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Jewish Contribution to Civilization$
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Jeremy Cohen and Richard I. Cohen

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113522

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113522.001.0001

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‘Jewish Contribution to Civilization’ and its Implications for Notions of ‘Jewish Superiority’ in the Modern Period

‘Jewish Contribution to Civilization’ and its Implications for Notions of ‘Jewish Superiority’ in the Modern Period

Chapter:
(p.11) One ‘Jewish Contribution to Civilization’ and its Implications for Notions of ‘Jewish Superiority’ in the Modern Period
Source:
Jewish Contribution to Civilization
Author(s):

Richard I. Cohen

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781904113522.003.0002

This chapter reviews the landmarks of Jewish historiography from Simone Luzzatto to Jacob Katz, while giving special attention to the nexus between notions of 'Jewish contribution' and 'Jewish superiority'. It discusses the value system that proves the worthiness of Jews according to the criteria of a non-Jewish or Christian worldview. It also claims how Jewish apologists still asserted their cultural 'superiority' in their title to the Bible, their prophetic mission, or the virtuosity and pristine singularity of their Judaism. The chapter cites Joseph Jacobs and Cecil Roth, who have often been mocked for their studies on 'Jewish contribution to civilization'. It looks at Jacobs's and Roth's apologetic, naive works that respond to antisemitic claims about Jews in a caricaturistic manner.

Keywords:   Jewish historiography, Simone Luzzatto, Jacob Katz, Jewish contribution, Jewish superiority

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