Wissenschaft des Judentums

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WISSENSCHAFT DES JUDENTUMS (Ger.; "Science of Judaism"; in Hebrew Ḥokhmat Yisrael).

Origin and Definition

The term "Wissenschaft des Judentums" first made its appearance among young Jewish intellectuals during the 1810s and 1820s. Its principal objective, as it was then defined in the Zeitschrift fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums (1822), was the study of Judaism by subjecting it to criticism and modern methods of research. It was emphasized that research must encompass Judaism in its most comprehensive sense: its cultural heritage, the totality of conditions under which it existed and faced its destiny, "the knowledge of Judaism through its literary and historical documentation, and… a statistical knowledge of Judaism in relation to the Jews of our time in all the countries of the world" (ibid. pp. 1, 18). The use of the term "science" sought to exclude an approach devoid of criticism of tradition and presupposed principles and beliefs to be proved a posteriori by debate or casuistry.

The desire for a scientific knowledge of Judaism gave rise to research at first in Germany (during the early 1820s) within a limited circle of young Jews, the second generation of the Berlin Haskalah. Later it became the legacy of all the important Jewish communities and one of Judaism's outstanding manifestations in modern times. With the development of the Science of Judaism, its ramification into many spheres and subjects (Bible criticism, Talmud, Jewish literature of all periods, history and archaeology, religious philosophy, and the like), "Science of Judaism" came to signify the totality of studies concerning the Jewish people and of Judaism. In several countries these studies came to be referred to by such terms as "Judaistica," "Judaica," and "Jewish Studies."

Motives, Determining Factors, Generations

The desire for a scientific knowledge of Judaism was not solely theoretical, but was essentially a public trend, a response to the demands which had emerged as a result of the changes in the conceptions, the world outlook, and the Jewish feeling of most of the intellectuals of the younger generation. It was connected with the Jewish awakening among the younger generation and which one of its contemporaries (Lazar *Riesser) described as the return to their people of "unruly sons and carefree daughters" who had previously "trodden upon all that was designated as Jewish." This awakening was also a reaction to the violent anti-Jewish propaganda which was conducted in German literature by the German student movements and to the *Hep! Hep! pogroms which deeply affected the second-generation maskilim; this awakening was also connected with the improvement of their intellectual standards and in a deepening of their philosophical views. The best among them were attached to the cultural heritage of Judaism and did not reconcile themselves to its abrogation and disappearance within German society. They were aware of the fact that in Germany modern Hebrew literature was being led "to the grave" (Zunz) because of the voluntary integration of the Jews within German culture and language. The indifference of the younger generation to Judaism and their estrangement from the heritage of generations, accompanied by contempt for Judaism, its values, and its honor, not only endangered Judaism but also struck a severe blow at the image of the modern Jew: one who despised his past and was ashamed of it, was regarded as a wretched and deficient human figure by the intellectual and moral leaders of the time.

All the maskilim, and those who had been aroused to work in favor of their people, shared a renewed feeling of Jewish identity and a desire to introduce widespread reforms into the "house," to which they were returning, in which they wished to remain, and within which they intended to work; by nature these reforms were widespread and touched upon beliefs and views, ways of life and the structure of society, education, and culture, and schools and synagogues. The "House of Israel" was to be presented, both internally and externally, in all its cultural values and historical splendor. They believed that civic equality of the Jew, which was not accompanied by the recognition of the cultural value of his Judaism, was of little importance. This feeling of Jewishness had permeated into considerably wide circles of that generation. This called for a spiritual self-determination equivalent to a recognition of Judaism as a subject of scientific investigation. Serious research would also serve as a solid basis in the struggle for the survival of the Jewish community and would lead to the complete adaptation of Jewish life within state and society. That life would thus benefit from a new and more spiritual image of Judaism, of which it stood so much in need.

From the beginning "Science of Judaism" was thus marked by three elements: self-consciousness, propaganda for internal consumption, and the pleading of its cause before the outside world. These three factors were in evidence throughout, though not to an equal extent or in the same form. As the development of Jewish education and culture during the 19th and 20th centuries internally and the struggle for status externally followed the same pattern throughout the Diaspora, so did "Science of Judaism" in all the countries in which it was cultivated.

These views were voiced by L. Zunz in a statement that only "Science of Judaism" of a standard recognized in the world of European scholarship would be able to bestow upon Judaism the status and the respect which was due to it and gradually arouse the best elements of the Jewish people and unite them. It was therefore the task of Jewish science to win for the Jews a recognized and equal status in the world of culture and spiritually unite the Jewish people. Scholarly activities were to be devoted principally to the study of Hebrew literature, in which resided the spiritual uniqueness of Judaism. These basic views of the early days of the movement greatly influenced the choice of research areas and the course of its development.

Five factors determined the development of the movement, established its trends, marked and singled out its spheres of research, and marked the boundaries between successive generations. These were the following:

(1) the extent of Torah erudition and Hebrew Haskalah in the European countries inhabited by Jews;

(2) the level of humanistic studies in these countries and the extent in which Jews could benefit from general education;

(3) the political, legal, and social status of the Jews in these countries and their struggle for equality;

(4) the cultural, religious, and public ferment within the Jewish population of these countries and the internal polemics within the communities; and

(5) the type of Jewish classes to which Jewish Science addressed itself, and the organizations upon which the scientific activity in the research of Judaism was based. In accordance with the permutations and changes in these factors, the history of Jewish Science – from its beginnings until our time – can be divided into four generations:

(a) the generation of its founders – 1822–54, from the appearance of Zunz's Zeitschrift fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums (1822 to that of *Monatsschrift fuer die Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums in 1851/52 and the establishment of the Juedisch-theologisches Seminar in Breslau (1854);

(b) the generation of consolidation and organization – 1854–96, to the discovery of the *Genizah (1896) and the first attempts to summarize the achievements of the "Science of Judaism" (1894);

(c) the generation of confusion and compilation – 1896–1925, to the opening of the Judaistic Institute of the *Hebrew University in Jerusalem; and

(d) the generation of renewal and growth – from 1925 to the present day which is the generation of transition "from the Science of Judaism to Jewish Sciences."

