Page 180 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 42

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Judaica From American
University Presses
m e r i c a n
began to open their doors to Jewish
Studies in the late 19th century. This period isdescribed by Ismar
Elbogen in his article American Jewish Scholarship.5 In 1886
Richard J. H. Gottheil began his academic career at Columbia
University by teaching Rabbinic literature. He also directed the
Columbia University Oriental Series. In 1888 Cyrus Adler was
appointed atJohns Hopkins University. Morris Jastrow occupied
the Chair o f Semitic Languages at the University o f Pennsylvania
from 1892 until 1921, while Emil G. Hirsch held the chair o f Rab­
binic Literature and Jewish Philosophy at the University o f
Chicago. At the beginning o f the twentieth century Julian
Obermann was appointed professor o f Semitic Languages at
Yale University, and Salo W. Baron and Harry A. Wolfson began
their teaching careers at Columbia and Harvard respectively.
During the same period, two institutions which contributed a
great deal to the publication o f Judaica books, were established:
thejewish Publication Society, in 1888, and the American Jewish
Historical Society, in 1892.
Until the middle o f the twentieth century Jewish Studies con­
tinued to make gains in American universities, but most o f the
Jewish Studies courses were still to be found inJewish institutions
o f learning. In a recent talk titled, “Professors or Curators? Uni­
versities or Museums?,” 12Jacob Neusner described the rise and
growth o f Jewish Studies in American universities. This growth
started in the fifties and came as part o f a wave o f new humanities
which included Black Studies, Near Eastern Studies and other
humanistic subjects. Two major reasons occasioned this wave at
that particular time. During the period following World War II
the United States assumed a major position in world affairs,
creating a need for and interest in areas never studied before.