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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 1Poles and Jews: Renewing the Dialogue$
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Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113171

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113171.001.0001

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Eros and Enlightenment: Love Against Marriage in the East European Jewish Enlightenment

Eros and Enlightenment: Love Against Marriage in the East European Jewish Enlightenment

Chapter:
(p.49) Eros and Enlightenment: Love Against Marriage in the East European Jewish Enlightenment
Source:
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 1
Author(s):

David Biale

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781904113171.003.0006

This chapter details how the nascent Eastern European Jewish Enlightenment or Haskalah turned its sights on the Jewish family as part and parcel of its attack on the medieval practices of the Jews. In the period from the early part of the 19th century to about 1870, the Haskalah was a tiny movement, persecuted by the Jewish communal authorities. Yet it was during these years, perhaps even as a result of persecution, that the maskilim or disciples of the Haskalah evolved the fundamental arguments of their movement. While the maskilim shamelessly borrowed their ideas often word for word from the European Enlightenment, they integrated them into a peculiarly Jewish framework, that is, into their own reality. The chapter focuses on the conjunction between ideology and identity in the early Haskalah, for what is most interesting in the thought of this movement is not so much the ideas themselves but how they resonated against the problems of Jewish adolescence: early marriage and the teen years spent in the house of one's in-laws.

Keywords:   Jewish Enlightenment, Haskalah, Jewish family, Jews, maskilim, European Enlightenment, Jewish adolescence, early marriage

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