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Moritz Steinschneider’s Notion of Encyclopedias

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Chapter Summary

Moritz Steinschneider had the reputation of being decidedly critical of attempts to popularize science and he was known to advocate elitist ideals of scholarship. That was the view of the Budapest rabbi and scholar Meyer Kayserling, set out in an article on the occasion of Steinschneider's 80th birthday. Writing in the Zionist paper Jüdische Rundschau, the German Orientalist and librarian Gotthold Weil, in his obituary for Steinschneider, quotes several remarks about the encyclopedic projects of his teacher and mentor. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Wissenschaft des Judentums sought to lay the foundations of a new manifesto of scholarship. In his first programmatic writings, Leopold Zunz attempted to draft a blueprint for the curriculum and structures of this newly emerging discipline. The program for the Jewish Real-Encyklopädie was conceived as a programmatic work presented as an alphabetically ordered encyclopedia.

Keywords:Jewish Encyclopedia; Meyer Kayserling; Moritz Steinschneider; Wissenschaft des Judentums

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