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Jews, the Enlightenment and Religious Toleration Some Reflections


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When pronounced in German, "Juden und Aujkldrung" has a special resonance. It was the German-speaking Jews of Central Europe who transformed the Enlightenment into a cult central to their self-definition. Only they had a "patron saint" such as Moses Mendelssohn who equally personified the "Jews" and the "Aujkldrung" and whose friendship with Lessing supplied an ideal relationship between Christians and Jews; only they created a significant Jewish version of the Aujkldrung in the eighteenth century, the Haskalah} They alone enshrined the Aujkldrung as representing a new era in their history. Elsewhere in Europe it was different. In England the Jews understood the resettlement of the seventeenth century to have incorporated them into the Whig tradition, the unfolding of English liberties since 1688.2 In France the Jews identified with the Revolution of 1789 that had granted them citizenship, and the Napoleonic Sanhedrin that had wedded them to the state. In these historic nations the symbols ofJewish self-representation were primarily political, even if the causes of resettlement and the criteria for integration patently were not. In the politically belated German nation, in contrast, culture could be the foundation for citizenship and politics. It could serve as compensation for an incomplete emancipation, consolation for an imperfect social integration, or a secure anchorage when the social and political waters turned rough. That German Jews relentlessly celebrated the cult of "Juden und Aujkldrung" goes without saying. A few examples of the historic ritual will suffice. The centenary of Mendelssohn's birth in 1829 was commemorated with sermons, articles and books. The preacher and scholar, Leopold Zunz, typically asserted

This article is dedicated to Arnold Paucker, who, as editor of the Year Book, has done so much to encourage young scholars. 'For the phrase "patron saint" see Alexander Altmann, 'Moses Mendelssohn as the Archetypal German Jew', in Jehuda Reinharz and Walter Schatzberg (eds.), The Jewish Response to German Culture. From the Enlightenment to the Second World War, Hanover-London 1985, p. 18. 2 I am indebted to Dr. David Cesarani of the Wiener Library, London, for allowing me to read his unpublished paper, 'Dual Heritage or Duel of Heritages? Englishness and Jewishness in the Heritage Industry'.

religious animosity. toleration. vol.4 David Sorkin of Mendelssohn that: "As a man and a writer. 311. Zionist and Right-wing veterans. Frankfurt a. Schiller and Kant. and the "struggle against intolerance. Orthodox Jews also belonged to the subculture. an die Israeliten Deutschlands gerichtet. Main 1838. reiterated this view: "At the moment Israel has more in common with Schiller's genius than those for whom he wrote. the patriarch of Frankfurt Neo-Orthodoxy.. intellectual oppression". Samson Raphael Hirsch. Gabriel Riesser. 14 (1990). when he is able to comprehend his position and vocation?" Downloaded from http://leobaeck. Enlightenment." 3 In 1838 the lawyer." 6 The 1929 bicentenary of Mendelssohn's and Lessing's birth provided another opportunity. 46 (1905). he was at once teacher and model. political activist and future Vice-President of the Frankfurt Assembly. participating fully in the cult by elevating the triad of Lessing. in 1859 claimed Schiller for Judaism. 6 vols. 736. p. It comes as no surprise that the first play the ostracised Jewish artists who comprised the Jiidischer Kulturbund performed on 1st October 1933 was Lessing's Nathan der Weise. The cause of the Jews inspired Lessing's muse in Nathan der Weise: "Since Judaism had suffered longest and hardest from oppression. identified Lessing with "education of mankind. Gesammelte Schriften. VI. with representatives of all the competing viewpoints weighing in: Reform. Frankfurt a. hatred and persecution. 'Worte gesprochen bei der Schillerfeier. "Whose heart beats louder over the thoughts of freedom. love of mankind. Berlin 1829. Rede gehalten bei der Feier von Moses Mendelssohns hundertjdhrigen Geburtstage. pp. Samson Raphael Hirsch. 131-142. 'Das Bild der Aufklarung bei der deutsch-judischen Orthodoxie'.org/ at University of Toronto Library on July 4. "Are these not Jewish thoughts and perceptions with which he has penetrated the heart of the German people and for which the entire German people rises to offer Schiller its heartfelt jubilation?" 5 In 1905 a lesser Orthodox leader. his friendship with Mendelssohn was a model of moral relations: "Where are we to find a purer and more sublime model than in Lessing's and Mendelssohn's friendship?"4 Such views were not limited to liberals or Reform Jews." And. 6 Der Israelit. the struggle against religious animosity and moral constraint than that of the German Jew. Gabriel Riesser. Orthodox. 5 . appealing to his fellow "Israelites" for contributions to a Lessing memorial. It is also not 3 4 Leopold Z u n z . in Wolfenbutteler Studien zur Aufklarung. p. love of mankind. Raphael Breuer. 2013 But of course Lessing's relationship with the Jews was more intimate still. freedom of conscience". in idem. quoted in Mordechai Breuer. Lessing's muse chose it for the cornerstone of the poetic temple of reconciliation and love of mankind. 1859'. of course. Main 1912.oxfordjournals. Einige Worte u'ber Lessings Denkmal. He then asked.

