Judaism and Enlightenment (Ideas in Context No. 66)

Judaism and Enlightenment (Ideas in Context No. 66)

By: Adam Sutcliffe (author)Paperback

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This study investigates the philosophical and political significance of Judaism in the intellectual life of seventeenth and eighteenth century Europe. Adam Sutcliffe shows how the widespread and enthusiastic fascination with Judaism prevalent around 1650 was largely eclipsed a century later by attitudes of dismissal and disdain. He argues that Judaism was uniquely difficult for Enlightenment thinkers to account for, and that their intense responses, both negative and positive, to Jewish topics are central to an understanding of the underlying ambiguities of the Enlightenment itself. Judaism and the Jews were a limit case, a destabilising challenge, and a constant test for Enlightenment rationalism. Erudite and highly broad-ranging in its sources, and yet extremely accessible in its argument, Judaism and Enlightenment is a major contribution to the history of European ideas, of interest to scholars of Jewish history and to those working on the Enlightenment, toleration and the emergence of modernity itself.

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About Author

Adam Sutcliffe is Chaim Lopata Assistant Professor of European Jewish History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Introduction: disentangling Judaism and Enlightenment; Part I. The Crumbling of Old Certainties: Judaism, the Bible and the Meaning of History: 1. The crisis and decline of Christian Hebraism; 2. Hebraic politics: Respublica Mosaiaca; 3. Meaning and method: Jewish history, world history; 4. The limits of erudition: Jacques Basnage and Pierre Bayle; Part II. Judaism and the Formation of Enlightenment Radicalism: 5. Religious dissent and debate in Sephardi Amsterdam; 6. Judaism in Spinoza and his circle; 7. Spinoza: Messiah of the Enlightenment?; 8. Enlightenment and Kabbalah; 9. Judaism, reason and the critique of religion; Part III. Judaism, Nationhood and the Politics of Enlightenment: 10. Utopianism, Republicanism, Cosmopolitanism; 11. Judaism and the invention of toleration; 12. The ambiguities of Enlightenment: Voltaire and the Jews; Conclusion: reason versus myth?

Product Details

  • publication date: 10/11/2005
  • ISBN13: 9780521672320
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 338
  • ID: 9780521672320
  • weight: 500
  • ISBN10: 0521672325

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