Leopold Zunz

"Science of Judaism" was born with the publication by Leopold *Zunz of his pamphlet Etwas ueber die rabbinische Literatur (1818) and his first articles in Zeitschrift (on place names in Spain mentioned in Hebrew-Jewish literature; on *Rashi, and his outline of a future statistics of Judaism).

Scientific interest in the Jewish cultural heritage and its history was, however, born before Zunz. The Hebrew poet Solomon *Levisohn, who during his brief life and under most difficult conditions engaged in research work into the language of the *Mishnah (Beit ha-Osef, 1812) and the phraseology on the Bible (Meliẓot Yeshurun, 1816), published many lectures in German on Jewish history (1820) and also wrote the first biblical geography in Hebrew (Meḥkerei ha-Areẓ 1819); Zunz's colleague I.M. *Jost also preceded him with his Geschichte der Israeliten (9 vols., 1820–29). Though written more in the Haskalah spirit than in that of scientific research, it nevertheless made a considerable impression on the public. Zunz, however, was the man who symbolized the "Science of Judaism"; he was the first to lay down a detailed program for it, and his works were the first which in practice contained the methods of research which it was to adopt. By his idealism and humanistic fervor and by his ambition to introduce the Jewish cultural heritage into general humanism by and through scientific study of Judaism, Zunz became the symbol of the whole of the "Science of Judaism."

The program which Zunz outlined in his Etwas ueber die rabbinische Literatur was the study of Hebrew literature and its history; it included the study of Judaism in all its manifestations: theology, religious worship of Israel; Jewish law, Hebrew literature in particular, of every category and form, including that on the natural sciences and technology and the contribution of the Jews to their development. Jewish ethics and education, which in reality are the practical conclusions of the outlook and the views of generations, also figured in Zunz's program. He also had a program for research into the Judaism of his day. In his essay on Jewish statistics he declared that the purpose of these "statistics" (in those days, this term signified "social science," sociology) would be to acquire a complete picture of the contemporary Jewish condition by a systematic study of that entity which was the result not only of "origin and religion" but also of common language and history and which showed itself in specific qualities and outlook, professional structure, and organized arrangements. Zunz also outlined the methods to be adopted for the collection and the study of data; he had demonstrated them in his earlier work, which abounds in instructions on research methods, such as examination of sources to ascertain the periods and the places of authors, their personalities, and the reliability of the evidence which they handed down. He also pointed out sources which had not yet been exploited (commemorative coins, tombstone inscriptions, etc.), as well as the importance of responsa as a historical source particularly for the history of the economic life of the Jews. Zunz also drew the attention of researchers to community registers and their importance as a historical source.

The methodical innovation in Zunz's work on Rashi lay in the collecting and comparative study of manuscripts of Rashi's commentaries. From Rashi's works he drew information on the man and his work, his family, his studies, the languages with which he was familiar, and the extent to which he employed them – even a description of his library. The little book made a great impression, especially on Torah students in Western and Eastern Europe, who had become familiar with general culture to varying degrees. They discovered that the Torah was a world by itself and could be of interest to an enlightened man. Many of Zunz's contemporaries admitted this influence and the important role which it played in their lives. To a large extent, all the scholars of the first generation of Jewish Science were the disciples of Zunz: they learned from his methods and followed his example.

The First Generation of Scholars

During the first generation of the promoters of the "Science of Judaism" the foundations were laid for research into all the spheres of Judaism. Of the eight outstanding scholars, S.J. Rapoport, Zunz, S.D. *Luzzatto, and Krochmal – the elders of that generation – and Z. *Frankel, *Geiger, *Munk, and Steinschneider – its younger members – each devoted himself to a specific sphere, opened new vistas for their study, and paved the way for their successors.

The first member of the "generation of the founding and establishment" of the "Science of Judaism" was S.J.L. *Rapoport, whose field was the research of talmudic and rabbinic literature and the history of those periods. His work encouraged and paved the way for a scientific approach to talmudic and rabbinic literature as a source for the study of Jewish history. Rapoport aimed at the enlightenment of the Jewish nation and the strengthening of its self-consciousness. Zunz, on the other hand, who came to be influenced by Rapoport, devoted himself mainly to the history of Jewish liturgy. His meticulous attention to detail, and the interlacing of these details with historical periods and localities and the development of Jewish religious and intellectual life, raised his works to the rank of classics, retaining their importance to the present day.

The early scholarly activity of Samuel David Luzzatto was connected with Hebrew linguistics and the Targum Onkelos, followed by biblical exegesis. His main importance lies in the discovery of numerous and important Hebrew manuscripts and their publication, among them collections of poems by *Judah Halevi ("Betulat Bat Yehudah," 1840; "Diwan," 1844). The wide influence Luzzatto had on his generation is essentially due to his critical evaluation of the past. He fought against disruptive trends in Judaism, the delusions of the emancipation, and the whole outlook of his generation. He called for the existence of Judaism as a separate religious-national entity living according to its usages and the principles of its ethics. He appraised earlier conflicts with the viewpoint of those of his day (Meḥkerei ha-Yahadut, ed. Tevunah, Warsaw, 1913). Thus, he was to a certain extent responsible for extracting the "Science of Judaism" from the domain of individual scholars engaged in research and making it a public concern.

