20. Mai 2014: Prof. David B. Ruderman (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia)

The Revival of the Jewish-Christian Debate in Nineteenth-Century Europe: An Evangelical Missionary and his Jewish Interlocutors

Dienstag, 20. Mai 2014, 18 Uhr c.t., Nebengebäude, Raum 1.741a

Alexander McCaul (1799-1863) was one of the most prominent figures in The London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst Jews during the first half of the nineteenth century.  In 1837, he published a formidable attack against the Talmud entitled The Old Paths, engendering considerable consternation and alarm among Jews when the work appeared in Hebrew translation two years later. Having spent ten years as a missionary in Warsaw, McCaul knew Jewish texts and Jewish life intimately. His work engendered a series of long responses from Jewish intellectuals attempting to defend traditional Judaism from his stinging criticisms. Among the most significant of these responses were several written by Eastern European Maskilim [proponents of the Jewish enlightenment] who had previously condemned the rabbis and their restrictive Talmudic laws in calling for radical religious and educational reform. The irony of these same critics of Rabbinic Judaism feeling obliged to defend their hallowed traditions is at the heart of Prof. Ruderman’s study of McCaul’s critique and the Jewish response. Their treatises constitute invaluable Jewish self-reflections on the meaning of their newly constructed identities in the nineteenth century.

In Kooperation mit dem Graduiertenkolleg „Theologie als Wissenschaft“

Prof. David B. Ruderman ist Joseph Meyerhoff Professor of Modern Jewish History und war bis vor kurzem Ella Darivoff Director of the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies an der University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia). Er ist einer der zur Zeit bedeutendsten Historiker des frühneuzeitlichen Judentums und anderer Bereiche jüdischer Geschichte. Zu seinen zahlreichen Publikationen zählen u.a.: Kabbalah, Magic, and Science: The Cultural Universe of a Sixteenth-Century Jewish Physician (1988); Jewish Thought and Scientific Discovery in Early Modern Europe (1995); Jewish Enlightenment in an English Key: Anglo-Jewry’s Construction of Modern Jewish Thought (2000); Connecting the Covenants: Judaism and the Search for Christian Identity in Eighteenth-Century England (2007); Early Modern Jewry: A New Cultural History (2010); Mysticism, Science, and Moral Cosmopolitanism in Enlightenment Jewish Thought: The Book of the Covenant of Phinehas Elijah Hurwitz (1765-1821) and its Legacy (2014).

Im Mai und Juni 2014 ist Professor Ruderman als Research Fellow am Graduiertenkolleg „Theologie als Wissenschaft“ zu Gast.