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Collected EssaysVolume III$
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Haym Soloveitchik

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113997

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113997.001.0001

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Pietists and Kibbitzers

Pietists and Kibbitzers

(p.116) Chapter Four Pietists and Kibbitzers
Collected Essays

Haym Soloveitchik

Liverpool University Press

This chapter offers a reply to the criticism on the essay presented in the previous chapter. It focuses on Edward Fram's article, 'German Pietism and Sixteenth- and Early Seventeenth-Century Polish Rabbinic Culture'. Fram's article shows that German Pietism as a radical religious and social movement was no more influential in Poland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries than it had been in medieval western Europe. In retrospect, it appears that it could hardly have been otherwise. The standard Sefer Ḥasidim, first published, as noted by Fram, in Bologna (1538) and quickly republished in Basel (1580) and Kraków (1581), is a compound work, opening with the conventional pietism of the first 152 sections and continuing with the radical one of the German Pietists. For every passage of radical pietism there is a counter-passage of the conventional sort, the result being that no one could infer from the work any coherent religious position. And, as Fram points out, Polish ethicists and thinkers were singularly uninclined to the distinctive doctrines of German Pietism and never reproduced those passages that expressed the idiosyncratic agenda of Ḥasidei Ashkenaz. His conclusions simply extend those of the author about the Middle Ages to eastern Europe in the early modern period.

Keywords:   Edward Fram, German Pietism, Sefer Ḥasidim, German Pietists, radical pietism, Ḥasidei Ashkenaz

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