Please note, due to scheduled maintenance online transactions will not be possible between 07:00 - 10:00 BST, on Thursday 21st March (03:00-06:00 EDT, 21 March, 2019). We apologise for any inconvenience.
“It is true,” conceded the Russian Minister of Education on 17 March 1841, those “fanatics” who held fast to the Talmud “were not mistaken” in ascribing a missionary impulse to his project of enlightening Russia's Jewish population. The Jews’ anxieties were understandable, Count Sergei Uvarov admitted, “for is not the religion of Christ the purest symbol of grazhdanstvennost’ [civil society]?” Since conquering Polish-Lithuanian lands in 1795, the Russian government had been unable to establish a consistent policy for integrating its Jewish population into the social and political fabric of the Empire. Most notably, it restricted Jews to living in what was called the Pale of Settlement, a geographic region that includes lands in present day Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Moldova, Belarus, and Lithuania. The Jews of the Empire were highly observant, spoke their own languages, and occupied specific economic roles. Buoyed by the reformist initiatives that had begun to take hold in Jewish populations based in western European countries, Uvarov hoped to begin a similar process among Russia's Jews.
1 Uvarov's report was published in Dopolnenie k “Sborniku postanovlenii” po ministertvu narodango prosieshcheniia 1803–1864 (St. Petersburg: Tipografiia Imperatorskoi Akademii nauk, 1867) 703.
2 For example, Marek, Pesah, Ocherki po istorii prosviescheniia evreev v Rossi (Moscow: 1909) 23–25 and Dubnow, Simon, History of the Jews in Russia and Poland (trans. Israel Friedlaender; 3 vols.; Philadelphia: 1916–1920) 1:243 , 255, 396–401.
3 See Klier, John, “State Policies and the Conversion of Jews in Imperial Russia,” in Of Religion and Empire: Missions, Conversion and Tolerance in Tsarist Russia (ed. Geraci, Robert O. and Khodarkovsky, Michael; Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001) 92–114 , at 95–96.
4 See Stanislawski, Michael, Tsar Nicholas I and the Jews: The Transformation of Jewish Society in Russia 1825–1855 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1983) 66–69 .
5 See Petrovsky-Shtern, Yochanan, Jews in the Russian Army, 1827–1917 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009) 64–66 .
6 On 19th-cent. missionaries in Prussia, see Clark, Christopher, The Politics of Conversion: Missionary Protestantism and the Jews in Prussia 1728–1941 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995) 124–211 .
7 The first comprehensive study on the London Society's work on Russian lands was conducted by Fein, Yitskhok, “Di Londoner misyonern-gezelshaft far yidn: ir arbet in Poyln un Rusland bemeshekh fun 19tn y”h,” YIVO Bleter 24 (1944) 27–46 . Fein documented the support of the Russian police in assisting the missionaries to propagandize to Jews living in Warsaw, Smolensk, and even Vilna (35–37). The literature of the English missionaries was said to have circulated in Jewish houses in Shklov (38). Recently, Israel Bartal, “Misyonarim Brityim be-Mehuzot Habad” (forthcoming), and Agnieszka Jagodzinka, “English Missionaries Look at Jews, Polish,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry: Jews in the Kingdom of Poland, 1815–1918 (ed. Dynner, Glenn, Polonsky, Antony, and Wodzinski, Marcin; 33 vols.; Oxford: Littman Library, 2015) 27:89–116 , have respectively described London missionaries’ impact on the Russian Jewish population in the second decade of the 19th cent. . While John Klier downplays the conversionary efforts of the Russian government with respect to the London Society, he also notes, “British missionaries, not Russians, were the most vigorous agents of conversion” (“State Policies and the Conversion of Jews in Imperial Russia,” 96). See also Clark, Christopher, “The Limits of the Confessional State: Conversions to Judaism in Prussia, 1814–1843,” Past & Present 147 (1995) 159–79.
8 On the influence of Protestantism on modern Judaism, Arnold Eisen claims that “we must come to terms with Jewish theories based largely on Protestant notions of ritual and the sacred” (Rethinking Modern Judaism: Ritual, Commandment, Community [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997] 9). See more generally Meyer, Michael, The Origins of the Modern Jew: Jewish Identity and European Culture 1749–1824 (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1967) 115–43 and more recently Heschel, Susannah, Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998) 188–92, and Jonathan Hess's rich discussion of Friedländer, David in Germans Jews and the Claims of Modernity (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002) 179–93.
9 While this paper describes religious forms of acculturation among Russian Jews in the early 19th cent., it parallels recent studies that have documented other types of acculturation experienced by Jews in late 19th-cent. Russia. See most notably, Benjamin Loeffler, James, The Most Musical Nation: Jews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010); Veidlinger, Jeffery, Jewish Public Culture in Late Russian Empire (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2009); Nathans, Benjamin, Beyond the Pale: The Jewish Encounter with Late Imperial Russia (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002); and Doyle Klier, John, Russia's Jewish Question, 1855–1881 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995).
