Gemeinsame Veranstaltung mit dem Seminar für Judaistik
6. Aron Freimann Lecture of Jewish Cultural History
Alexander McCaul was one of the most prominent figures in The London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst Jews during the first half of the nineteenth century. In 1837, he published a formidable attack against the Talmud entitled The Old Paths, engendering considerable consternation and alarm among Jews. His work evoked a series of long responses from Jewish intellectuals attempting to defend traditional Judaism from his stinging criticisms, especially several written by Eastern European Maskilim [proponents of the Jewish enlightenment] who ironically, had previously condemned the rabbis and their restrictive Talmudic laws in calling for radical religious and educational reform. The lecture examines the response of Isaac Baer Levinsohn and his bold attempt to articulate the relevance of Jewish civilization for Christians and Jews alike. Armed with vast erudition in rabbinic sources, knowledge of ancient and modern history, and broad exposure to contemporary scholarship, he offered a thoughtful and nuanced articulation of how Judaism might retain its authentic character while reforming itself in the light of the new exigencies and challenges of the modern era.
Prof. Dr. David B. Ruderman (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia)