Loewe, Joel

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LOEWE, JOEL (Bril ; 1762–1802), Hebrew writer, grammarian, and biblical exegete in the Moses *Mendelssohn circle in Berlin. Born in Berlin, Loewe studied under Isaac *Satanow and soon joined Mendelssohn's enlightenment movement. Together with Aharon *Wolfsohn, he edited *Ha-Me'assef (1784–97), and was a frequent contributor to it. He signed his Hebrew works wברי״ל (Ben R. Yehudah Leib Loewe). Mendelssohn helped him obtain a position as tutor in David *Friedlaender's household. In 1791, he was appointed principal of the Wilhelms-Schule in Breslau, serving in this capacity until his death.

Loewe's major contribution is his introduction and commentary to Mendelssohn's German translation of Psalms (1785–88), which includes a study on the structure and style of Hebrew poetry and on the history of ancient Jewish music. He wrote Ammudei Lashon, an attempt at a scientific grammar of biblical Hebrew of which only the first part was published (Berlin, 1794). He took an active part in Mendelssohn's Bible translation project, writing, in addition to his work on Psalms, commentaries to Ecclesiastes, Jonah, and with Wolfsohn, the Song of Songs. Loewe was the first Haskalah writer to publish original epigrams in the style of the Book of Proverbs, and was the first to translate the Passover Haggadah into German.


P. Sandler, Ha-Be'ur la-Torah shel Moshe Mendelssohn ve-Si'ato, Hithavvuto ve-Hashpa'ato (1940), index; Fuenn, Keneset, 433f.; Lachower, Sifrut, 1 (196312), 79f., 146; Zeitlin, Bibliotheca, 215; Waxman, Literature, 3 (19602), 127.