, where he graduated in 1848, and the Rabbinical College of Berlin. He was active in the struggle for freedom in Europe which resulted in the emeute of 1848 and as a result had to leave Germany; he settled in England, where he remained until his death. He was appointed secretary to Chief Rabbi N.M. *Adler, holding the post from 1848 to 1853, after which he served as tutor and literary adviser to the Rothschild family, a post in which he was able to devote himself to biblical scholarship and Hebrew grammar. He contemplated writing a comprehensive commentary on the Pentateuch, giving a resumé of Jewish and Christian scholarship to date, but completed only the first three volumes, Exodus (1885), Genesis (1858), and Leviticus (Part 1, 1867; Part 2, 1872), in the last of which he anticipated *Wellhausen to a considerable extent. Other publications were a Hebrew grammar in two parts and Bible studies on the book of Jonah (1876) and on the prophecies of Balaam (1877). In 1880 there appeared his last work Path and Goal: A Discussion on the Elements of Civilization and the Conditions of Happiness, consisting of an attempt to combine the views of the representatives of the main religions.


Jewish Chronicle (August 28, 1885); The Times (August 31, 1885); S. Morais, Eminent Israelites (1880), 170–173; A. Rofe, The Book of Balaam (1979), 42–45. add bibliography: odnb online.