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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
evaluation, on the one hand , o f the distinctive opportun ities
and advantages enjoyed by medieval Jews for long stretches
o f time and , on the o the r hand , o f the difficult problems posed
for Jews by the emancipation, which was not quite the quasi-
messianic age o f Jewish liberation heralded by some 19th-
century Jewish ideologists.13 In “Newer Approaches to Jewish
Emancipation,” published in 1960, Baron argued tha t the post­
emancipation era can be seen, with g rea ter realism, to have re ­
sulted from impersonal, far-reaching political and economic ne­
cessities, quite apa r t from any deliberate intention to improve
the lot o f the Jews as such .14 Some ambiguities o f Jewish em an ­
cipation, such as the alternating cycles o f emancipation and
counter-emancipation, o f acceptance and anti-Semitism since
the late 18th century, were already app a ren t to Dubnow. But
whereas Dubnow’s ideology o f minority cultural rights in the
diaspora was an e ffo rt to establish a resolution th rough a form
o f Jewish communalism more in keeping with an age o f ram pan t
European nationalism, Baron offered not an ideological bu t a
purely historical analysis. Indeed , in the preface to the first edi­
tion o f the
Social and Religious History of the Jews,
Baron re ­
marked, “T h e Epilogue, dealing with the intensive socio­
economic crisis in present-day Jewry, has been appended with
some diffidence. It is written, I feel, with so little partisan bias
that it must evoke at least partial disapproval by all partisan
Jewish and non-Jewish g roups.”15
BARON’S CONTRIBUTION
Baron was able to give scholarly substance to Dubnow’s call
for a global perspective while eliminating its ideological th ru s t
in “World Dimensions o f Jewish History,” an essay he con trib­
uted to a Dubnow memorial vo lume.16 In this piece Baron su r­
13. Reprinted in
The Menorah Treasury,
ed. by Leo W. Schwartz (Philadephia:
The Jewish Publication Society o f America, 1964), pp. 50-63.
14.
Diogenes,
no. 29 (Spring 1960), pp. 56-81.
15.
Social and Religious History
(first edition) (New York: Columbia University
Press, 1937), I, p. vi. Baron comments on Dubnow’s ideology in
Modem
Nationalism and Religion
(New York: Harper and Brothers, 1947), pp.
224-225 and in “Simon Dubnow’s Historical Approach,”
Bitzaron,
II (1940),
pp. 212-15.
16. Reprinted in Salo W. Baron,
History and Jewish Historians: Essays and Ad ­
dresses,
pp. 23-42.