Religious Conflict in Social Context: The Resurgence of Orthodox Judaism in Frankfurt Am Main, 1838-1877

Religious Conflict in Social Context: The Resurgence of Orthodox Judaism in Frankfurt Am Main, 1838-1877

Religious Conflict in Social Context: The Resurgence of Orthodox Judaism in Frankfurt Am Main, 1838-1877

Religious Conflict in Social Context: The Resurgence of Orthodox Judaism in Frankfurt Am Main, 1838-1877

Synopsis

"Frankfurt am Main was the scene of the most dramatic religious developments in 19th-century German-Jewish history; the city saw the most radical expressions of early Reform Judaism and also the most dramatic resurgence of Neo-Orthodoxy. This volume charts those events, with particular attention to the role played by Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-88). The book is noteworthy for its attempt to integrate the religious and intellectual trends with their social and political context, in particular the tensions preceding the Revolution of 1848 and the conservative retrenchment that followed.... The book... is informative and insightful... the correlations that are Liberles's main contribution are effective and convincing. Illustrations, bibliography, and index; recommended for public, synagogue, and academic libraries." - Choice

Excerpt

Most studies of religion in modern times emphasize adjustment and compromise with an eye toward survival. Commonplace interpretations usually stress the ascendancy of secular guidelines and a consequent need for religious accommodation to achieve continued, if somewhat diminished, relevance. This book is not about religion desperate to keep abreast of cultural developments. Instead, it concerns a perspective that dealt with modernity by maintaining a strong position of theological self- awareness in the face of homogenizing trends. Its focus on Judaism further sharpens the picture because this religion has faced modernity in its starkest terms. Since the Enlightenment modern life had tended to make religion largely a cerebral affair, with faith propositions adjusted to social events and scientific advances. It has also nurtured the idea of religion as a matter of private conscience, without many cultic or community roots. Judaism as a way of life clashed with religion as a set of intellectualized abstractions, and as communal existence it resisted the atomization of private judgment. The story of Orthodox Judaism is a particularly significant gauge of how traditional values have endured in the face of modern pressures.

Professor Liberles contribution to the ongoing shelf of Wissenschaft des Judentums brings to light several new and valuable correctives. He helps put to rest the idea that through the 1830s Reform Judaism moved with rapid strides to achieve virtually complete success in German synagogues. Traditionalist leaders . . .

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