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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 33Jewish Religious Life in Poland since 1750$
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François Guesnet, Antony Polonsky, Ada Rapoport-Albert, and Marcin Wodzinski

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764753

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764753.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022



(p.3) Introduction
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 33

Ada Rapoport-Albert

Marcin Wodziński

Liverpool University Press

This chapter describes Hasidism’s former reputation as a singular exception to the scarcity of scholarship on the religious dimension of Jewish life in eastern Europe. It cites the nineteenth-century liberal critique of the movement, which contributed to the disproportionate prominence of Hasidism in the scholarly literature about the religious life of east European Jews. It also explains liberal critique that originated in the militantly anti-Hasidic posture adopted by the early nineteenth-century maskilim, which left a deep imprint on the modern school of Jewish historiography. The chapter talks about the Jewish communities of eastern Europe that were divided into the opposing camps: Hasidic and anti-Hasidic. It analyzes the dichotomy that placed the movement at the very heart of an embattled arena and had the subsequent effect of harnessing Hasidism to a wide range of ideologically driven historiographical constructs.

Keywords:   Hasidism, Jewish life, eastern Europe, Jewish historiography, Jewish communities, east European Jews

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