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.
About the Author
Adam Sutcliffe is Chaim Lopata Assistant Professor of European Jewish History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Table of ContentsIntroduction: 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?