MARCUS, JOSEPH (1897–1977), Hebrew scholar. Born in Derevno, Russia (Vilna province), Marcus was taken to the United States in 1910. He was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1924. After briefly holding several rabbinical positions, he assisted Israel *Davidson in the preparation of the latter's Ozar ("Thesaurus of Medieval Hebrew Poetry"); later he assisted *Bialik and *Rawnitzki in preparing their editions of the poems of Ibn *Gabirol and Moses *Ibn Ezra, copying for them poems from the Seminary's genizah collection. In the course of this work (1929), Marcus discovered a leaf from a hitherto unknown Hebrew manuscript of *Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus). After holding positions in various Jewish libraries, followed by a brief return to the rabbinate, Marcus became librarian and instructor in medieval Hebrew literature at the Hebrew Teachers College of Boston in 1946. In 1963 he settled in Israel, where he became librarian at the Mosad ha-Rav Kook in Jerusalem.
Marcus' works include A Fifth Manuscript of Ben Sira (1931); Ginzei Shirah u-Fiyyut ("Liturgical and Secular Poetry of the Foremost Medieval Poets," 1933); Studies in the Chronicle of Ahimaaz (1934); Iggerot Bialik (1935); Yozerot le-Arba Parashiyyot (1965); and studies on the poetry of Isaac *Ibn Ghayyat.
[Raymond P. Scheindlin]