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The Haskalah Movement in Russia   By:

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THE HASKALAH MOVEMENT IN RUSSIA

by

JACOB S. RAISIN, PH.D., D.D.

Author of Sect, Creed and Custom in Judaism , etc.

Philadelphia The Jewish Publication Society of America

1913

And the "Maskilim" shall shine As the brightness of the firmament ... Many shall run to and fro, And knowledge shall be increased . Dan. xii. 3 4

[Illustration: TOBIAS COHN 1652 1759 FROM THE FRONTISPIECE OF HIS MA'ASEH TOBIAH]

TO AARON S. RAISIN

Your name, dear father, will not be found in the following pages, for, like "the waters of the Siloam that run softly," you ever preferred to pursue your useful course in unassuming silence. Yet, as it is your life, devoted entirely to meditating, learning, and teaching, that inspired me in my effort, I dedicate this book to you; and I am happy to know that I thus not only dedicate it to one of the noblest of Maskilim, but at the same time offer you some slight token of the esteem and affection felt for you by

Your Son,

JACOB S. RAISIN

CONTENTS

PREFACE 11

CHAPTER I. THE PRE HASKALAH PERIOD 17

CHAPTER II. THE PERIOD OF TRANSITION 53

CHAPTER III. THE DAWN OF HASKALAH 110

CHAPTER IV. CONFLICTS AND CONQUESTS 162

CHAPTER V. RUSSIFICATION, REFORMATION, AND ASSIMILATION 222

CHAPTER VI. THE AWAKENING 268

NOTES 305

BIBLIOGRAPHY 331

INDEX 339

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

TOBIAS COHN (1652 1759) Frontispiece

ISAAC BÄR LEVINSOHN (1788 1860) facing page 64

MAX LILIENTHAL (1815 1882) " " 120

ALEXANDER ZEDERBAUM (1816 1893) " " 175

PEREZ BEN MOSHEH SMOLENSKIN (1842 1885) " " 220

MOSES LÖB LILIENBLUM (1843 1910) " " 280

PREFACE

To the lover of mankind the history of the Russo Jewish renaissance is an encouraging and inspiring phenomenon. Seldom has a people made such rapid strides forward as the Russian Jews. From the melancholy regularity that marked their existence a little more than two generations ago, from the darkness of the Middle Ages in which they were steeped until the time of Alexander II, they emerged suddenly into the life and light of the West, and some of the most intrepid devotees of latter day culture, both in Europe and in America, have come from among them. Destitute of everything that makes for enlightenment, and under the dominion of a Government which sought to extinguish the few rushlights that scattered the shadows around them, they nevertheless snatched victory from defeat, sloughed off medieval superstition, and, disregarding the Dejanira shirt of modern disabilities, compelled their countrymen to admit more than once that

Tho' I've belted you and flayed you, By the livin' Gawd that made you, You're a better man than I am!

Similar movements were started in Germany during the latter part of the eighteenth century, and in Austria, notably Galicia, at the beginning of the nineteenth, but none stirred the mind of the Jews to the same degree as the Haskalah movement in Russia during the last fifty years. In the former, the removal of restrictions soon rendered attempts toward self emancipation unnecessary on the part of Jews, and the few Maskilim among them, satisfied with the present, devoted themselves to investigating and elucidating the past of their people's history. In Russia the past was all but forgotten on account of the immediate duties of the present. The energy and acquisitiveness that made the Jews of happier and more prosperous lands prominent in every sphere of practical life, were directed toward the realm of thought, and the merciless severity with which the Government excluded them from the enjoyment of things material only increased their ardor for things spiritual and intellectual... Continue reading book >>




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