North American Scholar

MARCUS, Ralph

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1900-08-17
  • Born City: San Francisco
  • Born State/Country: CA
  • Parents: Moses, a Talmudic scholar, & Selma Neufeld M.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1956-12-25
  • Death City: Chicago
  • Death State/Country: IL
  • Married: Alice Rubin, 8 Apr. 1928.
  • Education:

    B.A. Columbia, 1919; M.A., 1920; Ph.D., 1927; fell, div. sch. Harvard, 1925-7.

  • Professional Experience:

    Lctr. Sem. langs. Columbia, 1927-43; instr. to prof. Sem. philol. Jewish Inst. Relig., 1927-43; asso. prof, to prof. Hell. cult. U. Chicago, 1943-56; asso. ed. CP, Review of Religion, Jewish Social Studies, Journal of Biblical Literature.

  • Dissertation:

    "Law in the Apocrypha" (Columbia, 1927).

  • Publications:

    "The Armenian Vita of Marutha of Maipherkat," HThR 25 (1932) 47-71; "Divine Names and Attributes in HellenisticJewish Literature," Proc. Am. Acad. Jewish Res. 3 (1932) 43-120; "An Armenian-Greek Index to Philo," JAOS 53 (1932) 251-82; A Greek Lexicon to Josephus, Parts 2, 3, 4 (Paris, 1934, 1948, 1955); Works of Josephus, vols. 5 (with H. St. J. Thackeray), 6, 7 and (with A. Wikgren) 8, LCL (Cambridge & London, 1934, 1937, 1943, 1963); "Notes on Torrey's Gospel Translation," HThR 27 (1934) 211-39; "Recent Literature on Philo," Jewish Studies in Memory of George A. Kohut (New York, 1935) 463-91; "Antisemitism in the Hellenistic-Roman World," Essays in Antisemitism, ed. Koppel S. Pinson (New York, 1942) 1-25; "Jewish and Greek Elements in the Septuagint," Louis Ginzberg Jubilee Volume (New York, 1945) 1:228-45; Hellenistic Religious Texts, with A. Wikgren & E. C. Colwell (Chicago, 1947); "A Selected Bibliography of the Jews in the Hellenistic-Roman Period," Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research 16 (1947) 97-181; "A Sixteenth-Century Hebrew Critique of Philo," HUCA 21 (1948) 21-71; Autumn Sunset [novel] (Glencoe, IL, 1949); "Wolfson's Reevaluation of Philo," Review of Religion 13 (1949) 368-81; "Hellenistic Jewish Literature," The Jews, ed. Louis Finkelstein (New York, 1949) 745-83; "On Biblical Hypostases of Wisdom," HUCA 23, Part 1 (1950-1) 157-71; "The Pharisees in the Light of Modern Scholarship," Journal of Religion 32 (1952) 201-20; Philo: Supplement I: Questions and Answers on Genesis and Supplement II: Questions and Answers on Exodus, LCL (Cambridge & London, 1953); "The Qumran Scrolls and Early Judaism," Biblical Research 1 (1956) 9-47.

  • Notes:

    Ralph Marcus, an outstanding authority in the field of Hellenistic Judaism, especially in philological matters, is best known for his Loeb Library editions of Josephus and Philo. He studied under Harry A. Wolfson at Harvard, who convinced him, when he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps, that he could make a genuine contribution to scholarship by combining his knowledge of Hellenistic Greek with contemporary Jewish sources. Marcus became a master of the secondary bibliography on Hellenistic Judaism. His 62 articles are, for the most part, philological discussions of texts, concerned primarily with matters of grammar, etymology, and lexicography. In his last years he made important contributions in interpreting the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls and in analyzing their relation to the Essenes and the Gnostics.His most lasting contributions were his four volumes on Josephus (5-8) and two on Philo for the LCL. His notes in the former, especially as compared with his great predecessor Thackeray, show unusual knowledge of lexical and grammatical points and, above all, awareness of rabbinical parallels. His appendixes on the Samaritan schism and on Alexander the Great and the Jews in volume 6 of his Josephus and on Antiochus III and the Jews in volume 7 are careful, critical monographs. In the case of Philo, in order to translate the treatises Quaestiones et Solutiones in Gene-sin et Exodum, which are extant (except for a small portion of the Greek original) only in an Armenian translation, Marcus mastered Armenian and, in a veritable tour de force, reconstructed the Greek original of many of the philosophical and religious terms.

  • Sources:

    G. E. von Grunebaum, JNES 16 (1957) 143-4; L. H. Feld-man, Encyclopedia Judaica 11 (Jerusalem, 1971) 947-8; NYTimes (27 Dec. 1956) 25; WhAm 3:552.

  • Author: Louis H. Feldman