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Magyar Zsidó Szemle

(Hungarian Jewish Review), the foremost Jewish studies periodical in the Hungarian language. Magyar Zsidó Szemle, which was published in 65 volumes between 1884 and 1948, was founded at the initiative of József Simon, a key communal leader of Hungarian Jewry, against the background of the Tiszaeszlár blood libel. In autumn 1883, Simon urged the staff of the newly founded Budapest Rabbinical Seminary to publish a Hungarian-language Jewish studies periodical. Vilmos (Wilhelm) Bacher and József Bánóczi, two young scholars, undertook the editorship; the first volume of about 700 pages appeared in 1884.

The journal’s aims were to encourage publication of Jewish studies in the national vernacular; to disseminate Jewish studies from other countries to the Jewish audience in the Magyar language; to provide reliable information to the non-Jewish public about Judaism and Jews, correcting misconceptions; and to report on Magyar and Jewish connections. Outstanding younger scholars, including Ignác Goldziher, Alexander Kohut, David Kaufmann, Immánuel Löw, and Henrik Marczali, contributed to the high quality of the first annuals. The periodical was not strictly devoted to original scholarship in Jewish studies; it also had several other sections: reviews mainly of Jewish studies published outside Hungary; reports on world Jewry; Jewish society in Hungary; and contemporary and historical documents related to Hungarian Jewry.

In 1891, Lajos (Aryeh) Blau and Ferenc Mezey took over the editing, the latter conducting a publicity campaign for the recognition of Judaism as a received religion. Mezey left the paper in 1896 when this aim was achieved, and under the sole editorship of Blau the periodical became purely scholarly. While the Magyar language of the review tended to isolate Hungarian Jewish studies, Blau also introduced in 1911 what was at the time the first scholarly journal in Hebrew, Ha-Tsofeh, which was published until 1932. Simon Hevesi joined Blau in 1923; later others joined before Blau retired in 1931. The journal became an official organ of the Rabbinical Seminary from 1927 on, and Jabneh, a section on rabbinical homiletics, was added, as well as Ha-Soker, a Hebrew supplement, in 1933. Magyar Zsidó Szemle continued to be published until 1942; it was revived in 1945, with a final, sixty-fifth volume appearing in 1948 edited by István Hahn and Sándor (Alexander) Scheiber.

Suggested Reading

Sándor Scheiber, “Az ötvenéves Magyar Zsidó Szemle jubileumára,” Magyar Zsidó Szemle 50 (1934): 3–12.