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Simchoni (Simchowitz), Jacob Naftali Hertz


SIMCHONI (Simchowitz), JACOB NAFTALI HERTZ (1884–1926), scholar, historian, and translator. Simchoni was born in Slutzk. He taught at the Hebrew High School in Lodz, Poland, from 1917 to 1924. In 1925 he joined the editorial board of the Encyclopedia Judaica (published by "Eshkol" in German and Hebrew), contributing many articles to both editions.

Simchoni's scholarly interests extended over a wide area, including history, archaeology, linguistics, and philosophy. He published essays in Hebrew periodicals (Ha-Ivri he-Ḥadash, He-Atid, Ha-Ẓefirah, Ha-Tekufah, and others) on Judah Ha-levi, Solomon ibn Gabirol, Gershom Me'or ha-Golah, Joshua Falk, as well as on more recent scholars and writers such as S.D. Luzzatto, Ḥ.N. Bialik and Hermann Cohen. Simchoni wrote a textbook of Jewish history (Divrei Yemei Yisrael, 2 vols. 1922–23) and an introduction to S. Tchernichowsky's Hebrew translation of the Gilgamesh epic (1924), and translated into Hebrew Josephus' Wars (1923, repr. several times) and Against Apion (1928). He defended the integrity of Josephus both as a man and as a historian and maintained that his actions, including his defection to Rome, were dictated by moral considerations and that his books were written with passionate love for his people and deep concern for truth. A memorial volume for Simchoni (Ẓiyyunim) was published in 1928.


S. Bernfeld, I. Davidson, N. Goldmann, in: Żiyyunim (1928), 10ff.; G.R. Malachi, ibid., 15–18 (bibl.); J.K. Mikliszanski, in: Ishim u-Demuyyot be-Ḥokhmat Yisrael, ed. S.K. Mirsky (1959), 187ff.

[Jacques K. Mikliszanski]

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