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Title: Moral education in the age of the Jewish Enlightenment
Author: Bor, F.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1997
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The Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah) began in Berlin in the late eighteenth century and called for the renewal of Judaism through the adoption of elements of the wider culture. This thesis focuses on the way in which moderate proponents of Haskalah (Maskilim) treated the question of morality. The ethical writings of Isaac Satanov, Naphtali Herz Wessely and Menahem Mendel Lefin are given greatest attention. Children's catechisms, and articles from the Haskalah periodicals (especially ha-Measef) are also examined. Two purposes underlie the study. The first is to demonstrate the manner in which traditional Jewish ethical categories are transformed and turned into vehicles for Enlightenment thought. Through adopting the concern with practical living, the Maskilim were sharing in a process that led to a view of religion as little more than a means to this-worldly improvement. The second aim is to assess how sensitive the Maskilim were to the dangers than modern conceptions of mortality presented to religion. In order to protect religion the Haskalah sought to place limits on the use of reason. In line with conservative thinkers of the Aufklärung, it was argued that basic religious principles lie at the heart of moral behaviour. In order to carry out the above goals the thesis sets the Haskalah's treatment of ethics in the wider contexts of the Jewish ethical writings popular in the Baroque period on the one side, and Enlightenment thought and culture on the other. Enlightenment ideas are only adopted once they have been refracted through the prism of Jewish traditions (most often the rational tradition).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available