JACOB TOURY The Revolution that Did Not Happen (A Reappraisal of Reform-Judaism) * If 'revolution' means a thourough upheaval in a pattern of life, a decisive break with traditional values of many generations past, a will to realize in practice new theoretical insights - then the ,Reform Movement in Judaism' might well be regarded as a revolutionary event in Jewish History, if- yes, if it had progressed in the direction and with the vigour that its first theorists had envisaged and hoped for. For well might it be said of Moses Mendelssohn, that his whole conception of Judaism constituted in itself a subtle break with the Jewish past. And even his use of the term 'Judaism' (Judentum) in this context points in a revolutio- nary direction. Scarcely in the dim past, and perhaps not again since the days of Hellenism, has this term been used in a Jewish context - the commentary of R. Abraham ibn Esra to Deuteronomy 21:13 excepted. Thus one may per- haps be justified in concluding that the Jews themselves regarded their Jewishness last of all as an 'ism', a philosophy, or a denomination. About the year 1700 'Judaism' was "rediscovered" by Tnhann Andrew
Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1984
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