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New Perspectives on the Haskalah$
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Shmuel Feiner, David Sorkin, and Shmuel Feiner

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774617

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774617.001.0001

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Enlightenment Values, Jewish Ethics: The Haskalah’s Transformation of the Traditional Musar Genre

Enlightenment Values, Jewish Ethics: The Haskalah’s Transformation of the Traditional Musar Genre

Chapter:
(p.48) Three Enlightenment Values, Jewish Ethics: The Haskalah’s Transformation of the Traditional Musar Genre
Source:
New Perspectives on the Haskalah
Author(s):

Harris Bor

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781874774617.003.0004

This chapter examines Haskalah ethical literature and Jewish ethical writing (musar), and highlights how the Haskalah movement was poised between Jewish tradition and European culture. It shows that moral improvement was a fundamental concern of the Haskalah. Since moral education was meant to serve as a link between the aims of the Enlightenment and Jewish tradition, ethical literature was an index to the balance between the modern and the traditional. The chapter then illustrates the importance of comparative study. By comparing the texts and motifs of the Enlightenment on issues such as the immortality of the soul and civic education with the ethical ideas of such maskilim as Isaac Satanow, Naphtali Herz Wessely, Menahem Mendel Lefin, and Judah Leib Ben Ze'ev, it reveals the extent to which the Haskalah drew upon the educational methods of German reformist educators like Johann Heinrich Campe and Johann Bernhard Basedow.

Keywords:   Haskalah ethical literature, Jewish ethical writing, Haskalah movement, Jewish tradition, European culture, moral education, Enlightenment, maskilim, German reformist educators

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