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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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Reaching the Masses: The Dissemination of Maskilic History

Reaching the Masses: The Dissemination of Maskilic History

Chapter:
(p.204) Four Reaching the Masses: The Dissemination of Maskilic History
Source:
Haskalah and History
Author(s):

Shmuel Feiner

, Chaya Naor, Sondra Silverston
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781874774433.003.0004

This chapter explores the channels through which maskilic history was disseminated in Russia, particularly in the 1860s and 1870s. Most of the maskilim who were active in furthering this aim had been influenced by the changes taking place in the reign of Alexander II, and regarded themselves and were regarded by their younger, more radical colleagues as belonging to the moderate stream of the Haskalah. In the 1840s, they had advocated a militant Haskalah and inveighed against traditional ways, but now they favoured a conservative Haskalah that eschewed radicalism. The chapter then details how the expansion and diversification of the Jewish reading public enabled maskilic writers to impart the major messages of maskilic history to various types of readers at different levels of popularization. However, this expansion of the reading public does not necessarily imply that the situation had changed drastically and that the numbers of maskilim in Russia had increased dramatically. The maskilic circle remained relatively small and continued to represent only an elite group of intellectuals.

Keywords:   maskilic history, Russia, Russian maskilim, Alexander II, Haskalah, conservative Haskalah, radicalism, Jewish reading public, maskilic writers

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