Nahman *Krochmal's Moreh Nevukhei ha-Zeman ("Guide of the Perplexed of the Generation") was published in 1851 but was written during the 1830s, after the publication of the biographies of Rapoport, Luzzatto's criticism of A. *Ibn Ezra and *Maimonides, Zunz's work on homiletics, and Jost's history. This "Guide" was an attempt to provide a philosophical-historical answer to the problems of the time: how to prevent the disintegration of Jewry by making it conscious of its unity; by salvaging at least part of the authority of religious tradition and strengthening it through sacrificing some of it; by an attempt to strengthen the belief in the future of Judaism; and by finding methods of adapting it for its future task. Krochmal's work summed up the early achievements of the "Science of Judaism" in fostering Jewish self-consciousness: it included Zunz on the spiritual unity of the nation throughout the generations, the nationalist element in enlightenment (Rapoport), and the faith of Luzzatto in the eternity of the Jewish people and its religious character. Krochmal's historical-critical approach paved the way for further research. Jost had described Jewish history in all its periods but Krochmal was the first to adumbrate a unified conception of Jewish history as a whole. The "Guide," both in content and form, ranks among the most important works of the "Science of Judaism" and Hebrew literature in general.

Frankel, Geiger, Munk, and Steinschneider

Although Zunz had pointed out on the title page of his Gottesdienstliche Vortraege (1832) that it was "a contribution to the study of antiquity, Bible criticism, and the history of literature and religion," only the younger members of the founding generation devoted their work to biblical and religious research and laid the foundations for its future development. Zacharias *Frankel did this for Jewish law, the history of halakhah, and the study of the Talmud. With scholarly caution and care in phrasing and conclusions Frankel established the historical factor in the evolution of Mishnah, the *Talmud, and the halakhah, pointing out its principal stages.

The work of Abraham *Geiger, the leading spokesman of the religious reform movement, extended over many spheres of the "Science of Judaism," such as the study of the Bible versions, the ancient halakhah, and Jewish sects, and subjects ranging from the languages of the Mishnah, the Hebrew poetry of Spain, and the biblical exegesis of France to the Jewish scholars of Italy during the 16th and 17th centuries. For Geiger all these had the internal evolution of Judaism in common; the reformer occasionally introduced contemporary polemics, consciously or unconsciously, into the study of the past. His largest work was Urschrift und Uebersetzungen der Heiligen Schrift in ihrer Abhaengigkeit von der inneren Entwicklung des Judentums (1857). Though subsequent research refuted most of Geiger's conclusions, his contribution to the development of the "Science of Judaism" should not be ignored. There was a great methodical innovation in Geiger's system: the textual discrepancies in the Bible were used by him as the foundation for a history of Judaism. The "Urschrift" aroused strong polemics and its reformist orientation impaired its influence, though it inspired students in later generations.

Solomon *Munk and Moritz *Steinschneider were the first scholars of Oriental philology, particularly Arabic, among the founders of the "Science of Judaism." They developed new methods of research into medieval Jewish literature, in general, and the contribution of the Jews to the development of the sciences, in particular. Munk was the first to make use of the Arabic sources in the study of the history of Jewish literature and thought. His essays on the medieval Jewish scholars who wrote in Arabic, such as *Saadiah Gaon, Joseph ibn *Aknin, and Jonah *Ibn Janaḥ, were based on Arabic sources and presented these scholars in a new light. His research into the history of Jewish philosophy was of prime importance. In his Mélanges de Philosophie juive et arabe (1859) he revealed Solomon ibn Gabirol as the author of Fons Vitae and in his edition of the Arabic original of Maimonides' "Guide" (1856–66) he laid the foundation for the study of medieval Jewish philosophy.

Steinschneider opened new vistas of bibliographical Jewish literature which won him the title of "father of Jewish bibliography." Three of his works are of particular value: his survey of "Jewish Literature," his catalogs of Hebrew manuscripts, and his books on the Hebrew translations of the Middle Ages and the Arabic literature of the Jews. His survey of Jewish literature was the first comprehensive review of the literary activity of the Jews in all languages and at all periods, from the conclusion of the Bible until the end of the 18th century. Steinschneider's catalogs of the Hebrew manuscripts of five large European libraries (*Bodleian of Oxford, Leyden, Berlin, Minsk, and Hamburg) disclosed treasures of Jewish literature and culture which had hitherto been hidden. The meticulous accuracy in his description and the astonishing knowledge which underlies them became a wonder; they continue to guide scholars in their research into the numerous problems which these discoveries initiated. His works on the translations and the Arabic literature of the Jews became the basis for research into the Jewish history, literature, and culture of the Middle Ages.

Plans for University Faculties; Periodicals; Influence on a Wider Public

The "Science of Judaism" of the founder generation was concentrated in the hands of individuals. They worked in this field "for its own sake" and in their hours of leisure, as they had to teach in schools (Zunz, Munk, and Steinschneider), hold rabbinical office (Rapoport, Frankel, and Geiger), or were engaged in business (Krochmal). Luzzatto was the only one who, as lecturer at the rabbinical seminary in Padua, was more or less directly connected with his scholarly activity. The ideal of the Jewish scholars of those days was the opening of a faculty for the sciences of Judaism or Jewish theology in one of the universities. Zunz declared this at the outset of his activity, Geiger preached in favor of this, and there was even a public demand for the foundation of a "Jewish theological faculty" and a "Jewish seminary" in Germany. Committees were set up and funds were raised (1838). During the brief spring of the Revolution of 1848, Zunz submitted a memorandum to the University of Berlin on the allocation of a place to the "Science of Judaism," but the university rejected this proposal. In reality, the "Science of Judaism" had little appeal for the public and was restricted to the scholars engaged in the subject.

