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Haskalah and HistoryThe Emergence of a Modern Jewish Historical Consciousness$
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Shmuel Feiner

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774433

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774433.001.0001

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Optimism under Oppression: Maskilic History in Russia, 1825–1855

Optimism under Oppression: Maskilic History in Russia, 1825–1855

(p.157) Three Optimism under Oppression: Maskilic History in Russia, 1825–1855
Haskalah and History

Shmuel Feiner

, Chaya Naor, Sondra Silverston
Liverpool University Press

This chapter focuses on the Russian Haskalah. The historical context in which the Russian Haskalah was established and developed was marked by a constant struggle with political issues raised by the Russian rulers' policy towards the Jews. Russian maskilim of the 1820s and later based their ideology on the perception that the difficult situation of the Jews — their inferior position in the country as well as the quality of their education and characteristics — was the product of political, economic, and religious circumstances, and, in particular, the result of the oppression and intolerance of the pre-modern rulers. Better treatment, religious tolerance, and an acceptance of the precepts of the Haskalah would deliver the Jews from their troubles and the abnormal circumstances of their lives. A major change, which to some extent strengthened the position of the maskilim in Russia, began in the early 1840s, with the government's new plans for sweeping reforms in Jewish society.

Keywords:   Russian Haskalah, Russian rulers, Jews, religious intolerance, oppression, religious tolerance, Haskalah, Russian maskilim, Jewish reform, Jewish society

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