volume, written by a range of scholars in history and literature, offers a
new understanding of one of the central cultural and ideological movements
among Jews in modern times. Disengaging the Haskalah from the questions of
modernization or emancipation that have hitherto dominated the scholarship,
the contributors put the Haskalah under a microscope in order to restore
detail and texture to the individuals, ideas, and activities that were its
makers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In particular, they
replace simple dichotomies with nuanced distinctions, presenting the
relationship between ‘tradition’ and Haskalah as a spectrum of closely linked
cultural options rather than a fateful choice between old and new or good and
The essays address major and minor figures; ask whether there was such an entity as an ‘early Haskalah’, or a Haskalah movement in England, look at key issues such as the relationship of the Haskalah to Orthodoxy and hasidism, and also treat such neglected subjects as the position of women. New Perspectives on the Haskalah will interest all students of modern Jewish history, literature, and culture.
CONTRIBUTORS: Harris Bor, Edward Breuer, Tova Cohen, Immanuel Etkes, Shmuel Feiner, Yehuda Friedlander, David B. Ruderman, Joseph Salmon, Nancy Sinkoff, David Sorkin, Shmuel Werses.
'Offers many new perspectives on the movement. It includes unique and original studies ... The authors are acknowledged experts in their fields ... a valuable addition to any library collection dealing with modern Judaism and is an important update to any collection dealing with European Jewish culture and religion.'
- Shaul Stampfer, Religious Studies Review
‘This volume will leave its mark on the research of Haskalah. The authors’ passion for the field and their erudition are evident in each and every page.’
- Lev Hakak, Shofar