By Ken Koltun-Fromm
German rabbi, pupil, and theologian Abraham Geiger (1810--1874) is well-known because the central chief of the Reform circulation in German Judaism. In his new paintings, Ken Koltun-Fromm argues that for Geiger own that means in faith -- instead of rote ritual perform or popularity of dogma -- was once the most important to religion's ethical authority. In 5 chapters, the publication explores matters important to Geiger's paintings that talk to modern Jewish perform -- ancient reminiscence, biblical interpretation, ritual and gender practices, rabbinic authority, and Jewish schooling. this can be crucial examining for students, rabbis, rabbinical scholars, and trained Jewish readers attracted to Conservative and Reform Judaism.Published with the beneficiant aid of the Lucius N. Littauer beginning.
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Excerpt from the Introduction
Most stories of Jewish modernity have handled the responses of Western Jewry — essentially Ashkenazi Jewry — to the trendy . certainly, so much books of any type at the Jews within the glossy international deal mostly with Ashkenazim. This booklet is meant, like several of my reports, to right in a few degree this imbalance. it really is approximately the various different responses of Sephardi and Oriental Jewry to modernity, in particular a few of their non secular responses. The issues of comparability and distinction to the bigger and extra intensively tested Ashkenazi international are, i feel, now not in simple terms attention-grabbing, yet hugely instructive. For what they express are various versions of recent non secular improvement because of diverse historic reports. mostly, Sephardi and Oriental Jewry made the transition into smooth instances whereas retaining its equilibrium way more extra effectively than had eu Jewish society upon its emergence from the ghetto, and so they have been higher capable of protect a few of their existential moorings. the full modernizing approach used to be total extra slow and not more anxious for jap Jews than it used to be for his or her Ashkenazi brethren or certainly for his or her Muslim associates. even supposing the Westernizing forces of modernity got here to the Sephardi and Oriental Jews basically from with no, the spiritual evolution of those groups built from inside of. Their coming to phrases with the trendy global didn't consistently result in a stark and invidious selection among conventional faith and development as used to be the case for therefore a lot of Ashkenazi Jewry.
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Extra info for Abraham Geiger's Liberal Judaism: Personal Meaning And Religious Authority (Jewish Literature and Culture)
Removed from progressive history, Jews have no true history of their own. ” Jews are a “chimerical” people who retain a ghostly presence outside the very movements of history: Who worked for eighteen hundred years for the education [Bildung] of Europe? . Who had created the Christian and modern art and ¤lled the cities of Europe with eternal monuments? Who had developed the scienti¤c studies [die Wissenschaften]? Who had worked on the theory of state constitutions? One cannot name a single Jew.
At one time the notion of a “people of Israel” (das Volk Israel ) evoked strong national and religious feeling in public worship. ” Better to highlight the idea of a “holy teaching,” Geiger continues, rather than stress the character of a chosen people. ”108 This too distinguishes Geiger’s history of Judaism from Graetz’s history of the Jews. By foregrounding the geistige character of historical memories, Geiger can maintain a strong connection to a past, but one now colored by his modern ethical commitments to religious Judaism rather than by the particular heroes venerated by Graetz’s history.
But to interpret it otherwise permits a Christian sacri¤cial reading. ”118 So Geiger calls the liturgical account of Abraham a ®awed, Christian interpretation of Genesis 22. Defective readings, in this case, damage Geiger’s account of religious Judaism as a moral force. “Here,” Geiger challenges, “there is no compromise! ”119 Geiger seeks to erase from memory all prayers devoted to Abraham’s meritorious sacri¤ce, together with all other sacri¤cial worship. ”120 Geiger’s religious Judaism redraws the historical landscape so that Jewish memory only traverses across spiritual domains.
Abraham Geiger's Liberal Judaism: Personal Meaning And Religious Authority (Jewish Literature and Culture) by Ken Koltun-Fromm