In about 1838 Geiger attempted to amalgamate all those engaged in the "Science of Judaism" into one group. It was joined by over 20 people, including Jost, Zunz, Rapoport, Munk, J.N. Derenbourg (see *Derenburg family) and others. Even though this society was not properly "organized," it faithfully expressed one of the characteristic traits of the generation: a readiness to assist colleagues, including scientific collaboration. It was no accident that one of the literary forms of the publications of the "Science of Judaism" in that generation was that of the "letter," or "epistle," in which scholars and researchers described their work to each other. There were not periodicals exclusively consecrated to the "Science of Judaism"; even Geiger's Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift fuer Juedische Theologie (1834–48) was mainly devoted to contemporary problems which, in the opinion of Geiger, were bound up with its struggle for Reform by the creation of a "Jewish theology" based on historical criticism.

The research work of the "Science of Judaism" was published in the Hebrew periodicals of the Haskalah movement (*Bikkurei ha-Ittim (1821–32) of Jeiteles in Prague, *Kerem Ḥemed (1833–56) of Goldenberg in Galicia; Ziyyon (1841–42) of Jost and M. *Creizenach in Frankfurt; Pirḥei Ẓafor (1841–44) of Vilna) and in the German-Jewish press, such as L. *Philipson's Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums (1837–1922), J. *Fuerst's Der Orient (1841–51) and Jost's Israelitische Annalen (1839–41) of which only one of the latter (Orient) contained a special literary supplement of scientific standard. Yet this first generation of the "Science of Judaism" was of great historical importance. A desire to explore the past grew among many of the intellectuals of the younger generation. Dozens of authors and students from every quarter, the old and the young, from Germany, Austria (mainly Bohemia, Moravia, and Galicia), France, Italy, Poland, and Russia – some of whom eventually achieved fame – published studies and reviews, articles and notes on the "Science of Judaism" in Jewish periodicals, in Hebrew and other languages. Among them were also scholars whose principal scientific activity was in other spheres, but who felt the need to engage themselves also in the "Science of Judaism."

Disrespect toward Judaism and contempt for its past was on the decline among Jewish and Christian intellectuals, while self-respect was rising among the Jewish public. From this point of view the influence of the "Science of Judaism" was more powerful among the Jewish masses of Eastern Europe: the inclination toward Hebrew of the Haskalah movement and its nationalist tendencies bore the imprint of the "Science of Judaism" and the new perspective on the Jewish past and culture which it had given to that generation. The polemics on religious reforms which perturbed West European Jewry, particularly German Jewry, were also considerably influenced by the "Science of Judaism" and took place against a scholarly background. As a result of this the public became aware of the necessity to promote the development of the "Science of Judaism," to consolidate it, and to organize it.

Rabbinical Seminaries, Learned Societies, and Periodicals

The establishment of the *Juedisch-theologisches Seminar in Breslau (1854) marked the beginning of the second generation of the "Science of Judaism." This was the first institution which made it possible for scholars to devote themselves entirely to the "Science of Judaism." They also could train new generations of students by associating them in the probing of the problems which held the attention of their teachers. Z. Frankel, who headed the seminary for 20 years, was aware of its scientific mission in addition to its practical objectives – the training of rabbis, and during the first years also of teachers. For the first time a modern curriculum for the dissemination of higher Jewish learning was established. It was based on new methods of research while aiming at appropriate standards of knowledge in Bible, the Talmud, and rabbinic literature. The scientific standard of the first teachers (Frankel, the historian *Graetz, the classical philologist Jacob Bernays (see *Bernays family), and the teacher of Jewish religious philosophy Manuel *Joel), the strict demands on the students' preliminary knowledge, and the relationship between their Jewish education and their university studies, as well as the encouragement given to the students in their research projects, assured the success of the foundation.

Approximately 100 of the 300 students who graduated from the seminary during the first 40 years of its existence engaged in Jewish scholarship and published research work, among them Israel Levy, Saul Horowitz, Adolf *Schwartz, Alexander *Kohut, W. *Bacher, J. *Theodor, M. *Guedemann, D. *Kaufmann, N. Porges and J. Perles, H. *Gross, and J. *Freudenthal and Jacob Gutmann. These scholars published much of their research in the Monatsschrift fuer Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums, which was founded by Frankel in 1851 and continued to appear until 1939.

The Breslau Seminary became the model for most rabbinical seminaries founded during this period in several countries, and which became centers of the "Science of Judaism." In Berlin the *Hochschule (Lehranstalt) fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums was founded by Geiger in 1870, and its Orthodox counterpart, E. *Hildesheimer's Rabbinical Seminary, in 1873. The Bet ha-Midrash Lilmod u-Lelamed of Vienna was founded by A. *Jellinek in 1863; the *Ecole Rabbinique was transferred to Paris in 1859 and Jews' College was established in London in 1856. The Landesrabbinerschule of Budapest was founded in 1877 and the Juedisch-theologische Lehranstalt in 1893. Leading Jewish scholars such as A. Berlin, J. *Barth, D. Hoffmann, I.H. *Weiss, M. *Friedmann, M. *Friedlander, Israel *Abrahams, W. Bacher, D. Kaufmann, L. *Blau, A. *Buechler, and A. Schwarz headed and taught at these seminaries. Higher institutes for the training of rabbis were also founded in the United States, such as the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and *Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, although at first they did not influence the development of the "Science of Judaism."

In addition to rabbinical seminaries, several other institutions were founded and a number of societies were organized during this period for the promotion of Jewish scholarship (see *Learned Societies). In 1855 the Institut zur Foerderung der israelitischen Literatur was established by Philipson, Jellinek, and Jost. The Zunzstiftung was established in 1864 (on the occasion of Zunz's 70th birthday); the interest from it was placed at his disposal for the rest of his life, after which it was consecrated to works in the spirit of Zunz. In 1864 the *Mekiẓe Nirdamim society was founded, whose aim it was to publish important Hebrew manuscripts. In 1869 Moses *Montefiore founded the Yeshivat Ohel Moshe vi-Yhudit in Ramsgate; it was to give aged scholars the possibility of pursuing their work in material security. In 1880 the Société des Études Juives was founded in Paris; its organ became the *Revue des Études Juives (1880), which rivaled the "Monatschrift" in importance and is still published. All these institutions and societies helped in the progress of the "Science of Judaism." Important *libraries were attached to them, building up collections of manuscripts and rare books.

