Dualism And The Enlightenment

Decent Essays

As the Enlightenment moved on the political sphere, Jews would be challenged in the same manner of the Lavater affair to desist with dualism to align with a single identity. Enlightened despots called upon the Enlightenment ideas of tolerance in an attempt to create stable nations. Rulers issued a series of edits exemplifying Locke and Rousseau’s social contract model; these edits aimed to eliminate restrictions on Jews in order to make them, “useful and serviceable to the State.” In exchange for tolerance or Dildung, Jews should first eliminate all “customary distinctive marks”, enabling them to be “treated as all other subjects, without distinction of nationality or religion.” In 1872, German scholar Christian Wilhelm asserted, “the …show more content…

The writers of the movement known as Men of letters known as maskilim, viewed their mission as guides and moral physicians to enact the maturity and regeneration of the Jewish people into a new Europe. One such maskil, Naphtali Wessley, a disciple of Mendelsohn’s, wrote the controversial “Devrei Shalom, v’emet (Word of Peace and Truth) urging Jews to support the educational opportunities provided by the Edict of Joseph II. Wessley’s idea of Jewish education was the combination of Torat Hashem (secular knowledge) with Torat Hashem (Jewish religious instruction), asserting both as necessary for general and religious life and therefore compatible with Judaism. In 1784, Wessley’s created the journal Hame’asef (the Gatherer) targeting German Jews with the value of the Enlightenment and secular education, while careful to balance with early Haskalah’s affection for biblical Hebrew and grammar. However, both Feiner and Meyer mark 1787 as a defining moment in Haskalah as key leaders move to Berlin, finding wealthy, urbanized Jews near thorough acculturation and wavering in association with both the Haskalah and traditional Jewish life. As Haskalah matured to its peak (1770-1880), focus shifted from Jewish renewal to a movement of wide scale cultural transformation and preparation for political

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