Joseph Epstein - Updated Jul 2024

Updated On June 3, 2024
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Joseph Epstein

Joseph Epstein is an American writer who served as the editor of The American Scholar magazine from 1975 to 1997. Essays and stories by Joseph Epstein have appeared in books and other publications.

Early Life and Education

Joseph Epstein was born on 9th January 1937, in Chicago, Illinois, the United States of America. As of now, Joseph is 86 years old and is a citizen of the United States.

Moreover, he is Jewish by religion, and he is also nicknamed Aristides. In addition, he is the son of Belle Epstein (father) and Maurice Epstein (mother).

Joseph’s father was a Canadian who worked in sales before starting his own company. Moreover, he has a young brother whose name is unknown.

Talking about his academic career, he graduated from Senn High School and went to the University of Illinois in Urbana–Champaign.

He graduated from the University of Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts degree and served in the United States Army from 1958 to 1960.

He was a lecturer in English and Writing at Northwestern University from 1972 to 2002, and he is now an Emeritus Lecturer of English there.

Joseph Epstein – Net Worth 2024

As an essayist, short-story writer, editor, and retired lecturer, he has earned a decent sum of money. But, he has not disclosed his net worth, salary, and income in public yet.


In 1988, he received an Honorary Doctorate from Adelphi University. Likewise, he won the Heartland Prize for Partial Payments: Essays on Writers and Their Lives.

In addition, he has received a National Humanities Medal and National Endowment for the Humanities. He won the Ribalow Prize for Fiction – Fabulous Small Jews.

Relationship Status

Joseph Epstein married Barbara Maher. The couple has two children whose name is unknown. Moreover, there is no more information regarding their exact marriage date.

Once, he was criticized after he used the word “nigger” to describe being gay and was criticized for its perceived homophobia in an article of his called “Homo/Hetero: The Struggle for Sexual Identity”.

Career and Professional Life

Talking about his professional career, from 1974 through 1998, Joseph Epstein was the editor of The American Scholar for 25 years.

The Phi Beta Kappa Society’s periodical is The American Scholar.  Under the pen name Aristides, he contributed to the magazine.

From 1974 through 2002, he was a lecturer in English and writing at Northwestern University. I

n 1998, the Phi Beta Kappa Senate removed him as editor of The American Scholar. He is the author of various essay books and short story collections.

Plausible Prejudices: Essays on American Writing, his essay collection, published in 1985. He also writes short stories.

Joseph Epstein

Caption: Joseph Epstein in a conference (Source: Gossip Gist)

Criticized Article on Homosexuality

In 2007, one of his short tales was included in The Best American Short Stories. Moreover, in 2009, he had another short tale published in The Best American Short Stories.

In 1970, he caused outrage when he used the N-word to describe being gay in his piece “Homo/Hetero: The Struggle for Sexual Identity.”

Harper’s Magazine published the piece. He was criticized for what was seen to be homophobia.

Additionally, he called homosexuality “a literal curse,” according to his writing. He also remarked that nothing could make him sadder than for one of his sons to become homosexual.

If it were allowed, he stated in the article, “I would wish homosexuality off the face of the world.” Members of the Gay Activists Alliance held a sit-in at Harper’s.

In December 2020, Joseph made waves when he urged that Dr. Biden discontinue using the academic title “Dr.” wrote in his Wall Street Journal opinion piece, “Is There a Doctor in the White House?” Not if you require an M.D.”

Biden possesses a Doctor of Education degree. “Madame First Lady – Mrs. Biden-Jill-kiddo,” said Dr. Biden.

On Twitter, his disrespectful speech garnered a lot of criticism. The term “Kiddo” became a trending topic on Twitter.

Body Measurements

Joseph Epstein has white hair with light green eyes. Besides that, there is no more information regarding his other body measurements such as height, weight, and many more.

Joseph Epstein

Caption: Joseph Epstein body measurement (Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Joseph Epstein – Social Media

As of now, this writer is not active on social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.