pp. in Lessing Yearbook. They have taught us. I would like to examine both sides of that relationship before proceeding to one of the less-known points at which the two met. Not the Aufkldrung. p. 14 (1982). in the first place. the University of Halle was founded in 1694. 4 (1932). began to question the cult oV'Juden und Aufkldrung". Yet reception-history and history are not identical. 'Aufklarung und Judenfrage'. to the reception of"Juden und Aufkldrung": it was an essential part of German Jewry's self-understanding. 6577. I Let us look first at the Aufkldrung's relationship to the Jews." 8 Downloaded from http://leobaeck. the Berlin Academy in 1700. in Zeitschriftfor die Geschichte derjuden in Deutschland. and from every Imperial Free City of any importance except Frankfurt. an aid in restoring economic activity and a means to circumvent the Estates. My purpose is to highlight the ambiguities which beset this historical turning point. Historians have revised the subculture's view of that relationship by putting the politics back in. Geburtstag (22. Lessings 200. The rest of the German territories had largely been emptied of Jews. A few dates will be helpful. The same holds for the Jews' relationship to the Aufkldrung. "Jonathan Israel. The cult long obscured the historical reality of the Aufkldrung by making its relationship to the Jews a norm. but a combination of absolutist ambition and mercantilist policy brought significant numbers of Jews back into the German territories. Christian Thomasius's major works began to appear in the 1690s. the "moral weeklies" appeared in force in the 1720s. Yet the Jews were allowed to resettle in Berlin in 1671. Jewish residence since the Middle Ages had survived plague. Oxford 1985. Januar 1929)'. This was an example of mercantilist practice forging ahead of mercantilist theory and law. This return constituted a virtual resettlement. Gottingen in 1736. most notably in the West (centred around Frankfurt a. Main) and the South East.Enlightenment and Religious Toleration 5 surprising that in the 1930s younger intellectuals. persecution and expulsion in only a few areas. the Bavarian Academy in 1759. .1 Such celebration belonged. that the role the Aufkldrung played in altering the Jews' situation was more modest than the subculture would have allowed. The Haskalah has been subsumed to the issues of emancipation and assimilation rather than being studied in its own terms.oxfordjournals. 23. Anhalt-Dessau in 1672. Kurhessen in 1653. of course. Hannah Arendt-Stern. such as Hannah Arendt. "By 1570 the Jews had been cleared from every major German secular territory except Hesse. its subculture. 'Zur Lessing-Rezeption in der deutsch-jiidischen Presse. European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism. the first of Christian Wolffs series of treatises {Vernunftige Gedanken) was published in 1719. at University of Toronto Library on July 4. 43-59. The Aufkldrung in Germany can be dated to the closing decades of the seventeenth century. 2013 Resettlement took place during and after the Thirty Years' War as sovereigns came to regard the Jews as a source of revenue. pp. The Peace of Westphalia had established the toleration 'Elizabeth Petuchowski. A striking example is Brandenburg.

Zur Geschichte der Toleranz und Religionsfreiheit.). Yet they also suffered from numerous disabilities. 12 Heinrich Schnee. p p . Geschichte und System der Hoffaktoren an deutschen Furstenhofen im Zeitalter des Absolutismus. The Schutzjuden were allowed to have families and the retainers they required for their households and businesses. "Walter at University of Toronto Library on July 4.12 The few who enjoyed such benefits — Hoffaktoren. 'Religious Toleration in Germany. Rulers who granted admission to wealthy Jews often exempted them from Jewish law courts by placing them under personal jurisdiction. 1953—1967. It also went beyond mercantilist theory: in Germany and England at the time its major theorists argued that the Jews were a liability. pp. 3. to a Generalpatent that applied to a widow and children. was part of a corporate society in which the ruler granted privileges to groups or individuals on the basis of political and economic expediency. and in 1671 defied the Estates by declaring "that the Jews and their commerce seem not detrimental to us and the country but rather beneficial" and admitted fifty Jewish families recently expelled from Vienna. Historisches Lexicon zurpolitisch- sozialen Sprache in Deutschland. 164-171. in Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century. to full Staatsburgerliche Rechte (in Prussia in the 1790s). In 1662 Friedrich Wilhelm promulgated an edict declaring a "Christian toleration and moderation . Hermann Conrad. l0 Shmuel Ettinger. Brunswick. It also did not entail uniform rights of worship: the Peace of Westphalia had distinguished between at least three forms (public worship. Toleranz und Paritat am Ende des alten Reiches'. even worse.10 The result of such a policy was that from 1648 to the end of the ancien regime the Court Jew became a common figure. 211-212. so that the truth can be sought. Die Hqffinanz und der modeme Staat. 'Religionsbann. 214—215. 115-141. he was often able to establish new Jewish settlements (Berlin. 1761). This toleration did not imply rights. The sorts of privileges granted to them evolved in the course of the eighteenth century: from the original Schutzbrief giving the individual personal. in Scripta Hierosolymitana. Ettinger's examples are William Petty in England and Johann Joachim Becher in Germany. .. . but. This resettlement represented a distinct historical stage in the development of toleration towards Jews. pp. in other words. untransferable privileges. Calvinists and Catholics. Darmstadt 1977. and found. Stuttgart 1990. 'The Beginnings of the Change in the Attitude of European Society Towards the Jews'. Dessau) or to renew old ones (Dresden. to a Generalprivileg which gave the same rights as Christian merchants (Prussia. 9 Downloaded from http://leobaeck. their pride. 201 (1982). VI. in Heinrich Lutz (ed. Leipzig. 1 (1961).l x That expediency prevailed in the admission of Jews is self-evident in the distinctions made between rich and poor. 9 Such practice ofraison d'etat. and not an asset. but not for dissenters. By serving a prince or other sovereign. which taxed their purses. Kassel. 1684—1750'. 2013 Q u o t e d in G e r h a r d Besier. pp. such as personal freedom of religion. of politics independent from religion. in peace". private worship.oxfordjournals. in Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe. was not legally codified until the Wollner decrees of 1788. to a Naturalisationspatent granting citizenship without the right of political participation. vol. Halle). in 1664 he extended tolerantia Ecclesiastica to Protestant sects.6 David Sorkin of private worship for the three recognised religions — Lutherans. merchants — constituted a new mercantile elite. pp. ' T o l e r a n z ' . domestic devotion). 6 vols. vol. . This was toleration the ruler granted by will. Such toleration. 496-497.

