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TOLERANZPATENT, edict of tolerance issued by Emperor Joseph ii on Jan. 2, 1782 for Vienna and Lower Austria (and subsequently for other provinces of the empire). It was one of a series of patents granted to the major, non-Catholic denominations of Austria, guaranteeing existing rights and obligations and laying down additional ones. The final version was less liberal than Joseph ii's original drafts. The Toleranzpatent confirmed existing restrictions against any increase in the number of tolerated Jews; however, they were encouraged to engage in large-scale business, to set up factories, and to learn trades (although becoming master craftsmen remained prohibited); to establish schools and attend universities. Upper-class Jews were encouraged to integrate socially. The concluding article exhorted the Jews to be thankful and not to misuse their privileges, particularly not to offend Christianity in public, an offense which would result in expulsion. At the same time insult or violence done to a Jew would be punished.

With its leitmotif of making the Jews useful to society and the state through education and the abolishment of economic restrictions, the Toleranzpatent influenced much contemporary legislation in Germany. Although welcomed by N.H. *Wessely and other luminaries of the *Haskalah, it was viewed with misgiving in conservative Jewish circles, in particular by Ezekiel *Landau, who characterized it as a gezerah ("a disaster"); he was especially troubled by the order that within two years no document in Hebrew would be legally valid. Even Moses *Mendelssohn expressed misgivings over the new type of Christian enticement. Nonetheless, the edict was a significant milestone on the road to full emancipation.


P.P. Bernard, in: Austrian History Yearbook, 4–5 (1968–69), 101–19; see also bibliography *Joseph ii.