Maier, Joseph

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MAIER, JOSEPH (1911–2002), U.S. sociologist. Born in Leipzig, Germany, the son of a rabbi, Maier studied in Germany and in the U.S. He received his M.A. (1934) and his Ph.D. (1939) from Columbia University. After the War, Maier did voluntary service in Germany and participated in the Nuremberg Trials, becoming chief of the analysis section of the Interrogation Division. In 1947 he was appointed professor of sociology at Rutgers University and became chairman of the department until his retirement in 1980. Maier was a specialist in the sociology of religion and became widely known as the author of a weekly column in the New York German-language Jewish newspaper Aufbau dealing with the application of halakhic wisdom to contemporary social problems.

With Werner Cahnman, Maier established the organization for the Preservation of Jewish Cultural Monuments in Europe, later called the Rashi Association (1978). From 1980 on, he served as its president, helping to establish such projects as the Institute of Judaic Studies at the University of Munich.

Among Maier's published works are On Hegel's Critique of Kant (1939) and Sociology (with J. Rumney, 1953). With J. Marcus and Z. Tarr he edited German Jewry: Its History and Sociology: Selected Essays by Werner J. Cahnman (1989).


J. Marcus (ed.), Surviving the 20thCentury (1999).

[Werner J. Cahnman /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]