About 20 periodicals devoted to the "Science of Judaism" were published during that period. These publications were often somehow connected with the above institutions and published by them with the active collaboration of their teachers and students. Apart from those already mentioned, these were the Magazin fuer Geschichte, Literatur und Wissenschaft des Judentums, published in Berlin by A. *Berliner and D. Hoffmann (1874–93), the *Jewish Quarterly Review (London, from 1889), and the Hebraeische Bibliographie, published by Steinschneider (1858–82). Important periodicals and literary organs were published in Hebrew, mainly on the initiative of individual scholars, such as Senior Sachs' *Kerem Ḥemed (1854–56) and Ha-Yonah, Ha-Teḥiyyah (1851–57), of Schorr's *He-Ḥalutz (1852–89); Blumenfeld's Oẓar Neḥmad (1856–63); T.H. Weiss' and M. Friedmann's Beit ha-Midrash and Beit ha-Talmud (Vienna, 1881–89); and Kobrak's *Jeschurun (1856–78).

Almost all Hebrew periodicals published articles as well as manuscripts in the field of the "Science of Judaism," some of them by prominent scholars. Among them were S.J. *Fuenn's weekly, later monthly, *Ha-Karmel (1860–80), P. *Smolenskin's *Ha-Shaḥar (1869–85), and among the annuals Sokolow's *Ha-Asif (1885–89, 1894) and S.P. *Rabbinowitz's Keneset Yisrael (1886–88). *Ha-Maggid (1856–1903), the first weekly Hebrew newspaper, carried a special section, Ha-Ẓofeh le-ha-Maggid, most of which was consecrated to the "Science of Judaism" and published contributions of Jewish scholars from Eastern and Western Europe. The large correspondence on subjects of the "Science of Judaism" also shows the wide interest taken in it within the Jewish communities of the East and the West.

During this period the development of the "Science of Judaism" was marked by a strong historical trend. Much attention was given to the history of the Jews in the lands of their dispersion, to the countries and their communities, and to their beliefs and views. In their usages and institutions it was possible to determine the evolution from one period to another and from one country to another. This historical trend was the result of external and internal circumstances. The struggle for emancipation continued during all the years which followed upon the formal granting of equality. Jews were compelled to struggle not only for the practical application of this equality but also for its public recognition.

The *antisemitism which emerged in the course of the 19th century in the form of a popular movement and as a platform for the political organization of the masses intensified this struggle. Jewish communities were obliged to stress the historical foundation of their demands and claims. It was believed that they would then be regarded as an organic part of the state or country, as they had participated in their political and cultural development. This is evident in the activities of the historical societies and commissions, which were then formed in almost every country (the first in Germany in 1885, from Steinschneider's circle) for the collection of historical records on Jewish settlements and their history, and their subsequent publication.


The same trend was responsible for such studies as those of Darmesteter on Rashi's La'azim and the French exegetic literature (1872); Guedemann's Geschichte des Erziehungswesens (1880–88); and studies on Jewish philosophy during the Hellenistic period (Freudenthal) and the Middle Ages (Jacob Guttmann). Internal conflicts within the communities were also responsible for the historical trend in the "Science of Judaism." All the factions in the polemics on religious reforms sought to find support in historical research: either to prove that non-organic and "incidental" strata had been added to the basic structure of Judaism according to time and place, and these should be rejected; or out of a desire to preserve the integrity of historical Judaism and its continuity while accepting the principle of evolution within it and historical change as a fact; or by explaining by means of historical research the changes within the framework of Judaism which was in itself stable and immutable.

In practice, historical research constituted an encounter of all the trends of Judaism with the past. The historical approach within the "Science of Judaism" was due to a large extent to the influence of H. Graetz and his work. Together with the 11 volumes of his Geschichte, Graetz published 150 preliminary studies on all the periods of Jewish history (mostly in the Monatsschrift). These studies provided ample material for later historians. Graetz's influence is also reflected in areas in which the "Science of Judaism" made particular progress during this second period: the history of the Oral Law and medieval and modern Jewish history. To the first belongs Karaite studies by Simḥah Pinsker, P. Frankel, and A. *Harkavy; I.H. Weiss' Dor Dor ve-Doreshav (1871–91) and the polemical researches of J.H. *Schorr and Abraham Krochmal; and the studies of Leopold *Loew (e.g., Die Lebensalter in der juedischen Literatur, 1875). With their many-sided work Bacher and David Kaufmann followed to a considerable extent in the footsteps of their teacher Graetz. They did influential research in the fields of aggadah and Hebrew philology (Bacher) and on Jewish and religious philosophy and communal and family history. They also paved the way for a history of Jewish art and archaeology (D. Kaufmann).

Research into the language of the Talmud and the Targums were undertaken by Jacob *Levy in his dictionaries, Kohut's Arukh ha-Shalem (1878–92), and Fuenn's Oẓar Leshon ha-Mikra ve-ha-Mishnah (1884–1900). A. *Neubauer and A. *Berliner wrote on the geography of the Talmud, and R.N. *Rabbinovitz did pioneer work on the text of the Babylonian Talmud, Dikdukei Soferim (1868–86). In the sphere of Jewish history, the most influential writers were M. *Wiener, M. *Kayserling, and Joseph *Jacobs, developing new methods in the use of new sources for the study of history of the Jews in various countries. The growth of large Jewish libraries with their collections of manuscripts and the opening of the great general libraries to Jewish scholars, as well as the publication by them of manuscript catalogs, encouraged scholars to publish the "secrets" of bygone generations. The number of works that were published from manuscripts during this period, whether for the first time or in different versions, amounted to several hundreds of the medieval period alone.

