Professor Marc Saperstein
A survey of major events and trends in the history of the Jewish people from the eighteenth century to 1948. Central themes include the impact of Enlightenment and the struggle for Emancipation, new religious expressions of Judaism, modern antisemitism and the Holocaust, Zionism, and the American experience. Focus will be on the analysis of primary sources.
Paul Mendes-Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz, editors, The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History. Oxford, 1995 paperback. (List $48.95, Amazon from $41.95).
This text should be brought to each meeting of the course.
Howard Sachar, The Course of Modern Jewish History. New Revised edition (August 1990). Vintage Books. (List $24.00, Amazon $16.80).
In addition, each student must purchase one of the following recently published books and prepare an oral report on it during the appropriate session, comparing the treatment of the subject matter with that in the Sachar text. This will then be used for the final paper (see below). Only one student may report on each book. Any student interested in one of the first two reports (both very recent, publications, both finalists in the Koret Foundation book prize in the Jewish History category) who wants to get a head start and begin reading before the course starts may e-mail me to get approval: email@example.com).
Shmuel Feiner, The Jewish Enlightenment (report #1, May 4) (U of Penn Press, $45.00).
Ronald Schechter, Obstinate Hebrews: Representations of Jews in France, 1715- 1815 (report #2, May 6) (U of California Press, Amazon from $44.40)
David Sorkin, The Transformation of German Jewry, 1780- 1840 (report #3, May 11)
(Wayne State U Press, paperback, $19.95)
Paul Lawrence Rose, Wagner, Race and Revolution (report #4, May 13) (Yale U Press, Amazon from $11.95).
Moshe Rosman, Founder of Hasidism (report #5, May 18) (U of California Press, Amazon from $40.83)
David Assaf, The Regal Way (Israel of Ruzhin) (report #6, May 18) (Stanford U Press, Amazon $65.00)
Eli Lederhandler, The Road to Modern Jewish Politics (report #7: May 20) (Oxford U Press, Amazon from $7.94)
Michael Stanislawski, For Whom Do I Toil? Judah Leib Gordon. . . (report #8, June 1)
(Oxford U Press, Amazon from $14.30)
Steven Zipperstein, Elusive Prophet: Ahad Haam . (report #9, June 3) (U of California Press, Amazon from $7.30).
Ilan Troen, Imagining Zion (report #10, June 8) (Yale U Press, Amazon from $30.85)
Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience (report #10) (Harvard U Press, Amazon, $20.87)
Marian Kaplan, Between Dignity and Despair (report #12, June 15) (Oxford U Press, Amazon, from $10.00)
Daniel Blatman, For Our Freedom and Yours: The Jewish Labour Bund in Poland, 1939-1949 (report #13, June 15) (Vallentine Mitchell, Amazon from $26.00)
Emily Bingham, Mordecai: An Early American Family (report #14, June 17)
(Hill & Wang, Amazon from $11.20).
Michael Staub, Torn at the Roots: The Crisis of Jewish Liberalism in Postwar America (report #15) (Columbia U Press, Amazon from $12.99)
Schedule of Meetings, Topics, Readings, Reports
April 22: Introductory Meeting: Periodization, the Medieval Background (Augustine to Luther)
April 27: Early Modern Changes: Amsterdam, England, New World
Sachar, chap. 1 (pp. 25- 35)
JiMW, documents I,1 (Menasseh); II, 1 (Spinoza); II,5 (Lessing); IX, 1-3 (New Amsterdam)
April 29: Eighteenth-Century Background
JiMW, documents I,2 (Toland), I, 4 (Wertheimer), I, 6 (Frederick II Charter), I,8 (Dohm), I,9 (Joseph II), I, 10 (Michaelis); VII,1 (Voltaire)
Sachar, chap. 2, pp. 26-46
May 4: Jewish Enlightenment, Mendelssohn and His Circle, and Reactions
JiMW, documents I, document 12 (Mendelssohn), II, documents 7-23 (pp. 68-111), focus: documents 8-10.
Sachar, chap. 2, pp. 46-52
Shmuel Feiner, The Jewish Enlightenment (report #1)
May 6: Emancipation in Western Europe
JiMW I, document 13 (Abbé Grégoire), III entire section, pp. 114-54; focus: documents 2, 10-13 (Assembly of Notables), 23, 25-26 (Germany)
Sachar chaps. 3, 5, pp. 53-70, 97-116
Ronald Schechter, Obstinate Hebrews (report #2)
Birnbaum and Katznelson, eds., Paths of Emancipation,
May 11: Jewish Responses to Emancipation: Assimilation, Reform, Wissenschaft, Political Activism
JiMW IV, entire section (pp. 161-206), focus: documents 2-5; V, documents 1-9 (pp. 211-237); VI, documents 4-8 (pp. 256-61).
