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Scholarship Of Literature And Life: Leopold Zunz And The Invention Of Jewish Culture

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Chapter Summary

This chapter draws attention to one such hitherto neglected detail: the introduction, by the movements earliest exponents, of the concept of culture into Jewish discourse, and the persistent echoes of its initial overtones in later nineteenth- and early twentieth-century texts. Classical philologist by training, Jewish philologist by vocation, Leopold Zunz began his career at the age of twenty-four by publishing a concise treatise named Etwas ber die rabbinische Literatur. Few scholars were ready to accept the rupture between scholarship and life, as for example Moritz Steinschneider (1816-1907), the indefatigable bibliographer who is often quoted for having said that Jewish scholarship merely served to provide what was left of Judaism with a decent burial. For Leopold Zunz and his immediate followers, culture was found and scholarship was to be pursued whenever Jewish literature met Jewish life.

Keywords: Jewish culture; Judaism; Leopold Zunz; Moritz Steinschneider



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