KATZ, STEVEN T.

KATZ, STEVEN T. (1944– ), U.S. scholar and philosopher. Katz was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. He earned his B.A. degree from Rutgers University (1966), his M.A. degree from   New York University (1967), and his Ph.D. from Cambridge University (1972). He served on the faculties of Cambridge University (1971–72); Dartmouth College (1972–84); and Cornell University (1984–96). In 1995 he was named as director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum but when a controversy developed, he resigned without serving. He served as director of the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies and professor of religion, comparative mysticism, and Judaica (Holocaust) at Boston University (from 1996). Katz published articles and books on Shoah history and theology, including Post-Holocaust Dialogues: Critical Studies in Modern Jewish Thought (1983) and Historicism, the Holocaust, and Zionism: Critical Studies in Modern Jewish Thought and History (1992). His stellar contribution on the singularity of the Shoah evolved in 1979 when Katz proposed his agenda on why the Shoah is unmatched in history. He expanded on the topic in The Holocaust in Historical Context. Volume 1: The Holocaust and Mass Death Before the Modern Age (1994) in which he discusses other horrific events deemed parallel to the Shoah. With dedicated persistence, he tackles a plethora of literature and scholarship and maintains that the issue at hand is not essentially a problem of economics, history, politics, religion, sociology, or theology but one of intentionality, that is Nazism's Weltanschaung, the total genocidal intent against the Jewish people for being and becoming. A similar point is made in his essay "Children in Auschwitz and the Gulag: Alternative Realities" (in R.L. Millen, ed., New Perspectives on the Holocaust: A Guide for Teachers and Scholars (1996), which documents that only in the brutal environment of Auschwitz all children were marked for extermination by the fiat of Nazi racial ideology. His edited volume, The Impact of the Holocaust on Jewish Theology (2005), brings together an array of international scholars who wrestle with profound post-Shoah religious and theological problems, including, how our belief in a providential all-good Creator has changed in the wake of the Holocaust. Katz contributed and edited several acclaimed works on mysticism: Mysticism and Philosophical Analysis (1978), Mysticism and Religious Traditions (1983), Mysticism and Language (1992), Mysticism and Sacred Scriptures (2000), and Comparative Mysticism: An Anthology of Original Sources (2005), which argue against others that the mediated experience is not peripheral but highly philosophical and historical to religious traditions. His scholarly works in the field of Judaica include Jewish Philosophers: A History (1975), Jewish Ideas and Concepts (1977), Antisemitism in Times of Crises (1991 with Sandor L. Gillman), Jacob Agus, American Rabbi (1997), and The Essential Agus (1997). For B'nai B'rith Books, he edited two volumes of original essays, Frontiers of Modern Jewish Thought (1992) and Interpreters of Judaism in the Late Twentieth Century (1993). Katz served as general editor of several series: Jewish Philosophy, Mysticism, and the History of Ideas: Classics of Continental Thought (1979–80, 65 volumes); Judaica Festschrift zu Hermann Cohens Siebzigstem Geburtstage (1979, a reprint series); Judaica Series, and Modern Jewish Masters (periodic monograph series, New York University Press). Finally, Katz founded and continued to serve as the editor of the award-winning journal, Modern Judaism (from 1981). (Zev Garber (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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