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This major contribution to the history of European ideas investigates the philosophical and political significance of Judaism in the intellectual life of seventeenth and eighteenth century Europe. Adam Sutcliffe demonstrates how the enthusiastic fascination with Judaism that was prevalent around 1650 became contemptuous a century later. The intense responses of thinkers like Voltaire to Jewish topics are central to an understanding of the underlying ambiguities of the Enlightenment. The study interests scholars of Jewish history, the Enlightenment, and of the emergence of the modern movement.Read more
- Major study of one of the defining themes of Enlightenment
- Widely and favourably reviewed in prominent places (e.g. NYRB) on initial hardback publication
- Very substantial Jewish studies audience, in addition to historians of ideas
Reviews & endorsements
"Adam Sutcliffe's book represents an important new synthesis, offering novel and insightful readings of both familiar and less-known thinkers. Since no one before him has attempted to examine so broadly European intellectual life in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries from the perspective of attitudes toward Jews and Judaism, Sutcliffe's monograph represents a major contribution to Jewish and Enlightenment studies alike." The Jewish Quarterly ReviewSee more reviews
"It is rare that a scholarly historical work such as Sutcliffe's can be so useful for the understanding of some of the most vexing contemporary problems - in this case, the surprising resurgence of postmodern antisemitism." The Forward
"...passionate, well informed, and eloquent..." The New York Review of Books
"[I]n his highly anticipated first book, Adam Sutcliffe... makes the bold claim that what has for centuries been referred to as "the Jewish question," rather than being merely a less-than-admirable aspect of Enlightenment thought, was actually of central importance in shaping it... scholars are calling Mr. Sutcliffe's work groundbreaking." The Chronicle of Higher Education
"An excellent and stimulating analysis of the Enlightenment and its relationship to Jews and Judaism." H-GERMAN
"fascinating book" - Michael Mack, University of Sydney
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- Date Published: November 2005
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521672320
- length: 338 pages
- dimensions: 228 x 161 x 21 mm
- weight: 0.5kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
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?
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