In the period from 1780 to 1840 German Jewry underwent a twofold revolution that set the basic patterns of its experience for the century to follow: the end of the Jews's feudal status as an autonomous community forced them to face a protracted process of political and civic emancipation and a far-reaching social metamorphosis, while their encounter with the surrounding culture resulted in an intense productivity. In this groundbreaking study, David Sorkin argues that emancipation and the encounter with German culture and society led not to assimilation but to the creation of a new Jewish identity and community - a vibrant subculture - that produced many of Judaism's modern movements and a pantheon of outstanding writers, artists, composers, scientists,
Readership: Scholars and students of Jewish and German history, and Jewish culture.
David Sorkin, Fellow of St Antony's College and the Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies, University of Oxford
"`certainly the subtlest account of the "German-Jewish symbiosis" that has hitherto been offered ... Sorkin succeeds admirably in clarifying the ironies of partial assimilation and in providing a fuller intellectual context than was previously available for the development of the German-Jewish identity.'
"David Sorkin's important and much-praised book, first published in 1987 and now reissued in paperback, explores in great detail how emancipatory legislation caused the German Jewish community to change its character and yet to remain distinct ... According to the ideology of emancipation, they should have merged with the German bourgeoisie. But they did not, and Sorkin's original contribution is to demonstrate this failure in massive but lucidly controlled detail." - Ritchie Robertson, St John's College, Oxford, Immigrants & Minorities, Vol. 14, No. 1, March '95