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Creating American Reform JudaismLife and Times of Isaac Mayer Wise$
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Sefton D. Temkin

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774457

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774457.001.0001

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Reform Moves On: The Pittsburgh Platform

Reform Moves On: The Pittsburgh Platform

4. Reform Moves On: The Pittsburgh Platform
Creating American Reform Judaism

Sefton D. Temkin

Liverpool University Press

This chapter considers the event which thrust Wise unequivocally into the camp of Reform — namely the Pittsburgh Platform of 1885. Reference to Wise’s own writings fails to establish a rationale for his acceptance of the Pittsburgh Platform. The fact that he identified himself with another point of view is important for his own name. History accords him pre-eminence among the builders of American Reform; the Pittsburgh Platform stamped its identity on American Reform as did no other statement; and Wise’s college became the one rabbinical seminary in the world where the Bible criticism associated with the names of Kuenen and Julius Wellhausen was accepted to full effect. How Wise came to take this contradictory position is a tantalizing question which this chapter addresses.

Keywords:   Pittsburgh Platform, Reform Judaism, American Reform, rabbinical seminary, Bible criticism

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