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Marvin Fox Papers

Identifier: 03-MWalB00310A

Scope and Contents

The Marvin Fox Papers follow Professor Fox from his undergraduate days as a student of Philosophy through his academic career on the Philosophy faculty at Ohio State University and at Brandeis University’s Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. Many of his letters address his personal views on Jewish traditional practice within modern Orthodox Jewry. The collection includes materials from the late 1930s into the early 1990s; most of the material dates from the 1940s to the 1980s. The materials are mostly in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish. Some of the secondary material noted below are in German. The collection includes:

• Correspondence: letters concerning his publications, speaking engagements, academic references, his role as an Army chaplain during World War II, his commitment to Orthodox Jewish practice, department administration, sabbaticals, reviews of Fox’s writings, his reviews of other authors writings, etc. Letters (and other related materials) document Fox’s appointment to, and subsequent resignation from, Brooklyn College to establish a program in Jewish studies. • Writings: his undergraduate and graduate philosophy papers, articles, and lectures on a variety of topics in Philosophy and Jewish Thought. Of special interest is his work on the medieval legalist and philosopher Maimonides. • Course materials: syllabi and examinations, both for Fox’s own courses as well as from other teachers beginning in the 1940s. • Secondary material: The collection contains extensive clippings, offprints, and copies of articles, mostly related to Philosophy and Jewish Thought. Fox also collected clippings, mostly in Hebrew and Yiddish, on topics in Jewish practice, such as commentaries on the weekly Sabbath Torah reading. • Notes: Fox maintained a huge collection of primarily hand-written notes. These were lecture notes, development notes for his on-going studies, bibliographic notes, as well as many examples of his note-taking on his readings in primary and secondary.


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Conditions Governing Access

Access to the collection is in accordance with the policies of the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University. Please contact the department for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests to reproduce or publish material from the collection should be directed to the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University.

Biographical / Historical

Marvin Fox was a well-known and influential teacher and scholar in the study of Philosophy and Jewish Thought. He began his studies in Philosophy as an undergraduate at Northwest University, where he received his B.A. in 1942. He began his graduate studies at Northwestern, receiving his M.A. in 1946. Fox earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Chicago in 1950; correspondence with the university during this period is found in Box 2. Fox began teaching at Ohio State University in 1948. This is noteworthy, since it was most unusual at that time for a secular institution to hire Jewish faculty. Fox taught in the Philosophy department at OSU for 26 years. During his tenure at OSU, he was also instrumental in launching that institution’s program in Jewish Studies. Fox joined Brandeis’ Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies in 1974, where he remained until his retirement in 1994, serving as a professor of Jewish thought, chairman of the NEJS department, and director of the University’s Lown School of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. Fox wrote and lectured extensively from very early in his academic career. A full bibliography of his writings is found in volume 1 of his Collected Essays, edited posthumously by Neusner. Especially noteworthy is his book-length study on Maimonides, Interpreting Maimonides: Studies in Methodology, Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy. Fox was an ordained Rabbi, having received ordination at the Hebrew Theological College of Chicago in 1942. While Fox did not serve as a pulpit Rabbi, he served as an Army chaplain during World War II, a period illuminated by materials found in boxes 14 and 28.


Schatz, David. Remembering Marvin Fox: One Man’s Legacy to Jewish Thought, in Tradition 36:1, pp. 59ff, 2002.

Fox, June. Marvin Fox: A Memoir, in Neusner, Jacob, ed. Marvin Fox: Collected Essays on Philosophy and Judaism, vol. 1. Binghamton: Global Studies, 2001.


15 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Bruce Rosen, Brandeis NEJS alumnus
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Repository Details

Part of the Brandeis University Repository

415 South St.
Waltham MA

About Us

The Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department at Brandeis University consists of two collecting units, the University Archives and Special Collections. University Archives documents the history and development of Brandeis University and its faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Special Collections features a broad array of unique primary source materials across a wide range of disciplines that support research, teaching and learning at Brandeis. Learn more about our collections