10 On the English background of McCaul's work, see Feldman, David, Englishmen and the Jews: Social Relations and Political Culture 1840–1914 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994) 54–55 . It is important to note that McCaul does not explicitly employ the word “emancipation” but rather is focused on the more general question of should the State grant Jews equal rights and can Jews be counted upon to treat their fellow countrymen as brethren. As David Sorkin has noted, the term “emancipation” was put into circulation only in the first decades of the 19th cent. . See Sorkin, David, “Emancipation and Assimilation: Two Concepts and Their Application to German Jewish History,” Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook 35 (1990) 18–21 .
11 On the missionaries’ description of Warsaw Jewish life, see Agnieszka Jagodzinka, “English Missionaries Look at Polish Jews,” in Polin, 27:89–116. For an overview of Jewish life in the Kingdom of Poland in the first half of the 19th cent., consult Glenn Dynner and Marcin Wodzinski, “The Kingdom of Poland and her Jews: An Introduction,” in ibid., 3–45.
12 The literature on emancipation, Jewish in Europe is too vast to recount here. Aside from the studies explicitly cited in this article, I have also benefited greatly from the articles published in Jewish Emancipation Reconsidered: The French and German Models (ed. Brenner, Michael, Caron, Vicki, and Kaufmann, Uri R.; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003); The Emancipation of Catholics, Jews and Protestants: Minorities and the Nation State in Nineteenth-century Europe (ed. Rainer Liedtke and Stephan Wendehorst; Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999); Paths of Emancipation: Jews, States and Citizenship (ed. Pierre Birnbaum and Ira Katznelson; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995). In terms of the Russian context, my work has been informed by the studies of Michael Stanislawski, “Russian Jewry, the Russian State, and the Dynamics of Jewish Emancipation” in ibid. 3–36. On the emancipation of Jews in Germany and France, see Katz, Jacob, Out of the Ghetto: The Social Background of Jewish Emancipation 1770–1870 (Cambridge, MA: Schocken, 1973) 9–41 ; Birnbaum, Pierre, “A Jacobin Regenerator: Abbé Grégoire,” in Jewish Destinies: Citizenship, State and Community in Modern France (ed. Birnbaum, Pierre; New York: Hill and Wang, 2000) 11–30 ; Wallet, Bart, “Napoleon's Legacy—National Government and Jewish Community in Western Europe,” in Simon Dubnow Institute Yearbook 6 (2007) 291–309 ; Clark, Christopher, “The ‘Christian State’ and the ‘Jewish Citizen’ in Nineteenth-Century Prussia,” in Protestants, Catholics and Jews in Germany, 1800–1914 (ed. Walser Smith, Helmut; Oxford: Berg, 2001) 67–93 .
13 There were nearly a dozen full-length Jewish responses to McCaul's work. Depending upon time and place of publication each response addressed different issues. Fuenn and Levinsohn's works were the first written responses and are the only ones written in the context of the debates over Jewish rights in Russian lands in the 1840s. The Zhitomir enlightener Eliezer Zweifel also penned a response to McCaul under the title Sanegor (Protector). But Zweifel's book was written in the 1870s and only published in 1885. Unlike Fuenn and Levinsohn who wrote their works in the 1840s, Zweifel was using McCaul's tract to respond to the debates over the Talmud in the early 1870s involving the Western European anti-Semite Canon August Rohling and his Russian doppelganger, Hippolytus Lutostansky. See Zweifel, Eliezer, Sanegor (Warsaw: 1885) 12, 63–65 .
14 There is a deep irony in the censorship and delayed publication of Levinsohn's works. It was Levinsohn's fear of Hasidic books that led him in 1833 to write a letter to Russian governmental officials endorsing stricter regulations be placed on book publishing. See Ber Nathansohn, David, Sefer ha-Zikhronot: Divre Haye Yeme Ribal (Warsaw: 1899) 65 , and Ginsburg, Shaul, “Tsu der geshikhte fun yidishn druk-vezn,” Historishe verk (New York: S. M. Ginsburg Testimonial Committee, 1937) 50 n. 2. The latter claims Levinsohn regretted his support of the government closing down Jewish presses. See also Gessen, Iulii, Istoriia evreiskogo naroda v Rossii (2 vols.; Leningrad: Leningrad Press, 1925) 2:174 .
15 See Tsinberg, Israel, A History of Jewish Literature (12 vols.; trans. Bernard Martin; New York: Ktav, 1978) 12:69 .
16 See Crews, Robert, “Empire and the Confessional State: Islam and Religious Politics in Nineteenth-Century Russia,” American Historical Review 108 (2003) 50–83 , at 52.
