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On the return of the Jewish question

Universalism has acted as a stimulus for Jewish emancipation, that is, for civil, political and social inclusion. It has also been a source of anti-Jewish prejudice up to and beyond the classic antisemitism of the modern period. While the experience of Jews is by no means unique in this respect, one of the peculiarities of the 'anti-Judaic' tradition has been to represent Jews in some important regard as the 'other' of the universal: as the personification either of a particularism opposed to the universal, or of a false universalism concealing Jewish self-interest. The former contrasts the particularism of the Jews to the universality of bourgeois civil society. The latter contrasts the bad universalism of the 'rootless cosmopolitan Jew' to the good universalism of whatever universal is advanced: nation, race or class. This book explores debates over Jewish emancipation within the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, contrasting the work of two leading protagonists of Jewish emancipation: Christian von Dohm and Moses Mendelssohn. It discusses the emancipatory power of Karl Marx's critique of Bruno Bauer's opposition to Jewish emancipation and endorsement of The Jewish Question. Marxist debates over the growth of anti-Semitism; Hannah Arendt's critique of three types of Jewish responsiveness--assimilationism, Zionism and cosmopolitanism-- to anti-Semitism; and the endeavours of a leading postwar critical theorist, Jurgen Habermas are also discussed. Finally, the book focuses its critique on left antizionists who threaten to reinstate the Jewish question when they identify Israel and Zionism as the enemies of universalism.

Open Access (free)
Universalism and the Jewish question
Robert Fine
and
Philip Spencer

Moses Mendelssohn. The former justified Jewish emancipation from within the Jewish question; the latter looked for ways of countering the prejudice that Jews were in special need of regeneration. In Chapter 2 we revisit debates between supporters and opponents of Jewish emancipation within nineteenth-century revolutionary thought, in particular the emancipatory power of Karl Marx’s critique of Bruno Bauer’s opposition to Jewish emancipation and endorsement of The Jewish

in Antisemitism and the left
Jewish emancipation and the Jewish question
Robert Fine
and
Philip Spencer

at the hands of European colonialism: second thoughts, we may speculate, provoked in part by learning about the actual revolts waged against the existing state of injustice (like that of the Black Jacobins in San Domingue), in part by engaging in dialogue with those who actually belonged to the groups suffering from prejudice (as Kant did with the Jewish Enlightenment figure, Moses Mendelssohn), and in part by embarking on new intellectual voyages (like his

in Antisemitism and the left
A typology
Benjamin J. Elton

vitality that ensures its survival . . . Israel’s vitality has always consisted in the endeavour to fight for that which is Divine’.19 The final response belonged to the acceptance school, based around the children and disciples of Moses Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn welcomed the prospect of Emancipation warmly and sought to show that the doctrines of Judaism could be deduced from reason, even though the laws could only have come from Revelation. As he wrote, ‘Blessed be the Lord who gave us the Tora of Truth. We have no principles that are contrary to, or above, reason. Thank

in Britain’s Chief Rabbis and the religious character of Anglo-Jewry, 1880–1970
Benjamin J. Elton

between figures who appear, on the surface, to have either more or less in common than they actually did. This problem that has so afflicted the study of the Chief Rabbis stems from the widespread belief, flowing from claims attributed to Moses Mendelssohn in the eighteenth century, that Judaism is not concerned with faith but is rather a religion of practice.22 It is frequently stated that while Christianity places emphasis on creed Judaism is about action.23 It was this emphasis on the importance of practice rather than belief that led scholars to underemphasise the

in Britain’s Chief Rabbis and the religious character of Anglo-Jewry, 1880–1970
Stephen K. Batalden

Petersburg. These Russian translations originated in the very heartland of the Russian Jewish maskilim. In an effort to sort out the variety of Jewish Enlightenment responses to Russian rule in the last half of the nineteenth century, John Klier has identified four varying intellectual streams. These range from what he calls the ‘old maskilim’ , those who came out of the tradition of Moses Mendelssohn in eighteenth-century Germany, to a ‘new maskilim ’, who were much more intent on developing Russian language training and enriching the curriculum of traditional Jewish

in Chosen peoples
From Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry to British Romantic art
Author:

The challenge of the sublime argues that the unprecedented visual inventiveness of the Romantic period in Britain could be seen as a response to theories of the sublime, more specifically to Edmund Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757). While it is widely accepted that the Enquiry contributed to shaping the thematics of terror that became fashionable in British art from the 1770s, this book contends that its influence was of even greater consequence, paradoxically because of Burke’s conviction that the visual arts were incapable of conveying the sublime. His argument that the sublime was beyond the reach of painting, because of the mimetic nature of visual representation, directly or indirectly incited visual artists to explore not just new themes, but also new compositional strategies and even new or undeveloped pictorial and graphic media, such as the panorama, book illustrations and capricci. More significantly, it began to call into question mimetic representational models, causing artists to reflect about the presentation of the unpresentable and the inadequacy of their endeavours, and thus drawing attention to the process of artistic production itself, rather than the finished artwork. By revisiting the links between eighteenth-century aesthetic theory and visual practices, The challenge of the sublime establishes new interdisciplinary connections which address researchers in the fields of art history, cultural studies and aesthetics.

Hogarth’s bodies
Frédéric Ogée

, attempted a definition of disgust, which he saw as the outer limit of the aesthetic: ‘Disgust alone is excluded from those unpleasant sensations whose nature can be altered through imitation. Art would here fruitlessly expend all its labor.’ This was later echoed by Moses Mendelssohn, who in Briefe über die Empfindungen (‘On Sentiments’, 1761) thought that the feeling of disgust was always literal, and therefore could not be experenced as ‘unreal’ in art. Five years later Lessing took up the issue in his Laokoon, oder über die Grenzen der Malerei und Poesie (‘Laocoön: An

in Bellies, bowels and entrails in the eighteenth century
An introduction
Johannes Ljungberg
and
Erik Sidenvall

Sorkin, Moses Mendelssohn and the Religious Enlightenment (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1996 ). Dale K. Van Kley, The Religious Origins of the French Revolution: From Calvin to the Civil Constitution, 1560–1791 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996 ); Nathaniel Wolloch (ed.), ‘New perspectives on the Mediterranean Enlightenment’, European Legacy 25:7/8 (2020). An early discussion of the religious antecedents of the Enlightenment in France is presented in Robert Mauzi, L’idée du bonheur

in Religious Enlightenment in the eighteenth-century Nordic countries
David Graizbord

‘religion’, as is the case with speakers of Modern Hebrew. The rabbinic word for ‘faith’ (אמוּנה) conveys ‘allegiance’, not ‘theological belief’ or ‘confession’, much less ‘religion’. For its part, ‘Judaism’ may be viewed as the invention of nineteenth-century thinkers such as Moses Mendelssohn, whose aim was to reconfigure

in Conversions