From “The ‘Jewish Question’ in Europe”, New York, 2000.

“From Ahasuerus to Shylock”

On the European History of the ‘Jewish Question’


Emancipation and Political System

The Jewish question is an historical concept used to describe the situation of  Jews in European societies changing as each country’s social image and social interpretation of the “Jew” changes.  The idea became a “question” during the time of the emancipation and social integration of the Jews.  Prior to emancipation there had not existed a “Jewish question” because political powers dealt with the issue of Jewish migration or settlement without turning it into a “question.”   At the time of emancipation, various debates about the “question” arose with  alternative responses considered: Would the Jews be truly emancipated or would they be forced back into a pariah status?1

The term “Jewish question” has always had embedded in it a connotation of a “contrary opinion.”  Protestors against integration struggled with a number of religious, social, moral, and political arguments against the naturalization and emancipation of the “eternal Jew” in the face of the momentum of the Enlightenment. It was in the 1820’s that the Jews became a “question,” raised mostly by those demanding complete assimilation. It was debatable whether the Jews were a hidden political nation retaining its cultural autonomy by means of religious isolation and debatable whether its expulsion could be an alternative to its total integration.2

An anonymous German author posed the choice in the following way: either we profit from the full admission of Jews into society or we decide to drive them out.3  Then he proceeded to modify his view slightly by saying that expulsion would not conform to the politics of the time and, therefore, it was more reasonable to fully admit the Jews into society according to the principles of the current political system.

Solving the Jewish Question via the political system inspired the Prussian government official, Christian Wilhelm von Dohm’s pamphlet “On Improving the Civil Rights of the Jews” which argued for emancipation and which attracted attention all over Europe.4  The original text mentioned bürgerliche verbesserung, that is civic improvement. Dohm discussed with the Jewish religious reformer Mendelssohn his own petition to clarify the Jews’ situation in Alsace-Lorraine. Both in its origin and in spirit, the petition retained the contractual character of Jewish emancipation, based on mutual understanding.5

The contract was undeclared and informal, and understandably so. The state offered emancipation while the law secured its terms. In this way, the “question” was referred to the sphere of the civil society, an uncontrolled area of group dynamics and informal bargains. The “civic” nature of emancipation aimed at establishing the individual’s freedom of movement.

In Dohm’s view emancipation of the Jews was the state’s task.6   So far, European governments had been unable to decrease the friction among the religious communities and unable to generate patriotic feelings in the masses in order to destroy religious prejudices. Therefore, in the spirit of Enlightenment Dohm offered a program to the nation-state: in order to establish a proper government, the adjustment of seemingly mutually exclusive principles was needed.7  Dohm daringly declared that a Jew was first a human being and then a Jew. This was a new anthropology of the political system, inferring civil equality from universal natural laws.8

In the processes of the European Enlightenment, social and legal emancipation became the touchstone of development for the new nation-state. Emancipation surpassed the older politics of tolerance as represented by the Austrian Joseph II.9  The world of faculties, orders, guilds, and bodies was being reformed by the standardizing effort of the modern state, where—as Dohm stated—religious differences were being overshadowed by the central government’s interests.

Emancipation served the mutual interests of groups in society and assumed, although unstated, a contractual character. Obviously, the agreement could be offered by the state because it held a position of power while the Jewish communities were captives of both the ghettos and their own traditions. Thus, the decision to be made on choosing between nation or religion was forced onto them by the emancipation project. The Jewry considered themselves a traditional nation whose religion was “constitutive” of its identity. Further, in its dispersion, awaiting the Messiah kept its national self-awareness alive. On the other hand, the anthropological foundation of their distant ethnic character was preserved by their religious commands and requirements. There was always hope present in their spiritual home. Amidst the dissolution and birth of peoples and religions, the Jews preserved the ancient form of monotheism. In order to defend themselves against pagan polytheism, they had established a number of rituals. The more the existence of a particular Jewish community was threatened, the more seriously the members observed these rituals. The act of following the word of the law defined the intellectual horizon of Jewish monotheism. As Erich Kahler stated, “The fact that the Jews survived dispersed all over the world has been explained by the unparalleled unity of their strict and universally religious idea and by their physical insistence on rituals.”10

For the Jews, “Jewishness” was not a “question” since the intellectual content of the religion answered “the question” with the doctrine of the “chosen people” on the one hand and in a belief in redemption on the other. And so, in facing modernity, European Jews embarked on a dialogue with fate because the notion of  a choice of being Jewish or not was excluded by the spirituality of their religion and by its rituals. Both the presence of and the emancipation of the Jews comprised primarily a problem of their environment—in particular, a problem for  those who felt compelled to decide whether the Jews were a people or an unreformed  religious community. More exactly, the problem emerged at that point when emancipation exceeded the stages of traditional tolerance and experimented with the idea of  complete equality before the law.

Emancipation related not only to the Jews. Instead, it referred to the abolition of mutual religious intolerance.  Jacob Katz 11 was justified to point out John Locke’s passage in “Letter about Religious Tolerance” that if we consider a human being a human being, neither pagans, Muslims, nor Jews can be excluded from the republic of civil rights.12  The word emancipation fitted everyday experience and the legal language when the English Parliament debated the issue of political representation of Catholics. It also fitted the situation of the Jews.13

The pure idea of “emancipation” was problematic for Dohm’s opponents. Arguing with him, H. E. G. Paulus proved that the Jews had already been emancipated by their medieval privileges (Schutzbürger). It created access to offices, and expanded freedom would not be emancipation in the original sense of the word. The neo-Hegelian philosopher, Bruno Bauer, developed a definition of  “Jewish question” in one pamphlet. Bauer resented the fact that the phrase was now shining in the company of such great phrases as “Liberty” and “Human Rights,” basking, as it were, in borrowed light. 14

An exemplary figure of the Enlightenment, Moses Mendelssohn, argued that while there was the eternal validity of a divine revelation in the Jewish religion, the rituals were short- lived and it was necessary to renew them. A unique form of philosophical dialectics prevailed in his work, “Jerusalem.” The Jewish belief was just as much a natural religion as Christianity, he argued. Therefore it too could be understood by reason. As far as the rituals were concerned, they required tolerance only since they did not partake of the characteristic of a missionary religion, and did not contradict social laws of coexistence. Mendelssohn formulated the message “be a Jew in your home and a human being outside it”  which was accepted by such  philosophers of the Enlightenment as Lessing and his pen-pal Immanuel Kant.15

Although various European emancipation struggles tried to accommodate an outcast community, they did so at the expense of getting rid of the Jews as a community. During the French Revolution Clermont-Tonnerre, who was the first to profess the equality of the Jews, declared that “…we do not give them anything as a nation but will give them everything as individuals who want to become bourgeois.”16

Clermont-Tonnerre and Mirabeau, who participated in the same discussion, emphasized that the Jews wanted to become bourgeois, and the “bourgeois”—in the context of the Enlightenment—was an individual who decided his own fate. A bourgeois who responded to the universal command of morality could render homage to different gods or follow any kind of ritual, but was still equal before the law. Neither Mirabeau nor Clermont-Tonnerre professed anti-Judaism. All each wanted was to eradicate those Jewish rituals from public life which were sectarian in nature or contrary to reason.17

The Enlightenment clearly defined the dilemma of emancipation: as a community, the Enlightenment project considered the Jewry a medieval remnant. As a religion, it considered Judaism as a historical phase predating Christianity. Finally, in its customs, it considered the Jews as barbarians. However, the Enlightenment offered the chance to modernize religion or a denomination, and offered the protection of civil law and order for individuals. It did not denigrate the religious community. Instead, it created a new community of “citizens.” Only an individual could grow to become a citizen.


The Bipolar Model of Emancipation

Numerical figures demonstrate the success of emancipation. At the end of the 18th century, demographic data recorded two and a half million Jews in Europe. This number increased to nineteen and a half million by the end of the 19th century—the largest minority increase within the European population. Although Jews lived disproportionately in the Ottoman Empire, Northern Africa, and Europe, the success of integration was marked by the fact that eighty percent of the Jewry settled in developed countries, and—as Jacob Katz said—different German, French, and English Jews made their appearance.18   And later, since these perpetual wanderers always recognized new opportunities, migration spread to the East.

The Jews were not the only group that ought to belong to the state and the political nation. Bavarian minister von der Pfordten, reflecting on the “tribal nature” of the Jews and the phenomenon where the “national state” was the most important promoter of the political state, wrote the following: “Nowadays our runaway imagination makes us believe that a state and a nation living in that state ought to be fully identical. History, however, refutes this idea. There is not a single state in Europe which would be based on a single nation and we have to interpret this fact in the context of European cultural development. A complete isolation of nationalities belongs to the infancy of statehood.”  And from this respect, the Jews was not an exception. “I cannot accept that there is no difference between a German and a Polish or a Bavarian and a Prussian Jew.” If these differences did not disappear, it was because emancipation had not advanced far enough and because civil society had not fully implemented state measures into practice.19

The almost century-long march of emancipation released peculiar energies in the European Jews who had been limited in their social relations and were discriminated against in their legal status. Emancipation was the social measure of the irresistible breakthrough of modernity. Through emancipation the Jew finally was included in history from his pre-social and pre-historical state. Jewish groups, professional circles, and individuals became actors in their given societies. Their milieu wrestled with the issue whether in terms of group dynamics a civil society emulated the state that  only controlled the legal framework of community coexistence.

Emancipation was part of the disintegration and transformation of feudal society at a time when new ties and connections were formed. Therefore, even if it is true that emancipation was the legal measure of development, the new legal framework did not reflect the status of social prejudices. In the most developed capitalist state, England, the processes of acculturation and assimilation preceded legislation.20

The prolonged process immediately incited resistance in those opposing the Enlightenment project. The birth of nation-states broke down old walls and ravaged community relations, violated pre-existing interests, and created new winners and losers. A German author wrote in 1833 that not even baptismal water could free them from the Jews. Another one elaborated  that the Jew was a peculiar part of  the population, not similar to any other race since his characteristics were unchangeable and eternal under any climate and in any century. The Jews’ fertility and mortality rates were different, they suffered from different diseases, and their moral and intellectual behaviors were also different from those of other peoples.21

Although with a different force, the whirlwind of history had also affected European Jews by the middle of the 19th century. Jewish communities, in touch with one another but with only temporary permission to reside where they were, were gradually gaining the protection of their civil rights. A great historian of the Jews, Simon Dubnow discovered a prevailing centrifugal force in the process of the Jewish emancipation. Their internal relationships had become loose and their integrating forces had been torn away by secularization. By opening several venues to individual success, the emancipation “offer” had torn certain representatives of the Jewry away from their roots and customs. Emancipation had already been preceded by a certain assimilation while, ironically, the demand to assimilate became the condition of emancipation.22 Dubnow complained that the “’young Jewish generations’ had begun to adapt to the new European culture and the life styles of those nations  now reviving around them.23  To a certain degree, this adaptation was a beneficial and necessary development because in this way the Jew was able to emerge from his isolation and approach the surrounding Christian environment. However, this rapprochement was often immoderate and followed extreme excesses.

