Judaism in the Modern Era

What is "Judaism"?

Can be defined in different ways: Ethnic, cultural, nationalistic,historical, etc.
This course--in Religious Studies!-- will focus on religious questions:
Such as:

What is "Modern"?

Time frame? Depends how we define "modern."
What meanings does the term "modern" have in European history? Are they appropriate to Jewish history?
Possible definition: Judaism during the period that is defined as "modern" in European history.

Qualititative features of Jewish modernity:


Contrast with Medieval Judaism

Principal Features of Medieval Judaism

Economic and Social:

Vocational restrictions: Jews forbidden to own land or join craft guilds: Confined to banking and finance ("middle class").
Live in separate neighbourhoods: "Ghettos."

Main Streams of Medieval Jewish Religious Thought:

1) Rabbinism

2) Rationalism and Philosophy:

Especially in Islamic countries, influence of Aristotle, as adapted by Moses Maimonides.

3) Kabbalah: Jewish Mysticism.



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