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[Mosad] Encyclopaedia Judaica

Emancipation of the Jews 01: General situation in 19th century

Jews between emancipation and loss of Jewish culture during racist "Christian" centralism and absolutism in Europe

from: History; In: [Mosad] Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 8

presented by Michael Palomino (2007 / 2019)

3 fantasies - but Mother Earth is REAL
Moses is a fantasy - nothing could be found of him. The proofs are in the book: The Bible unearthed - link. So, Jewry is a fantasy, and also the Jewish calendar is a fantasy. Also Jesus is a fantasy: nothing could be found, but it's a code fantasy with the numbers 3,12,13 and 33 - link. Therefore, Christiandom is a fantasy, and also the Christian calendar is a fantasy - and the Vatican is a criminal pedophile satanic drug money laundering bank mafia - link with videos - link with news. Also Muhammad is a fantasy: nothing could be found, and the name "Muhammad" was used only since 850, not in 600 - link. Therefore also the Muslim calendar is a fantasy. Peace and healings and instructions how to handle the planet are with Mother Earth - Mother Earth is REAL and everybody can learn it: http://www.med-etc.com - have a good day. - Michael Palomino, May 12, 2019




Up to the Completion of Emancipation (to 1880).

[Jewry in the antagonism between total integration by centralism and autonomy]

[Supplement: Centralism - to centralize the economy and the state's force of a state in a "main town", was the military strategy of efficiency to produce the precious fire arms and canon weapons as efficient as possible and to organize the population for wars as efficient as possible since 15th century. Whole Europe had more or less this centralization, not so did African states. Ideological centralization came in 19th century with further measures for an efficient state, e.g. the dominance of a "national language" or of "national ideas" or "national customs" etc.].

Several changes in political and social theories in Christian society, as well in the political structure of Europe, combined to usher in modern times for Jews, though they were not concerned primarily with these developments. The centralization of the state that began in the France of Richelieu and Mazarin spread gradually, both in fact and in theory, to most states of Europe.

In its progress the new disposition of relations between the state and those living on its territory caused many changes, for both good and evil, in the position of the Jews and their legal status. The centralist state created, by its very nature, an aversion to particularism in any shape, whether organizational, legal, or cultural. It opposed, above all, the corporations as the essence of the old feudal, uncentralized, state. Everything standing between the sovereign and the individual was now considered not only a barrier, but a sin.

Whereas, in medieval kingdoms, the Jewish community was but one in a network of autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies, that were then considered the skeleton of the body politic, it now appeared one of the most obnoxious, because persistent, manifestations of egoistic group-will against the all-inclusive rights of the state. As the centralist state also opposed local dialects and customs, the Jewish community was doubly obnoxious, for it was a corporation devoted to a separate culture, way of life, language, and religion. Many of the clashes between state and Jews in modern times, many of the misunderstandings between Jews and some of their best friends, were the result of this basic antagonism between iron centralism and the unflinching Jewish will for autonomy.

[Integration of the Jews by the central law of the centralized state - overcoming of medieval ideas - but also Jewish culture gets lost]

Centralization demanded one law for all in the state and by its very nature opposed the existence of different legal statuses for different groups living in one state. When centralization was later combined with egalitarian trends, this added a raison d'état to political philosophy, and thus made legal equality for the Jews a logical as well as a political necessity for a centralist, egalitarian state.

The disfavor into which corporations had fallen, and their rapid disintegration, was also hastened on by economic developments. It meant, for the Jews in the cities, the weakening and disappearance of social and economic bodies fundamentally inimical to Jews because of their Christian foundations, their long tradition of excluding Jews from (col. 703)

trade and crafts, and of hatred toward them. The forces working against the corporations also opposed on the ethical and conceptual level the corporative medieval spirit that abhorred competition and innovation. The break-up of the corporations unstopped the dam that had long held up individual energies; Jews benefited from this moral revolution as did other restricted individuals. As with many other changes to be encountered in modern times, the change in status of the corporation had ambivalent effects for Jews. It bettered their economic and social opportunities, and wakened the social elements that were the main carriers of hostility toward them.

