From Text to Context: The Turn to History in Modern Judaism

Ismar Schorsch

"From Text to Context: The Turn to History in Modern Judaism" Book cover with painting of 12 Jewish men, some seated some standing, many with beards, and one standing by a lectern wearing a prayer shawl, chanting from a book.

Essays examining the emergence of Jewish scholarship during the period 1818 to 1919, concentrating on the Wissenschaft des Judentums movement.

"Wissenschaft reflected all the dilemmas that faced German Jews in the age of emancipation, and the sensitive reconstruction of the tensions within Jewish scholarly practice in 19th-century Germany is one of the great strengths of Schorsch's book…this is a learned, insightful and diverting study of the troubled encounter with history that accompanied the Jewish transition to modernity." —Times Literary Supplement

"The essays are a joy to read. Schorsch's style is clear and his erudition is vast: not only is he thoroughly familiar with the writings of these pioneer historians, but he has also combed the archives for their surviving correspondence, enabling us to follow the careers of these men both as scholars and as human beings." — Midstream

"The most comprehensive and insightful volume on the subject so far. And more . . . Schorsch has been instrumental in preserving and updating the German-Jewish heritage." — Contemporary Jewry

"This very stimulating work studies the way in which historical awareness developed among the Jewish people and how this awareness of Wissenschaft (scientific study of Judaism) has affected their life, thought, and religion. Schorsch cuts a wide swath."—Choice

About the Author

Ismar Schorsch is chancellor emeritus of The Jewish Theological Seminary and Rabbi Herman Abramovitz Distinguished Service Professor of Jewish History. His most recent book Leopold Zunz: Creativity in Adversity was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2017.