The scholars of the older generation were joined by younger ones who published manuscripts in the fields of their particular interest. These critical editions, with their notes and introductions, succeeded in drawing attention to subjects which had been neglected, perhaps owing to the limited material available. First among the scholars in this field were Solomon *Buber (Midrashim and medieval halakhah), Berliner (Rashi's Pentateuch commentary, Targum Onkelos, historical texts), Derenbourg (Saadiah), Harkavy (the period of the geonim, texts and records on the history of the Jews in Russia), Senior *Sachs (Gabirol's poetry with commentaries), Jellinek (minor Midrashim from Kabbalah literature), A. Neubauer (historical texts), and David Kaufmann (historical and literary texts).

The three elements which fashioned the character of the second generation "Science of Judaism" – the rabbinical seminaries, the concentration on local Jewish history, and the emphasis on the publication of manuscripts – were responsible for a decline in the "Science of Judaism" and the self-criticism with which its past and future prospects were viewed. The framework of the rabbinical seminaries, in which the link between general and Jewish scholarship was tenuous (the student studied general sciences at the universities), kept distinguished scholars away, as they did not wish to confine themselves to a "ghetto" (Steinschneider), or it made them join the universities at a later stage (J. Bernays and I. *Goldziher). This lowered the standard of instruction in these institutions. In addition, the practical objective (the rabbinate) of the seminary course did not assure a continuation of the scholarly work, except for the limited number of those who took up a teaching career. Criticism of the "Science of Judaism" at the close of the 19th century was expressed in a current saying: its protagonists are rabbis who begin with the publication of a medieval text and end with writing the history of their community, or that of one of the neighboring communities.

This was the situation during those years in which the changes in the status of the Jew called for stock-taking by every Jewish intellectual. Antisemitism had succeeded in isolating the Jews socially. The emancipation of the Jews had constantly to be fought for, and this perturbed the Jews in general, as well as every individual Jew to varying extents. As a result of the constant tension, this self-consciousness became a moral necessity for every Jewish intellectual who did not wish to abandon his people in the hour of its plight. The pogroms and persecutions which took place in Russia became a Damoclean sword for all Jews, and the mass emigration from Russia through Central and Western Europe on its way to the transatlantic countries revived universal Jewish ties which had been weakened over the past generations. Collaboration in matters of Jewish concern in various countries was encouraged, and a whole network of world Jewish organizations and institutions of unprecedented dimensions in Jewish history came into being.

These activities, which were marked by high organizing ability and financial generosity, accompanied Jewish misfortunes at the time of the Russian pogroms (1881–1920). They also called for a fundamental assessment and serious scientific study of the Jewish situation. The nationalist movement whose slogan was "Rebellion against the Exile" (see *Ḥibbat Zion and *Zionism) considered as one of its first tasks a renewal of Jewish historic consciousness by imparting to the intelligentsia a knowledge of Judaism and its values, based on the results of scientific research. The nationalist movement did in fact initiate literary activities with the aim of "ingathering" the outstanding works of the past in accordance with contemporary requirements (*Aḥad Ha-Am and the establishment of the publishing house Achiasaf). Preliminary plans were drawn up for a "summing up" of the "Science of Judaism" and its achievements in the form of an *encyclopedia (Oẓar ha-Yahadut of Aḥad Ha Am) which would pass on to the present-day generation the "Torah" of Judaism clearly and without scientific discussions.

The Socialist and revolutionary agitation gave Jewish historical research a new subject – the working classes. It called for research into the Jewish economy, the way of life of the masses, and the promotion of a popular national culture for which there was a growing demand; it was to be fostered and had to be considered from a scientific angle. As a result, the objectives of the "Science of Judaism" and its methods became problematical and led to a number of experiments in promoting and planning research. These became the outstanding characteristics of the third generation of the "Science of Judaism."

The establishment of institutions and organizations for the promotion of the "Science of Judaism," such as the *Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der Wissenschaft des Judentums (Berlin, 1902) and the Verein zur Gruendung und Erhaltung einer Akademie fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums (Berlin, 1920), was an innovation in that these were not connected with rabbinical seminaries and had no other objective but the promotion of science. Another innovation was the establishment of societies and institutions for the promotion of research in subjects with which the "Science of Judaism" had not dealt until then, such as Jewish ethnography (in the framework of "the Historical-Ethnographical Society" of St. Petersburg; the "Ethnographical – Historical Expedition" of *An-Ski, 1912); research into Jewish statistics (Verein fuer Juedische Statistik, Berlin, 1902), the publication of a special periodical for Jewish demography and statistics (in German, under the editorship of A. *Ruppin); Jewish art ("*Society for Jewish Folk Music," St. Petersburg, 1908), the exploration of Palestine and its antiquities (the Palestine Exploration Society was founded in Jerusalem, 1919); and similar projects.

There was also an innovation in the surveys which were carried out by Jewish organizations and were of importance to all subsequent research. The collection of material on the economic situation of the Jews in Russia (in 1898–99) by a team of experts for the *Jewish Colonization Association (Recueil de matériaux sur la situation économique des Israélites en Russie, 2 vols., Paris, 1906–08; there is also a Russian edition) became the basis of all subsequent research on the Jewish economy in Russia (Jacob *Lestschinsky). The two volumes which contained the material on the pogroms in Russia (Die Judenpogrome in Russland, 2 vols., 1910), which were published by the Zionist Relief Fund (under the editorship of L. *Motzkin), were a contribution of great importance in this sphere. A fresh development was the rise of non-commercial publishing companies such as Achiasaf, Warsaw, and the *Jewish Publication Society of America (Philadelphia), one of whose aims was the propagation of the "Science of Judaism."