The question is whether the emancipation process could have been implemented without “excesses.”  In certain countries, the granting of various rights occurred in the form of government dictates such as Joseph II’s edict of tolerance which rendered compulsory the teaching of Jewish children in secular schools.24  This “dictated enlightenment” increased the tension between progressive and orthodox Jews with, mostly, the Galician orthodox Jews devising several clever plans on how to evade government orders.25

Dubnow and, in his stead, Raphael Mahler and Shmuel Ettinger outlined the so-called bipolar model of emancipation. Many individuals and groups were cast out from traditional Jewish communities during the emancipation process. A new type of Jew — socially adapted and modernized—appeared and matured to become a burgher/bourgeois who remained a Jew only in his memories at most. The centrifugal force of emancipation had caused this new type to drift far from his original community. At the same time, affected by forces opposing emancipation, a new centripetal force emerged which sought to pull back into their original communities those who had left. They searched for consolation in memories and in solidarity with the Jewish past and with the whole Diaspora. And, due to the halting process of modernization, they also tried to re-establish their broken contacts with their primary communities.26

The bipolar model of assimilation began with the fact that the emancipation contract was really not completely executable. As Dubnow delicately claimed, it would only prevail through excesses and detours. Note, however, that the terms had been set by the rights grantors. While the Jews could not be moved collectively into the details of a constitution, emancipation still won legal reforms of the Jews’ unique conditions by demanding of them religious reforms, more relaxed rituals, and adaptation to the national culture. In the age when the idea of national identity was being created,  dual identity would have been a difficult notion to comprehend.  The reorganization or even the creation of national states did not favor such ambivalence as the retaining of an earlier “Jewishness” or the creating of an unambiguous character of a new French, English, German, or Hungarian Jew.27

In the center of the bipolar model, at the meeting point of centrifugal and centripetal forces, the idea of a “Jew” obviously changed. The foreign tribe, the pariah people who rejected accepting the national religion, could gain a new identity only by connecting to the European intellectual Enlightenment—by shedding, often voluntarily, their old identity.28




The “Ahasuerus” Idea of “Jewishness”

Up to the Eighteenth century the population of Europe considered the Jews as an ethnic and religious minority. Semantically, the “Jew” implied certain occupations and behaviors. As a swear-word it meant a merchant, a banker—a usurper. Even in the 1960’s Isaac Deutscher complained that the Oxford Dictionary listed a secondary meaning of the word “Jew” as a blackmailer and a tough businessman.29

In the Nineteenth century, a new meaning for the word “Jew”—indicating religion—was added with the ideas of Jewishness and Jewish mentality. “Judaism” appeared in the vocabulary of the renewed Protestant theology—partly as a response to Jewish emancipation. Individuals originating from Jewish communities gradually acquired legal protection and, at the same time, Jewish communities gradually became mere religious denominations. Independent “Judaism” and the “Jewish mentality” established a new horizon over the religious and civic lives of Jews. An assumed “Jewish mentality” restrained and obfuscated Jewish acculturation and assimilation. The German Constantin Frantz’s pamphlet published in 1844 newly paraphrased the legend of Ahasuerus. Frantz portrays Ahasuerus urging Jesus to hurry up walking towards the Golgotha as applying to every Jew. “The Jewish people is itself the eternal Jew. It ousted the Redeemer and was therefore scattered around the earth and cannot find peace anywhere. It wants to merge with other nations in order to contaminate these peoples but eventually is unable to do it. …” In another place Frantz wrote that “The Jewish people is the embodiment of Ahasuerus who cannot have peace—not even that of the grave—as it is unable to die. Truly, the myth of Ahasuerus was founded in reality.”30

Nineteenth century Germany resurrected the Ahasuerus symbol. The Jewish Ahasuerus appeared as a counterpart to the new image of the bourgeois Jew and as a “different” cursed immortality—the circular motion as opposed to the linear one. The ‘eternal Jew’ was the opposite of the Christian anima mundi (world spirit). As Hans Mayer stated, “der ewige Jude ist eine durchaus unjüdische Gestalt;” that is, “the eternal Jew is fundamentally a non-Jewish phenomenon.”31 This is ironic not only because the historical Ahasuerus (in the books of Ezra and Esther) was a Persian king and an enemy of the Jews, but also because the new legend has the condemned Ahasuerus as a symbol of eternal return. As Siegfried Kracauer explained in the essay “Ahasuerus or the Puzzle of Time,” Ahasuerus would be the only person to witness both creation and mortality in world history.32

The Ahasuerus motif appears in the second act of “Parsifal.” It is evident from Wagner’s anti-Semitic lines that he saw Ahasuerus as the negation of the world spirit and a principle negating the Christian ethos. “Judaism is the bad conscience of our civilization,” he wrote in reference to Heine and commented on the radical steps necessary for assimilation to succeed. “Remember, there is only one way to free yourself from the weight of their curse: the Ahasuerusian redemption—that is destruction.”33  In Wagner’s terms this meant that Judaism could redeem itself by a complete repudiation of its Jewishness and by becoming part of the modern western civilization through this act. As Wagner declared, such a redemption was not easy because it entailed immense suffering. The worth and loyalty of the Jews to the receiving community had to be proved a thousand times.34

Verjudung, or the fear of encroaching Judaization, was a special neologism of the time and was a Wagnerian invention.35  Part of it was the notion that Ahasuerus as the spirit of counter-history was so strong that its contagion would weaken newly forming national cultures. Jewish emancipation held a very thin line between complete isolation and total integration. An anti-modernization ideology developed which tried to block the road to economic headway by the Jews, their one area of success outside of politics.

The French Count Gobineau, father of modern racial theory, openly identified the Jews with profiteering. Gobineau wrote that “The unbearableness of total tolerance” characterized the France of the Louis Philippe period. Gobineau revealed his motivation by saying that “the Semitic peoples essentially created the consumer society.”36  Gobineau argued that the Semites were a race with historically cursed characteristics. As long as they created a closed ethnic-cultural unit, they did not endanger their surrounding environment. However, in the Diaspora they became a disintegrating force.37


The Place of the Jew in the Anthropology of Enlightenment

The German Enlightenment discovered the outsider, the unredeemed, and the one not to be redeemed in the spirit of Ahasuerus. Kant and Herder viewed the Jews as a people, a tribe, and a “foreign nation” and, although they did not protest emancipation, they did assume a certain separation between the enlightened German nation and a Jewish community that adhered to pre-enlightenment customs.38

Beyond religion, the Jewish “mentality” represented some kind of “essence” of the “chosen people” and critical philosophy considered this mentality in the Jewish question. Similar to criticism from other religions, the new-Hegelians’ religious criticism investigated the idea of “substance,” “essence,” and Wesen primarily on the “testing ground” of emancipation in Germany.  It was Ludwig Feuerbach’s On the Essence of Christianity that began the chain reaction that led to the infamous Bruno Bauer-Karl Marx debate.39

Hegel and, similar to several of his students, Feuerbach also accomplished a remarkable conjuring trick by elaborating on the dialectics of appearance and reality. Feuerbach  hypostasized a new God-image and pointed out that rational foundations of belief could be discovered:  “The consciousness of the infinite being is nothing else but a human being’s consciousness about his own infinity …”

The critique of religion, a phenomenon accompanying the unique experience of secularization, fixed the undivided status of state and church in its musings. Bruno Bauer debated Jewish emancipation on this basis. 40 A Jew could be a citizen with equal rights if he could abandon his religion since the Christian state could not offer protection to believers of an antagonistic belief.41 In their isolation, the Jews could not participate in making history and, therefore, they are not a historical (or, as Marx later said, history forming) people. They do not want progress; indeed, they want conservation.42

Bruno Bauer knew well his master Hegel’s views on Jews as a “non-historical” people. Hegel subjected Jewish political emancipation to the condition that the Jews not declare themselves a people and a nation but instead only a religious denomination. “Formal law … was against the Jews at the time when they were not given even civic rights. The assumption was not only that they view themselves as a different religious denomination, but also that they not view themselves as a foreign people. Noise created by this and other viewpoints, however, did not consider that they are first of all human beings, which is not an abstract quality. Rather,  it entails that self-esteem is created by granted civic rights. People with rights count in a civic society and the balance of ideas and emotions originates from this infinite root which is free from everything else.” 43

However, Hegel himself viewed Jewish religion and history in the mirror of his own evolutionary theory. 44  The Jews used to play a role in the realization and success of the world spirit, However, in modernity, theirs remained a “ghost religion” without any substance and essence but as a collection of rituals which are bound to disappear and burn to ashes in the fire of history. Ahasuerus’ people could find peace only in dissolution and their earthly course could come to completion only through disappearance.45

In their national backwardness many Germans envisioned an utopia of an ideal state where virtue was mediated by that state, whose course would inevitably advance, and which retained only a rational seed of any religion adverse to reason. 46  Kant, Hegel, and Marx were advocates of emancipation while they also viewed real Jewish communities with the contempt and disdain of prophets.47 The Jews’ stubborn monotheism, bound by traditions, did not seem to be reconcilable with the Cult of Reason. The rational philosophers metaphysically rationalized the Jews’ social situation by saying that it was a tribal union between the God of the Jews and His believers, containing obsolete and cold ceremonies.48

As Feuerbach demonstrated by elevating a new notion of the human being beyond any controversial definitions, the Enlightenment worked out a new category of the human in opposition to any form of religious constraints. This new category was the discipline of anthropology. Hegel’s comments about Jewish emancipation allude to this discipline, as did Herder who made equally controversial statements about the Jews. Herder’s marginal remarks, at different points in time, are connected by the fact that his views elevated the abstract concept of “human” to be the paramount substantive category beyond any other. As Herder wrote,  “What a huge topic it is to demonstrate that a human being does not have to be a Jew, an Arab, a pagan, a savage, a martyr, or a pilgrim in order to become what he wants to become.”49

In this concept-building process the universal conquered the particular while the individual, that most particular notion, was raised to become the universal. Law was rendered to individuals. Instead of communities, it protected individuals because an “individuum” meant both an individual and its universality at the same time. It is not by mere chance that freedom’s theologians such as Hegel, Bauer, and Herder were also representatives of critical theology.50  They could vindicate the universality of reason against the universality of religion only through this criticism.