This required a different image of the Jews as well as a major reorganisation of state and society (e. But historians have taught us — we now come to the second point about the Aufkldrung — that in this regard the Aufkldrer were ambivalent. The Aufkldrung provided this image by creating a discourse of universal humanity. Der preussische Stoat und die Juden. in LBI Year Book XXXVI (1991). Prussia. Mercantilist policy and raison d'etat dictated that these Betteljuden and Trodeljuden be excluded or. Azriel Shohat. Geschichte des niederenjiidischen Volkes in Deutschland. Gaining the right of residence was often unachievable. The problem was that throughout Europe the enlighteners had grave doubts about the Jews' actual or even potential Tugend. An unmediated relationship between state and subject was one goal of natural rights theory. pp. New York 1968. Lowenstein. Orthodox Jews and Poor Jews in Berlin. Tubingen 1962-1975 (Schriftenreihe wissenschaftlicher Abhandlungen des Leo Baeck Instituts 7.. 8.g. The Aufkldrer envisioned a society of virtuous men rather than a society of believers. indeed fundamentally so. Such encroachment. powers of taxation and the right to admit additional Jews (e. Some 50-60% lived below the level of the guild masters and well over half lived a marginal existence of petty trade. expelled. Here is an example of Aufkldrung in the service of absolutism. unless one was in the employ of the mercantile elite. In other cases the lack of historic privileges and dependence on the ruler made the Jewish community especially vulnerable. This belonged to the states' general effort to reduce corporate institutions in the name of administrative centralisation and fiscal at University of Toronto Library on July 4. 8 vols. then what effect did the Aufkldrung have? At what point did it impinge on the Jews? One early form was intervention by the state in communal autonomy. the poor. Eighteenth-century (though 13 Downloaded from http://leobaeck. Berlin). the most humiliating being the Leibzoll. which increasingly integrated the Jews into the mechanisms of the all-pervasive bureaucratic state. 24 and 32). . 14 Such administrative integration was necessary. though they might be that as well. In some cases the original settlement privileges limited legal jurisdiction. Jerusalem 1960. 'Two Silent Minorities. as in the case of Prussia in 1750. Yet such administrative integration remained compatible with the Polizeistaat that also discriminated against the Jews. a transit tax otherwise applicable only to cattle. Im Hilufei Tekufot. since it was a prerequisite for the realisation of individual rights. 1809. 13 If raison d'etat and mercantilism brought the Jews back to the Germanies and determined their legal status. 1812). It has been estimated that in 1750 there were 60. 1770-1823'. And even those who found domicile in a village or rural hamlet often struggled to eke out a living because of occupational restrictions and other disabilities. 3-26. They were torn by conflicting images of the Jews. 2013 Much work needs to be done on the Jewish poor in the eighteenth century. can also be seen as an outgrowth of Aufkldrung political ideals. Baden.oxfordjournals. begging and thievery. Virtue was to take the place of belief as the criterion of admission. 14 Selma Stern.Enlightenment and Religious Toleration 7 Those who suffered most from such disabilities were.g. Jewish communal autonomy was an easy target. of course.000 Jews in the areas that were to constitute Imperial Germany. but not sufficient to bring about the next stage in toleration — emancipation. and see now Steven M. The idea of universal humanity presumed a universal morality. See Rudolf Glanz.000—70.

