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A Living Citizen in a World of Dead Letters:

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Chapter Summary

Moritz Steinschneider was a kind of cultural icon for a small group of young people, Jewish students who came to study in Berlin and sought to establish or renew their Jewish identity through scholarly and sometimes also Zionist activity. Their memoirs reflect a personal side of Steinschneider which fascinated and charmed them. This chapter points out some of the reflections of this aspect of Steinschneider's character and discusses his image as reflected in particular in the writings of another great Jewish intellectual, Gershom Scholem, who lived in Berlin a generation after Steinschneider. Another Jewish student from Berlin on whom Steinschneider left an imprint was Marcus Ehrenpreis. The dead letters, lying around in the graves of the old libraries, did not put to death the living spirit within him. This living spirit attracted young people, and it is, perhaps, part of the secret of Steinschneider's still living work.

Keywords:Gershom Scholem; Jews; Mordecai Ehrenpreis; Moritz Steinschneider

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