17 On the attempt to centralize rabbinic authority, see Freeze, ChaeRan Y., Jewish Marriage and Divorce in Imperial Russia (Hanover: Brandeis University Press, 2002) 75–98 , and Lederhendler, Eli, The Road to Modern Jewish Politics: Political Tradition and Political Reconstruction in the Jewish Community of Russia (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989) 73–75 . On the internal contradictions of the Russian government's policies toward the Jews, see most recently Lowe, Heinz-Dietrich, “Poles, Jews, and Tartars: Religion, Ethnicity and Social Structure in Tsarist Nationality Politics,” Jewish Social Studies 6 (2000) 52–96 , at 64.
18 See Yitskhok Fein, “Di Londoner misyonern-gezelshaft far yidn: ir arbet in Poyln un Rusland bemeshekh fun 19tn y”h,” 39.
19 See the official document issued by Prince Alexander Golitsyn to Solomon recorded in Gidney, W. T., The History of the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews, 1808–1908 (London: 1908) 95 . On Nehemia Solomon see Yitskhok Fein “Di Londoner misyonern-gezelshaft far yidn: ir arbet in Poyln un Rusland bemeshekh fun 19tn y”h,” 34–36.
20 On the “confessional choice regime” sanctioned by Tsar Alexander I see Schainker, Ellie, “Jewish Conversion in an Imperial Context: Confessional Choice and Multiple Baptisms in Nineteenth-Century Russia,” Jewish Social Studies 20 (2013) 1–31 , at 6–8, 11.
21 On Prince Alexander Golitsyn's active involvement in Jewish life and his role in the election of Jewish deputies in Vilna in 1818, see Minkina, Olga, “The Election of Jewish Deputies in Vilna in 1818: Government Projects and Jewish Claims,” East European Jewish Affairs 43 (2013) 206–16.
22 Ibid., 36–37.
23 The wide reach of the missionaries across the Pale was ignored by earlier scholars but has now been documented by Israel Bartal, “Misyonarim Brityim be-Mehuzot Habad” (forthcoming). An excellent overview of the scope of the missionaries archive as well as the reliability of their own testimonies can be found in Agnieszka Jagodzinka, “English Missionaries Look at Polish Jews,” in Polin, 27: 89-116, at 90–93, 97–102.
24 See Yitskhok Fein “Di Londoner misyonern-gezelshaft far yidn: ir arbet in Poyln un Rusland bemeshekh fun 19tn y”h,” 96. On McCaul and the London Society's missionary activities in Warsaw, see Darby, Michael R., The Emergence of the Hebrew Christian Movement in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Leiden: Brill, 2010) 121–25.
25 See the biographical note by Nathansohn, David in Isaac Ber Levinsohn, Zerubavel (Warsaw: 1886) 1 n. 1. To be sure, David Ruderman has mentioned to me in a private correspondence this might well have been based on confusing McCaul with Hoga who later in life was known to have regretted converting to Christianity.
26 See Yitskhok Fein “Di Londoner misyonern-gezelshaft far yidn: ir arbet in Poyln un Rusland bemeshekh fun 19tn y”h,” 42.
27 Ibid., 160.
28 The convert Stanislaus Hoga translated the Old Paths into Hebrew. On Hoga, see Shnayer Z. Leiman, “The Baal Teshuvah and the Emden-Eibeschuetz Controversy,” 9 April 2014, http://www.leimanlibrary.com/texts_of_publications/, and Abrahams, Beth-Zion, “Stanislaus Hoga–Apostate and Penitent” Transactions, Jewish Historical Society of England 15 (1939) 121–49.
29 On the dissemination of Old Paths see W.T. Gidney, The History of the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews, 1808–1908, 159–60.
30 For an overview of the modern Christian attacks on the Talmud, see the discussion of Eisenmenger in Katz, Jacob, From Prejudice to Destruction: Anti-Semitism 1700–1933 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980) 1–13 .
31 On other attacks on the Talmud published on Russian lands prior to McCaul, see in general Kahane, David, “Lilienthal ve-haskalat ha-yehudim be-rusia,” Ha-Shiloah 27 (1912) 314–22. On Luigi A. Chiarini's (1789–1832), see J. Klier, The Jewish Question in Russia 1825–1855, 177; Marcinkowski, Roman “Luigi Chiarini (1789–1832)—An Anti-Judaistic Reformer of Judaism,” Studia Judaica 7 (2004) 237–48; and Ages, Arnold, “Luigi Chiarini—a Case Study in Intellectual Anti-Semitism,” Judaica 37 (1981) 76–89 . On Chiarini's influence on Uvarov, see Etkes, Immanuel, “Parashat ha-haskala mita'am ve-ha-temura be-ma'amad tenu'at ha-haskala be-rusia,” Zion 43 (1982) 264–313 , at 268 n. 18. The other anti-Talmudic work endorsed by the Russian government was the apostate Asher Temkin's anti-Talmudic tract, Derekh Selulah (1835). Levinsohn also composed a response to this work under the title Yemin Tsidqi, published in 1881. Later on in the century, the apostate Jacob Brafman issued a blistering attack also against the Talmud in terms of its relationship to Jewish political institutions. On Brafman, see Eli Lederhendler, The Road to Modern Jewish Politics: Political Tradition and Political Reconstruction in the Jewish Community of Tsarist Russia, 142–43.
