A Physical, Moral, and Political Regeneration of the Jews

Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall

in The Abbe Gregoire and the French Revolution

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780520241800
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931091 | DOI:
A Physical, Moral, and Political Regeneration of the Jews

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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In focusing on the way Henri Grégoire used the term regeneration on the eve of the Revolution, this chapter glimpses some of the contradictions in this paradigm as he would use it throughout his life. For Grégoire, whose usage of the word was seminal, regeneration was not merely a political action, but also a physical and moral one. Building on meanings of the word in Christianity's theology as well as in the Enlightenment, the new usage suggested that groups like the Jews who were seen as degenerated needed special help in all of these areas before they could be fully included in the social body. Understanding Grégoire's reshaping of the word is especially important since regeneration would become the dominant paradigm for the treatment of difference in modern France and its empire.

Keywords: Henri Grégoire; regeneration; Revolution; Christianity; Enlightenment; Jews; France

Chapter.  9063 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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