26 (1963). Around mid-century the elements began to appear that made possible an argument for toleration. xnjahrbuch des Instituts fur deutsche Geschichte. irremediable corruption. This was evident in France. by extension. superstition and. where Montesquieu's positive image based on raison d'etat clashed sharply with that of Diderot. ). cit. with our contempt and cunning violence. 5. these writers and others began to promote the environmentalist argument that the Jews' faults . pp. who saw the Jews as personifications of clericalism. in Stephane Moses and Albrecht Schone (eds. 15 . and eventually emancipation.8 David Sorkin not earlier) proponents of economic utility had joined Protestant philosemites enamoured of the Bible in propagating a favourable image. As a result. Jahrhunderts'.17 The consequence of this ambivalence is that toleration and emancipation were made contingent upon regeneration. 13-47. 16 Jacob Toury. Dohm vigorously Ettinger. featured a Russian Jew who proved: "that there are pure hearts even among that people which seems least likely to have them" Downloaded from http://leobaeck. 'Idealisierung und Vorurteil. Leben der Schwedischen Grqfin. Frankfurt a.oxfordjournals. we did not make them abject and deceitful in their transactions. This comes to the fore in Christian Wilhelm D o h m ' s Uber die biirgerliche Verbesserung der Juden (1781)." Yet in a letter Gellert could write of an old Jew he had just seen: "an old worthy Jew. if such exists". These arguments had crystallised and were widely circulated by the 1770s. Tel-Aviv 1976. Zur Figur des "edlen Juden" in der deutschen Literatur des at University of Toronto Library on July 4. Writers such as Christian Gellert and Lessing devised the figure of the "edler Jude" who established the claim. to Jewish virtue. Christian Gellert's 1746 novel.15 This issue of morality was at the heart of the German Aufkldrung's attitude to the Jews. 2013 and in addition to that: "Perhaps many of these people would have better hearts if. especially in the case of Voltaire. Gellert's "edler Jude" was a literary construct. the Aujkldrung transmuted the inherited Christian notion of the Jews' theological inferiority into a secular notion of moral inferiority. 'Die Behandlung jiidischer Problematik in der Tagesliteratur der Aufklarung (bis 1783)'. 114-126. Meyer. D'Holbach and Voltaire. at least in theory.. But opponents of established religion used the Jews as a stick to beat the Church: from the English deists onwards the immorality of the Old Testament and. and did not through our ideas often force them to hate our religion. 'The Beginnings of the Change'. New York 1970. 'The Attitude of the Enlightenment Towards the Jews'.16 Yet the fundamental ambivalence remained. of contemporary Jews. 17 Jiirgen Stenzel. In addition. loc. was used to excoriate Christianity. Paul H. Main obvious among the poor — were the result of discrimination and disabilities rather than of national character or religion. Arthur Hertzberg. The French Enlightenment and the Jews. Juden in der deutschen Literatur. Cameralists recognised the Jews' economic utility. in Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century. To take one example. pp.

^Isaac Barzilay. it bedevilled Germans and German-Jews from the Aufkldrung until the bitter end. 'Dohm's Treatise on the Jews. Nor did the states follow Dohm. Berlin-Stettin 1781— 1783. For Dohm see Robert Liberles. occupations and religion. The French Enlightenment and the Jews. The Jews' regeneration was consequently a public issue. 2 vols. And its companion piece was. What about "Juderi"? Here I would like to focus on the Jewish version of the Aufkldrung. The Haskalah Christian Wilhelm Dohm. of course." The Jews were debased as a result of disabilities and at University of Toronto Library on July 4. the Haskalah. "The Jew is more man than Jew. 28. Most Aujkldrer thought emancipation should be a step-by-step exchange. It is associated with such figures as Moses Mendelssohn. It was debated in the first half of the nineteenth century in respect to emancipation. Uber die biirgerliche Verbesserung derjuden. 1. l8 . They lacked the conviction unconditionally to treat them as such.oxfordjournals. the more energetic the celebration of the cult. "Biirgerliche Verbesserung" thus meant regeneration as well as an improvement of civil status. pp. Jewish emancipation became an incremental process of regeneration under state tutelage. Most historians regard it as an effort "to return the Jews to the world of reality" — a campaign of reform in imitation of the Aufkldrung designed to gain emancipation. p. 29-42. p. the German-Jewish cult of the Aufkldrung: the more virulent the debate. Others did not share this view. But I think we should not shrink from acknowledging the Aufkldrung's ambivalence and its consequences. A Defence of the Enlightenment'. once these were removed they would improve. cit. op. Its best known literary creations were the Hebrew journal Hame'asef Wessely's educational manifesto Words of Peace and Truth (Divrei Shalom ve-Emei) and Mendelssohn's German translation of the Bible (printed in Hebrew script) with a Hebrew commentary known as the Biur\ its best known institution was the Berlin Freischule (1778). vol.Enlightenment and Religious Toleration 9 18 propounded the environmental argument. From Dohm onwards emancipation came to be conceived as a contract in which rights were predicated upon a regeneration encompassing education. 25 (1956). Dohm had the political sagacity to see that rights had to come first: only the ennobling conditions of freedom could transform the oppressed.19 This claim is exaggerated. 19 Hertzberg. The Haskalah is generally dated from the 1770s. in Proceedings of the American Academy of Jewish Research. One historian has argued in the case of France that the Enlightenment's presumption to reshape the Jews was the source of modern antisemitism. The Aujkldrer had the courage to see the Jews as men. 'The Ideology of the Berlin Haskalah'.. 2013 II So much for the Aufkldrung. In other words. in LBI Year Book XXXIII (1988). Downloaded from http://leobaeck. Yet the concern with emancipation came only in the 1770s and 1780s. in the last third of the century and during the Weimar Republic in terms of the "Judenfrage". I. Naphtali Herz Wessely and David Friedlander. 20 This view makes the Haskalah primarily a response to external developments.

