BENRUBI, ISAAC (1876–1943), philosopher. Born in Salonika, he was a member of a well-known Turkish family which produced rabbis and rabbinic emissaries. After serving as a teacher in a public school in Philippopolis (Plovdiv) in Bulgaria, he left for Jena, Germany, where he studied philosophy with Rudolf Eucken. In 1900, while attending the Sorbonne, he became interested in contemporary French philosophy. His participation in the Second International Congress of Philosophy in Geneva (1904) brought him into personal contact with the leaders of the philosophic schools in France. Benrubi decided to devote himself to the study of modern French philosophy and to disseminate its ideas abroad, especially in Germany, where almost nothing was known of French philosophy after Comte. In addition, he was eager to spread knowledge of the German philosophy of idealism in France. From 1907 to 1914 he attended the lectures of Bergson in Paris, where he was asked to prepare a German translation of Bergson's book Matière et Mémoire (1896). Benrubi undertook this task with the assistance of Bergson. He engaged in frequent conversations with Bergson on philosophical, religious, social, and political questions, keeping current notes of these conversations, which took the form of his book Souvenirs sur Henri Bergson (1942), an important source for an understanding of Bergson's personality. During World War I, he lectured at the University of Geneva on contemporary French and German philosophy. After the war, he finally completed the first part of his original project: an exposition of modern French philosophy, which was first published in an abridged version both in English, The Contemporary Thought of France (1926),   and in German, Philosophische Stroemungen der Gegenwart in Frankreich (1928). In 1933 the complete work appeared in French, under the title, Les sources et les courants de la philosophie contemporaine en France. Benrubi wrote this book, on the basis, among other things, of the comprehensive conversations he had had with the thinkers of whom he wrote. After his death, his friend, Axel Stern, published a book of selections illustrating his views on epistemology and ethics, Connaissance et Morale (1947). (Samuel Hugo Bergman)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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