Religion, Nationalism and Universalism in Modern Judaism
The Enlightenment movement, Emancipation and secularism enforced Jewish thinkers to deal with the question of the essence of Judaism and the ways to shape modern Judaism. Along the 19th and 20th centuries, we find thinkers who identify the very essence of Judaism with the congruence between the uniqueness of Judaism as the religion of the "chosen people" and universal ideas. Some of those thinkers strived for Jews' integration with the general culture and society while others put attention on the uniqueness of the Jews as national-ethnic group and on Judaism as national culture. In the course of the seminar we will examine the role and the status of the religious, national and universal ideas in the process of reshaping and re-interpreting Jewish religion. The central thinker with which the seminar will deal by critical reading are Krochmal Nachman, Hess Moses, Hirsh Samson Raphael, Cohen Hermann, A.D. Gordon and M.M. Buber.