10204 Jews in an Era of Transition 1

Credits: 6 intermediate credits in Modern History of the Jewish People

Prerequisites: none

Authors: Yaron Tsur, Henry Wasserman

This course addresses the relations between Jewish life in modern times and the religious, social and cultural conditions of Jews in the pre-modern period. Rather than survey the history of the Jews in the modern era, the course sets out to examine the changes which took place in Jewish society and culture during this period. The first part of the course traces the basis of Jewish existence before the era of transition, and the second part relates to the critical changes that took place during the 18th and 19th centuries. The materials include The French Revolution and the Jews, by M. Graetz (Mosad Bialik, 1989) and The Pillar of Salt, by A. Memmi (Am Oved, 1960).

Topics: Introduction: The meaning of “modern times”; The “old world”: Jews and the Jewish community in gentile surroundings; At the dawn of “modern times”: The position of Jews in the modern state, The Jewish image and anti-Semitism; “Modern times”: First rifts of modernity – adopting foreign values, Breaking down barriers – the French Revolution and the Jews; From tradition to orthodoxy; Transition in literature – Joseph Perl, Albert Memmi, “Modern times” in historiographic research.


1This course is also offered in Russian (42132). Its description is available on the Russian-language website of the Open University (http://www-r.openu.ac.il/).

Parts of this course are available in English translation. A Spanish translation of the course is also available. Interested students may read the course material in Spanish but must do the assignments and take the examination in Hebrew.

There is some overlap in the content of this and other courses. For details, see Overlapping Courses.