The idea of a universal human being, however, removed bipolarity, ambivalence, and duality only in appearance. It tried to systematize such notional (and practical) counterparts as pagan/religious, believer/heretic, and Christian/Jew by destroying the old system and forming a new one. Within the ideal type of a bourgeois state, these contradistinctions belonged within the orbit of individual decisions while public life created that “neutral” or “semi-neutral” sphere which Jacob Katz had perceived as the social pre-condition for emancipation.

A semi-neutral society meant that the legal obstacle to assimilation was removed and that the public sphere could view with indifference any Jewish social roles. Thus several layers of the public could freely practice real discrimination against individuals assumed to be Jewish. At the same time, the assimilation contract also meant that the contracting parties mutually kept their eyes closed over the real situation concerning occasional examples of discrimination.51

The triumph of this concept of human being and the abstract generality of law in European society resulted in a “semi-neutral” society as a matter of course. Secularization became one of its fundamental trends including the formation of a private sphere and the delegation of religious questions to the civic sphere, something which proved to be a controversial process. In a legally neutral field, this offered a free choice of ideas but also left untouched the survival of prejudices and pre-existing conditions. The state allotted only negative obligations to its citizens. These were, as early advocates of natural rights professed, obligationes imperfectae—imperfect obligations. Namely, the state would hinder any group or individual from violating others’ rights.

Therefore emancipation was a legal contract with assimilation and integration as issues only “on the side.”  From that respect, emancipation relied upon the language of the “Bildung,” upon the cohesive force of the language, and upon public morality. However, the “pacta sunt servanda”—the validity of the contracts—does not apply to the civilian sphere but only to the modern state. Instead, public contexts and civilian ethics decide such things.52

In states where civil society was more backward and feudal and a dispersed administration apparatus prevented the bourgeois state from achieving its centralizing ambitions, popular revolts and pogroms challenged emancipation goals. In England, where legislation was slow to stabilize the real situation, Jewish acculturation and integration preceded legal measures.18

The bourgeois state is the guardian of human rights and of the citizen’s rights: it provides supervision for the citizen while committing some human relations to the civilian sphere. However, the assumed civilian spheres—the spheres of freedom of conscience and religion—were violated right from the beginning of the emancipation struggles. Prussian theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher wanted to endow the state with moral power as a remedy for the loss of religious influence.  Fichte, for his part, saw the state as the embodiment of positive right and moral and economic power.53

Obviously, theories opposing the idea of a neutral state targeted minorities such as the Jews who could not gain any office and who had no political representation. Moreover, if the state had not created a “semi-neutral” environment providing for equality before the law, the state as the highest moral authority would have been unable to grant this equality.54  Interestingly, it was the young Marx’s famous pamphlet “On the Jewish Question” which defended  the bourgeois state from the attacks of religious pietism with the theory about the citoyen’s heavenly and the citizen’s “earthly” face.

According to Marx, the neutrality of the state was only appearance. The state is not a neutral organization striving to balance different interests. It is the embodiment of interests which dissect society into its constituent atoms in order to turn its citizens into goods.55 Its neutrality is not founded on any social contract. The reality underlying this false equality was manifested by the fact that the modern state had created the principles of tribal Jewish characteristics. That is, the modern state was itself “essentially” Jewish—it embodied the spirit of extortion and usury.56 Applying Hegel’s Wesenlogik—and his substantive dialectics—Marx declared: “Since the Jew’s real substance is generally realized in bourgeois society, bourgeois society could not convince the Jew about the non-reality of his religious essence which is itself nothing else but an ideal view of a practical necessity. It is not only in the five books of Moses and the Talmud but also in today’s society that we find the essence of the Jew—not in abstraction but rather in empirical essence, and not in the limitedness of the Jew but rather in the Jewish limitedness of society.”

The modern bourgeois state, said Marx,  incarnated the Jewish mentality. Emancipation had taken place by emancipating the whole society to itself and by deciding its norms. Therefore according to the dialectic conclusion: “The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of the society from the Jew.”57

With youthful zeal Marx revealed the Judaization of the modern world and developed the argument that became a frequent weapon for both left and right wing anti-Semitism.58 Verjudung, that is fear of  Judaization, assumed two things: an empty religion (money is the God of the Jews) and the efficacy of international power.59 Economics subjugated politics to become its serf, as Marx analyzed. Marx considered Christianity a direct continuation of the Jewry because the Jews’ “world God” of today agreed with the reality of Christianity; indeed, it expressed its essence. “The Jews emancipated themselves by Christians becoming Jews” (Ibid., p. 373).

Another major argument concerned the Jews’ indifference towards art, history, and human beings and how this indifference indicated the money makers’ real consciousness. Marx identified the Jews with plutocracy, thus revealing the Jew’s “real self.” He created a history for the extra-historical Jew by indicating that, thus far, marginal activities had now become central in a society of commodity producers. Through plutocracy, the spirit of a traditional community of Jews spread all over the world.60

Marx’s pamphlet illustrated a number of anti-emancipation views and it illustrates the fact that political equality produced its own poison which then spread into a stream of anti-Semitism. It was not really the contradictions of emancipation but rather the controversial issues of cultural adaptation that Marx’s arguments revealed. He emphasized features of assimilation which must have existed in embryonic form but which seemed insignificant to observers during the emancipation struggles. A key component for Marx was the reaction of the surrounding society to the “Great Transformation”—the dissolution of corporations and orders and the appearance of the individual. As several of Marx’s analysts have pointed out, Marx warned about the interaction among the different interest groups that were fighting for possession of the state. In the process of feudal disintegration, there was a chance for a “foreign” prototype, the Jew, to influence the public atmosphere.61

During the course of the debate over the “Jewish question,” the notion of what constituted “Jewishness” received several new features. The secondary semantic circle which identified Jewish stereotypes (profiteers, usurers, etc.) was darkened by adding the shadowy idea of the “spirit” or “essence” of  Judaism. The voice of Jewish representatives was suppressed by demagogy which, for the first time in European history, connected the “Jewish question” with the “social question.” By the end of the 19th century, anti-Semite people’s tribune Otto Glagau declared, as a slogan, that the Jewish question was identical with the social question.62


The “Bildung”—the Ennoblement of the Jews

During the emancipation struggles, the question of whether the Jews were a religion or a nation kept coming up. Was the Jewry Chimera, a ghostlike nation, as Bauer and Marx claimed or a religion whose commandments were to be forgotten or relaxed in order for isolated Jewish communities to be gradually integrated into the modern nation-state?  This prompted a further question: would “Bildung”—the program of education embracing the whole nation—be able to transform the Jews?  Applying “Bildung” caused the Jewish question  part of the task of civil society to form the new citizen’s personality and character. The result was a personalized moral code that, at the same time, postulated a communal ethos. From this viewpoint Herder professed that “Bildung” ended human inequality of opportunity since it stressed bourgeois virtues against aristocratic privileges.63  Sittlichkeit,  that is virtue, became associated with the concept of “Bildung” and became the watchword of German minorities. The virtuous or moral road held out the promise of integration into  the wider society.

Acculturation was an interim step between emancipation and assimilation. Introducing new customs into the traditional Jewish communities would create the chance for a social dialogue even without the Jews abandoning their religion. This was the reason why a part of the German Jewish community flew the  “Bildung” flag; it was a cultural tool used to become a citizen. Rabbis spoke about the Veredelung der Israeliten, the Jews’ ennoblement, to indicate that they had joined the secular religion of reason. “What else would be the meaning of virtue than to conquer our passions by our minds?” professed the Sulamith, the Jews’ newspaper in Germany.64

The program of  “Bildung,” however, was a double-edged sword in the citizens’ hands. On the one hand it raised the idea of bourgeois civilization and, on the other hand, it offered tools that could be used to discriminate and brand outsiders. The concept of “Veredelung” as ennoblement originated from the fact that people currently “ignoble” but expecting to be “ennobled” would remain outside the norms of civilization until the time of their ennoblement. According to Koselleck, ennoblement typically ought to be interpreted as a set of “asymmetrical” counterparts which would lead into a system of conditions whose fulfillment the “educator” would verify. Historically, the “educator” was embodied by the majority consensus which could have changed the conditions of the unspoken contract at any time according to the nation’s assumed needs.

The Enlightenment believed in the backwardness and decay of specific peoples and nations. Its program focused on progress and the acquisition of a culture which would serve as a general “language” for communication within a nation. For the Enlightenment, the most important historical example of decay was that of the barbaric Jews, the people who spoke a foreign language. Several anti-Semitic entries in Voltaire’s Lexicon of Philosophy maligned the unenlightened ancient religion, monotheism, which had paved the way for Christianity. But it was precisely the Age of Enlightenment which considered education to be the best medicine for society. “Let us change the Jews’ education in order to change their hearts. It has been a long time since we kept repeating that they too are human beings. They are first human beings and only then Jews. … Jews were born with the same abilities as were we.”65 was Abbot Grégoire’s last argument for the emancipation of the Jews.

A moral rebirth was the general program pushed by the Enlightenment. In Germany, Wolf and Schleiermacher developed a reform program for religion including such slogans as that “moral and political” improvement is both the condition and consequence of emancipation. The legal and political considerations of emancipation were obscured by the fact that assimilation was to occur within the lines of a nation’s culture. From a historical perspective, it entailed the impossibility of assimilation. During the Enlightenment, the major authoritarian European states, in a loose union, molded a special blend of elements into a new type of political and cultural nation. As Isaiah Berlin said, the way nationalism and etatism entwined together resulted in nationalism entering into alliance with its “former sworn enemy,” the forces trying to advance industrialization and modernization.66  The emancipation movement explored the internal debate within etatism at the time when representatives of the majority and minority cultures voted for legal or cultural equality.

From Germany to the Carpathians, assimilation became the basic condition of emancipation. At this point we cannot elaborate on its far-reaching consequences. However, an amalgamation of legal and cultural spheres played decisive roles in developing the conditions of the Modern Age. At the end of the Nineteenth century, the historical misinterpretation that assumed the blending  together of languages and races and created the “enemy typology” of “Semite and Asian” peoples also contributed to the Modern Age.67

On the other hand, various opinions and theories to prove the unreformability of the Jews also appeared. Opponents of emancipation argued that a nation could not be a member of another nation.68 Even Bruno Bauer argued that, in order for a Jew to be ennobled into a human being, he should give up his religion and—hence the Marxian expression, chimera—his evanescent nationality.69

The asymmetry of the agreement also included an underlying rejection of the original community. More exactly, the original community was forced to resign from certain legal spheres. Mendelssohn was justified when he remarked that one of the conditions of integration was for the Jewish community to renounce its right of  “damning.”70 Therefore, the program of  “Bildung” imposed the cost of stricture by Jews towards their own community as a set price for the success and integration of the individual, since “Bildung” placed the community beyond state and cultural norms.

