Dagobert David Runes was a philosopher and author. Born in Zastavna, Bukovina, Austro-Hungary, he emigrated to the United States in 1926. He had received a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Vienna in 1924. In the U.S. he became editor of The Modern Thinker and later Current Digest. From 1931 to 1934 he was Director of the Institute for Advanced Education in New York City. He had an encyclopedic level fluency in Latin and Biblical Hebrew; he fluently spoke and wrote in Austrian German, German, Yiddish, French, Hebrew, Russian, Polish, Czechoslovakian, and English. In 1941 he founded the Philosophical Library, a spiritual organization and publishing house. Runes was a colleague and friend to Albert Einstein.
Runes published an English translation of Marx's On the Jewish Question under the title A World without Jews. Though this has often been considered the first translation of the work, a Soviet anti-zionist, propaganda version had existed a few years earlier. Which was likely unknown to Runes. It had an antisemite title, and had extremely limited circulation in the English speaking world. Runes wrote an introduction to the translation that was clearly antagonistic to extreme Marxism, and 'its materialism' as he would later often put it, yet left an open mind. He edited several works presenting the ideas and history of philosophy to a general audience.