Samuel Hugo Bergman

(1883-1975)


Samuel Bergman studied philosophy in Prague and Berlin. It was as a student in Prague that he joined the Bar Kochba Zionist student group. Soon after, he began to publish Zionist articles; during this period he met Martin Buber who had a strong influence on him.

Bergman was librarian at the University Library in Prague, 1907-1919, except during World War I, when he served in the Austrian Army. He came to Eretz Yisrael in 1920 and became first director of the National and University Library, a position he held until 1935. In 1928, he became a lecturer in philosophy at the Hebrew University, in 1935, he became a professor, and was the university's first rector from 1935-1938.

Bergman was the general philosophy editor for the Encyclopaedia Hebraica and was an editor of "Iyyun," the philosophical quarterly. He was also a member of HaPoel HaZair and later of Brit Shalom. In this capacity he headed the Jewish delegation to the Pan-Asiatic Conference in New Delhi in 1947.

Bergman's two main interests were science and religion. He wrote in Hebrew on Kant, Maimon and other major thinkers of the 20th century. He was awarded the Israel Prize for Humanities in 1954, particularly for his work "Introduction to Logic."

Bergman's views on faith and religion were influenced by Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig, as well as Christian and Indian philosophers. His thoughts on religion are expressed in his book, "Thinkers and Believers." He also wrote an introduction to modern Jewish thought called "Faith and Reason."


Source: Joint Authority for Jewish Zionist Education.