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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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Sefer Ḥasidim and the Social Sciences

Sefer Ḥasidim and the Social Sciences

(p.223) Chapter Nine Sefer Ḥasidim and the Social Sciences
Collected Essays

Haym Soloveitchik

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores the evidence advanced for some of the currently reigning ideas in the study of German Pietism. The texts of the movement are available to all. The question is, how does one read them? And how does one use notions and models drawn from the neighboring disciplines of sociology and anthropology? The chapter argues that Ivan Marcus has sacrificed his numerous insights for the sake of sociological and anthropological models, and the complexities and ambiguities of the movement, of which he is aware, have lost much of their vibrancy in the attempt to align them with constructs drawn from neighboring disciplines. It examines proofs adduced for three major theses of Marcus's book Piety and Society: the three-stage evolution of German Pietism, penance as a rite of passage into the pietistic fraternity, and finally, the sectarian nature of Sefer Ḥasidim.

Keywords:   German Pietism, sociology, anthropology, Ivan Marcus, penance, pietistic fraternity, Sefer Ḥasidim

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