Hanoch Albeck

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Hanoch Albeck (1890-1972)

Hanoch Albeck (Hebrew: חנוך אלבק) (August 7, 1890 - January 9, 1972) was a professor of Talmud at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. He was one of the foremost scholars of the Mishna in his time and he was one of the founders of the scientific approach to the study of the Mishna.

Hanoch's father Shalom Albeck, known as the Talmudic scholar, was the editor of a number of works by Rishonim including Raavan, Meiri on tractate Yevamot, and HaEshkol by Abraham ben Isaac of Narbonne. Hanoch studied at the Vienna rabbinical academy and he received rabbinical ordination in 1915. In 1921 he received a degree from the University of Vienna. Between 1926 and 1936 Albeck taught in the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin. In 1935 he emigrated to Mandatory Palestine where he was immediately appointed as professor and head of the Talmud department at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a position he held for 25 years.

Albeck, who was a religiously observant Jew, published a number of books in Hebrew and German on rabbinical literature, including "Introduction to the Mishna", "Studies in Baraita and Tosephta", "Introduction to the Talmuds", and others. In addition, he published numerous articles in the journal Tarbiz.

Professor Albeck also wrote a simple and concise commentary on the Mishna, appending longer footnotes at the ends of each volume. Pinchas Kehati sometimes quotes this work in his own commentary on the Mishna. While the vocalization (niqqud) received special attention in Albeck's edition, the text did not merit such attention, and therefore Albeck's Mishna is not a fully scientific version of the latter. Albeck's version was written as a continuation and expansion of the uncompleted earlier work of Hayyim Nahman Bialik.

Albeck's teachers include: David Zvi Miller and Avigdor Optowitzer. His students include: the Talmudic scholar Avraham Goldberg and Abraham Joshua Heschel (one of the foremost Jewish thinkers in the 20th century).

Two of his children are Professor Michael Albeck, a lecturer in organic chemistry, and Professor Shalom Albeck, a lecturer in Jewish law (and the husband of advocate Pliah Albeck), both at Bar Ilan University. His grandson is Amnon Albeck a Professor of Chemistry and University’s Vice-Rector at Bar-Ilan University. Albeck's son in law, Yoseph Aryeh Bachrach, was killed in the Israeli War of Independence in the battle for Jerusalem, leaving behind a wife and two children.


In 1957 it was announced that Albeck was to receive the Israel prize; however, as a matter of principle Albeck refused to accept the award.

In 1959 Albeck was elected as a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

In 1969 Albeck was awarded the Bialik Prize for Jewish thought.[1]

Works by Albeck[edit]

  • "Introduction to the Mishna", Bialik Institute, reprinted in 2005.
  • "Introduction to the Talmuds", Dvir (1987)
  • "Studies in Baraita and Tosephta", Mossad HaRav Kook, Jerusalem (1969)
  • "The Six Orders of the Mishna", Bialik Institute, last reprinted in 2008
  • "Sefer Haeshkol by Abraham ben Isaac of Narbonne", edited by Shalom and Hanoch Albeck, Wagshall, Jerusalem, reprinted in 1984


  1. ^ "List of Bialik Prize recipients 1933-2004 (in Hebrew), Tel Aviv Municipality website" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-12-17.

See also[edit]