French scholar; born at Sulzmatt (Soultzmatt), Upper Alsace, Nov. 1, 1839; died at Paris, June 3, 1892. The son of Rabbi Seligmann Loeb of Sulzmatt, he was educated in Bible and Talmud by his father. After having followed the usual course in the public school of his native town, Loeb studied at the college of Rufach and at the lycée of Colmar, in which city he at the same time attended classes in Hebrew and Talmud at the preparatory rabbinical school founded by Chief Rabbi Solomon Klein. In 1856 he entered the Central Rabbinical School (Ecole Centrale Rabbinique) at Metz, where he soon ranked high through his knowledge of Hebrew, his literary ability, and his proficiency in mathematics. In 1862 he was graduated, and received his rabbinical diploma from the Séminaire Israélite de France at Paris, which had replaced (1859) the Metz Ecole Centrale Rabbinique.
Loeb did not immediately enter upon a rabbinical career, but tutored for some years, first at Bayonne and then at Paris. In 1865 he was called to the rabbinate of St. Etienne (Loire). His installation sermon, on the duties of the smaller congregations ("Les Devoirs des Petites Communautés"), is one of the best examples of French pulpit rhetoric.
Soon, however, he felt a desire to extend the field of his activity. He went to Paris, where he was appointed (June 1, 1869) secretary of the Alliance Israélite Universelle, which position he held until his death. It was largely due to Loeb's labors that this association became an important factor in the progress of Oriental Judaism; and he created the library of the Alliance, which is one of the most valuable Jewish libraries in existence. Meanwhile he continued his historical and philological researches, and developed an extensive literary activity. The chair of Jewish history in the Rabbinical Seminary of Paris having become vacant through the resignation of Albert Cohn (1878), Loeb was appointed his successor. He held this position for twelve years. His main activity, however, was devoted to the Société des Etudes Juives, which was organized in Paris in 1880. Beginning with the first number, he successfully edited the "Revue des Etudes Juives," the organ of that society, and was, moreover, a voluminous and brilliant contributor thereto.
The following works published by Loeb deserve especial notice: "La Situation des Israélites en Turquie, en Serbie, et en Roumanie" (1869); "Biographie d'Albert Cohn" (1878); "Tables du Calendrier Juif Depuis l'Ere Chrétienne Jusqu'au XXX⊇ Siècle"; "Les Juifs de Russie" (1891); "La Littérature des Pauvres dans la Bible"; and "Réflexions sur les Juifs." The two last-named works have been published by the Société des Etudes Juives.
- I. Lévi, list of Loeb's works, in R. E. J. vol. xxiv.;
- Z. Kahn, biographical sketch, ib.