Judaism and Enlightenment

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Overview

This major contribution to the history of European ideas investigates the philosophical and political significance of Judaism in the intellectual life of seventeenth and eighteenth century Europe. Adam Sutcliffe demonstrates how the enthusiastic fascination with Judaism that was prevalent around 1650 became contemptuous a century later. The intense responses of thinkers like Voltaire to Jewish topics are central to an understanding of the underlying ambiguities of the Enlightenment. The study interests scholars of Jewish history, the Enlightenment, and of the emergence of the modern movement.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Adam Sutcliffe's book represents an important new synthesis, offering novel and insightful readings of both familiar and less-known thinkers. Since no one before him has attempted to examine so broadly European intellectual life in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries from the perspective of attitudes toward Jews and Judaism, Sutcliffe's monograph represents a major contribution to Jewish and Enlightenment studies alike." The Jewish Quarterly Review

"It is rare that a scholarly historical work such as Sutcliffe's can be so useful for the understanding of some of the most vexing contemporary problems - in this case, the surprising resurgence of postmodern antisemitism." The Forward

"...passionate, well informed, and eloquent..." The New York Review of Books

"[I]n his highly anticipated first book, Adam Sutcliffe... makes the bold claim that what has for centuries been referred to as "the Jewish question," rather than being merely a less-than-admirable aspect of Enlightenment thought, was actually of central importance in shaping it... scholars are calling Mr. Sutcliffe's work groundbreaking." The Chronicle of Higher Education

"An excellent and stimulating analysis of the Enlightenment and its relationship to Jews and Judaism." H-GERMAN

"fascinating book" - Michael Mack, University of Sydney

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521820158
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2003
  • Series: Ideas in Context Series , #66
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Adam Sutcliffe is Chaim Lopata Assistant Professor of European Jewish History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: disentangling Judaism and Enlightenment; Part I. The Crumbling of Old Certainties: Judaism, the Bible and the Meaning of History: 1. The crisis and decline of Christian Hebraism; 2. Hebraic politics: Respublica Mosaiaca; 3. Meaning and method: Jewish history, world history; 4. The limits of erudition: Jacques Basnage and Pierre Bayle; Part II. Judaism and the Formation of Enlightenment Radicalism: 5. Religious dissent and debate in Sephardi Amsterdam; 6. Judaism in Spinoza and his circle; 7. Spinoza: Messiah of the Enlightenment?; 8. Enlightenment and Kabbalah; 9. Judaism, reason and the critique of religion; Part III. Judaism, Nationhood and the Politics of Enlightenment: 10. Utopianism, Republicanism, Cosmopolitanism; 11. Judaism and the invention of toleration; 12. The ambiguities of Enlightenment: Voltaire and the Jews; Conclusion: reason versus myth?
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