Isaac Husik was a historian of Jewish philosophy. Born in Vasseutinez (near Kiev), Husik moved in 1888 to Philadelphia, where he remained until his death. While still young, he came under the influence of Sabato Morais, rabbi of the Spanish-Portuguese community of Philadelphia, and was preparing himself for the rabbinate. He abandoned his rabbinic studies when he began studying at the University of Pennsylvania.
From 1898 to 1916, he taught at Gratz College in Philadelphia. He joined the faculty of philosophy of the University of Pennsylvania in 1911 and was appointed professor in 1921. Husik also studied law, which was helpful to him in his translation of a few works on the philosophy of law from German into English, among them Rudolph von Ihering’s Zweck im Recht (“Law as a Means to an End”).
In 1916, Husik published his book A History of Medieval Jewish Philosophy, which is an original and systematic scientific review of the development of Jewish philosophic thought in the Middle Ages. This well-written work has remained popular and useful. In 1925, Husik was appointed editor of the Jewish Publication Society of America.
In 1929–30, he published a critical edition of Joseph Albo’s Sefer ha-Ikkarim, with introduction, English translation, and notes. A collection of Husik’s essays, edited by M.C. Nahm and L. Strauss, was published in 1952 under the title Philosophical Essays.
M.C. Nahm and L. Strauss, Philosophical Essays of Isaac Husik (1952), vii–xli; L. Strauss, in: Iyyun, 2 (1951), 215–23; J.H. Greenstone in: American Jewish Year Book, 41 (1939), 57–65.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.
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