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A Maskil reads Zunz: Samuel Mulder and the earliest dutch reception of the Wissenschaft des Judentums

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Chapter Summary

This chapter sheds some light on at least one of those constituents by supplementing Michman's demographic analysis with a few observations from the field of intellectual history. It discusses the Michman's social solidarity, affinity with religion and support of Zionism. The chapter introduces "Jewish historicism" as an obvious, yet hitherto largely ignored, coordinate of modern Jewish self-perception in the Netherlands. It outlines how, already in the early nineteenth century, Dutch-Jewish intellectuals responded to the German Wissenschaft des Judentums's call to formulate a new, "western"-rather than "oriental"-identity, with the help of critical historical research, and henceforth educate the Jewish masses in, to borrow Carl Schorschke's expression, "thinking with history". In 1826, when Dutch Jewish intellectuals were still steeped in the ideals of the Berlin Haskalah, the Amsterdam maskil, Samuel Mulder, also appears to have been attracted by the-much more extreme-translation strategies of the rising Wissenschaft des Judentums.

Keywords: Amsterdam maskil; Dutch Jewish intellectuals; early nineteenth century; Samuel Mulder; Wissenschaft des Judentums



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