Mendelssohn also made a plea for Hebrew. 1650-1750. and included vernacular languages. showing it to be equal to other languages by Downloaded from http://leobaeck. pp. The Haskalah was not an attack on tradition. exegetical works that argued the indispensability of science and mathematics for a correct understanding of Bible and Talmud. For Hebrew publishing see Menahem Schmelzer. Its weaknesses were the method of Talmud study — a casuistry often at odds with literal meaning — its neglect of Hebrew. science and at University of Toronto Library on July 4. For the influence of the Sephardim see Ismar Schorsch. The German Haskalah and Reform Catholicism'. the Bible and the Jewish philosophical tradition and its cultural insularity manifest in a disdain of foreign languages and science. 'From Context to Comparison. in LBI Year Book XXXIV (1989). was republished for the first time in almost two centuries. For early maskilic figures see Steven and Henry Schwarzschild. 2013 21 1 have discussed these at length in. Complementing these critics were admirers of the Sephardic Jewish schools. kabbalistic ideas. The articles embraced the Aufkldrung's ideal of the "virtuous" man who was committed to religious-metaphysical truth and the fulfilment of ethical obligations.let us call it baroque Judaism . Modelled on the "moralische Wochenschriften". preferred the literal to the casuistic study of Talmud.and like any other. in LBI Year Book XXIX (1984). which systematically taught the Bible and the Hebrew language. 'The Myth of Sephardic Supremacy'. Raphael Levi Hannover and Moses Abraham WolfF. in LBI Year Book XXXIII (1988). It emerged from a number of David Sorkin began instead as an indigenous effort to renew Judaism. 369-383. XX (1991). study aids for medieval Jewish philosophy. and especially the predominance of casuistry in the study of Talmud. 229-276. pp. . 23-58. works of various sorts appeared that contributed to a different vision of Judaism: Hebrew dictionaries and grammars. In the first half of the eighteenth century. There was a line of pedagogical critics from the late sixteenth century deeply dissatisfied with the curriculum of the schools. On Jewish Book Culture and the Emergence of Modern Jewry'. it presented a fresh reading of biblical. but instead an attempt to revise baroque Judaism. pp. 47-53. In 1742 Maimonides's Guideforthe Perplexed.e. rabbinic and medieval philosophical texts.21 One work at mid-century perhaps gives a sense of what the Haskalah represented and how contact with the Aujkldrung influenced it. 'Hebrew Printing and Publishing in Germany. It was a particular interpretation of the tradition . pp. popular manuals of science in Hebrew.oxfordjournals. Its strength was its single-minded concentration on the study of Talmud and law. one of the central texts of medieval Jewish philosophy. or "traditional". This was not so. which were explicated with the categories of Christian Wolffs philosophy. had its strengths and weaknesses. 'Two Lives in the Jewish Friihaufklarung. in Tel-Aviver Jahrbuchjiir deutsche Geschichte.. In 1755 Moses Mendelssohn issued a few numbers of a Hebrew journal. the Preacher of Morals (Kohelet Musar). only later did it become an effort to reform the Jews. Historians have a tendency to treat the Judaism of early modern Europe as timeless. which it often supported with mystical i. contact with the Aujkldrung helped give it shape.

The Haskalah was a new means of expounding Judaism that was entirely within the boundaries of authority and piety. a reasonable understanding ofJudaism consisting of the study of Hebrew language. Joseph IPs Toleranzpatent legislated compulsory education for Jewish children including secular subjects. and calls by some radical thinkers (e. the 1790s bound it to assimilation. both of which aspired to replace scholasticism with a reasonable reading of their respective religion that utilised the new science (Newton) and philosophy (Wolff). however. In subsequent years these same rabbis criticised Mendelssohn's Biur (one claimed the difficult German made Hebrew "a maidservant to German") as well as the Freischule. but also secular ones such as languages and arithmetic. The educational issues it addressed to renew Judaism were now enlisted to reform the Jews. founded in 1778. Lax or lapsed observance among the wealthy. science and philosophy) with the best of the rationalist tradition of Judaism (medieval philosophy.22 11 English verse (Edward Young's Night The Haskalah's alternative to baroque Judaism was. primarily in the form of science and Wolffian philosophy. whose press (Die orientalische Buchdruckerei) was placed under a ban. including apostasy and intermarriage among the young. and an end to cultural insularity through the study of languages. Some things escaped this politicisation. If the 1770s and 1780s bound the Haskalah to emancipation.oxfordjournals. The 1770s and 1780s brought a major change by inextricably binding the Haskalah to emancipation. As an effort at intellectual renewal it had much in common with the Protestant theologische Aufkldrung or Reform Catholicism. Kohelet Musar le-Mendelssohn al Reka Tekufato. politicised the Haskalah.g. The public discussion culminating in Dohm's tract. grammar and the Bible. 2013 Meir Gilon. Hebrew. . becoming associated 22 Downloaded from http://leobaeck. Lazarus Ben-David.all these now became identified with the Haskalah. at least to start with. Wessely tried to support Joseph II by showing that such a reform did not threaten Judaism but promised to enhance it: he thought that if such changes were introduced in the spirit of Haskalah they could both renew Judaism and transform the Jews. then. making the Bible accessible by linking the best of contemporary knowledge (aesthetics and Bible study. Wessely's pamphlet drew criticism from influential rabbis. philosophical exegesis and grammar). a disfiguration.Enlightenment and Religious Toleration translating some contemporary Thoughts). Saul Ascher) for an abrogation of the law because it was an insurmountable obstacle to emancipation . a revival of medieval philosophy and philosophical exegesis. taught the children of the poor in the spirit of the Haskalah. The Haskalah was not alone in suffering such a fate. Wesseley's Words of Peace and Truth (1782) caught the full force of controversy. These were. science and at University of Toronto Library on July 4. as well as Joseph IPs Toleranzpatent. Reform Catholicism and the theologische Aufkldrung were also politicised during the Spdtaufkldrung. Talmud). offering Jewish subjects (Bible. The Berlin Freischule. The Enlightenment also had its place. Mendelssohn's Bible translation and commentary epitomised the Haskalah's ideal of a reasonable Judaism. Jerusalem 1979. a literal construction of the Talmud.

