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POSNANSKI (Poznański ), family of scholars. adolf posnanski (1854–1920) was a rabbi and a scholar. Born in Lubraniec, Poland, Posnanski served as rabbi at Reichenberg (Liperec) and Pilsen, Bohemia, and from before World War i as teacher of religion in high schools in Vienna.

Posnanski's scholarly work was mainly concerned with the messianic idea in Judaism and Christianity; his major contribution in this field was Schilo, ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Messiaslehre (1904). He also published an edition of Profiat *Duran's anti-Christian work, Kelimat ha-Goyim (in hḤy, vols. 3–4, 1914–15), and prepared *Abraham b. Ḥiyya's Megillat ha-Megalleh, for publication (1924). Posnanski's study of the *Tortosa Disputation also appeared posthumously (in rej, vols. 74–76, 1922–23); other editions of polemical literature which Posnanski was working on at the time of his death remained unpublished.

samuel abraham poznanski (1864–1921), rabbi, scholar, and bibliographer, the younger brother of Adolf Posnanski. Born in Lubraniec, Poland, he studied at Berlin University and at the *Lehranstalt (Hochschule) fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums, where he came under the influence of M. *Steinschneider. In Poland he served as spiritual leader of the Tlomacka "choir" synagogue in Warsaw. There he took great interest in Hebrew education and culture, founding a government-supported training college for Jewish teachers. He was an early and ardent Zionist, and was a delegate to the First Zionist Congress.

Poznański's scholarly interests and achievements were catholic and were greatly helped by his linguistic propensities. His interests covered the history of Hebrew grammar and philology in the Middle Ages, the cognate field of Bible exegesis in the geonic, Spanish, and French periods, the Palestinian and Babylonian geonim, the North African communities, Jewish-Arabic literature, and others.

As a Karaitologist

Poznański's interest in early geonic literature led him as a young man to the study of Karaite history and literature, first of the geonic period, and subsequently as a whole, from the earliest times to the modern period. The result of this lifelong attention was a vast amount of published material, mostly in the form of papers contributed to learned journals (for the most part the Jewish Quarterly Review, the Revue des Études Juives, and the Zeitschrift fuer Hebraeische Bibliographie), jubilee and memorial volumes, and similar publications. Some of these were also issued separately, as reprints. As a Karaitologist Poznański ranks with Abraham *Harkavy, and indeed surpasses him in the overall range of his interest. His erudition in rabbinic literature, his command of Arabic philology, his extensive use of original manuscript sources, and his accuracy and industry have endowed his works in this field with a value which has not succumbed to the passage of time. They include, among others, studies of *Anan and his immediate successors, of the various writers of the golden age of Karaite learning (10–12th cent.), and of *Saadiah's Karaite opponents (from Saadiah's time to the 19th cent.); a pioneering survey of Karaite printing and book production; a genealogy of the eminent Karaite family *Firūz; an annotated list of copyists and owners of Karaite manuscripts; and an edition of the Zekher Ẓaddikim by the 19th-century Karaite historian Mordecai *Sultansky. As a frequent reviewer of Karaitological publications by other scholars, Poznański often enriched his reviews with extensive and valuable corrections and annotations. His long article on Karaism in Hasting's Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (1915) is still the best available general sketch of Karaite history and literature. For many years Poznański assembled material for his major work in this field, a comprehensive bio-bibliographical dictionary of Karaite writers, of which a file of some 8,000 cards had been prepared by the time of his death.

[Leon Nemoy]

The extensive bibliography of his works, prepared by his son Edward Poznański (see below) and A. Marx (see bibl.), runs into many hundreds of items. His countless book reviews are an indispensable commentary on modern Jewish scholarship. In 1908 Poznański, together with D.J. Simonsen and A. Freimann, reorganized the *mekiẓei Nirdamim society and continuously stimulated its activities. His excellent relations with scholars and directors of libraries the world over made his vast knowledge and generous advice and assistance in all scholarly matters invaluable assets for all concerned. A memorial volume in his honor was published in 1927 (repr. 1970). edward (isaac jacob) poznazˆski (1901–1974), the son of Samuel Abraham Poznański, was a bibliographer and lecturer in philosophy at the Hebrew University, of which he was academic secretary from 1946 to 1964.


A. Posnanski: J. Rosenthal, in: S. Mirsky (ed.), Ishim u-Demuyyot be-Ḥokhmat Yisrael (1959), 275ff. S.A. Poznaẑski: A. Marx, in: Festschrift… S. Poznanski (1927), 7ff. (= rej, 74 (1922), 169ff.); idem and E. Poznański, ibid., xxixff. (= rej, ibid., 184ff.); M. Balaban, ibid., ixff. (separately publ. in Polish as S. Poznański, 1922).

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