Page 105 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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some form o f mass communication in m odern Judaism . Emula t­
ing this jou rna l , o the r periodicals issued in the 19th century
continued to disseminate the ideology o f Hebrew Enlightenment.
T he first modest effo rt o f the
was followed by the
launching o f additional jou rna ls devoted to literature and Has­
kalah, as well as scholarly periodicals in the second qua r te r o f the
19th century. T h e second half o f the cen tury saw the develop­
ment o f weekly publications, whose impact on the dissemination
o f Haskalah was o f course much greater.
Ano ther major in strum en t fo r transm itting Haskalah was also
in troduced by the early
in Germany, and con tinued af te r
them by subsequent adheren ts o f the movement. It was evidenced
by the enormous emphasis placed on publishing books: from
B i’ur,
to Satanow’s editions o f
and the
and from Solomon Maimon’s edition o f Maimonides’
original textbooks for the mode rn Jewish schools. H und red s o f
volumes were published in Europe th roughou t the period , resu lt­
ing in a flourishing o f Jewish culture.
An assessment o f Haskalah must also take into account certain
trends and attitudes which may be said to have shaped the ideol­
ogy as well as the practice o f the movement. Such an assessment is
not without its debatable issues, resulting from contradictory
evaluations o f the relation o f Hebrew Haskalah to traditional
Upon examining the activities o f the
one is aware o f
the complexity o f Hebrew Haskalah, and the difficulty in gene r­
alizing about it. Con trary to the popu la r view, it seems tha t a grea t
number o f the
desired a synthesis between the old and
the new, a renewal o f the Jewish people based on traditional
grounds. I believe tha t the majority o f the Hebrew enlighteners
exhibited complete faith in Judaism , the Jewish people and Jew ­
ish culture.
T he Haskalah marks the end o f passivity and the emergence o f
the will to bring about change, to fight fo r a certain ideology.
Externally, Hebrew Haskalah defended Judaism in the face o f
the onslaught o f European Deism against all revealed, positive
religions. It a ttem p ted to portray Juda ism , in contrast to Chris­