HARRY AUSTRYN WOLFSON PDF

He emigrated to the U. Crouse , the scholar of early medieval theology, was among his students. Wolfson was a professor at Harvard University for approximately half a century, and was a student and friend both of George Santayana and George Foot Moore. He received honorary degrees from 10 different universities Twersky , and was a founding member and president of the American Academy for Jewish Research. He died in Cambridge, Massachusetts on September 19, His brother Nathan survived him by 27 years, living to age until

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Born in Belorussia, Wolfson received his early education at the Slobodka yeshivah. Emigrating to the United States in , he studied at Harvard and, from to , held a traveling fellowship from Harvard, which enabled him to study and do research in Europe. In he was appointed to the Harvard faculty, becoming professor of Hebrew literature and philosophy in From to he also served as professor at the Jewish Institute of Religion.

Wolfson received many academic honors for his pioneering researches. He was a fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research, serving as its president from to , and a fellow of the Mediaeval Academy of America.

In he was awarded the prize of the American Council of Learned Societies. Wolfson — whose writings are marked by a mastery of the philosophic literature in the several languages in which it was written, penetrating analysis, clarity of exposition, and felicity of style — wrote many books and articles. A bibliography, appearing in the Jubilee Volume Eng. In the introduction pp. Akin to the method used to study the Talmud known as pilpul, this method rests on the assumptions that any serious author writes with such care and precision that "every term, expression, generalization or exception is significant not so much for what it states as for what it implies," and that the thought of any serious author is consistent.

Hence it becomes the task of the interpreter to clarify what a given author meant, rather than what he said, and he must resolve apparent contradictions by means of harmonistic interpretation.

All this requires great sensitivity to the nuances and implications of the text and familiarity with the literature on which a given author drew. However, most of these commentaries existed only in manuscripts, and so Wolfson proposed the publication of a Corpus Commentarionum Averrois in Aristotelem in: Speculum, 6 , —27; revised version, ibid.

This corpus was to consist of critical editions of the Arabic originals, and of the Hebrew and Latin translations; and it was to contain English translations and explanatory commentaries by the editors.

The Mediaeval Academy of America undertook to sponsor this project and Wolfson was appointed its editor in chief. By , nine volumes of the series had appeared. By the time he had completed his Spinoza, Wolfson had conceived the monumental task of investigating "the structure and growth of philosophic systems from Plato to Spinoza," working, as he put it, "forwards, sideways, and backwards. His next book, Philo: Foundations of Religious Philosophy in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, appeared in two volumes in , More than that, he held that Philo was the founder of religious philosophy in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and that "Philonic" philosophy dominated European thought for 17 centuries until it was destroyed by Spinoza, "the last of the medievals and the first of the moderns.

However, he decided to publish only the first volume, which appeared in Following the pattern established in his Philo, but allowing for differences occasioned by Christian teachings, Wolfson devoted this volume to faith, the Trinity, and the incarnation, discussing not only the orthodox but also the heretical views.

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Harry Austryn Wolfson Facts

He was a leading historian of medieval philosophy in Islam, Judaism and Christianity. He received a thorough traditional education in the legendary yeshivot of Slobodka, Kovno and Vilna before abject poverty and oppression by the czarist regime caused his family to join the great emigration to America. He spent two years visiting the great libraries at the Vatican, Paris, London, and Vienna in order to exhume, annotate, and classify scores of neglected Hebrew texts. With these two years behind him, he went home to Harvard to earn a Ph. The appointment was a double coup. Not only was Wolfson the first professor to occupy this post, but he was also the first in any American university to occupy a chair devoted solely to Jewish studies.

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Born in Belorussia, Wolfson received his early education at the Slobodka yeshivah. Emigrating to the United States in , he studied at Harvard and, from to , held a traveling fellowship from Harvard, which enabled him to study and do research in Europe. In he was appointed to the Harvard faculty, becoming professor of Hebrew literature and philosophy in From to he also served as professor at the Jewish Institute of Religion. Wolfson received many academic honors for his pioneering researches. He was a fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research, serving as its president from to , and a fellow of the Mediaeval Academy of America. In he was awarded the prize of the American Council of Learned Societies.

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