The Dynam­ics of Amer­i­can Jew­ish His­to­ry: Jacob Rad­er Mar­cus’s Essays on Amer­i­can Jewry

Gary Phillip Zola, ed.
  • Review
By – September 28, 2012
Jacob Rad­er Mar­cus was the father” of sci­en­tif­ic study of Amer­i­can Jew­ish his­to­ry and Gary Zola was one of his most devot­ed boys” — a term of affec­tion that the senior schol­ar often used to describe his male stu­dents. In an act of aca­d­e­m­ic fil­iopi­etism, Zola, direc­tor of the Mar­cus Cen­ter of the Amer­i­can Jew­ish Archives, offers this col­lec­tion of his mentor’s pre­vi­ous­ly unpub­lished works. These stud­ies grant read­ers a sense of Mar­cus’ mis­sion to inspire Jews to study their his­to­ry seri­ous­ly as an act of com­mu­nal respon­si­bil­i­ty and to per­pet­u­ate their faith in Amer­i­ca. Mar­cus’ com­mit­ments are out­lined well in Zola’s intro­duc­tion. And Jonathan D. Sarna’s re-pub­lished necrol­o­gy explores his revered teacher’s intel­lec­tu­al jour­ney towards devel­op­ing a once-benight­ed dis­ci­pline. Eli­nor Grumet’s warm inter­view with Mar­cus, first pub­lished in 1981, reveals the human side of this beloved schol­ar. A com­plete bib­li­og­ra­phy of Mar­cus’ works adds val­ue to this use­ful vol­ume. Bib­lio., index, pho­tos, sources.

Jef­frey S. Gurock is the Lib­by M. Klaper­man Pro­fes­sor of Jew­ish his­to­ry at Yeshi­va Uni­ver­si­ty. He has writ­ten or edit­ed 25 books, includ­ing Jews in Gotham, which in 2012 was hon­ored as Win­ner, Everett Fam­i­ly Foun­da­tion Award, Jew­ish Book of the Year, Jew­ish Book Council.

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