Page 147 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 33

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Harry Austryn Wolfson
was born on November 2, 1887 in
Austryn, Belorussia, the son of Mendel and Sarah Savitsky Wolf­
son. A child prodigy in rabbinic learning, he received his early
training at the Slobodka Yeshiva. He came to the United States
in 1903 and, having attended high school in Scranton, Pennsyl­
vania, he entered Harvard College in 1908. From Harvard he
received his B.A. and M.A. in 1912 and his Ph.D. in 1915. In
the same year he was appointed an instructor at Harvard, ad­
vanced to assistant professor in 1921, and became Littauer Pro­
fessor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy in 1925. From 1923
to 1925 he also served as professor at the Jewish Institute of
Religion. Upon his retirement in 1958, Wolfson became Littauer
Professor Emeritus. He died in Cambridge, Mass., which had
been his home for over 65 years, on September 19, 1974 (Tishri 4
according to the Hebrew calendar), and he was buried in New
York at the cemetery of the Austryner Landsmannschaft.
Wolfson was one of the outstanding historians of philosophy
(particularly religious philosophy) of our time and a prodigious
author. In addition to over one hundred articles and mono­
graphs, he wrote five magisterial works:
Crescas' Critique of
A ristotle
The Philosophy of Spinoza
(2 vols., 1934),
Philo: Foundations of Religious Philosophy in Judaism, Christi­
anity, and Islam
(2 vols., 1947),
The Philosophy of the Church
(vol. I: Faith, Trinity, Incarnation, 1956), and
Philosophy of the Kalam
(in press). In 1961, there appeared a
collection of his essays entitled
Religious Philosophy,
and the
first volume of another such collection, edited by Isadore Twer-
sky and George H. Williams and entitled
Studies in the History
of Philosophy and Religion,
appeared in 1973.
Wolfson received much recognition and many honors for his
varied and fundamental scholarly accomplishments. He was a