Such ventures often foreshadowed institutions. Thus "yivo" (Yidisher Visnshaftlikher Institut, established in 1925) was heralded by Der Pinkas ("Yearbook on the history of Yiddish literature and its language, folklore, criticism and bibliography"; Vilna, 1912), edited by S. *Niger. This annual published B. Borochov's "Documents on the Philology of Yiddish Language Research." The friends of Yiddish and popular Jewish culture grouped themselves around him. The third generation of the "Science of Judaism" had three achievements to its credit:

(1) The summing up of the "Science of Judaism" in The Jewish Encyclopaedia (see *Encyclopedias; 1901–06), which was devoted to the "history of the Jewish people, its religion, its literature, and its customs from antiquity to the present era";

(2) The planning of basic reference books, which required the collaboration of scholars;

(3) The discovery of the Genizah.

The Jewish Encyclopaedia, which formed the basis of the Yevreyskaya Entsiklopediya (1908–13; see *Encyclopedias) and the Oẓar Yisrael (1906–13; see *Encyclopedias), was published with the participation of Jewish scholars from many countries, as well as a large number of non-Jewish scholars. This encyclopedia summed up the achievements of the "Science of Judaism" in every sphere.

The Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der Wissenschaft des Judentums, one of whose principal tasks was the publication of reference books of a high standard, was unable to complete its program, though in those works it did publish it raised the standards of the "Science of Judaism" and met the demands of the time. The society turned to several Jewish scholars who had achieved repute for their contributions to the general sciences and encouraged them to carry out work in the field of the "Science of Judaism." The society thus published, among others: Georg *Caro's Sozial-und Wirtschaftsgeschichte der Juden im Mittelalter und der Neuzeit (1908–20), Eduard *Mahler's Handbuch der juedischen Chronologie (1916), Samuel *Krauss' Talmudische Archeologie (3 vols., 1910–12), and I. *Elbogen's Der Juedische Gottesdienst in seiner geschichtlichen Entwicklung (1924). The program for an Akademie fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums, which was submitted by its first director (Eugen *Taeubler), envisaged a Forschungsinstitut whose members, mostly younger scholars, took on specific projects in their respective fields of study. These were discussed at the meetings of the institute under the guidance of its director. Some of the scholars who worked in the Akademie later became prominent in the "Science of Judaism."

The investigation of the Cairo Genizah by Solomon Schechter (1847–1915) and the publication and study of its contents had a revolutionary impact on the "Science of Judaism." It made research possible on periods and subjects in which lack of source material had made research difficult. Out of the Genizah Schechter published about two-thirds of Ben Sira in the Hebrew original (1899); materials on the life of Saadiah and his writings; material on the history of the Jews of Palestine during the 11th century; and material on the history of Jewish sects. Genizah research enriched the "Science of Judaism" during the first years after its discovery and added new chapters on Jewish history and literature, particularly in the field of Midrash and the literature of the geonim (Louis *Ginzberg, Israel *Davidson, and Jacob *Mann), in that of prayers and hymns (Davidson and Elbogen), and in Jewish history in the Orient, particularly Egypt and Palestine (Mann, R. *Gottheil, and others). The progress of the "Science of Judaism" in the United States is also linked with the personality and work of Schechter. At the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, of which he was the head from his arrival in New York (1902), he gathered a team of scholars (Louis Ginzberg, Israel Friedlander, A. *Marx, and I. Davidson), built up its library, which later became one of the largest Jewish libraries – it is particularly rich in Hebrew manuscripts – and raised the seminary to the rank of one of the leading institutions of the "Science of Judaism."

In Eastern Europe, especially in Russia, where almost half of the world's Jewish population lived, the "Science of Judaism" made little progress in spite of intensified Jewish consciousness and a strong nationalist movement. The government – under the influence of the leaders of Orthodox Jewry – would not authorize the establishment of a seminary for the training of modern rabbis and Jewish scholars. Those engaged in the study of Jewish sciences were either authors and scholars, who as a result of publicistic discussions on contemporary problems had passed on to the study of Jewish history (S. *Dubnow, S. *Ginsburg, P. *Marek, J. *Hessen, S.P. Rabbinowitz, B.Z. *Katz), or rabbis and Torah scholars who had adopted, under the influence of the "Science of Judaism," modern methods (such as B. Ratner in his Ahavat Ẓiyyon vi-Yrushalayim (1904–17) on the text of the Jerusalem Talmud and H. *Tchernowitz (Rav Ẓai'ir) in his Le-Toledot ha-Shulḥan Arukh ve-Hitpashetuto; Ha-Shilo'aḥ, 1899–1900). Others, speaking out in defense of traditional Judaism by exposing the inner contradictions of the *Haskalah, tried to offer a better understanding of Judaism and its moral values (S.A. Horodezky, W. Jawitz), or to refute the conclusions of the "Science of Judaism" and its historical criticism (Isaac ha-Levi).