What is more, “Bildung” could also be interpreted as a “heavenly mirror” of the Jews’ economic success. While developing a bourgeois mentality, the Jews had looked up to aristocratic ideals, hence their gravitation towards classicism. Dizzied by the dynamics of rising on the social ladder, the Jew, longing for middle class status, looked up to the nobility and tried to imitate its culture. There was only a quick passage between pariah and parvenu. Based on the eagerness of those involved, it might have seemed that cultural emancipation was nothing more than an attempt to legitimize financial and social success.71

The “Bildung” was two-faced both in its content and historical evolution. During the first phases of the Enlightenment, the “Bildung” connected education and self-education to virtue since only by enhancing the ability to ennoble the self did the man of Enlightenment reach a higher level of virtue. The secularization of  morals was aimed against dogmatic religion while external dogmas were regulated by the individual’s internally controlled development of concealed or dormant abilities. Establishing the ideology of secularization and individualization was the historic mission of the Bildung program. David Sorkin described the concentric logic of secularization as “The unity of human existence and essence was to be achieved by a self-induced process where a human being could be his own model.”72

In the second phase of the Enlightenment the program of individual self-education conquered the traditional religion-based “virtue-fantasy” and then allied itself with a newly-born aesthetic feeling. Taste took over from virtue and moral education was replaced by artistic education. In German language areas, all this took place with the encouragement and help of the state.73

It would lead us too far astray to analyze the social role played by the development of state mentorship since the social groups had sworn onto the “Bildung” and the state bureaucracy tried to enhance its own role at the expense of the aristocracy and landowners. The “Bildung’s” tendency to focus on virtue and the improvement of one’s aesthetic sensibility originally served to enhance social dialogue and social mobility while also developing the basis for a new type of separation. For example, it deepened and secularized the theological assumption that the Jewish religion was inferior to the Christian religion and converted it into the doctrine of the moral and artistic inferiority of Jews and other minorities.

Various models of Jewish emancipation and assimilation, all quite uniform although different in essential details, collided with the idea of  “Bildung.” Sorkin remarked that in England and France, theories of natural law defined individual freedom vis-á-vis the state. Followers of natural law in Germany came to a different conclusion: the security of freedom lay with the state.    Central and East European models gave a favored role to the state. Both Dohm, the first significant theoretician of emancipation, and Wilhelm von Humboldt were state officials. In the wake of the French Revolution, states struggling to develop either absolutist governments or forms of limited representative governments utilized the idea of equality in order to dismantle old privileges and barriers so as to allow  new privileges and power allotting systems to develop. The privilege of enacting legislation significantly increased the powers of state bureaucracies and their systems of representation. The sometimes faceless representative of the “regime” ruled over Catholics in Protestant countries and over Protestants and Jews in Catholic countries.

The modern state that wished to abandon its feudal privileges and barriers was,  unfortunately, founded on contradictory principles. On the one hand, it was built on the trans-national idea of equality. On the other hand, it was built on the idea of the bourgeois nation, a concept given an historical and mythical weight by homogeneity, common traditions or language, or  possibly the same ethnicity. Therefore, emancipation was first referred to as naturalization.74  Opponents of naturalization argued that since the Jews had no homeland and since their religious laws forbade mixed marriages, it would be easy for them to transfer themselves and their possessions to another country.  Proponents of naturalization turned this argument around saying that since the Jews did not have a country, settling them where they were was the most appropriate approach.75

All the arguments for a “rational state” came out in the debate. England’s program for settling the Jewish question was first drawn up in an invitation to all Protestants of the world. However, practical considerations defeated these ideological arguments for racial homogeneity—even in John Toland’s writings. The issue at stake was the Jews’ possessions at the time when the “state” still had to wrestle with the privileges of the aristocracy. The group which offered its loyalty with relatively few constraints could have adapted most easily. And this would be that group which had only an imaginary country for its homeland.

Naturalization, similar to the oath of allegiance, meant that the individual would be admitted into the state. Even the 1967 Hungarian Emancipation Law discussed naturalization along with settlement and offered equal rights in return for several years of residency.  During the Reform Age in the first half of the Nineteenth century, Enlightenment zealots interpreted the notion of belonging to a state on an even less practical ground, that is on the basis of natural law. In 1840 Péter Vajda wrote, “Birth gives the right to life indelibly. Consequently, one has the right to live on the land one was born in. And since every land belongs to  a country, every newborn has a country.”76

The process of extending rights always entailed the idea that the state was independent of social forces or at least kept social forces in balance. This idea is the basis of ambitions which were intended to invest the governing power with moral authority.

Jewish emancipation has become part and symbol of the Enlightenment process extending all over Europe. This symbolism became increasingly eerie with the intensification of conflicts kindled by the expansion of rights. As Hannah Arendt wrote: “ Deeper, older, and more fateful contradictions are hidden behind the abstract and palpable inconsistency that Jews received their citizenship from governments which in the process of centuries had made nationality a prerequisite for citizenship and homogeneity of population the outstanding characteristic of the body politic.”77

This contradiction settled down in a newly inspired anti-Semitism. Jacob Katz explained the difference between the traditional and the modern anti-Semitism by indicating that the latter aspired to a quasi-metaphysical dignity. The modern anti-Semite not only tried to protect the Christian religion from a group that rejected Redemption by Christ. He also attached a whole system of stereotypes and prejudices to the religious aversion which pursued the movement of emancipated Jews while still hiding all the antipathy of a still hostile environment. Both religious and anti-modernity tendencies becme inseparably intertwined in order to oppose any role for the Jews in society. Their relative isolation as well as their integrating efforts could have become subjects of criticism.78

The breadth of  anti-Judaism corresponded to the situation created by the nature of equal rights extended by nation-states. The Christian hope of the millenium—expecting a second coming of Jesus when the Jews converted—was incorporated in the modern principle about the expansion of human rights. Thus, the promise of assimilation would play the drama of redemption within the framework of a secular state. The grade, mode, and speed of integration was a continuous measure of a worldly catharsis. Most of the contradictions of the liberal dream could have been included in the “Jewish question” because it could have coded both success and failure in its premises. So every member of the Jewish community, although deemed unredeemable, would still manage to get through the “eye of a needle.”  Thus, it promised victory while an occasional revival of any of the stereotypes would verify the total failure of this process  even though ingrained and fated from the very beginning.

Internal contradictions and the historical trap of emancipation prevailed in the peculiar double-faced appearance of political interests. The ambition of the French Revolution—that it would extend equal rights to Jewish individuals as well while not to the Jewish community as a whole—translated into practice with the state extending and depriving privileges as if it were a zero sum game. It offered settlement to certain Jewish groups and imposed taxes on others, extended the right of assembly, but did not permit the operation of the religious community. It destroyed the inner autonomy of Jewish communities but, as Hannah Arendt also verified, “it consciously kept the Jews as a separate group in society.” (Arendt, ibid., 12)  Bureaucratic autocracy could hide within the “bestowed” rights while the bureaucracy’s short term interest might intersect the strategic goal of the unification of the nation-state.

Protestants and Catholics, both included in process of emancipation, lived in groups integrated in the society. Besides the Jews, there was no order or class in Europe which would have begun its acculturation and assimilation through emancipation. Consequently, their existence depended upon the grace and protection of the state in return for financial and other services, participation in international organizations, and the collection of taxes. Therefore, preserving both equal rights and social separation was in the interest of the state.

The new bureaucracy concealed this double-faced nature of the modern state, although it hardly changed its absolutist practices. Absolutist rulers like Leopold I and Maria Theresa hesitated between mercantile interests and religious pressures. These were rulers who had first driven out and later, after imposing suitable taxes and limitations, called the Jews back into their country. The expulsion ordered by Leopold I began by driving out non-taxpaying beggars and scientists from Vienna. Before another forced emigration and during a thirty-day moratorium, all the assets and liabilities of the Jews were recorded. When, however, the Turkish-Italian-Polish trade chain broke and the supply of Crown horses was interrupted, a few rich Jews (Oppenheimer and Wertheimer) were called back. Maria Theresa declared that “I do not know a more dangerous plague for the state than this nation [that is, the Jews]. And yet, she relied on her court Jew whose advice she listened to from behind a folding-screen—so that her face would not be glanced at by a Jew.79

The difference between the German-Austrian and the English emancipation and assimilation models also points out that there was a complex and delayed interdependence between the political emancipation of the Jews and their integration. The German model hid the fear of assimilation behind emancipation struggles while in the English model the assimilation process preceded political emancipation.

It was characteristic of English liberal laws that English society did not experience any nullifyings even in times of political change while in German territories, the partial retraction of rights extended to Jews frequently occurred.80

In England the state religion of Puritanism was based on a comprehensive study of the Old Testament. Certain Protestant theologians professed that the advent of the millenium depended upon the conversion of the Jews. They saw neither the embodied Satan nor the “eternal Jew” that they saw in contemporary Jews. Rather, contemporary  Jews were the stray sheep who must be lured back to the flock. There was a special connection between Protestant and Jewish Messianism which facilitated Jewish integration into English society.81

The history of the settlement in England is exemplary in several respects. The Jewish problem was a sub-chapter of the  Catholic or “papist” issue. If we accept that the practice of tolerance began in the French Revolution with the extension of equal rights to the Protestants, then the legal expansion of the bourgeois transformation was finalized by the political acceptance of the Catholics and the Jews by the English. In England the role of the Jews as pariahs was transferred to the Catholics since they were disparaged by the same stereotypical accusations as the Jews were in Germany. As Coleridge wrote in 1825, “Emancipation of the Catholics would lead to the moral breakdown of the nation.”82

In England the political equality of “foreigners” before the law was also hampered by the fact that the national state was joined to a national church. According to a noteworthy remark which a Member made in the English Parliament, one could not expect loyalty from the Jews because during the Egyptian campaign Napoleon promised Palestine to them. “A Jew can never be English even if he were born here a hundred times. He considers himself the subject of another empire and has more sympathy and solidarity towards a Paris or Warsaw Jew than towards Christians or citizens of his homeland living in the same town.”83

