German educationist and writer; born at Frankfort-on-the-Main 1792; died there Nov. 18, 1864. His first work was "Fragmente aus Talmud und Rabbinen," Frankfort-on-the-Main (second edition of part i. appeared in 1809, of part ii. in 1811). He was an instructor at the Jewish school (Philanthropin) of Frankfort, and from 1818 until 1845 he conducted an educational institute.
In an address which he delivered, Oct. 18, 1816, in the chapel of the school, he expressed the hope that the new era would bring the emancipation of his coreligionists. He had, however, to defend the Jews against the attacks of Rühs and Fries, and refuted them in his pamphlet "Bemerkungen zu den Schriften der Herren Professoren Rühs und Fries über die Juden und Deren Ansprüche auf das Deutsche Bürgerrecht" (Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1816). Weil was one of the founders (1823) and for many years a member of the board of the Verein zur Beförderung der Handwerke Unter den Juden.
Various articles and numerous addresses on political, religious, and historical subjects written by him appeared in the Frankfort daily press. He supported Gabriel Riesser enthusiastically, and wrote his biography in Duller's "Männer des Volks" (vol. ii.). In addition Weil was the author of the following: "Das Junge Deutschland und die Juden" (Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1836), refuting the accusation that most of the young writers who agitated Germany were of the Jewish race; "Die Erste Kammer und die Juden in Sachsen" (Hanau, 1837); "Ueber die Idee des Christlichen Staats," in Karl Weil's "Konstitutionelle Jahrbücher" (i. 321 et seq., Stuttgart, 1843). Other essays written by him in this periodical were: "Ueber die Verbindung des Staates mit der Kirche"; "Lamartine, über Kommunismus und Sozialismus"; "Gervinus, die Deutschkatholiken und die Glaubensfreiheit"; "Ueber die Stellung der Konstitutionellen Fürsten im Staate." Against the reactionary movement in Prussia Weil wrote "Wagener, Stahl, die Juden und die Protestantischen Dissidenten," in Stein's "Israelitischer Volkslehrer" (1857, pp. 209 et seq.; also printed separately, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1857). Weil devoted himself to historic studies, and contributed a number of articles and essays to the "Magazin für die Literatur des Auslandes" (1843-1846) and to the "Blätter für Literarische Unterhaltung" (1850, 1851, 1854). His last production, "Die Alten Propheten und Schriftgelehrten und das Leben Jesu von David Strauss," criticized Strauss for his prejudices against Judaism.
A son of Jacob Weil, Henri Weil, is professor at the University of Besançon.
- Achawa, ii. 33 et seq.;
- Grätz, Gesch. xi. 366;
- Jost, Neuere Geschichte, i. 57.