"The legal process, which began in Europe with the French
Revolution, of granting to the Jews equal civic rights in the countries in
which they reside."
"The whole cultural and social movement promoting
directly and indirectly Jewish integration."
- Rise of nation-state and mercantilism. People were valued for
their individual contributions to the national treasury.
- Liberal philosophy: Ideals of equality must be applied equally, even to
Implications of Emancipation:
- The Jews were expected to give up their communal,
cultural and national identities.
|The Ideological Expression of Emancipation
|The Religious Expression of Emancipation
Challenges to traditional Jewish religious ideas:
Messianism and National redemption
- Often equated with ideals of
Emancipation and Enlightenment, universal brotherhood, etc.
Hope for restoration to homeland
- Ties to Jews in other countries.
- Question of "dual loyalties."
Perception of Galut (exile).
- "Mission" theory of Jewish exile.
Ideas of religious evolution and progress.
Tension between universalism and need to proclaim superiority of
Use of Hebrew.
Jewish legal autonomy as a religious value.
Religion would now be treated only as a matter of individual belief.
- Less emphasis on practice and observance.
- Transformation of Rabbi into clergyman.
New emphasis on Bible.
Anti-Jewish assumptions in European society
- It was assumed by Christians that the Jews were a backward, materialistic people, lacking
culture and spirituality.
- Introduction of reforms in religous practice
in order to conform to the
aesthetic standards of the host society.
- Some felt that this was a result of the Jews' forcible segregation, and would
be remedied once Jews were permitted access to more advanced ideas and
- Jews often accepted these stereotypes, and felt the need to improve
themselves, in order to be worthy of acceptance by the host society.
- Demand for vocational retraining of Jews, often based on the assumption that
the Jewish concentration on banking was part of their religion!
- It was widely assumed that European liberal Protestant culture was the
embodiment of universal enlightenment.
Moses Mendelssohn (1729-86): Pioneer of Jewish Enlghtenment
A traditionally observant Jew who also excelled as a philosopher and
literary figure. Relationship with Gottfried Lessing (Nathan der
Challenge by Johann Lavater to either refute Christianity or convert.
Presentation of Judaism as more universal than Christianity.
Opposition to use of Herem (ban of excommunication)
principal means of the Rabbis' control over the Jewish community)
- Weakening of central authority accelerates rise of factionalism.
Education of the Jewish masses:
Translation of the Bible into German
New Hebrew Bible Commentary.
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