Sachar, chaps. 6-7, 117-59
David Sorkin, The Transformation of German Jewry, 1780- 1840 (report #3)
Meyer, The Origins of the Modern Jew, chapters 4-6
Jacob Katz, Out of the Ghetto
May 13: Gentile Reactions to Emancipation: Antisemitism
JiMW VII, entire section (pp. 304-71); focus: VII, 20 (von Treitschke), 26 (Protocols)
Sachar, chap. 11, pp. 221-39
Paul Lawrence Rose, Wagner: Race and Revolution (report #4)
Jacob Katz, From Prejudice to Destruction
Peter Pulzer, The Rise of Political Anti-Semitism in Germany and Austria.
May 18: Eastern Europe: Hasidism
JiMW VIII, documents 10-15; III, 17
Sachar, pp. 72-80
Moshe Rosman, Founder of Hasidism (report #5)
David Assaf, The Regal Way (Israel of Ruzhin) (report #6).
Ada Rapoport-Albert, ed.: Hasidism Reappraised (esp. Parts 2, 6 & 8 for history)
May 20: Eastern Europe: Haskalah and Acculturation
JiMW VIII, documents 6-9, 16-21
Sachar, 80- 96, 181-220
Eli Lederhandler, The Road to Modern Jewish Politics (report #7)
Steven Zipperstein, The Jews of Odessa
Benjamin Nathans, Beyond the Pale: The Jewish Encounter with Late Imperial Russia
June 1: Persecution and Responses
JiMW VIII, documents 22-43, pp. 400-448; focus: documents 24-25
Sachar, chaps. 12, 14, pp. 240-60, 284-304
Michael Stanislawski, For Whom Do I Toil? Judah Leib Gordon. . . (report #8)
Hans Rogger, Jewish Policies and Right-Wing Politics in Imperial Russia
June 3: Zionism in Europe
JiMW X, documents 1-23 (pp. 532-82); focus: documents 2-6
Sachar, chap. 13, pp. 261-83
Steven Zipperstein, Elusive Prophet: Ahad Haam (report #9)
Shlomo Avineri, The Making of Modern Zionism
June 8: Zionism in Palestine
JiMW X, documents 24-43 (pp. 582-633); focus: documents 28 (Jabotinsky), 38 (Hashomer Hazair)
Sachar, chap 18, pp. 369-93.
Ilan Troen, Imagining Zion (report #10)
Zeev Sternhill, The Founding Myths of Israel
June 10: The Holocaust: Perpetrators
JiMW XI, documents 1,2,4,6-23, (pp. 636-60); focus: documents 1-2 (Hitler), 32 (Himmler), 33 (Hoess)
Sachar, chap. 20, pp. 419-38.
Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience (report #11)
Michael Marrus, The Holocaust in History
June 15: The Holocaust: Victims
JiMW XI, documents 3,5,24-28, 31, 34-35; focus: documents 24 (Kaplan), 31 (Zygelboym), 34 (Rumkowski)
Sachar, chap. 21, pp. 439-59
Marian Kaplan, Between Dignity and Despair (report #12)
Daniel Blatman, For Our Freedom and Yours: The Jewish Labour Bund in Poland, 1939-1949 (report #13)
15. June 17: The American Experience
JiMW IX, documents 5-44 (pp. 455-527); focus: documents 9 (Noah), 10 (Leeser), 30 (Magnes) 31 (Brandeis), 33 (Kaplan)
Sachar, chaps. 8, 15, 24, pp. 160-80, 305-22, 520-41
Emily Bingham, Mordecai: An Early American Family (report #14)
Michael Staub, Torn at the Roots: The Crisis of Jewish Liberalism in Postwar America (report #15)
Irvin Howe, World of Our Fathers
Requirements for the Course
Contact information for Professor Marc Saperstein:
George Washington University, firstname.lastname@example.org
2142 G Street NW, Washington DC 20052; 202-994-4780, fax: 202-994-2176
Additional Books for Report:
Immanuel Etkes, The Gaon of Vilna: The Man and His Image (California, 2002), (Session 8) Rosenman
Benjamin Nathans, Beyond the Pale: The Jewish Encounter with Late Imperial Russia (California, 2002) (Session 9)
ChaeRan Freeze, Jewish Marriage and Divorce in Imperial Russia (Brandeis, 2002). (session 10)
Michael Stanislawski, Zionism and the Fin de-Siecle: Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism from Nordau to Jabotinsky (California, 2001) (session 11)
Zeev Sternhill, The Founding Myths of Israel (Princeton, 1998), (session 12)
Christopher Browning, Nazi Policy, Jewish Workers, German Killers (Cambridge, 2000) (session 13)