32 The letter from Levinsohn to Luria was kept in the possession of Eliezer Zweifel and published in Ha-Melits, 12 August 1872.
33 See Levinsohn's letter to David Luria published in Ha-Melits (10 September 1872).
34 See McCaul, Alexander, The Old Paths: Or, the Talmud Tested by Scripture; Being a Comparison of the Principles and Doctrines of Modern Judaism, with the Religion of Moses (London: The London Society's House, 1854) 24–32 .
35 See Transactions of the Paris Sanhedrin (trans. F. D. Kirwan; London: 1808) 178.
36 See Behr, Alexander, Lehrbuch der Mosaischen Religion (Munich: 1826) 150 .
37 See Alexander McCaul, The Old Paths: Or, the Talmud Tested by Scripture; Being a Comparison of the Principles and Doctrines of Modern Judaism, with the Religion of Moses, 28.
38 Ibid., 36.
39 Ibid., 29.
40 It is important to note that Uvarov's Report came on the heels of an earlier memorandum entitled “The Administration of Jews in Russia” and was issued by The Committee for Defining Measures looking to the Radical Transformation of the Jews of Russia under the leadership of Count Pavel Dimitrievitch Kiselev. The memorandum noted: “For the Jews the Talmud is of divine origin. Its religious truth is claimed to be the essence of truth announced by angels and word of the living God. . . . The Talmud instructs Jews to be in contempt of all peoples and all other beliefs.” The memorandum was first published by Simon Dubnow, “Istoricheskie Soobshcheniia,” Voskhod 4 (1901) 25–40, at 29, and volume 5, 3–21. See also Nathans, Benjamin, Beyond the Pale: The Jewish Encounter with Late Imperial Russia (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002) 34 .
41 See Moses Lilienblum's critique against his critics in “Orhot ha-Talmud,” Ha-Melits (11 May 1868).
42 See Dopolnenie k “Sborniku postanovlenii” po ministertvu narodango prosieshcheniia 1803–1864, 696.
43 Ibid., 700.
44 See Löwe, Heinz-Dietrich, “Poles, Jews, and Tartars: Religion, Ethnicity and Social Structure in Tsarist Nationality Politics,” Jewish Social Studies 6 (2000) 52–96 , at 3, 81, and also Nesemann, Frank, “Aufgeklärter Absolutismus und religiöse Toleranz: Juden und Muslime unter Katharina II,” Leipziger Beiträge zur jüdischen Geschichte und Kultur 2 (2004) 75–99 .
45 See the source cited by Crews, Robert, “Empire and the Confessional State: Islam and Religious Politics in Nineteenth-Century Russia,” American Historical Review 108 (2003) 50–83 , at 53.
46 On the traditional character of Russian Jewish enlightenment, see Yisroel Sosis, Di geshikhte fun di Yidishe gezelshaftlekhe shtremungen in Rusland in xix y.h., 46, and Michael Stanislawski, Tsar Nicholas I and the Jews: The Transformation of Jewish Society in Russia, 1825–1855, 111.
47 See ibid., 97–122. On Uvarov's general education policy and the Jews, see Wittaker, Cynthia H., The Origins of Modern Russian Education: An Intellectual Biography of Count Sergei Uvarov 1786–1855 (Dekalb, IL: Northern Illinois Press, 1984) 200–204 .
48 On those who describe Levinsohn as “the Father of the Haskalah,” see the list compiled by Greenberg, Louis S., Isaac Baer Levinsohn: A Critical Investigation of the Works of Rabbi Isaac Baer Levinsohn (Ribal) (New York: Bloch, 1930) 72–78 . See Feiner, Shmuel, Haskalah and History: The Emergence of a Modern Jewish Historical Consciousness (Oxford: Littman Library, 2002) 178–192 .
49 On Levinsohn's biography see Nathansohn, David Ber, Sefer ha-Zikhronot: Divre Haye Yeme Ribal (Warsaw: 1899) 5–6 . For an English bibliography of Levinsohn's works, see Louis S. Greenberg, Isaac Baer Levinsohn: A Critical Investigation of the Works of Rabbi Isaac Baer Levinsohn (Ribal), 16.
