Waxman, Meyer

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WAXMAN, MEYER (1887–1969), scholar of the history of Jewish literature and rabbi. Born in Slutzk, Russia, Waxman received a traditional yeshivah education. He emigrated to the United States in 1905 and studied at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was ordained as a rabbi in 1913. After serving for some years in rabbinical posts, he became principal of the Mizrachi Teachers Seminary (1917–21) and director of the Mizrachi Zionist organization (1921–24). In 1924 he joined the faculty of the Hebrew Theological College in Chicago, where he served as professor of Hebrew literature and philosophy until his retirement in 1955, also teaching at the College of Jewish Studies in Chicago. He moved to New York where he continued his literary and scholarly activities until his death. Waxman was an extremely prolific writer on the history of Jewish thought and literature, publishing hundreds of articles in Hebrew, Yiddish, and English. Many of his articles were collected in volumes of essays, Ketavim Nivḥarim (2 vols., 1943–44), Galut u-Ge'ullah (1952), and Moreh ha-Dorot (1963). He wrote studies in the history of Jewish philosophy, including the Philosophy of Don Hasdai Crescas (1920) and a translation, with introduction, of Moses Hess's Rome and Jerusalem (1945). Waxman's works, A Handbook of Judaism (1947) and Judaism-Religion and Ethics (1958), were widely used. His major work was History of Jewish Literature (4 vols., 1941; 5 vols., 19602), a comprehensive detailed account of the main trends in Jewish literature from the end of the biblical period until the present day. In this work Waxman summarizes and evaluates the works of Jewish literature in all fields. On the occasion of his 75th birthday a jubilee volume was published containing articles in English and Hebrew, Meyer WaxmanJubilee on the Occasion of his 75th Birthday (ed., Judah Rosenthal, 1967), which includes an evaluation of Waxman's achievements by Chaim Rothblatt and a bibliography compiled by L. Mishkin.

[Seymour Siegel]