Lewy, Israel

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LEWY, ISRAEL (1841–1917), rabbi and scholar. Born in Inowroclaw (Hohensalza), Poland, Lewy studied at the Breslau Jewish Theological Seminary. At the opening of the *Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentum in Berlin in 1872, he became its lecturer in Talmud. In 1883 he returned to the Breslau Seminary in the same capacity and as Seminarrabbiner. Apart from his erudition in all branches of Jewish and general scholarship, Lewy brought a keen analytical sense and conjectural brilliance to the field of talmudical studies. He combined this freedom of enquiry with deep piety and strict observance. Lewy's scholarly output is relatively small in quantity, but terse in style and free of polemics. It mainly appeared in the annual reports of the Hochschule and the Breslau seminary. His important works include Ueber einige Fragmente aus der Mischna des Abba Saul (1876), a study in the sources of the Mishnah which has been called a classic example of modern talmudic research; Mechilta des R. Simon (1889), a study preparing the way for *D. Hoffmann and J.N. *Epstein in this field; and the first six chapters of Bava Kamma in the Jerusalem Talmud, with commentary and introduction (1895–1914). A Festschrift in Lewy's honor was published in 1911 (ed. by M. Brann and I. Elbogen).


M. Brann, Geschichte des juedisch-theologischen Seminars (1904), 110, 131 (bibliography); Jahresbericht des … Seminars Breslau (1917), 1ff.; I. Elbogen, in: azdj, 8 (1917), 460ff. (bibliography); E.E. Urbach, in: G. Kisch (ed.), Das Breslauer Seminar (1963), 177–82 (Heb.).

[Jacob Rothschild]