Jews in Poland-Lithuania in the Eighteenth Century: A Genealogy of Modernity / Edition 1

Jews in Poland-Lithuania in the Eighteenth Century: A Genealogy of Modernity / Edition 1

by Gershon David Hundert
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0520249941

ISBN-13: 9780520249943

Pub. Date: 08/16/2006

Publisher: University of California Press

Missing from most accounts of the modern history of Jews in Europe is the experience of what was once the largest Jewish community in the world -- an oversight that Gershon David Hundert corrects in this history of Eastern European Jews in the eighteenth century. The experience of eighteenth-century Jews in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth did not fit the pattern of

Overview

Missing from most accounts of the modern history of Jews in Europe is the experience of what was once the largest Jewish community in the world -- an oversight that Gershon David Hundert corrects in this history of Eastern European Jews in the eighteenth century. The experience of eighteenth-century Jews in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth did not fit the pattern of integration and universalization -- in short, of westernization -- that historians tend to place at the origins of Jewish modernity. Hundert puts this experience, that of the majority of the Jewish people, at the center of his history. In doing so, he focuses on the relations of Jews with the state and their role in the economy, and on the more "internal" developments, such as the popularization of Kabbalah and the rise of Hasidism. Thus he describes the elements of Jewish experience that became the basis for a "core Jewish identity" -- an identity that accompanied the majority of Jews into modernity. The experience of these Jews shows that modernization is characterized more by continuity than change. Taking such a view, Hundert offers a nuanced, sophisticated, and refreshing challenge to the now conventional notion that identifies modernity exclusively with changes in Jewish culture and society that came in response to an overwhelmingly Gentile culture and society.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520249943
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
08/16/2006
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
307
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)

Table of Contents

List of Mapsxi
List of Tablesxiii
Prefacexv
A Note on Place-Names and Transliterationxvii
List of Abbreviationsxix
Introduction1
1.The Largest Jewish Community in the World21
2.Economic Integration32
3.The Polish Church and Jews, Polish Jews and the Church57
4.The Community79
5.Was There a Communal "Crisis" in the Eighteenth Century?99
6.The Popularization of Kabbalah119
7.Mystic Ascetics and Religious Radicals131
8.The Contexts of Hasidism160
9.Hasidism, a New Path186
10.Jews and the Sejm211

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