The Transformation of German Jewry, 1780-1840

The Transformation of German Jewry, 1780-1840

by David Jan Sorkin
Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press, USA

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The Transformation of German Jewry, 1780-1840

The transformation of German Jewry from 1780 to 1840 exemplified a twofold revolution: on one level, the end of the feudal status of Jews as an autonomous community forced them to face a protracted process of political emancipation, a far-reaching social metamorphosis, and growing racial anti-Semitism; yet, on another level, their encounter with the surrounding culture resulted in their own intense cultural productivity. In this ground-breaking study, David Sorkin argues that emancipation and encounter with German culture and society led not to assimilation but to the creation of a new Jewish identity and community—a true and vibrant subculture that produced many of Judaism's modern movements and fostered a pantheon of outstanding writers, artists, composers, scientists, and academics. He contends that German-Jewish subculture was based not, as widely believed, on nationalistic (Jewish versus German) or religious (Jewish versus Christian) disparities, but rather on the struggle for freedom and social acceptance in German society. By studying German Jewry's cultural history in its social and political context, as well as in the larger setting of German history, this study firmly asserts that the subculture both distinguished German Jewry from other European Jewish communities and accounted for its members' prominent role in Jewish and general culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195065848
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 11/28/1990
Series: Studies in Jewish History Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.75(d)

Table of Contents

IThe Ideology of Emancipation
1.Emancipation and Regeneration13
2.The Origins of the Haskala41
3.The Politics of the Haskala63
4.The Ideology and the Public Sphere79
IIThe Subculture
5.The New Bourgeoisie107
6.Ideologues and Institutions124
7.Secular Culture140
8.Religious Tradition156

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