50 On Levinsohn and his relationship to the Russian government, see Michael Stanislawski, Tsar Nicholas I and the Jews: The Transformation of Jewish Society in Russia, 1825–1855, 52–59, and Eli Lederhendler, The Road to Modern Jewish Politics: Political Tradition and Political Reconstruction in the Jewish Community of Tsarist Russia, 102–6. On Teudah be-Yisrael, see Immanuel Etkes, “Introduction,” in Yitzhak ber Levinsohn (ed. Immanuel Etkes; Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar, 1977) 3–19.
52 Levinsohn's earlier work had been well received in Catholic circles. In a number of instances in his work Bet Yehudah, Levinsohn informs his readers, “I shared my ideas with Christian scholars and theologians who agreed with me.” See Isaac Ber Levinsohn, Zerubavel, 103–4, on Luther and tradition see 100. See also David Ber Nathansohn, Sefer ha-Zikhronot: Divre Haye Yeme Ribal, 103.
53 On Levinsohn's use of the library's books, see Isaac Ber Levinsohn, “Introduction,” Efes Damim (Vilna: 1837) and his biographer David Ber Nathansohn, Sefer ha-Zikhronot: Divre Haye Yeme Ribal, 39.
54 While living in Kremenets, Ukraine, Levinsohn enjoyed the company of numerous Christian clergy, among them the Greek Orthodox priest Antonin Rafalski, who would later become the Metropolitan of St. Petersburg (1843–1848). Levinsohn's biographer David Ber Nathansohn claimed that in 1831 Levinsohn gave a copy of Bet Yehudah to Rafalski to present to the well-known scholar and archeologist Yevgeny Bolkhovitinov (1767–1837), the Metropolitan of Kiev. On the very first pages of Bet Yehudah, there appears a letter of endorsement, introduced to readers in Russian and Hebrew but written in Latin and signed by the Director of the Lyceum in Kremenets, Andrezja Lewicki (1778–1830). The letter begins with Lewicki noting, “that a Polish translation of your [Levinsohn's] work on Judaism has been delivered at the Lyceum.”
55 See the introduction to Yemin Tsidqi (Warsaw: 1881) where Levinsohn claims that he wrote his work as a response to the Director of the local Greek Orthodox seminary.
56 See Lederhandler, Eli The Road to Modern Jewish Politics: Political Tradition and Political Reconstruction in the Jewish Community of Tsarist Russia (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989) 102 . Montifiore supported the translation of Levinsohn's work Efes Damim, Bloodless (Vilna: 1837)—an allusion to Polish and Russian blood libels (Kovno, 1827; Zaslav, 1830). On the reception history of Levinsohn's work and nineteenth-century blood libels, see also the introduction of Louis Loewe's English translation of Efes Damim (London: 1841). On Russian governmental legislation regarding blood libels against Jews, see Gessen, Iulii, Istoriia Evreiskogo Naroda v Rossii (2 vols; Leningrad: 1925) 1:183–94.
57 Leib Tsitron, Shmuel, Shtadlonim: interesante Yidishe tipn fun noentn over (Warsaw: 1926) 262–66 and Nathanson, David Ber, Sefer ha-Zikhronot: Divre Haye Yeme Ribal (Warsaw: 1899) 100–1 claim that Moses Montefiore initiated contact with Levinsohn and encouraged him to write a response. See also Biqure Ribal (Warsaw: 1891) 136–38. It is unclear why the translation failed to materialize.
58 It should be noted that when Montefiore visited Vilna in 1846 he gave Fuenn 5 half-imperials. See the letter Zvi Hirsch Katzenelenbogen 27 Iyar 1846, published by Ginzburg, Shaul, Historishe verk (3 vols; New York: Ginzburg Jubilee Committee, 1937) 2:101 .
59 See Fuenn Archive, ARC. 4*1427, Pinkas.
60 Ibid., DH, Section I, np. As David Ruderman has remarked in a lecture, “The Missionary Alexander McCaul and his Jewish Interlocutors: The Revival of the Jewish Christian Debate in Nineteenth-Century Europe” (presented at Controversies, Conversion and Dialogue: A Conference in Honor of Elchanan Reiner, Krakow, 24 June 2014), McCaul counted many Jews among his friends and in many instances defended Jews against blood libels. It might be added that Levinsohn's biographer even goes so far as to claim that by the time of his death in 1863, McCaul had regretted writing Netivot Olam and was considered to be a dear friend of the Jews. See David Nathansohn's biographical comments in Zerubavel (Warsaw: 1886) 1 n. 1.
61 See Ibid. In the future I hope to write a more in depth article on Meyer's visit to Vilna based on the data in Fuenn's archive and other unexamined archival sources.
