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Chapter Seven From the Nineteenth to the Twentieth Century

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents Simon Dubnow's main ideological statement and his approach to Jewish history. Dubnow advocated responding to the "epigones of assimilation" with a forthright program of Jewish national self-affirmation. The ideology of the Bund was at heart assimilationist, a consequence of a theoretical "bookish economic monism" which explained all issues by economic forces and class conflict. Dubnow argued that there always were secular factors facilitating Jewish survival and that religion was not the primary explanation for the existence of the Jewish people even in the past. Treatments of Dubnow by two distinguished Jewish historians among those who have commented on his approach indicate some of the problematics of Dubnow's historiography. During the war Dubnow wrote a three-volume History of the Jews in Russia and Poland for the Jewish Publication Society of America, which established his reputation in the United States for decades.

Keywords: Jewish history; Jewish publication society; Poland; Russia; Simon Dubnow's historiography; Simon Dubnow's ideology



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