Chapter

Jews and Philosophes

Schechter Ronald

in Obstinate Hebrews

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780520235571
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929357 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520235571.003.0003
Jews and Philosophes

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Historians apprehensive about the relationship between the Enlightenment and the Jews have leaned to ask whether the philosophers were anti-Semitic or philo-Semitic, whether their plans for the integration of Jews into Gentile society were a positive or negative development, and whether those Jews who embraced the Enlightenment were liberating themselves or terribly casting aside their ancient identity. These are all variations on a single question, namely whether the Enlightenment was good or bad for the Jews. They have been debated since the time of the Enlightenment itself, though some of the terms are specific to a later age. The question of whether the Enlightenment was good or bad for the Jews is more accurately speaking the expression of one's feelings about Enlightenment universal on the one hand and the destiny, character, or obligations of the Jewish people on the other.

Keywords: Enlightenment; integration; philosophers; ancient identity; Jewish people

Chapter.  13048 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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