Zuckermann, Benedict

views updated


ZUCKERMANN, BENEDICT (1818–1891), mathematician, librarian, and historian. Born in Breslau, Zuckermann received an education that embraced mathematics and related subjects. After being awarded a doctoral degree at the University of Kiel, Zuckermann returned to Breslau, where he was appointed to the faculty of the newly established Jewish Theological Seminary, headed by Zacharias Frankel, as instructor in mathematics and the natural sciences. In 1857 he was also entrusted with the administration of the Seminary library. Throughout his life he was strictly observant in his religious practice. An authority on the science of the calendar, about which he taught and wrote, Zuckermann was interested in the mathematics of the Talmud and clarified difficult passages.

His article on the complicated law in Kilayim 5:5, which appeared with accompanying diagrams in mgwj (4 (1855), 146–56), shows his erudition in this field. He also specialized in the history of weights and measures of the Talmud; an article on this theme appeared in mgwj (13 (1864), 295–306, 334–49, 373–84). Several of his papers were printed in the reports published yearly by the Seminary. Among his works are Ueber talmudische Muenzen und Gewichte (1862), Das Mathematische im Talmud (1878), and Ueber Sabbathjahrcyclus und Jubelperiode (1857; Eng. tr. by A. Loewy, 1866).


M. Brann, Geschichte des juedisch-theologischen Seminars … (1904), 84–86, 128 (with list of his works); G. Kisch (ed.), Das Breslauer Seminar (1963), 323.

[Alexander Tobias /

Andreas Brämer (2nd ed.)]