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Mielziner, Moses


MIELZINER, MOSES (1828–1903), rabbi, professor. Mielziner was born and educated in Germany, where he began his rabbinic career. He headed a Jewish school in Copenhagen, Denmark, while earning his Ph.D. from the University of Giessen (1859). Immigrating to the United States, Mielziner served as a congregational rabbi and educator in New York City until 1879, when Isaac Mayer *Wise appointed him professor of Talmud at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. Upon Wise's death, Mielziner was chosen interim president of the seminary, a position he held for three years, from 1900 until his death.

Mielziner was a charter member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (ccar), and his scholarly input on relevant subjects had an important influence on early discussions of ccar policy. He published several treatises on Jewish law – including a volume on *halakhah and divorce and marriage, as well as an overview of rabbinic civil and criminal law – but is best known for his classic work Introduction to the Talmud, published originally in 1894 and reissued three times since; the most recent edition, which appeared in 1968, contains an updated bibliography compiled by Alexander *Guttmann. Mielziner's exposition of talmudic methodology – featuring a skillful dissection of the Talmud's distinctive system of technical terms and phrases adapted to its unique methods of investigation and demonstration – has been an indispensable handbook for the serious student of the Talmud for more than a century.


K.M. Olitzky, L.J. Sussman, M.H. Stern, Reform Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook (1993).

[Bezalel Gordon (2nd ed.)]

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