Yet many views on the emancipation of the Jews put forward in the English debate resembled many German views. Shlomo Avineri’s article about Marx also alludes to Thomas Babbington Macaulay’s arguments which were published in the Edinburgh Review in the same year as the pamphlet “On the Jewish Question.”84 “The Jews were not ostracized by the political power. They possess power and as long as they are entitled to accumulate wealth they will have it. … What is a bigger power in a civilized society than that of a creditor over taxes?”85

The agreement between Marx and Macaulay is just as puzzling as trying to nterpret the Jews’ own role in the various emancipation movements having, as they did, different methods but the same goal. Apart from the short episode of Protestant philo-Semitism in England, an almost identical stereotypical image of the Jew appeared across all national borders and political systems. While traditional Christianity had a typical Jewish image in Ahasuerus, modern anti-Semitism had its own image in Shylock. There are no other universal Jewish characters in European literary mythology than those of Ahasuerus and Shylock. Both of them were created from an old Judas image and split into two separate but cognate images. Shylock is really Ahasuerus’ successor.86


The Unredeemable Jewry

The secularized public earnestly criticized the backwardness and isolation of Jewish communities in those states where the Enlightenment program was well established. For example, one could hear the voice of enlightened rabbis urging religious reforms. However, the content of this criticism can only be understood by taking its “asymmetric counterpart” into consideration. The denunciation of religious backwardness was often just a semantic code for targeting the Jews’ corporate privileges and economic activities which invaded the pre-existing feudal and guild-based society from the “outside.”  The role of outsider or foreigner was fulfilled by the “usurer” and the “profiteer.”  And Jews played these roles since a Jew must be the foreign  money lender in the rigid, limited feudal system where money was still unable to break away from the church. Stereotypes preserved the Jews’ role in connecting and serving as intermediaries between different social classes that had been frozen as still pictures, and were then passed over by the dynamics of development.

As Macaulay observed, economic power had some compensating political and social power for certain representatives of the Jews. Emancipation sought to complement this economic power with political rights in order to divert the process into its normal course and to draw together the interest groups under the control of the state. Jews had specific functions in the pre-capitalist society which was now being transformed and diversified during the Western European stage of  capitalist development. Money management ceased to be an exclusive Jewish privilege. The new capitalist market surpassed the economic function of the Jewish agents.  Jewish communities and “Jewish mentality” had lesser roles in this transformation than suggested by anti-emancipation advocates and later social analysts. The view that countries left by Jews therefore fell into economic decline, or countries settling them therefore began to thrive had no basis in reality.87  Sombart argued that “Israel” flew over Europe like sunshine; its coming initiated prosperity and its departure started decay. In contrast with this assumption is the fact that Jews fleeing to Turkey in large numbers never launched any prosperity there while the presence of the Jews in Holland did not prevent its 18th century decline.

Sombart defined anybody with a Jewish ancestor as a Jew.88  According to him modern civilization developed when this southern nomadic people, with its wandering and eternal Jewish instincts, encountered the northerners. The city became the new desert where Jewish instincts prevailed.89d

The assumption of the existence of a Jewish “essence,” “Wesen,” and “mentality” supported those arguments which saw the resurrected eternal Ahasuerus in every Jew, but mostly in the form of Shylock.90  Although Sombart rejected biological anti-Semitism, he replaced it with a kind of  “spiritual anti-Judaism.”91 However, he did believe that the Jewish “unchangeable essence” had been dispersed among the host people and became manifested as a contagion. The “Jewish mentality has transformed all the exterior framework of our existence and is present even when Jews are not present. In other words, the Jewish mentality is inside us and becomes objective in thousands of measures and in practice: in our laws, constitution, our life-styles, and economy.”92   Sombart is not content with a simple fight against Judaism. Instead he envisaged a necessary spiritual “de-Judaization” of the German people.

Such an historical role for a minority as was played by the Jews was unparalleled in Europe. Sombart developed his effective formula about the economic role of Jewish influence as a parallel to Max Weber’s classic theory about the spirit of Protestantism. Sombart explained the Jews’ financial success from the force of their anti-stigmatization struggle and from the stimulation that the pain of discrimination caused.

In the history of European anti-Semitism, anti-Judaic views on assimilation often combined protests against the expansion of capitalism with the stigmatization of the Jews. Texts by the young Hegelians, from Fichte to Gutzkow to Marx, did not characterize the Jews as a sociologically demarcated group. Instead, the Jews were characterized as traders and profiteers, presaging Werner Sombart.93  Therefore, we can raise the question whether anti-Semitism, which had begun with emancipation, was in reality also a generalized code for anti-capitalism and for protesting a global historical transformation by making stereotypes of the activities, life styles, and mentality of a traditionally stigmatized community.

This theory is reinforced by the fact that even those who honestly demanded political equality still used the language and thinking of stigmatization. The fact that several Jewish authors dramatically described the decay of the Jewish community in order to support the necessity of the Jewish community  to renew itself and to break with dogmatic traditions supports the argument. In this way, a historically peculiar situation  occurred when European Jewish communities were suddenly at the intersecting point of several diverse historical trends. The rising national bourgeoisie looked at the Jews as historically privileged forerunners of the money economy. Yet the feudal groups of national states played the Jews against the national bourgeoisie in order to preserve those privileges of the feudal classes that still retained some influence.

The ultimate paradox of emancipation was the fact that by the time political equality has been achieved, the Jews’ special social role—as a group that played a well-defined role in the economy—ceased to exist. By the time numerous social interest groups had the chance to occupy and modernize many branches of the money economy in the developing capital and market economy, the Jews—alienated and with an imposed shameful memory of this activity—carried the stigma of  these activities which, by then, everybody practiced without being stigmatized.

That is the reason why the foreign archetype—the “other” one who is a mirror image of every vice—was embodied in the Jew. Divine Grace allows the eternal Jew to live and die as the new Ahasuerus—about whom an Eighteenth century German dramatist wrote the new story of redemption.94

Consequently, a Jew did not always mean a Jew in the age of emancipation. Following the French Revolution, in countries where attempts had been made to reinforce the national state, one could detect a cognitive dissonancestemming from the conflict between the idea of equality  and an awakened national spirit. In the revolution, “Patrie” became identified with “Liberté.”  Europe experienced the Napoleonic wars as a period of self-determination, self-defense, and self-definition. Patriotism welded together commoners and nobility—fighting for their birth privileges—as fellows-in-arms. The stigmatizing discrimination against the foreigner—along the line of traditions proven useful in Christian communities for centuries—was the only  available cognitive trick. The Jew, the displaced minority who had different cultural and ritual customs, offered an obvious target. “The Jew” was a historical enemy of redemption and, therefore, this figure could assume mythical dimensions. However, the reality was more threatening than the myth. It was an ousted and isolated community that both the Christian Goethe and the Jewish Heine described in horror following their visit to the Frankfurt ghetto. Anti-Judaism fitted both the conservatives’ and the liberals’ cognitive model since their starting point was the backwardness, depravity, and medieval appearance of the Jews.

Dohm’s argument in his description of the emancipation contract that the “Jew was rather a human being than a Jew” also meant that “human” or “humane” were asymmetric counterparts of  the Jew.  Some researchers believe that this statement included both a wish for improvement and the continued presentation of the Jew as an antithesis to a human being.95

The cognitive model that permanently identified the Jews with everything that manifests as social “evil” was possible only if its generalizations referred to some specific things that could be identified. From this respect, as Max Weber’s work on the history of religion showed, the European Jewry was a peculiar creation. It was a caste in a casteless society. The Jews were a nationless nation and an ethnic group defined by their religion. Yet their social functions also filled a social vacuum: they were usurers in places where capital movements were forbidden and were money lenders where—due to their “neutral” situation—material goods received from a Jew did not carry social obligations or stigma.96

The multiple and multi-faceted social roles of the Jews can be described by opposing pairs of ideas. The structure of feudalism conserved their economic power by allotting them certain social positions. As Henri Pirenne and later Jacob Talmon said, Jews who revolted against society were lawless and homeless.97 However, two Jewish types, the pioneer and the usurer, originated from this circle. The two roles often intertwined. Polish kingdoms lacking large cities, the Ottoman Empire, and the Hungarian aristocracy all used the wandering Jews who were willing to settle in certain places and so help to revitalize population growth, craftsmanship, and trade.


Economic Rationality and Emancipation

Assimilation was not merely a “Jewish question” in Europe but was also a general problem of integrating non-conforming groups. Economic development imposed a forced standardization on the modern nation-state: the exchange of commodities and trade called for equal rights, contractual stability, and the assurance of social mobility.98

This economic pressure, however, should have been manifested most forcefully in countries with more developed industries. Whereas, the fact is that a demand for assimilation emerged with most urgency and full of conflicts in the less developed countries tilting towards state absolutism. It happened mostly in countries where the revolution did not take place on the barricades but in men’s minds—with apologies to Marx—such as in the German principalities, in Austria-Hungary, and in Russia. There were several demographic and historical reasons for this development. Developing industrial and trade interests forced the Jews to the “East,” an area of lower population density. Ninety percent of the Jews of the East originated from the Ashkenazi ethnic group of the German territories. The Ashkenazim had acquired two “foreign” cultures during their migration: biblical-Talmud traditions on the one hand, and the Yiddish language on the other.99  Both of  these were closed cultural heritages which helped retain the difference between the sacred and mundane everyday communication.

The European Jews did not have a unified history until the emancipation period. Statistically, their community might be measured by two indicators: absolute numbers of people and relative part of the total population. At the end of the 18th century, the Dutch Jewish population of 50,000 amounted to 2.5% of the total population. The second largest European Jewish community, that of Hungary, totaled one hundred thousand but was only 1.4% of the population.100

Jews were forced  to migrate East by the general European situation. Where no central power existed, it was up to the decision of the person exercising local legal power to decide whether the Jews could settle or whether they would be driven out of the country. The Jews also were a point of contention in the debates among kings, principals, and municipalities. Maria Theresa had the Pozsony [present Bratislava, Slovakia] Jews driven out but in three years, she permitted their resettlement. Or again, a group of Jews might be allowed to settle in one town but not get permission in a neighboring municipality. Or the Jews might not be able to spend a night unpunished in Pest, while they might be able to do so in Buda.101

Consequently, it seemed that the Jews’ status was solely decided by economic rationality. Where their money management and later tax collecting activities were needed, the Jews received privileges but no rights. The Jews were also an issue in the debate between the city bourgeoisie and royal authority. Lajos Venetiáner summarized the situation,  “Cities were well aware that kings needed a city bourgeoisie against the landowners and with increasing royal needs to keep their independence, they needed the Jews. In this unfair battle only the Jews would fare badly.”102  However, lacking a “unified” history due to the division of Europe, ideological-religious considerations ruled over economic rationality. The Jews’ existence in the punishment of dispersion proved Christian justice. At the same time, the promise of redemption was extended to every people of the earth—including the Jews.

