Blau, Joseph L. (Joseph Leon), 1909-1986

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Columbia, A.B., 1931; M.A., 1933; Ph.D., 1944. Professor of religion and philosophy at Columbia University. Member of Fraternity of Leaders of the American Ethical Union; author and scholar in field of American philosophical and religious thought.

From the description of Joseph L. Blau papers, 1912-1987. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 467178844

Member of Fraternity of Leaders; author and scholar in field of American philosophical and religious thought.

From the description of Papers, 1956-1986. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 155488791

Born in Brooklyn, New York on May 6, 1909, Dr. Blau received his elementary and high school education in the public schools of New York and New Jersey before entering Columbia. He was awarded his B.A. in 1931. Upon graduation he began teaching in New York's public schools; two years later he completed a thesis on John Biddle, the founder of English Unitarianism, and received an M.A. in English Literature from Columbia. In 1934 he was awarded a fellowship for work toward the Ph.D in Columbia's Philosophy Department. During the following years, Dr. Blau worked as an assistant to Prof. Herbert W. Schneider before completing and publishing his dissertation, The Christian Interpretation of the Cabala in the Renaissance in 1944.

In 1944 Dr. Blau joined Columbia's philosophy department. In succeeding years, he taught courses in American intellectual history and the philosophy of religion. In 1962 after teaching for nearly twenty years in the Philosophy Department, he became a member of the Department of Religion. He served as chairman of this newly-created department from 1965 to 1968 and as director of graduate studies in religion from 1962 to 1974.. During these years Dr. Blau taught undergraduate and graduate courses and seminars and directed dissertations on a wide variety of subjects. He retired from active teaching in June 1977.

During his years at Columbia Dr. Blau authored and edited several books in philosophy and religion including Social Theories of Jacksonian Democracy (1947); Cornerstones of Religious Freedom in America (1949; revised and enlarged ed., 1965); The Story of Jewish Philosophy (1962); and Modern Varieties of Judaism (1966). He is perhaps best known for his work Men and Movements in American Philosophy (1952) which was translated into six languages and became a standard textbook in universities throughout the world. In addition he wrote hundreds of essays, articles and book reviews for both popular and scholarly journals.

While a member of Columbia's.faculty, Dr. Blau was associated with many professional learned organizations including the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Philosophic Association, the American Ethical Union and the American Jewish Historical Society. In addition he held several research fellowships and grants from both the University and outside institutions.

On December 28, 1986 Dr. Blau died at his home in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.

For further biographical information as well as a bibliography of Dr. Blau's writings, one may consult History, Religion, and Spiritual Democracy; Essays in Honor of Joseph L. Blau edited by Maurice Wohlgelernter (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980).

From the guide to the Joseph L. Blau Papers, 1912-1987., (Columbia University, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Butler Library, )

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Blau, Joseph L. (Joseph Leon), 1909-1986. Joseph L. Blau papers, 1912-1987. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Joseph L. Blau Papers, 1912-1987. Columbia University, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Butler Library,
creatorOf Blau, Joseph L. (Joseph Leon), 1909-1986. Papers, 1956-1986. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn American Jewish Tercentenary Celebration Collection, undated, 1949-1956 American Jewish Historical Society
creatorOf Blau, Joseph L. (Joseph Leon), 1909-1986. John Biddle, father of English Unitarianism. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Baron, Salo W. (Salo Wittmayer), 1895-1989. Salo Wittmayer Baron papers, ca. 1900-1980. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Letters to his sister Estelle, 1933-1964 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Baron, Salo W. Papers, 1900-1980 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Americal Council for Learned Societies. corporateBody
associatedWith American Council for Learned Societies. corporateBody
associatedWith American Ethical Union. corporateBody
associatedWith American Ethical Union. Fraternity of Leaders. corporateBody
associatedWith American Ethical Union. Fraternity of Leaders. corporateBody
associatedWith American Jewish Tercentenary Celebration person
associatedWith American Society for the Study of Religion. corporateBody
associatedWith Association for Jewish Studies. corporateBody
associatedWith Baron, Salo Wittmayer, 1895-1989. person
associatedWith Blanshard, Paul, 1892-1980. person
associatedWith Boorstin, Daniel J. (Daniel Joseph), 1914-2004. person
associatedWith Buck, Pearl S. (Pearl Sydenstricker), 1892-1973. person
associatedWith Columbia University corporateBody
associatedWith Einstein, Albert, 1879-1955. person
associatedWith Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965 person
associatedWith Kazin, Alfred, 1915-1998. person
associatedWith Knopf, Alfred A., 1892-1984. person
associatedWith Niebuhr, Reinhold, 1892-1971. person
associatedWith Rothstein, David, 1942- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Academies and learned societies
Jewish philosophy
Ethical culture movement
Philosophy, Jewish
Religion
Reform Judaism
Judaism and philosophy
Philosophy
Religion--Philosophy
Judaism--History
Learned institutions and societies
Occupation
Authors
Editors
Philosophers
Consultants
Scholars
College teachers
Function

Person

Birth 1909-05-06

Death 1986-12-28

Americans

English

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