Speaker: Shmuel Feiner, Professor of Jewish History, Bar-Ilan University; Chair, The Historical Society of Israel
Chair: Derek J. Penslar, William Lee Frost Professor of Jewish History, Harvard University; CES Resident Faculty & Seminar Chair, Harvard University
The 18th century was the first modern century in Jewish history. The deep changes that took place over its course shaped the following generations, and many of its voices still reverberate today.
The twisting and fascinating biography of the 18th century from the viewpoint of the Jews of Europe emerges from paying careful attention to individual life stories, to bright and dark experiences, to voices of protest, and to aspirations for reform and personal and general happiness. This is the main idea of the book, The Jewish Eighteenth-Century: A European Biography, 1700-1750.
In this talk, Shmuel Feiner will highlight the effect of earlier developments in the 18th century on the tumultuous year of 1782. If we conceive of modern Jewish culture as a chessboard, by 1782 most of the pieces were laid out on the board, but trends that had emerged decades earlier now matured and developed. In 1782 the various labels, boundaries between factions, and the topics that ignited controversy and strife in Jewish society emerged with greater focus and clarity.
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