62 See Levinsohn, Isaac Ber, Zerubavel (Warsaw: 1886) 111–12.
63 Fuenn Archive ARC. 4*1527, DH, Section I, 6
64 It is important to note that Fuenn and Levinsohn were in contact with one another. In Fuenn's archive ARC. 4*1527 03 folder 96, we find a letter sent from Levinsohn to Fuenn dated September 1839, in which Levinsohn asks Fuenn to make a number of changes to his manuscript Bet Yehudah. Fuenn also explicitly cites Levinsohn's work in Darkhe Hashem (see ARC.4*1527, DH, Section I Chapter 4, 60). Levinsohn composed a letter of support to Fuenn for the publication of Pirhei Tsafon (1841). Later on, Fuenn, however, criticized Levinsohn's anti-Hasidic stances. See Fuenn's response (written under the title of Editor) to Pesah Dikker's “Isaac ber Levinsohn,” Prilozhenie k ga-Karmeliu 24 August 1862, 26–27.
65 See the second footnote in “Bericht eines gelehrten russischen Israeliten aus Lithuauen, über den Bildungszustand der Israeliten in seinem Faterlande,” Israeliten Annalen 5 (1840) 46 [italics added]. On Levinsohn's relationship to Krochmal, Pearl, and other members of the Jewish enlightenment see Louis Greenberg, Isaac Baer Levinsohn, 20 n. 2 and “Toldot Yitzhaq Ber Levinsohn zt”l mi-Kremenets,” Ha-Magid, 25 November 1863, 365.
66 See Harris, Jay, Nachman Krochmal: Guiding the Perplexed of the Modern Age (New York: New York University Press, 1991) 206–8, and Tanner, Kathryn, “Postmodern Challenges to ‘Tradition,’” Louvain Studies 28 (2003) 175–193 .
67 See Isaac Ber Levinsohn, Bet Yehudah, I:151–52, II:43.
68 On other Jewish Enlighteners who adopted a similar relationship to the Oral Law, see Pelli, Moshe, “The Attitude of the First Maskilim in Germany Towards the Talmud,” Leo Beck Institute Year Book 27 (1982) 243–69; Sinkoff, Nancy, Out of the Shtetl: Making Jews Modern in the Polish Borderlands (Providence, RI: Brown Judaic Studies, 2004) 241–70; and Fishman, Talya, Shaking the Pillars of Exile: “Voice of a Fool,” an Early Modern Jewish Critique of Rabbinic Culture (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997) 30–60 .
69 On Luzzatto's use of the Catholic template see Ruderman, David, Jewish Thought and Scientific Discovery in Early Modern Europe (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995) 156–58, and Veltri, Giuseppe, Renaissance Philosophy in Jewish Garb: Foundations and Challenges of Judaism on the Eve of Modernity (Leiden: Brill, 2009) 187–92.
70 On Bossuet's treatment of Judaism and his reception among later French 19th-cent. Judaic thinkers, see Graetz, Michael, The Jews in Nineteenth-Century France From the French Revolution to the Alliance Israélite Universelle (trans. Jane Marie Todd; Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992) 180–84, and Graetz, Michael, “Bossuets Schrift ‘Politique tirée des propres paroles de l’Écriture sainte’ (1709) und deren Relevanz für das moderne Judentum” in Katholizismus und Judentum: Gemeinsamkeiten und Verwerfungen vom 16 bis zum 20 Jahrhundert (ed. Schuller, Florian; Veltri, Giuseppe; Wolf, Hubert; Regensburg: Friedrich Pustet, 2005) 102–111 .
71 Levinsohn in Teudah be-Yisrael, 110 cites approvingly the French Jesuit Claude-Adrien Nonnotte's Les Erreurs de Voltaire (1762) in which Bossuet and the Catholic notion of tradition are defended against Voltaire's criticisms. See also Levinsohn, Isaac Ber, Yemin Tsidqi (Warsaw: 1881) 60–61 . On Levinsohn's use of other French Catholic thinkers to support his arguments, see ibid. 69–71.
72 See Isaac Ber Levinsohn, Zerubavel, 95.
73 See Fuenn Archive ARC.4*1527, DH, Section II, Chapter 4, 79–84.
74 See Bénigne Bossuet, Jacques, Einleitung in die Geschichte der Welt und der Religion (8 vols.; trans. Cramer, D. Johann Andreas; Leipzig: Verlegts Bernhard Christoph Breitkopf, 1757–1786) 1:205 .
75 See Jacques Bénigne Bossuet, Einleitung in die Geschichte der Welt und der Religion, 1:176.
76 See Isaac Ber Levinsohn, Zerubavel, 95.
77 Fuenn cites Cramer's edition of Bossuet's work throughout his manuscript but relies most heavily upon it in DH Section II where he addresses McCaul's work and discusses the history of the Church Fathers. See Fuenn Archive ARC.4*1527, DH, Section II, Chapter 4, 79–84.
