Jewish Studies at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: Proceedings of the 6th EAJS Congress, Toledo, July 1998 - Vol. 2

Jewish Studies at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: Proceedings of the 6th EAJS Congress, Toledo, July 1998 - Vol. 2

Jewish Studies at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: Proceedings of the 6th EAJS Congress, Toledo, July 1998 - Vol. 2

Jewish Studies at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: Proceedings of the 6th EAJS Congress, Toledo, July 1998 - Vol. 2

Synopsis

In July of 1998 the European Association for Jewish Studies celebrated its Sixth Congress in Toledo, with almost four hundred participants. In these Proceedings 169 papers and communications read during the conference have been collected. By and large, they offer a broad, realistic perspective on the advances, achievements and anxieties of Judaic Studies at the turn of the 20th century, on the eve of the new millennium. They represent the point of view of the European scholars, enriched with notable contributions by colleagues from other continents. One volume includes papers dealing with Jewish studies on biblical, rabbinical and medieval times, as well as with some general subjects, such as Jewish languages and bibliography. A second volume is dedicated to the Judaism of modern times, from the Renaissance to our days.

Excerpt

Berlin, Germany and Princeton, usa

When the organizers of this congress first approached me about giving one of the plenary presentations they suggested a lecture on the study of classical Rabbinic literature and of Jewish mysticism in the 20 century. I don’t think they were motivated by a belief in some inherent relationship between the two areas of research, some mysterious affinity hopefully to be revealed by me, but rather, and much more down to earth, with this topic proposal they simply wanted to kill two birds with one stone (if I may use this metaphor), to cover in one lecture two major areas of Jewish Stuthes. For a moment I was tempted to accept the challenge and to put on, so to speak, first the hat of Rabbinic literature and then that of Jewish mysticism but only for a very brief moment—the two hats, I’m afraid, would have merged all too soon into a clown’s cap. So we agreed upon “Jewish mysticism in the 20 century,” not a particularly modest choice either.

That I decided in favor of Jewish mysticism instead of Rabbinic literature was not only because of my own (present) predilection but also because I would venture the opinion that, within the array of the various disciplines of Jewish Stuthes, the 20 century may be called with some justification the century of Jewish mysticism, and this in the double sense that it is only in the 20 century that research on Jewish mysticism became an academic discipline (nobody will dispute this), and that during this century hardly any other field of Jewish Studies has been as flourishing and, indeed, as fashionable as Jewish mysticism. This second assertion, of cause, may be disputed but I think we can all agree that the history of scholarship on Jewish mysticism in the 20 century is the history of an unforeseen and most amazing success, certainly by comparison with the previous centuries, in particular with the 19 century. Out of forgotten books and manuscripts, out of the prejudices of the intellectual leaders of a Jewish world which had submitted itself to the rationalism of Christian (Protestant Christian) spirituality arose a new interest in the mystical dimension of Judaism which now, at the turn of this century, even has to defend itself against the reproach of wanting to put mysticism at the very core of Judaism and, as far as academia is concerned, research on Jewish mysticism at the very core of Jewish Stuthes. To be sure, this lyric description of the rise of the study of Jewish mysticism out of the intellectual ashes of the 19 century is part of the success story of the discipline and its founder Gershom Scholem, the foil against which his light shines all the brighter. in reaction to this, more recent stuthes want to prove that the 19 century wasn’t as rationalistically dry and anti-mystical as Scholem wants us to believe, that Graetz, Bloch, Jellinek and others should be taken much more . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.