The Jewish Diaspora symbolized the punishment meted out to God’s killers. Underlying the decree which said that a Jew could not have a Christian servant was the understanding that the Jews were the Christians’ eternal servants. Saint Augustine’s theology demanded that the Jews be saved and spared while at the Resurrection they, as the devil’s disciples, were allotted the role of witness.103

Emancipation as a potential right to be given to the Jews did not originate solely from the needs of economic rationality either. The money changing and custom collecting activities of Jewish communities had not contributed as profoundly to the development of a commodity producer society as fashionable turn of the century theories described. For instance, Werner Sombart attempted to discover the qualities that had allowed his community to deceive these “foreigners.” He argued that Judaism permitted a different morality towards “foreigners” than towards its own fellow sufferers. In such a context, cheating or extortion might be considered as the fulfillment of religious duties.230  Sombart argued that capitalism developed under the influence of the Jews as if that minority had been preparing to take over  power. Although Sombart’s ideas were vulgarized and thus taken further by other authors, the idea of  capitalism as a “foreign” phenomenon was already haunting German romanticism.

Historical facts, however, prove that Jewish commercium—trading and money lending—was more connected to the ancient and medieval forms of money circulation than to modern finance capitalism. Max Weber also noticed that isolated Jewish communities feared industrialization and the exchange of goods, an attitude fostered by Jewish traditionalism. It was not only  their circumstances that confined Jews to money changing—or usury—but the fact that this profession provided more free time for studying the sacred books. As for Sombart’s theory about Jews being vanguard capitalists, Weber decisively criticized it and, indirectly, Marx as well. “What is characteristically new in either the modern economic system or in the modern economic disposition is not characteristically Jewish. Rather, the ultimate theoretical reasons are again connected to the Jews as a pariah people having a pariah religion.”104

Similar dispositions and actions against the Jews revealed more critics’ prejudices and the role of ideology than the role of economic rationality. Jewish economic and moral dispositions could not be characterized as a capitalist “focus rationalism.” Instead, they revealed the behavior patterns associated with the “pariah religion” syndrome. As far as the Jews’ economic activities were concerned, state protection of certain religious community privileges was motivated more by concerns for state financing than for rational risk-taking. That is why in other writings Weber examined the Jews’ economically “irrational” businesses.105

Every form of emancipation was a political concomitant of the “focus rationality” of the modern commodity producing economy. The Jews’ distinguished role in this process stemmed from the fact that through their religion, isolation, and economic activities, they were considered the most backward community. Their integration and assimilation were the touchstone of state and national integrating ambitions.

It is interesting to note that communities breaking away from feudalism and living under autocratic rule experienced assimilation as a form of acculturation. This probably took place in countries where bourgeois development and the issue of the nation were strongly entwined and where state independence had been achieved before the need for democratization emerged.

In contrast to Anglo-Saxon political nations, autocratic-feudal states and federations of states were organized on a more cultural basis. On the one hand, nurturing a national language might prove to be a force stronger than that in a loose economic union. On the other hand, the equalizing and emancipating aspect of belonging to a nation might revive patriarchal subordination. In less developed countries, nationalism became the carrier of modernity.

Therefore, the emancipation of minorities fitted into a large equalization process with both legal and cultural content. As Ernest Geller wrote, in the age of early nationalism “in order to become a full citizen, either one adjusted to the ruling higher culture or changed the political framework of one’s life to assure that one’s own culture became the decisive culture of the new entity.”106


Religious Reform

The pre-emancipation Jew was a mythical foreigner who belonged to a separate sub-group identifiable even after his political emancipation. Yet, after he adjusted to modernity, only religious memories connected the Jew with his ethnic group. However, his religion preserved many of the traditions of his people, even though liturgical reform attempted to “de-nationalize” the Jews. German reform rabbis, like those in Hungary, disclaimed the Jews’ trans-national constraints and the differences between the people of Israel and those of other nations. As Abraham Geiger, from Breslau, said, “Jerusalem … has dimmed in our memory.”107

Jewish religious reform ambitions—and the Jewish Enlightenment itself—came not merely in reaction to the conditions of integration nor were they acts of compromise concluded within the religion by an ethnic-cultural group. Rather, the renewal of Jewish theology was tied to the deep stream of the Enlightenment and built a bridge to secularization by negotiating between the Words of Faith and of Reason. This period of time produced not only Jewish theological reform. Both Catholic and Protestant reform movements (by supplanting Jesuitism with sweeping Jansenism) also showed that every traditional religion struggled with the influence of  the Enlightenment.108

Jewish philosophy gave diverse responses to the dilemmas forced upon the Jewish people and the Jewish religion. Spinoza considered Judaism a political religion, saying that the Mosaic faith was the political constitution of the ancient Jews. It was not their God that chose the Jews, but the Jews who chose a “political leader” for their state. Thus, state and religion coincided. This is what Spinoza called theocracy, where civic rights and religion unified in blind obedience to God. For him in such a situation, only a life lived in isolation was possible.109

In the Diaspora, the traditional religion preserved the ghost-country that, according to Heine, every Jew carried in his bag. Admission to the Jewish nation was through religion so that anyone who deviated from this religion fell out of that nation.110

Spinoza envisioned a new universal religion, with the state as its keeper, to replace the historical religions. As Jacob Katz has stated, Spinoza had anticipated the utopia of complete assimilation.111

The urge for universality strengthened in the age of Enlightenment. Just as Spinoza substituted a general morality of mercy and compassion for the traditional dogmatic religions, so other reforms also strove to apply the principle of universality.

During this period of tempestuous nation-state development, maintaining universality necessitated immense intellectual efforts. Battling religious universalities also consumed a lot of intellectual energy. The leaders of the Enlightenment, such as Voltaire, rejected the historical Jewish religion saying that it was tribal and particularized. Montesquieu claimed that Judaism had lost its territorial and political power and, being short of a nation, could only claim the status of an archaic religion. 17

Jewish reform movements attempted to respond to these issues and to other accusations as well. Even in the mid-Nineteenth century Rabbi Abraham Geiger dismissed  Christianity, arguing that its culture was too abstract and spiritual. He said that its words appeared in dead and rigid languages (Latin and Greek) in the period of decline of the great and noble Greek and Roman civilizations while Judaism became law in a living nation and by means of a living language. “Judaism was born as a closed and separate entity. Yet it successfully transmitted its basic ideas to humanity as universal heritage. And, when artificial dividing walls finally come down, it can retain its universality during its whole history. Therefore, let us cast a glance back at our former national existence with pleasure. It was an essential transitional period of our history when the life of the Jewish nation took root in fertile ideological soil.”112

While such argument laid the foundation for  “Jewish sciences,” Geiger and his predecessors were also responding to century-long debates in their theological discussions.113  As a follower of universalism Stanislav de Clermont- Tonnerre professed that the Jews could not be tolerated as an independent political (national) formation since a nation within the nation could not be allowed to exist in the French homeland.114  Fichte, in the spirit of German criticism of the Enlightenment, made similar staements. He allotted new “ideological,” intellectual, and spiritual ground as a new home for Judaism, tied to the Enlightenment through universality, and as a carrier of a universal cultural heritage to the wider society. Historically, Judaism took its place based on a universality that provided a home for a nationless and homeless cultural community within the family of peoples.115

Their customs and religion lent a core to the cohesion and, in modern terms, to the group dynamics of the Jews.  In addition to the Diaspora experience, the Jews also had in common an unquestioned and established Messianism that, even if it made the pariah people passive and resigned, also “elevated” them above history and carried them over into a quasi-mythological timelessness. European Jews do not merely have a history. Instead, they have a redemption history, since rites had arrested time.


“Jewish Science”

In response to emancipation movements, a number of intellectuals established an intellectual enterprise called “Jewish science.”  It was a chronicle of the Jewish people and Jewish religion placed in their historical contexts. Intellectual “proofs” that the religion could be cleansed of sediments of customs and that  the original religion could be discovered replaced Divine Revelations. The ultimate motive for this enterprise was to show that emancipation was not happening to a pariah-nation. The young Leopold Zunz, Heinrich Heine, and their friends founded the association Verein für Kultur und Wissenschaft der Juden, which became a cultural circle to study the religion, life, and customs of the Jews. Wissenschaft, that is “science,” here clearly means “history.”16

“Jewish science” was one of the responses Jewish intellectuals gave to the question of assimilation. In this way, one of the important Jewish groups  adjusted to the long march of the Enlightenment. The process was necessarily controversial: the more urgent the task of catching up with secularization, the less likely that groups within the world of the pariah people would complete the task. Jewish culture (defined by modernity as a religion) had only the arena of reforming its own beliefs as an available playing field.

As has already been mentioned, there is a significant difference among the English, French, and German assimilation models. Yovel Yirmiahu defined the difference between the German Aufklärung and the French Lumière by saying that the former “did not defy the justice of religion, instead it tried to rationalize it as much as possible” (Ibid., p.10). In Moses Mendelssohn’s works elements of “historizing” the religion appeared. In his response to Spinoza, the German thinker claimed that after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem the identity of  politics and religion ceased to exist. Therefore, nobody could be excluded from the community. Jewish religion was not the result of a proclaimed belief but that of the proclaimed law, and acceptance of the law was voluntary.117

Mendelssohn tried to dissolve an epistemological trap by dividing reason from will, the same way that he separated justice from belief. He argued that reason and revelation move along different paths and the historical demand to follow laws should not hinder the paths of reason and knowledge.118

In conclusion, emancipation cannot be characterized as a simple “settlement” because its process ought to be visualized as a bilateral movement. The Zeitgeist not only forced the “players” to rethink the context of social coexistence along the lines of self-interest. The intellectual and moral force of the Enlightenment as well as various interests in accelerating social mobility were also factors in reaching equilibrium.