78 See Isaac Ber Levinsohn, Zerubavel, 134 and Yemin Tsidqi (Warsaw: 1881) 60–61.
79 See Isaac Ber Levinsohn, Bet Yehudah, I:90.
80 See Isaac Ber Levinsohn, Zerubavel, 144-145.
81 Ibid., 28.
82 Ibid., 29. Levinsohn's theory of doctrine and tradition can be described as follows: The written law was given at Sinai. It included laws such as all Israelite males should be circumcised on the eighth day after their birth. The Bible, however, does not explain who should circumcise, where should the act be performed and what if the eighth day falls on the Sabbath? These questions, Levinsohn claims, are answered in the Oral Law. Levinsohn broke up the Oral Law into two categories, the Mishnah, which includes statements that are to be understood as “Jewish doctrine,” and the Talmud, which is an expression of “tradition.” Levinsohn followed Bossuet in understanding tradition as something constantly changing in light of the encounter between reason and doctrine. According to Levinsohn, tradition expresses the kind of reasoning first used by the Rabbis of the Talmud to interpret the Mishnah (Jewish doctrine) and thus determines what constitutes authoritative practice. For Levinsohn, what allows tradition to change is the process of “reasoning” that is constantly interpreting Jewish Doctrine (Mishnaic laws). Tradition is thus not a set of laws listed in the Talmud, but the process at play in producing the Talmud. For Levinsohn, Reason + Doctrine (Mishnah) = Tradition (Talmud). See ibid. 39–44.
83 See Isaac Ber Levinsohn, Ahiyah ha-Shiloni ha-Hozeh 108–9. Here, Levinsohn may have been influenced by certain allusions in Jewish polemical literature that identified Jewish reformers as Protestants. As Yosef Kaplan has argued, in the early 18th-cent. Jews living among Catholic populations began describing Jewish heretics in the oblique language of “Karaites.” See Kaplan, Yosef, “‘Karaites’ in Early 18th Century Amsterdam,” in Sceptics, Millenarians and Jews (ed. Katz, D. and Israel, J.; Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1990) 196–236 .
84 See Isaac Ber Levinsohn, Yemin Tsidqi, 72 [italics added].
85 See Fuenn Archive ARC.4*1527, DH, Section II, Chapter 1, 2.
86 Fuenn writes, “(see Kritische Geschichte der kirchlichen Unfehlbarkeit), the Bishops invented many new things. They called them kabbalah, and torah she-beal peh they received from the Apostles. They claimed that these words are more important than what is written in the New Testament.” See Fuenn Archive ARC.4*1527, DH, Section II, 83. Citing Blau again, Fuenn contends that McCaul actually misunderstood both Judaism and Catholicism's notion of tradition when he equated rabbinic authority with papal infallibility. Fuenn names Blau as already having disproved that Catholicism and Christianity were based on Papal infallibility. See ibid., Section I, 29.
87 See Fuenn Archive ARC.4*1527, DH, Section II, 1.
88 Ibid., 2.
89 Ibid., 4.
90 On the legacy of Paul in modern Jewish thought in general see Langton, Daniel, The Apostle Paul in the Jewish Imagination: A Study in Modern Jewish-Christian Imagination (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010).
91 The historical significance and theological implications of Fuenn's description of Paul are addressed in my forthcoming article, “Paul in the Jerusalem of Lithuania: Joseph, Samuel Fuenn's Paths of God,” in Talmudic Transgressions: Essays in Honor of Daniel Boyarin (eds. Vidas, Moulie, Rosen-Zvi, Ishay, Shemesh, Aharon, and Fonrobert, Charlotte; Leiden: Brill, 2017).
92 See Weeks, Theodore R., “Religion and Russification, Russian Language in the Catholic Churches of the Northwest Provinces after 1863,” Kritika 2:1 (2001) 87–110 and idem, “Russification and the Lithuanians, 1863–1905,” Slavic Review 60 (2001) 96–114.
93 See Lowe, Heinz-Dietrich, “Poles, Jews, and Tartars: Religion, Ethnicity and Social Structure in Tsarist Nationality Politics,” Jewish Social Studies 6 (2000) 52–96 , at 3, 68–69.
94 See Florovskii, Georgii, Puti Russkogo bogocloviia (Paris: YMCA Press, 1981) 263 . On the relationship between the Catholic Church and Nicholas I's ministers, including Uvarov, see Winter, Eduard, Russland und das Papsttum (2 vols; Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1961) 2:240–247 .
95 Ibid., 135.
96 Ibid., 247.
97 See Bushkovitch, Paul, “Orthodoxy and Old Rus’ in the Thought of P. Shevyev,” Forschungen zur Osteuropäischen Geschichte 46 (1992) 203–22 at 204, 212 n.18.
