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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Developing a philosophy of Judaism: the fortunes of an enterprise

by Ben Elton

Leopold Zunz (1794-1886) famously remarked that the Jewish Middle Ages did not come to an end until the French Revolution. He was making the important point that a state or religion does not become modern simply because it is exists in modern times. To be modern it must engage with modernity. The French Revolution facilitated that engagement by setting in train events that would lead to the tearing down of the ghetto walls, and with them the intellectual walls that some hoped would keep modernity at bay.