  1. See Alex Bein, Die Judenfrage: Biogr. e. Weltproblems, vol. 2, (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1980).
  2. Jacob Toury, “The Jewish Question: A Semantic Approach,” (Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook, 1966, 11), pp. 85-107.
  3. A. M.,  Beiträfe zur Lösung der jüdischen Frage (Deutsche Viertelsjahr-Schrift, 1838, Heft 1), pp. 248-263.
  4. Christian W. v.  Dohm and Franz Reuss, Über die bürgerliche Verbesserung der Juden: 2 Teile in 1 Bd (Hildesheim, New York: Olms, 1973), pp. 200, 376, and 105; English version, Concerning the Amelioration of the Civil Status of the Jews, trans., Helen Lederer (Cincinnati, 1957).
  5. Jacob Allerhand, Das Judentum in der Aufklärung (Problemata, 86, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog).
  6. Horst Möller, Aufklärung, Judenemanzipation und Staat. Ursprung und Wirkung von Dohms Schrift ‘Über die bürgerliche Verbesserung der Juden, in Deutsche Aufklärung und Judenemanzipation, ed., Walter Grab, (Tel Aviv, 1980), pp. 119-149; and Robert Liberles, Dohm’s Treatise on the Jews: A Defense of the Enlightenment, London:(Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook XXXIII: 1988), pp. 29-41.
  7. Robert Liberles, “From Toleration to Verbesserung: German and English debates on the Jews in the Eighteenth Century” (Central European History, 1989), p.3.
  8. H. D. Schmidt, The Terms of Emancipation (London: Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook, 1956), p. 28-33.
  9. Paul P. Bernard, The Limits of Enlightenment: Joseph II and the Law (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1979).
  10. Erich Kahler, “Forms and Features of Anti-Judaism,” in The Dynamics of Emancipation, ed., N. L. Glatzer (Boston, 1965), p. 44.
  11. Quoted by Jacob Katz, “The Term ‘Jewish Emancipation”: Its Origin and Historical Impact,” in Studies in Nineteenth-Century Jewish Intellectual History, ed., Alexander Altmann, (Cambridge, Mass., 1964), p. 5.
  12. John Locke, A letter concerning toleration. Latin and English text. Ed. Montuori, Mario, (The Hague, M.Nijhoff, 1963.
  13. Todd M. Endelman, Radical assimilation in English Jewish History, 1656-1945: The Modern Jewish Experience (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990).
  14. Ernst Barnikol and Ralph Ott, Das Entdeckte Christentum in Vormärz: Bruno Bauers Kampf gegen Religion und Christentum und Erstausgabe seiner Kampfschrift, 2., wesentlich erw. Aufl., (Aalen: Scientia, 1989).
  15. Jacob Katz, Jewish Emancipation and Self-Emancipation, 1st ed. (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1986), p. 12.
  16. Quoted by Arthur Hertzberg, The French Enlightenment and the Jews: The Origins of Modern Anti-Semitism, 1st Schocken paperback ed., (New York: Schocken Books, 1970), p. 360.
  17. Paul A. Meyer, “The Attitude of the Enlightenment Towards the Jews,” in Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century (1963), p. 1161-1205.
  18. Jacob Katz, Zur Assimilation und Emanzipation der Juden: Ausgewählte Schriften (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Jewish Emancipation), p. 5.
  19. Quoted by Reinhart Rürup, “The European Revolution of 1848 and Jewish

Emancipation,” in Revolution and Evolution—1848 in German-Jewish History, eds.,  E. Mosse et al., (Tübingen: J. Mohr, 1981), p. 44.

  1. Todd M. Endelman, “The Englishness of Jewish Modernity in England,” in Toward    

      Modernity: The European Jewish Model, ed., Jacob Katz, (New Jersey, 1987), pp.


