Nahum Norbert Glatzer

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Nahum Norbert Glatzer
Born March 25, 1903
Lemberg, Austria-Hungary
Died February 27, 1990
Tucson, Arizona, United States
Region Germany, Israel and United States
School/tradition Jewish theology and philosophy

Nahum Norbert Glatzer (March 25, 1903 – February 27, 1990) was a noted Jewish literary scholar, theologian, and editor.

Glatzer was born in Lemberg, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Lviv in the western Ukraine). In 1914 his family abandoned Lemberg in the face of the advancing Russian army and arrived in Bodenbach, Bohemia, in 1915. In 1920 he settled in Frankfurt, Germany where he married Anne (Anny) Stiebel, the daughter of the owners of Butonia, in 1932. He received his Ph.D. in 1931 from the University of Frankfurt, where he was eventually nominated to succeed Martin Buber. Shortly after the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany, he emigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine and settled in Haifa where he obtained an academic position.

In 1938 he emigrated to the United States and received US citizenship in 1942. He taught at Chicago and New York before finally settling at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, where he served for many years as chair of the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. Towards the end of his professional career he transferred to Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts.

He was the editor of Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought, and a consulting editor of Schocken Books, an American publishing house where he was responsible, in part, for the publication of Kafka’s writings in English translation. He also participated in editorial conferences in Germany on critical editions of Kafka's works.

He is known for his Geschichte der talmudischen Zeit (Berlin, Schocken-Verlag, 1937; 2nd ed., Neukirchen-Vluyn, Neukirchener Verlag, 1981); for seminal anthologies of Jewish sources in English translation; for his study of The Loves of Franz Kafka (New York, Schocken Books, 1986; published in a German translation by Otto Bayer as Frauen in Kafkas Leben (Zurich, Diogenes, 1987)); and for his influential biography of Franz Rosenzweig, Franz Rosenzweig: His Life and Thought (New York: Schocken Books, 1953). He was also the author of a vast array of other books.

Glatzer died on February 27, 1990, aged 86, after several days in a coma in Tucson, Arizona, where he was spending the winter, away from his hometown of Watertown, Massachusetts.

The Memoirs of Nahum N. Glatzer, edited and presented by Michael Fishbane (a student) and Judith Glatzer Wechsler (his daughter), was issued posthumously in 1997 (Cincinnati, Hebrew Union College Press). His other notable students include Arthur Green and Everett Fox.

The Papers of Nahum Norbert Glatzer are preserved at Brandeis University; and at the Mary and Harry Zimmerman Judaica Collection of the Divinity Library, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.