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Mieses, Fabius

(1824–1898), poet, translator, and essayist. Fabius Mieses was born in Brody, Galicia, where his father exposed him to the ideas of the Hebrew Haskalah. As a youth, Mieses studied philosophy with David Lokatsher, a former student of Naḥman Krochmal. In 1840, Mieses went to the home of his father’s uncle Yitsḥak Mieses (a philosopher and researcher of Kabbalah) in Kraków; subsequently, Fabius married his relative’s daughter.

In 1846, Mieses traveled with his family back to Brody, where he became acquainted with the second generation of Galician scholars. In 1845, he began publishing in German. His article “Gegenwart und Vergangenheit im Judentum” (Past and Present in Judaism) was issued serially in 1846, in six issues of Orient, a periodical edited by Julius Fürst.

In 1854, Mieses rejoined his father, who had moved to Breslau, to assist him in business. There Mieses associated with scholars at the local rabbinical seminary, and in 1866 he published a Hebrew pamphlet titled Ha-Kabalah veha-ḥasidut (Kabbalah and Hasidism). In 1867, he moved with his family to Leipzig. He contributed to various periodicals, including Kokhve Yitsḥak, Bikurim, Ha-Magid, and Ha-Melits.

Mieses published the first part of his major work, Korot ha-filosofyah ha-ḥadashah (History of Modern Philosophy), in Leipzig in 1887. The text reviewed the ideas of philosophers from Kant to Hegel, and was the first of its kind in Hebrew. Two additional parts remained in manuscript. In 1878, his rhymed poem “Ha-Emunah veha-tevunah” (Faith and Wisdom), on Darwinism and its opponents (previously published in Ha-Magid), was issued as a pamphlet.

‘Azri’el Gintzig and Sha’ul Kronegold published a collection of Mieses’s poems, Sefer kevutsat shirim, in 1891. The text also contains his translations of poetry and opens with the famous Shakespearean monologue “To Be or Not To Be” from Hamlet. An ardent admirer of Mieses, Mosheh Leib Lilienblum, included Fabius Mieses in his own autobiography, Ḥat’ot ne‘urim (The Sins of Youth), under the name “S. S.” Fabius Mieses died in Leipzig, where he had led an affluent lifestyle as a businessman.

Suggested Reading

Ezriel Guenzig (‘Azri’el Gintzig), Eleh toldot . . . ha-rav ha-ḥakham ha-meshorer veha-filosof Fabius Miezes (Kraków, 1890); Getzel Kressel, Leksikon ha-sifrut ha-‘ivrit ba-dorot ha-aḥaronim, vol. 2, col. 345 (Merḥavyah, Isr., 1967).



Translated from Hebrew by Rami Hann