Krauss, Samuel

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KRAUSS, SAMUEL (1866–1948), historian, philologist, and talmudic scholar. Born in Ukk, Hungary, Krauss studied at Papa Yeshivah and at the Budapest rabbinical seminary and university. From 1894 to 1906 Krauss taught Bible and Hebrew at the Jewish teachers' seminary in Budapest. In 1906 he began to teach Bible, history, and liturgy at the *Israelitisch-Theologische Lehranstalt in Vienna. It was due to his efforts that the college did not succumb to financial difficulties after World War i. He traveled widely for his archaeological and historical research. Krauss was appointed head of the seminary in 1932 and rector in 1937. Krauss founded the Vienna Verein fuer juedische Geschichte und Literatur, and was active in many communal institutions. During the Kristallnacht in November 1938, the Nazis destroyed his valuable library and papers, and he fled to England, joining his daughter in Cambridge, where he remained until his death.


Krauss wrote over 1,300 articles and monographs, many of them major works, ranging widely in Judaica, philology, history, Bible, Talmud, Christianity, and medieval Hebrew literature. In philology, one of Krauss's early works, Griechische und lateinische Lehnwoerter im Talmud, Midrasch und Targum (2 vols., 1898–99; repr. 1964), was of major importance. The first volume of this standard work deals with the problems of phonetics, grammar, and transcription; the second is a dictionary of loan words. Scholars have found much to criticize in this work, particularly the "proclivity to find Latin and Greek in words indisputably Semitic" (M. Jastrow), and Immanuel *Loew made many corrections in Krauss's notes, which the author willingly incorporated. He also prepared a volume of additions and corrections to A. Kohut's Arukh titled Tosefot ha-Arukh ha-Shalem (1936, repr. 1955). Among Krauss's historical studies was Antoninus und Rabbi (1910), in which he offered his solution to the problem of the identity of the talmudic *Antoninus, the friend of Judah ha-Nasi. According to Krauss, he was Avidius Lassius, the Roman legate in Syria (164 c.e.) who in 175 usurped the title of emperor. On the then little-known Byzantine period in Jewish history, Krauss contributed "Studien zur byzantinischjuedischen Geschichte" (in Jahresbericht der Israelitisch-Theologischen Lehr anstalt, vol. 21, 1914). He also explored the aliyah of the Polish Hasidim in the 18th century (in Abhandlungen… Chajes (1933, 51–95), and Viennese and Austrian Jewish history in Die Wiener Geserah vom Jahre 1421 (1920), in Geschichte der israelitischen Armenanstalt (1922), and in Joachim Edlervon Popper (1926). His Vier Jahrtausende juedischen Palaestinas (1922) is a popular survey of the history of Ereẓ Israel, Zionist in inspiration, demonstrating the unbroken record of a Jewish presence in the Holy Land. Krauss contributed to A. Kahana's edition of the Hebrew Bible a modern commentary of Isaiah (1905). He also cooperated in the Hungarian Bible translation edited by Bacher and Bánóczi, Szentirás (1898–1907). Krauss's greatest work is his Talmudische Archaeologie (3 vols, 1910–12; repr. 1966, 1979), a classic description of every aspect of life reflected in talmudic and midrashic literature. Despite its shortcomings, it is still a rich source on the daily life and economic and social conditions of the period. A similar work in Hebrew (not a translation) is his unfinished Kadmoniyyot ha-Talmud (2 vols., 1914–23). The history of the synagogue is described in his Synagogale Altertuemer (1922, repr. 1966). His last work, Korot Battei ha-Tefillah be-Yisrael, ed. by A.R. Malachi (1955), was an extension and continuation of this work. His "Griechen und Roemer" (in Monumenta hebraica: Monumenta Talmudica, 5 pt. 1, 1914) and Paras ve-Romi ba-Talmud u-va-Midrashim (1948) also deal with the talmudic period. Krauss contributed the German translation and commentary on Sanhedrin and Makkot to the Beer-Holzmann edition of the Mishnah (1933), and prepared an English translation of Sanhedrin with introduction and notes (1909), as well as a popular description of the Mishnah, Die Mischna (1913), and a Hungarian translation of the minor talmudic tractate Derekh Ereẓ. Though most Jewish scholars shied away from the subject of Christianity, Krauss tackled it with his usual vigor in his Das Leben Jesu nach juedischen Quellen (1902) and in several articles. He also wrote a series of articles titled "Jews in the Works of the Church Fathers" (in jqr, vols. 5–6, 1892–94). Krauss deals with the geonic period in a number of articles. His interest in Hebrew poetry of the Spanish period is reflected in his Givat Sha'ul (1923), his edition of the commentaries of Saul Abdallah *Joseph of Hong Kong on Judah Halevi; and in his Mishbezet ha-Tarshish (1926), on Moses Ibn Ezra. His Geschichte der juedischen Aerzte (1930) is a description of the work and status of Jewish physicians of the Middle Ages. Krauss turned to the contemporary problem of the use of the organ in the synagogue in Zur Orgelfrage (1919), in which he adopts a Conservative stance. He contributed articles and book reviews to newspapers and learned periodicals in half a dozen languages, hundreds of articles to the Jewish Encyclopedia, the Encyclopaedia Judaica (German), and the Juedisches Lexikon, and wrote for or edited many Festschriften. He wrote biographies of his teachers Wilhelm *Bacher, David *Kaufmann, and Alexander *Kohut.


J. Klausner, in: Sefer ha-Yovel li-Shemu'el Krauss (1936), ix–xxiii; E. Ashtor (Strauss), Bibliographie der Schriften Samuel Krauss, 18871937 (1937); idem, in: Sefer ha-Zikkaron le-Veit ha-Midrash le-Rabbanim be-Vinah (1946), 60–63; N. Ben-Menahem, in: S. Federbush (ed.), Ḥokhmat Yisrael be-Ma'arav Eiropah, 1 (1958), 445–50; E.R. Malachi, in: S. Krauss, Korot Battei ha-Tefillah be-Yisrael (1955), 324–32 (incl. bibl. for 1937–55, and bibl. on Krauss in Heb.); Magyar Zsidó Lexikon (1929), 514. add. bibliography: P. Landesmann, Rabbiner aus Wien, (1997), 256–259.