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Representations of Moses Gaster (1856–1939) in Anglophone and Romanian Scholarship (2012-2013)

Field of study: Philology, Jewish Studies, Biblical Studies

This article will analyze a selection of Anglophone and Romanian scholarship on Moses Gaster. Gaster (1856–1939) was an intellectual, bibliophile, rabbi, educator, and activist for Jewish emancipation and a national home in the geographical area of Palestine. The article is complemented by a thematically organized bibliography which brings together Anglophone and Romanian scholarship, and other material, such as newspaper articles. This work thus hopes to contribute to the closing of the gap between Anglophone and Romanian writing on Gaster. Whereas in Anglophone contexts Gaster is better remembered as an
Anglo‑Jewish leader and an outspoken advocate of Zionism than for his literary scholarship, in Romania it seems to be the other way around. Gaster has, until recently, been remembered especially as a Romanian philologist and folklorist. This overview of the state of research also aims to contextualize my contribution, which focusses on Gaster’s scholarship and collection. I will argue that in order to evaluate Gaster’s significance, it is important to consider not only his wide‑ranging scholarly work and his political and communal involvements, but also his passion for collecting.

Keywords: Moses Gaster, collecting, history of scholarship, Romanian philology, folklore, history of Zionism, Anglo‑Jewish history, history of Jews in Romania

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