Only a few Jewish scholars in Eastern Europe, most of whom had been educated in Western Europe, made a substantial contribution to the "Science of Judaism" writings, at least partly in Hebrew (S.A. *Poznański). Contributing western scholars included Abraham *Kahana in "Perush Madda'i la-Tanakh" and *Horodezky in Ha-Goren. The influence of the "Science of Judaism" in Eastern Europe extended to Palestine, where particular emphasis was put on Hebrew linguistics and the geography of Ereẓ Israel (E. *Ben-Yehuda's massive Millon (dictionary) and his "Memoirs"; the activities of the Va'ad ha-Lashon (see: Academy of Hebrew Language) periodical, 10 volumes; and A.M. *Luncz's Jerusalem (1882–1917). These studies also found an echo outside Palestine (D. *Yellin, the brothers J.J. and A.S. *Yahuda, E. *Gruenhut, A.M. Toledano). Some of the leading scholars (M. Friedmann and W. Bacher, A. Berliner and A.E. Harkavy, S.A. Poznański and S. Krauss, D. Kaufmann and M. Steinschneider) cooperated with them. There was also a certain increase in Hebrew publications dealing with subjects of the "Science of Judaism." The initiative of Bialik in 1923 (with I. Elbogen, J.N. *Epstein, and N.H. *Tur-Sinai (Torczyner)) to publish Devir (periodical for the "Science of Judaism") appeared to herald a new era. Its program included "research on the present condition of living, creative Israel," and research into "popular literature" and "Jewish literature of the last century."

With the establishment of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a new era began for the "Science of Judaism." For the first time it found itself in its entirety within a framework of an institution of higher education and learning – with Jewish life in all its manifestations and developments as its object – to which the Jewish social reality in its ancient homeland gave a territorial-historical continuity and national and cultural stability. These factors widened the spheres of research. New, or almost new, subjects came to the fore, such as the archaeology and geography of Ereẓ Israel, talmudic philology, Jewish Hellenism, Hebrew law, Jewish mysticism, modern Hebrew literature, Yiddish and its literature, Jewish sociology, and the study of contemporary Jewry. Judaic studies thus replaced the "Science of Judaism." This development also influenced the "Science of Judaism" in the United States, almost the only country in the Diaspora where it continued to advance as a cultural-spiritual factor in the life of its Jewish community. As for other countries, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, the "Science of Judaism" was integrally bound up with the struggle of the Jewish communities for their survival in an age in which Jewish diaspora existence was threatened by assimilation, on the one hand, and persecution and extermination, on the other.


general: I. Elbogen, Ḥokhmat Yisrael, 2 (1923), 1–15; S. Bernfeld, Dor Ḥakham (1896); N. Rotenstreich, Ha-Maḥashavah ha-Yehudit ba-Et ha-Ḥadashah, 2 (1950), 35–51; G. Scholem, in: Lu'aḥ ha-Areẓ (1948), 94–112; L. Zunz and A. Wolf, Ḥokhmat Yisrael be-Reshitah (1963); L. Wallach, in: hj, 8 (1946), 35–60; M. Wiener, in: yivo Annual, 5 (1950), 184–96. first generation: S. Bernfeld, Toledot Shir (1949); N. Glazer, in: Zion, 26 (1961), 208–14; A.H. Weiss, Zikhronotai (1895), 86–173; Klausner, Sifrut, 2 (1937); S.P. Rabbinowitz, Rabbi Zekharyah Frankel (Heb., 1898); idem, Rabbi Yom Tov Lipman Zunz (Heb., 1897); Graetz, Gesch, 11 (1900), 488–502; S. Schechter, Studies in Judaism, 1 (1911), 46–72; 3 (1924), 47–143. second generation: A.M. Luncz, (ed.), Yerushalayim, 2 (1847); M. Braun, Geschichte des juedish-theologischen Seminars in Breslau (1904); idem, Heinrich Graetz (Ger., 1917); G. Kisch, Das Breslauer Seminar (1963). third generation: Aḥad Ha-Am, Al Parashat Derakhim, 1 (1923), 5–13; I. Elbogen, in: mgwj, 1928), 1–5; L. Finkelstein, in: C. Adler (ed.), The Jewish Theological Seminary of America (1939); J. Guttmann, Die Akademie fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums (1929); Lucas, in mgwj, 71 (1927); S. Schechter, Studies in Judaism, 2 (1908), 1–30. fourth generation: J. Klausner, Ha-Universitah Shellanu (1932); L. Roth, Limmud Gavoha ve-Ḥinnukh ha-Dor (1944); Ha-Universitah ha-Ivrit bi-Yrushalayim Kaf-He Shanah (1950); A. Trakower, in: Koveẓ Madda'i le-Zekher Moshe Schorr (1945); Al ha-Ḥinnukh ha-Universita'i (1962); Z. Scharfstein, Toledot ha-Ḥinnukhbe-Yisrael ba-Dorot ha-Aḥaronim, 2 (1917), 310–41; C. Adler (ed.), The Jewish Theological Seminary in America (1939); N. Stif, Di Organizatsye fun der Yidisher Visnshaft (1925): S. Niger, in: yivo Bleter, 2 (1931), 1f.; S. Weinreich, ibid. 17 (1941), 1–13; G. Scholem, in: Judaica (1963), 147–63. add. bibliography: J. 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Mattioli (eds.), Krisenwahrnehmungen im Fin de siécle: Juedische und katholische Bildungseliten in Deutschland und der Schweiz (1997), 67–82; M.A. Meyer, "Two Persistent Tensions within Wissenschaft des Judentums," in: Modern Judaism, 24:2; (May 2004), 105–19; T. Rahe, "Leopold Zunz und die Wissenschaft des Judentums. Zum 100. Todestag von Leopold Zunz," in: Judaica, 42:3 (1986), 188–99; P. Schaefer, "Judaistik – juedische Wissenschaft in Deutschland heute. Historische Identitaet und Nationalitaet," in: Saeculum. Jahrbuch fuer Universalgeschichte (1991), 199–216; M. Schluelter, "Juedische Geschichtkonyeptionen der Neuyeit. Die Entwuerfe von Nachman Krochmal und Heinrich Graetz," in: Frankfurter Judaistische Beitraege (October 1990), 175–205; I. Schorsch, From Text to Context. The Turn to History in Modern Judaism (1994); G. Scholem, Judaica, 6: Wissenschaft des Judentums (1997); E. 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[Benzion Dinur (Dinaburg)]