By Irene E. Zwiep, Andrea Schatz, Resianne Smidt van Gelder-Fontaine

Medieval Sephardi literature used to be a catalytic presence within the Jewish highbrow panorama of the eighteenth century. In Sepharad in Ashkenaz, a celebrated team of individuals offers the 1st, entire review of the medieval Sephardi canon within the Ashkenazi world. These essays discover the advent of Sephardi texts into Jewish discourse, the Ashkenazi reception of the Sephardi masters, and the ensuing literary suggestions that perpetually replaced Jewish scholarship. via a sequence of case reports and analyses of works through Maimonides, Spinoza, and Kant, between others, this quantity unravels an difficult diasporic community that resulted in Jewish modernity.

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Whose physics had already been divorced from an outdated and repudiated Aristotelian metaphysics. Similarly, in the areas of history and apologetics, eighteenth- and nineteenthcentury Jewish thinkers read with great interest the literary creations of their early modern ancestors. As in the case of science, their own interests coincided more directly with the latter, whose social and cultural concerns were indeed closer. For some eighteenth- and nineteenth-century thinkers, kabbalistic thinking was compatible with modernity, certainly more so than medieval philosophy.

1898], Second Letter, 20a, translation quoted from David E. Fishman, Russia’s First Modern Jews: The Jews of Shklov [New York, 1995], p. 35). The precise coincidence of these two titles with the two commentaries written by Israel (as well as some further indications) make it quite certain that Wessely had Israel in mind (rather than Barukh of Shklov, as Fishman [p. 36] surmises). See also below, n. 65. 20 The approbation by Moses b. Aaron of Lvov, given in Frankfort on the Oder in June 1741, refers in general terms to ‘various ample [muflagim] writings [by Israel] that I have seen’, but gives no details.

I do not mean to suggest the medieval writers did not occupy a significant role in eighteenth-century Jewish thought. I only wish to indicate by my limited probings that both medieval and early modern authorities were consulted seriously in this century; that both Italy as well as Sepharad caught the serious attention of the maskilim; and that the impact of pre-modern Jewish thought was not limited to rational and philosophical writing. Kabbalistic sources and ideas are not lacking even among the most rational and secularized writers well into the nineteenth century.

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