This was neither simple nor painless. irenicists. some princes extended toleration in the latter half of the seventeenth century.g. 'Religious Toleration in Germany'. London 1967. as we have seen. loc. Ernst Wolff. 24 Henry Kamen. cit.. 'Toleranz nach evangelischer Verstandnis'. The Rise of Toleration. 135-154. whether in the interpretation of central beliefs (e. The facts show otherwise. the Hamburg pastor made infamous by his polemics.).. One can see this in the case of a prominent opponent of toleration. In general. 'From Context to Comparison'. humanists. Justifying toleration required major theological adjustments. especially with Lessing. 'Isaac Satanow. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the idea of toleration had been the preserve of heterodox sects. proponents of raison d'etat or early enlighteners. revelation) or in the understanding of Church or synagogue as an institution. 81-99. loc. This was in advance of the provisions of the Peace of Westphalia and made civic toleration and the privilege of private worship moot points.. 25 Grossmann.12 David Sorkin with ideas and policies that were hardly in keeping with their origins. loc. The nineteenth century shrouded this issue in myth. cit. For the Maskilim and the Talmud see Moshe Pelli. secular practice preceded religious theory. 'Religionsbann. Protestant theologische Aufkldrer. in LBI Year Book XXVII (1982). 'The Attitude of the First Maskilim in Germany towards the Talmud'. that members of other faiths might be sincere and moral. p p . cit. Toleranz und Paritat'. Since this understanding established an absolute truth in which belief was paramount. "Only those who are righteous in Christ Jesus have a sincere heart in its authentic and full sense. Johann Melchior Goeze. In the Protestant case. Goeze accepted. 243-260. For a moderate Maskil see Nehama Rezler-Bersohn. 23 When Protestant theologians debated the issue in the eighteenth century they were concerned with dogmatic toleration and full civic equality linked to the right of public worship. pp." 23 Downloaded from http://leobaeck. for example. cit. Reform Catholics and Jewish maskilim all made these alterations by reconciling the language of natural right and reason with belief. pp. it was inherently intolerant. Kulturprotestantismus assigned Catholics an eternal monopoly on at University of Toronto Library on July 4.24 In eighteenth-century Germany all three religions had to learn toleration. Catholics accused Protestants of religious indifference. The debate turned on the understanding of revelation. 23 Ill One little known point at which Aufkldrung and Haskalah met was the attitude of the established religions to toleration. 2013 Sorkin.oxfordjournals. Zur Geschichte der Toleranz und Religionsfreiheit. An Epitome of an Era'. The Haskalah was an indigenous effort at religious renewal that was influenced by the Aufkldrung and diverted by emancipation. op. in Lutz (ed. in LBI Year Book XXV (1980). dogma dictating ethics. Conrad. He construed the Lutheran concept of revelation as an exclusive claim to the entire life of the believer. German Jews asserted that Judaism had always been tolerant. yet true Lutheran belief in Christ was the only guarantee. .