  1. Quoted by Erb, Rainer-Bergman, and Werner, Die Nachseite der Judenemanzipation—der Widerstand gegen die Integration der Juden: Deutschland 1780-1860 (Berlin: Metropol), p. 51. The quoted writing from A. Escherich, Die Judenemanzipationsfrage vom naturhistorischen Standpunkte (Deutsche Vierteljahrschrift, Heft 4), pp. 97-118.
  2. Simon Dubnow, Die Grundlagen des Nationaljudentums (Berlin: Jüdischer Verlag), n/y
  3. Simon Dubnow, An Outline of Jewish History (NewYork, N.Y.
  4. Joseph Karniel, “Die Toleranzpolitik Kaiser Joseph II,” in ed., Walter Grab, Deutsche Aufklärung und Judenemanzipation (Tel Aviv, Univ. of Tel Aviv, 1980), pp. 155-178.
  5. Raphael Mahler, A History of Modern Jewry 1780-1815 (New York, Schocken, 1971), p. 338.
  6. Shmuel Ettinger, “The Modern Period,” in History of the Jewish People, ed., Ben Sasson, (Cambridge, Mass, 1986), pp. 730-733.
  7. See also M. Todd, Comparing Jewish Societies (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press: The Comparative Studies in Society and History Book Series, 1997).
  8. Michael A. Meyer, The Origins of the Modern Jew: Jewish Identity and European Culture in Germany, 1749-1824 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, Wayne Books; WB32, 1979).
  9. Isaac Deutscher, The Non-Jewish Jew (Oxford, 1968), p. 38—“extortionate usurer, driver of hard bargains—to cheat, overreach.”
  10. Constantin Frantz,  Ahasverus oder die Judenfrage (Berlin, 1844), p. 47 and quoted by Bein in Alex Bein, The Jewish Question—Biography of a World Problem, trans., Harry Zohn (Rutherford, Herzl Press, 1990), p. 479.
  11. Hans Mayer, “Von Ahasver zu Shylock,” in Aussenseiter (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1975), p. 312.
  12. Siegfried Kracauer, “Ahasver oder das Rätsel der Zeit,” in Schriften (Aussenseiter) (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1975), pp. 148-149.
  13. Quoted by Jacob Katz, The Darker Side of Genius: Richard Wagner’s Antisemitism (Hanover, NH: Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry, 5, 1986)
  14. Jacob Katz, ibid.
  15. Christoph Cobet, Der Worschatz des Antisemitismus in der Bismarckzeit (München: W. Fink, Münchner Germanistische Beiträge, 11, 1973), p. 147.
  16. Quoted by Mária Ludassy, “Fasizmus francia módra—Adalékok a jobboldali radikalizmus történetébôl,” [Fascism a la France—Additions to the History of Right-Wing Radicalism: France, 1797-1937] (Budapest: Mozgó Világ, 1998,1), p. 102.
  17. See also Leon Poliakov, The Aryan Myth: A History of Racist and Nationalist Ideas in Europe, ed., C. Columbus, Columbus Centre Series: Studies in the Dynamics of  Persecution and Extermination, (New York, Basic Books 1974).
  18. Thomas Nipperdey and Reinhart Rürup, “Semitismus und der sekuläre Begriff des Juden als Vorassetzungen,” in Geschichliche Grundbegriffen, eds., Werner O. C. Brunner and Reinhart Koselleck (Stuttgart, 1972), p. 131.
  19. Ludwig Feuerbach, Das Wesen des Christentums, ed., Werner Schuffenhauer (Berlin, 1956).
  20. Bruno Bauer, Die Judendfrage (Braunschweig, 1843), pp. 224-245.
  21. Ernst Barnikol and H. M. Sass, Bruno Bauer. Studien und Materialien: Aus dem Nachlass ausgewält und zusammengestellt von Peter Reimer und Hans-Martin Sass, Hrsg. Vom Forschungsinstitut der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Bonn-Bad Godesberg und dem Internationaal Institut voor Sociale Geschiedenis (Amsterdam: Assen,1972).
  22. Jacob Talmon, The Unique and the Universal (New York: G. Braziller, 1966), pp. 151-152.
  23. Georg W. F. Hegel, Rechtsphilosophie (Stuttgart, 1952).§ 270.
  24. See also Shlomo Avineri, Hegel’s View of Jewish Emancipation (Jewish Social Studies, 1963, 25), pp. 145-151.
  25. Georg W. F. Hegel, ed., H. Nohl, Theologische Jugendschriften (Tübingen, 1907) and in English, Early Theological Writings, trans., T. M. Knox (Chicago, 1948).
  26. Emil E. Fackenheim, Encounters Between Judaism and Modern Philosophy (New York, 1980), pp. 89-90; Fackenheim, To Mend the World-Foundations of Post-Holocaust Jewish Thought (Bloomington: 1989), pp. 103-147; and Paul Lawrence Rose, German Question/ Jewish Question—Revolutionary Antisemitism from Kant to Wagner (Princeton, New Jersey, 1990), p. 109.
  27. See also Jacques Derrida and Moshe Ron, “Interpretations at War: Kant, the Jew, the German” (New Literary History, 1991), p. 39.
  28. Albert S. Lindemann, “German Question/ Jewish Question: Revolutionary Antisemitism from Kant to Wagner” (Ethnic and Racial Studies, 1994), p. 722.
  29. Johann G. Herder, Werke, ed., Suphan, Vol. IV. (Stuttgart, 1962), p. 365.
  30. Godwin Lämmermann, Kritische Theologie und Theologiekritik: die Genese der Religions- und Selbstbewusstseinstheorie Bruno Bauers. (München: Kaiser, Beiträge zur evangelischen Theologie, vol. 84, 1979).
  31. Jacob Katz, A Social Background of Jewish Emancipation, 1770-1870]. (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press), Ch. XIII.
  32. Amos Funkenstein, “The Political Theory of Jewish Emancipation,” in Deutsche Aufklärung und Judenemanzipation, ed., Walter Grab (Tel Aviv, 1980), p. 17.
  33. George L. Mosse, “German Jews beyond Judaism,” in The Modern Jewish Experience (Bloomington-Cincinnati: Indiana University Press; Hebrew Union College Press), p. 13.
  34. See Shulamit Volkov, “Juden und Judentum im Zeitalter der Emanzipation,” in Die Juden in der Europäische Geschichte, ed. W. Beck (München, Beck, 1992), pp. 86-108.
  35. See also Helen Fein, “Insiders, Outsiders, and Border-Crossers: Conceptions of Modern Jewry in Marx, Durkheim, Simmel and Weber,” in Antisemitismus und jüdische Geschichte: Studien zu Ehren von Herbert A. Strauss, ed., Rainer Erb and Michael Schmidt, (Berlin: Wissentschaftlicher Autorenverlag,1987), pp. 479-494.
  36. Hollace Graff, “Political Discourse in Exile: Karl Marx and the Jewish Question,” in Ethics (1993), p. 612.
  37. Karl Marx, “Zur Judenfrage,” in Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher (1844). In English, Karl Marx, Early Writings, trans., and ed., Tom Bottomore (New York: McGraw Hill, 1964), p. 40.
  38. Joseph Gabel, Réflexions sur l’avenir des juifs—racism et aliénation (Paris: Méridiens Klinksieck, 1987).
  39. Steven E. Aschheim, “‘The Jew Within’: The Myth of ‘Judaization’ in Germany,” in Culture and Catastrophe (New York: New York University Press, 1996), pp. 45-69.
  40. See also Helmuth Hirsch, Marx und Moses: Karl Marx zur “Judenfrage u. zu Juden (Frankfurt am Main: Judentum und Umwelt—Bern—Cirencester, UK: Lang, vol. 2, 1980).
  41. Robert Misrahi, Marx et la question juive (Paris: Gallimard, Collection Idées, 1972), p. 259.
  42. Edmund Silberner, Kommunisten zur Judenfrage: zur Geschichte von Theorie und Praxis des Kommunismus (Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1983); Silberner, “Was Marx an Anti-Semite?” in Ezra Mendelssohn, ed., Essential Papers on Jews and the Left (New York: New York University Press, 1997), pp. 361-402.
  43. David Sorkin, Wilhelm von Humboldt: The Theory and Practice of Self-Formation (Bildung), 1791-1810 (Journal of the History of Ideas, 1983, January), pp. 55-73.
  44. Quoted by George L. Mosse, “Between Bildung and Respectability,” in The Jewish Responses to German Culture—From Enlightenment to The Second World War, eds., Jehuda Reinharz-Walter Schatzberg (Hanover-London: Clark University, 1985), pp. 1-17.
  45. Quoted by Leon Poliakov et al., The History of Anti-Semitism (New York: Vanguard Press, 1975), vol. 3. P. 155.
  46. Isaiah Berlin and H. Hardy, Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas, Selected Writings, vol. 3, 1st ed., (Berlin-Oxford-New York: Clarendon Press, 1991), p. 345.
  47. See Leon Poliakov, The Aryan Myth: A History of Racist and Nationalist Ideas in Europe (New York: New American Library, 1977).
  48. Eleonora Silberner, Er ist wie du. Aus der Frühgeschichte des Antisemitismus in Deutschland (München, 1956).
  49. Bruno Bauer, Einundzwanzig Bogen aus der Schweiz, vol, I, (Zürich, 1843), p. 71.
  50. See also David J. Sorkin, Moses Mendelssohn and the Religious Enlightenment (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996).
  51. Leon Botstein, Essays zur Rolle der Juden in der deutschen und österreichischen Kultur, 1848-1938 (Wien: Böhlau, 1991).
  52. David J. Sorkin, The Transformation of German Jewry, 1780-1840 (New York: Oxford University Press, Studies in Jewish History, 1987), p. 15.
  53. Peter Pulzer, Jews and the German State—The Political History of a Minority, 1848-1933, ed., David Sorkin (Oxford: Blackwell, Jewish Society and Culture,1992).
  54. Jacob Katz, “The Term ‘Jewish Emancipation’: Its Origin and Historical Impact,” in Studies in Nineteenth-Century Jewish Intellectual History, ed., Alexander Altmann, (Cambridge, 1964), p. 5.
  55. John Toland, Reasons for Naturalizing the Jews in Great Britain and Ireland on the Same Foot with all Nations (London, 1714) and the new edition, (London, 1914).
  56. Quoted by Ernô Ballagi, A magyar zsidóság harca az emancipációért [The Hungarian Jewry’s Struggle for Emancipation] (IMIT évkönyv, 1940), p. 135-167.
  57. Hannah Arendt, “Antisemitism—Part One” of The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1966), p. 11.
  58. Jacob Katz, “Anti-Semitism Through the Ages,” in The Persisting Question—Sociological and Social Contexts of Modern Antisemitism, ed., Helen Fein (Berlin-New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1987), pp. 52-53.
  59. David Kaufmann, A zsidók utolsó kiûzetése Bécsbôl [The Jews’ Last Ousting from Vienna] (Budapest, 1888).
  60. Israel Finestein, “Jewish Emancipationists in Victorian England: Self-imposed Limits to Assimilation,” in Assimilation and Community—The Jews in Nineteenth-Century Europe, eds., Jonathan Frankel and Steven J. Zipperstein (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), p. 43.
  61. Norma Perry, Anglo-Jewry, the Law, Religious Conviction, and Self-Interest (1665-1753) (Journal of European Studies, 1984, XIV, 2).
  62. Quoted by Mária Ludassy, “A római katolikusok és a zsidók emancipációja” [The Emancipation of the Roman Catholics and the Jews], in A toleranciától  a szabadságig [From Tolerance to Liberty] (Budapest, 1992), p. 81.
  63. Robert Inglis, Sir, Parlamenti beszéd [Parliamentary Address] (May 22, 1883), quoted by Ludassy, p. 90.
  64. Thomas B. Macaulay, ed.; G. T. Bettany, Essays Historical and Literary from the ‘Edinburgh Review’ by Lord Macaulay, pp. 171-172.
  65. Geoffrey Aldermann, “English Jews or Jews of the English Persuasion? Reflections on the Emancipation of Anglo-Jewry,” in Paths of Emancipation—Jews, States, and Citizenship, eds., Pierre Birnbaum and Ira Katznelson (1995), pp. 138-139.
  66. Hermann Sinsheimer, Shylock—The History of a Character, 2nd ed., (New York: Benjamin Blom, 1953), p. 117.
  67. Léon Abram, The Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1970), p. 177.
  68. Werner Sombart and S. Z. Klausner, The Jews and Modern Capitalism, Social Science Classics Series (New Brusnwick: Transaction Books, 1982), p. 30.
  69. T. Fritsch and Werner Sombart, Die Juden im Handel und das Geheimnis ihres Erfolges: Ausgleich eine Antwort und Ergänzung zu Sombarts Buch ‘Die Juden und das Wirtschaftsleben, 2, durchgesehene Aufl. Ed., (Steglitz: P. Hobbing, 1913), p. 308.
  70. Martin D. Yaffe, Shylock and the Jewish Question, Johns Hopkins Jewish Studies (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997).
  71. See also Werner Krause, Werner Sombarts Weg vom Kathedrarsozialismus zum Faschismus, 1. Aufl. Ed. (Berlin: Rütten & Loening, 1962).
  72. Werner Sombart, A New Social Philosophy (New York, 1969), pp. 177-179 and in the  original, Deutscher Sozialismus (1934).
  73. Hal Draper,  “Marx and the Economic Jew Stereotype,” in Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution, I: State and Bureaucracy (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1977), pp. 591-608.
  74. Christian F. D. Schubart, “Der Ewige Jude,” in Gesammelte Schriften und Schicksale (Stuttgart, 1839), vol. 4.
  75. Daniel J. Goldhagen, Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, 1st ed., (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996), p. 57.
  76. See also Arnaldo Momigliano, “Le judaisme comme ‘religion-paria’ chez Max Weber,” in Mélanges Léon Poliakov, ed., M. Olender, (Brussels: Complexe, 1981), pp. 201-207.
  77. Jacob L. Talmon, The Myth of the Nation and the Vision of Revolution: The Origins of Ideological Polarisation in the Twentieth Century (London: Secker & Warburg; Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1981), p. 180.
  78. See also Eric J. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality, 2nd edition (Cambridge, England—New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992).
  79. Jacob Lestschinsky, Jewish Migration For the Past Hundred Years, YIVO English translation series (New York, N.Y: Yiddish Scientific Institute, YIVO, 1944), vol. 2, p. 2.
  80. See also Jacob Katz, Exclusiveness and Tolerance: Studies in Jewish-Gentile Relations in Medieval and Modern Times (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1980).
  81. Sándor Büchler,  A zsidók története Budapesten a legrégibb idôktôl 1867-ig [The History of the Jews in Budapest From Time Immemorial to 1867], az Izraelita Magyar Irodalmi Társulat kiadványai [Publications of the Hungarian Israelite Literary Society], vol. 14, (Budapest: Franklin Nyomda, 1901), pp. 332-335.
  82. Lajos Venetiáner, A magyar zsidóság története—különös tekintettel gazdasági és mûvelôdési fejlôdésére a XIX. században [The History of the Hungarian Jewry: With Special Emphasis on Its Economic and Cultural Development in the 19th Century]—a modified edition of the 1922 publication. (Budapest: Könyvértékesitô Vállalat, 1986), p. 34.
  83. Joel Carmichael, The Satanizing of the Jews: Origin and Development of Mystical Anti-Semitism, 1st U.S. ed, (New York: Fromm International Pub. Corp, 1992), pp. 52-53.
  84. Max Weber, Gazdaság és társadalom [Economy and Society] (Budapest, 1967), pp. 221-222.
  85. Max Weber, Gazdaságtörténet—Válogatott tanulmányok [Economic History—Selected Essays] (Budapest, 1979), p. 286
  86. Ernest Gellner, Nacionalizmus és politika Kelet-Európában [Nationalism and Politics in Eastern Europe] (Világosság, 1992, 5), p. 335.
  87. M. Weiner, ed., Abraham Geiger and Liberal Judaism: The Challenge of the Nineteenth Century (Philadelphia, 1962), p. 74.
  88. David Sorkin, “Enlightenment and Emancipation: German Jewry’s Formative Age in Comparative Perspective,” in Comparing Jewish Societies, ed., T. M. Endelmann (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997), pp. 89-113.
  89. Benedictus Spinoza, Teológiai-politikai tanulmány [Theological-Political Essay], 3rd ed., (Budapest: Akadémiai, 1984, p. 250
  90. Steven B. Smith, Spinoza, Liberalism, and the Question of Jewish Identity (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997), xvii, p. 270.
  91. Quoted by Yirmiahu Yovel, Dark Riddle: Hegel, Nietzsche, and the Jews (Pennsylvania: Penn State University, 1998).
  92. Abraham Geiger, “The Developing Idea of Judaism,” in Ideas of Jewish History, ed., Michal A. Meyer (Wayne State University, 1987).
  93. Julius Carlebach and Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg, Wissenschaft des Judentums =[*Hokhmat Yi*sra*el]: Anfänge der Judaistik in Europa (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1992).
  94. Patrick Girard, Les Juifs de France de 1789-1860: de l’émancipation et l’égalité. Diaspora (Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 1976), p. 139.
  95. M. Weiner, Abraham Geiger’s Conception of the Science of Judaism (YIVO Annual of Jewish Social Science, 1956/57), XI, pp. 142-162.
  96. Yoseph H. Yerushalmi, Zakhor—Jewish History and Jewish Memory (Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1982), p. 84.
  97. See also Edward Breuer, Politics, Tradition, History: Rabbinic Judaism and the Eighteenth-Century Struggle for Civil Equality (Harvard Theological Review, 1992).
  98. David Sorkin, The Case for Comparison—Mendelssohn Moses and the Religious Enlightenment: A Contextual Integration of Jewish Societal and Cultural History into an Expanded Historical Discipline (Modern Judaism, 1994), 14(2), pp. 121-138.

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