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
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].