3—4 (1961—1962). Using ideas of natural law and contract theory he argued that the Church was a free society of equal members. 28 Mosheim's interpretation of scripture and his view of the Church turned the claim of revelation into a demand for toleration. 1787-1789'. 2013 Yet he understood this to have been the work of Jesus and the Apostles. 26 Harald Schultze. Johann Melchior Goeze in seiner Auseinandersetzung mit der Theologie der Aufklarung'. 44 (1973). The state should tolerate all who were obedient and productive. Although Protestants continued the debate till the end of the century. opposing the construction of a church. formal heretics) or were they inculpable since they acted from "invincible ignorance" (i. it also legitimised reforms within the Church. p. 67-86. Yet he rejected the right of public worship to Calvinists in Hamburg.oxfordjournals. It was distinguished from other societies merely by its divine purposes. p . 57.Enlightenment and Religious Toleration 13 Goeze agreed that the State must grant freedom of conscience and civil toleration. material heretics)? The second was the status of the Church: was it the "sole church of salvation" or was salvation to be had elsewhere? Most Reform Catholic theologians addressed the status of the believer. 478. for example.. church historian and Professor of Theology at Tubingen. ^ B i s h o p Herberstein. At the same time. "A sacred society is distinguished from others not by its character and disposition but only by its object. 'Toleranz und Orthodoxie. that "since each individual has the inherent right to adhere to that religious group which. . such views were well-formulated by mid-century. 197-219. inNeueZeitschriftfirsystematische Theologie. H e l m s t a d t 1760. He also urged brotherly love between members of different confessions."27 Downloaded from http://leobaeck.e. They used natural rights theory to advocate civil toleration by arguing that freedom of conscience and individual rights were not to be violated since they were quintessentially Christian. 30 God alone had the right to examine the individual's conscience. ^Ernst Heinen. in Jahrbuch des kolnischen Geschichtsvereins. Mosheim was a proponent of the "collegialist" theory of church law which made the Enlightenment's regard for individual freedom and autonomous reason integral to Christianity and the Church. appears to him to be the true one". 261. 21 26 Allgemeines Kirchenrecht der Protestanten. Hirtenbrief an die Geistlichkeit und an das Volk der laybachischen Dioces von dem Bischofe zu Laybach [no place] 1782. Freedom of conscience and toleration were the "clearest and most distinct injunctions of Christ and the Apostles". pp. 29 There were two major theoretical obstacles to Catholic toleration. Bishop Herberstein of Laibach argued in a pastoral letter of 1782.e. 26 Among those who made the theological argument for toleration was Johann Lorenz von Mosheim. p . and were to reverberate among Catholics and Jews. after conscientious examination. Ibid. Catholic theory also followed Catholic practice. pp. though a generation or more after the Protestants. 'Der Kolner Toleranzstreit. The debate became serious in the 1780s with Joseph IPs Toleranzpatent and such incidents as the Kolner Toleranzstreit (1787—1789) .org/ at University of Toronto Library on July 4. The first was the status of the believer: were non-Catholics wilful disbelievers who deserved punishment (i.

g. Schreiben eines osterreichischen Pfarrers uber die Toleranz nach den Grundsatzen der katholischen Kirche. 62. including false religious relations.. pp. The Haskalah addressed toleration tangentially. 34 Only a handful of extreme rationalists within Reform Catholicism grappled with the more formidable obstacle of the status of the Church or dogmatic toleration. 'Die kirchliche Aufklarung bei den Benediktinern der Abtei Banz im Spiegel ihrer von 1772-1798 herausgegebenen Zeitschriften'. Natural law informs the State. 10. but conversion was still to be sought. 235-236. Graz at University of Toronto Library on July 4.. theft. Toleration in Judaism turned on the concept of the "sons of Noah" (Genesis 11:16). murder. Professor of Canon Law at Graz. Some argued that the Church must renounce its claim to infallibility. 33 M Franz Xavier Gmeiner." Moreover: "only he who gladly tolerates all men. V i e n n a 1782. Kirchenrecht. they are so holy that revelation not only cannot abolish them. Those who observed six prohibitions (idolatry. Herberstein. op. it would be a violation of natural right were religious differences to impinge on civil status. 35 36 For the case of Eulogius Schneider see Wilhelm Forster. M a i n 1791. Frankfurt a. adultery. blasphemy. Kritische Geschichte der kirchlichen Unfehlbarkeit. emancipation made it an issue. which the Church supports in promoting security and felicity (Gliickseligkeit). giving it powers over its members. were the most effective means. Another argument for civil toleration was made by Catholic professors of canon law who used "collegialist theory". 165.35 Others suggested that the Church relinquish its claim to a monopoly on salvation and cease trying to convert nonbelievers. the ban. The main line of Reform Catholic thinking was to justify civil toleration by altering the believer's status. Revelation transformed this free society. p p . . Ibid. asserted the harmony of natural law and revelation. 2nd edn. rather than to abolish it. e. The heretic deserved love in imitation of God's love for his creatures. tit. is a good Catholic". "The laws of natural right are immutable and incapable of change. eating the flesh of a living animal) as well as having a 31 32 M a r c A n t o n Wittola. 5-6. Toleration is in the gift of the sovereign and should be granted so long as it is not injurious to society. be based on natural law by being constituted as a free society of men. p . acknowledge that it was a human institution. Felix A n t o n Blau. The heresy was to be corrected and indeed "love. the lowest form of love. 2013 The Church must. Franz Xavier Gmeiner. indeed. grant doctrinal freedom to its adherents and tolerate those outside it. but in fact must confirm them. 64 (1952).. p p . . Yet this did not preclude toleration. 176177.36 Such radical views made little headway. following the example of Jesus. in Studien und Mitteilungen zur Geschichte des Benediktiner-Ordens und seiner Zweige. meekness and virtue". Yet Gmeiner used collegial theory to justify compulsion within the Church. .14 David Sorkin Such an argument from natural right was perfectly compatible with the religious one that distinguished the heresy from the heretic.oxfordjournals. p. 32 All compulsion was to be avoided. which is essential to its preservation." 33 Downloaded from http://leobaeck. In addition. Hirtenbrief. As the neo-Jansenist Marc Wittola put it: "Tolerance is . as well as justifying hierarchy. vol. therefore. 31 Yet love of the heretic did not imply acceptance of the heresy.