98 See Armenteros, Carolina, “Preparing the Russian Revolution: Maistre and Uvarov on the History of Knowledge” in Joseph de Maistre and His European Readers: From Friedrich von Gentz to Isaiah Berlin (ed. Armenteros, Caroline and Lebrun, Richard A.; Leiden: Brill, 2011) 213–249 . On the influence of de Maistre on Russian theologians and philosophers, see Georgii Florovskii, Puti Russkogo bogocloviia, 135.
99 See Wittaker, Cynthia H., “The Ideology of Sergei Uvarov: An Interpretive Essay,” Russian Review 37 (1978) 158–176 , at 159–60.
100 Uvarov, S. S., O prepodovanii istorii otnostitel'no k narodnomu vospitaniiu (St. Petersburg: 1813). It was also published in French as De l'enseignement de l'Histoire appliquee a l’éducation populaire (1813).
101 Ibid., 15.
102 Ibid., 27 n. 6
103 Most recently, Steven Batalden has noted the strong similarity between the writings of another Protestant missionary, the Scottish preacher, Ebenezer Henderson and Uvarov. See Batalden, Steven, “Musul'manskii i evreiiskii voprosy v Rossii epokhi Aleksandra I glazami shotlandskogo bibleista iputeshestvennika,” Voprosy istorii 5 (2004) 46–63 , at 56–57.
104 See Dopolnenie k “Sborniku postanovlenii” po ministertvu narodango prosieshcheniia 1803–1864, 703.
105 Ibid., 712.
107 Ibid., 697–700.
108 On Lilienthal, see Michael Stanislawski, Tsar Nicholas I and the Jews: The Transformation of Jewish Society in Russia 1825–1855, 69–96.
109 Ibid., 69.
110 See Morgulis, Michael, “K istorii obrazovaniia russkikh evreev,” in Evreiskaia biblioteka: istoriko-literaturnyi sbornik (ed. Landau, Adolph E.; 10 vols.; Saint Petersburg: 1871) 1:135–91, at 163–4.
111 On the critique of “tradition” and the haskalah, see for example Abraham Kovner, “Retsenziia Otsi I det (izreiskogo byta). Roman Sh. Ia. Abramovitch,” Den’ 1869 translated into Yiddish by Weinreich, Max, Fun beyde zaytn ployt (Buenos-Ayres: Tsenṭral-farband fun Poylishe Yidn in Argenṭine, 1955) 207–16. See also Moshe Leib Lilienblum “Olam ha-Tohu” republished in Kol Kitve Moshe Leib Lilienblum (3 vols.; Krakow: 1902) 2:108–9. On the critique of the haskalah in the early 1870s, see Zipperstein, Steven J., The Jews of Odessa: A Cultural History, 1794–1881 (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1986) 146 .
112 It is important to note Olga Litvak's provocative intervention in the study of modern Jewish history expressed in her work The Haskalah: The Romantic Movement in Judaism (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2012) 25. Litvak has argued that the Jewish enlightenment starting from Mendelssohn to those such as Fuenn should be understood not through the philosophy of the Enlightenment but rather through the lens of Romanticism. Furthermore, she maintains that the haskalah should be seen as originating in eastern Europe (Berlin in the late 18th cent. was considered eastern Europe). In my view, it is important to stress that those who identified with the haskalah were committed to forms of acculturation and emancipatory politics that require paying attention to surrounding local conditions. If one can speak of a haskalah it must be seen as being a movement that attempted to promote the integration or acculturation of Jews into the local societies in which they resided. There were profound religious and political differences between Jews who lived on Russian and German lands and between the Russian and the Prussian States. The haskalah was a movement directed at reforming Jewish life but in the hopes of ensuring Jews greater rights and opportunities in their respective locales.
113 See Frankel, Jonathan, “Assimilation and the Jews in Nineteenth-Century Europe: Towards a New Historiography,” in Assimilation and Community: The Jews in Nineteenth-Century Eastern Europe (ed. Frankel, Jonathan and Zipperstein, Steven J.; Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004) 1–38 .
114 In recent years a new historiography of the “traditional” features of modern Judaism has begun to emerge. See the work of Wolfson, Elliot, Open Secret: Postmessianic Messianism and the Mystical Revision of Menahem Mendel Schneerson (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009); Magid, Shaul, American Post Judaism: Identity and Renewal in a Post-Ethnic Society (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2013); and Dynner, Glenn, Yankel's Tavern: Jews, Liquor, and Life in the Kingdom of Poland (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).
115 On the debate over Levinsohn's legacy vis-à-vis realism, see Abraham Kovner, “Ruah Hayim,” Ha-Karmel, 12 December 1866, and the response of Abraham Gottlober's, Ber, Igeret Tsar Baale Hayim (Zhitomir: 1868) 21 .
116 See Eisen, Arnold, Rethinking Modern Judaism: Ritual, Commandment, Community (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998) 9 .
117 See Batnitzky, Leora, How Judaism Became a Religion: An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011) 6 , 112.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.
* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.
Usage data cannot currently be displayed