SLOUSCHZ, NAHUM

SLOUSCHZ, NAHUM (1871–1966), scholar and writer, archaeologist and historian, traveler and translator. Born in Smorgan near Vilna, son of David Solomon Slouschz, rabbi, maskil, and early Zionist, Slouschz was taken as a child to Odessa. Odessa became the center of the Ḥovevei Zion movement and of the Hebrew renascence, and Slouschz took an active part in those political and cultural activities. He sided with Aḥad Ha-Am's critics and early became a political as well as a practical Zionist. He wrote on a variety of subjects for the Hebrew press both in Russia and in Ereẓ Israel, and for a time edited a Russian-Jewish paper, Odesskaya Gazeta (1897). He visited Ereẓ Israel for a year in 1891 on behalf of the Odessa Palestine committee with a view to establishing a new settlement, then returned for a year in 1896. Slouschz then went to Geneva, where he studied classical and French literature. Here too he was active as a Zionist and was among the founders of the Swiss Zionist Federation. He was an early follower of Herzl, but in the wake of the uganda affair he joined for a time the Jewish Territorial Organization (see territorialism ), investigating the possibilities of Jewish settlement in tripoli-cyrenaica , which he visited (see his confidential report, translated by P.H. Magnus, 1907). From Geneva Slouschz proceeded to Paris to study Semitics at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes and French literature at the Sorbonne. He published Renaissance de la littérature hébraïque, 17431885 (1902), which was translated into English by H. Szold (1909); Poésie lyrique hébraïque contemporaine (1911); David Frischmannpoète (1914); and Poésies hébraïques de Don Jehouda Abrabanel (1928). In 1904 Slouschz was appointed to a newly founded chair of Hebrew language and literature at the Sorbonne. He also taught (1903–18) at the Ecole Normale Orientale of the Alliance Israélite Universelle. Between 1906 and 1914 he undertook a series of exploratory journeys on behalf of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres to North Africa, where he studied Phoenician and Greek inscriptions, and also the life and history of the Jewish communities of the region. The results were published under the following titles: Etude sur l'histoire des Juifs et du Judaïsme au Maroc (2 vols., 1906), Hebréo-Phéniciens et Judéo-Berbères (1908), Hebréo-Phéniciens… (1909), Judéo-Hellènes et Judéo-Berbères (1909), Tefuẓot Yisrael be-Afrikah ha-Ẓefonit ("Jewish Dispersion in North Africa," 1947), Oẓar ha-Ketovot ha-Finikiyyot ("Thesaurus of Phoenician Inscriptions," 1942). Slouschz also coedited the Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum (1881–1935) and La Revue du Monde Musulman. He described his travels in a number of books: Massa be-Miẓrayim (1907), Voyages d'études juives en Afrique (1909), Be-Iyyei ha-Yam (1919), Travels in North Africa (1927; also as Jews of North Africa, 1944), and Sefer ha-Massa'ot (2 vols., 1942–43). He wrote, too, on the Jews of djerba (Ha-I Palya, 1957; Ha-Kohanim Asher be-Jerba, 1924); on an ancient Jewish queen in the Atlas Mountains (Dahiyah al-Kahina, 1934, 1953); and on the Marranos of Portugal (Ha-Anusim be-Portugal, 1932). During World War I Slouschz was involved in activities to influence the French government in agreeing to the balfour declaration , and he visited the United States in the same cause. While in New York he contributed to the Hebrew and Yiddish press, and acted as editor of the Jewish Morning Journal. In 1919 Slouschz settled in Ereẓ Israel, where he revived the Palestine Exploration Society and edited its publications. He conducted excavations at Tiberias, where he discovered the ancient second-century synagogue of Ḥammath (mentioned in the Talmud), including a beautiful stone menorah (Ha-Ḥafirot be-Ḥammat shel Teveryah, 1921). He also excavated at Absalom's Tomb in Jerusalem and began to excavate in Transjordan (Ever ha-Yarden, 2 vols., 1933). In his early years Slouschz translated works by the Italian writer Paulo Montegazẓa, and during his years in Paris, a number of French writers, into Hebrew: Emile Zola (stories, and also a biography, 1899); Guy de Maupassant (with biography, 7 vols., 1903–04); and Salammbô by Flaubert (1922). A collection of his writings appeared under the title Ketavim Nivḥarim (2 vols., 1938–43). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: A.R. Malachi, in: JBA, 2 (1943), Hebrew section, 30–33; Sifriyyat Rishonim, ed by J. Churgin, 2:5 (1947), incl. bibl.; Kressel, Leksikon, 2 (1967), 510–2, incl. bibl.; P. Azai, in: Haaretz (Dec. 7, 1966).

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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