41 That was. For much of the Middle Ages Christians were not. They were thought to be idolaters because of the doctrine of the Trinity. Muslims had long been considered sons of Noah. 2013 . He asserted that Judaism and Christianity were fundamentally similar religions of revelation and that Christianity and Islam were God's chosen instruments to eradicate idolatry and disseminate belief. by Fritz Bamberger et al. 37 In the mid-eighteenth century Rabbi Jacob Emden of Altona argued against this view. On the basis of natural law he argued for a strict separation of Church and State. Wessely's educational concerns brought him to a new understanding of the Noahide laws. ^Blu Greenberg. Reform Catholics and Protestant theologische Aujkldrer shared the ambivalence of their secular counterparts when it came to the Jews. Jacob Katz. 3 (1978). a "mutual toleration" largely among Protestants. ed. VIII. Catholics because of their seditious loyalty to Rome. Although his view was innovative. qualified as "sons of Noah" and were to be tolerated in this world and granted a place in the world to come. The Views of an Enlightened Traditionalist on Christianity'. however. Toronto 1983. 'Rabbi Jacob Emden. The doubts of the Aujkldrer about the Jews extended to Judaism: was Judaism a tolerant religion? If not. vol. which the sovereign granted at will and could revoke. *°Moses Mendelssohn's Gesammelte Schriften. pp. 37 Downloaded from http://leobaeck. in Judaism. 'Divrei Shalom ve-Emet'. A Letter Concerning Toleration. 41 John Locke. 2nd edn. The toleration advocated by influential members of the three faiths in Germany was similarly imperfect. The Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism. in Mikhtavim at University of Toronto Library on July 4. Such a Judaism was tolerant and compatible with a multi-religious society. David Novak. 27. He excluded atheists because there could be no morality without God. Jewish Gentile Relations in Medieval and Modern Times.. pp. 19 vols. 159-164. London 1689.. All denied atheists toleration.39 Moses Mendelssohn took Wessely's argument a step further. Exclusiveness and Tolerance. Yet Mendelssohn went further still: he posited that Judaism made no claim to "an exclusive revelation of eternal truths that are indispensable to salvation". could Jews be emancipated? The first Maskil to use natural law was Naphtali Herz Wessely. Jubila'umsausgabe. He identified them with the secular knowledge he wanted Jews to acquire (the "teaching of man" or "human law"). 39 Naphtali Herz Wessely. No.Enlightenment and Religious Toleration 15 legal system to enforce them. 351-363. All who possessed it were sons of Noah and deserving of toleration. Reform Catholics relegated Jews to a separate category of "gratuitous toleration" (tolerantia gratiosa).. Stuttgart 1971ff. Christians thus qualified as sons of Noah. his argument rested exclusively on internal categories. New York 1969. In his famous Letter Concerning Toleration John Locke had called "mutual toleration" the "Characteristical Mark of the True Church". In addition. Using collegial theory he envisaged Judaism as a free society of equal members exercising solely the power of admonition and persuasion. Vienna 1827..38 The emancipation debate politicised these ideas.oxfordjournals. Such knowledge was universally accessible to reason and the basis of society and moral order. 40 He designated Judaism a "divine legislation" (and not a "revealed religion") whose truths were constantly represented to its adherents through their observance of the commandments.

The Haskalah began as an effort at religious at University of Toronto Library on July 4. The Aufkldrer advocated emancipation of the Jews. on the 15th July 1991. Catholics and Jews. at the invitation of the C. Members of all religions who opposed toleration feared that it entailed indifference. yet it was imperfect.H. History requires a palette of many colours and tones. These ambiguities are worth bearing in mind. Mosheim. By reconciling faith and natural law they were able to speak a language of toleration common to believing Protestants.16 David Sorkin Theological Aufkldrer made toleration conditional on regeneration. The established religions advocated toleration without relativising faith. yet emancipation diverted it into social reform. . Yet to stress such imperfections is to miss the point. Downloaded from http://leobaeck. Miinchen. The events of the twentieth century have threatened to vilify it. scepticism or the relativising of belief and revelation. "Juden und Aufkldrung" did mark a turning point in the relationship between Jews and European society. Beck Verlag and the University. Through its cult the German-Jewish subculture attempted to idealise "Juden und Aufkldrung". but like all historical events of importance. 2013 CONCLUSION I have concentrated on the ambiguities o{ "Juden und Aufkldrung".oxfordjournals. The true significance of these arguments was their ability to embrace toleration without relativising faith. 42 2 An abbreviated German version of this essay was given at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat. Gmeiner and Mendelssohn showed that this was not the case. yet made it conditional. it cannot be painted in terms of either black or white.