Enlightenment

Definitions:

A Jewish ideological movement that aimed at modernizing Jewish life and thought.

Seen as necessary step towards political and social Emancipation.

Haskalah: Hebrew term for "Enlightenment"; literally: "Rationalization."

A participant in this movement was known in Hebrew as a Maskil.

Ideals of Reason (Judaism as rational belief), Tolerance and Human Perfectibility.

Emphasis on Moral dimension of Judaism

Features of Movement:

Cooperation with liberal-minded Christian thinkers.

Dissemination of ideology through journals, usually in Hebrew (Notably: Ha-Me'assef, Berlin).

Goal of civilizing Jews. Replacing Yiddish with proper German.

Compare to European Enlightenment:

*Result of the Protestant Reformation, which led to conviction that religion is a matter of individual conscience. Advocated separation of Church and State.

*Conviction that there is a universal natural religion (including theology and morality) that all individual religions must conform to.

Three phases of Jewish Enlightenment:

1. Central European (German)--1783-

2. Galician European--1820-

Struggle against Hassidism.

3. Eastern European--1830-1882

Discredited as tool of government

Major demands:

1. Vocational reform ("productivity').

2. Educational reform: Displacement of Talmud.

3. Religious Reform.

The German Haskalah was largely a middle-class phenomenon.

Inability to provide justification for Jewish continuity: Many of the Maskilim or their children converted to Christianity, considered the precondition to acceptance in European society.

Many Jews accepted the claims of liberal Protestantism to be a universal, non-dogmatic religion. [Note example of David Friedlander].


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