On the other hand, it made Jewish national semi-independence, and social and cultural creativity, antiquated and offensive. Centralization meant, on the whole, abolition of inequalities, but it also meant suppression of particularities. Jewish society found itself in the new modern state facing the break-up of its national, religious, and social cohesion in exchange for the benefit of material and individual gains.

At this time it seemed - to those Christians who because of general social trends interested themselves in the lot of the Jews - that the dissolution of a separate Jewish framework and absorption into the general body of the state was a matter of time, and of a short time only.

[The different developments according to the different countries]

In countries where the centralist trends were strongest, in continental Western and Central Europe (apart from the Netherlands and England), the Jews numbered several thousand at the most in one state. As general cultural and spiritual currents were moving in the same direction, only "people fighting the trend of history" seemed to be making the foolish attempt of opposing them.


[The "use of reason" - the enforced position in one religion - the search for other philosophy possibilities in the Far East - contradiction between personal freedom and lost of culture]

The 18th century also witnessed the dawn of the great ahistorical school of the Enlightenment. This saw men in the abstract, as disembodied individuals only; national culture and religious separateness were so many "coats of paint". The past had no compelling force; only the present mattered, and this could be improved and perfected by the use of reason.

In the application of this theory, writers and ideologists of the cast of *Voltaire did not dream of abandoning French as a vehicle of expression or the basic French values of life. They were more anti-Christian than anti-national. Many of them developed a hatred of Judaism as the matrix of Christianity. Though extremely individualistic in theory, many of them searched for another parentage or anchorage than the Jewish for their culture. This prompted the 18th-century flirtation with the Far East, and the latter-day anti-Jewish tinge to their admiration for the Greek past. Many criticized the Old Testament with the old anti-Jewish odium to which was now added the goal of discrediting Christianity. In the Enlightenment, as in the trend toward centralization and against corporation, Jewish society met an attitude that was favorably inclined toward (col. 704)

the individual Jews while inimical toward his traditions and social cohesion.

The demand for disavowal of nationality on rationalist grounds meant in practice for the Jew acceptance of French or German or some other national culture instead of his own. This groping between extreme individualism in theory and national assimilation in practice had already become, by the end of the 18th century, the source of some of the greatest individual successes as well as of the most distressing tragedies in Jewish existence in modern times.


[Absolutism and economic efficiency enforces the emancipation of the Jews - Jewish influence on the whole society - political structures only change slowly - the "useful Jew" - absolutist law for "protected" or "privileged" Jews]

New economic views, in particular mercantilism, combined with even greater and more radical expression of the centralist state - first absolutism and, later on in the 18th century, enlightened absolutism - to create differing approaches to Jewish legal status and Jewish economic activity. The mercantilist and absolutist ruler of the early 18th century looked at every increase in population as desirable, so long as and on the condition that it served economic progress. This progress was no longer measured by agrarian standards. The growth of industry and trade, the increment of precious metals, and coin circulation in the state were now valuable goals.

The type of economic activity practices by Jews had thus, by the 18th century and even earlier, begun to exert an influence in social economic theory and practice.

At the same time political theory with regard to Jews had not yet changed in ruling circles, where they were hated and despised as before. As this combination of economic innovation and political conservatism with regard to Jews existed mainly in countries of Central and Western Europe, where the Jewish population was relatively small, it created a new approach for the treatment of the Jews.

This approach aimed mainly at having as many "useful" Jews in the state as possible - "useful" in this connotation meaning a rich Jews who could help the industrial and commercial development of the country through his activity. Such a Jew must be made to contribute the maximum possible to the state treasury; this extortion sometimes took curious turns of invention, as in the case of the Judenporzellan in *Prussia, so called because Jews were obliged to buy a certain quantity of porcelain wares on the occasion of their weddings in order to promote directly the development of this industry.

At the same time it was the policy of the absolutist ruler to ensure that the economic opportunities and well-being afforded to the useful Jew for the sake of the state should not result in the calamity of an increasing Jewish population. Jews therefore had to register officially, and their weddings were supervised (see, e.g., *Familiants Laws). A "protected" or "privileged" Jew on these principles could not transfer his rights to all his children but only to one of them. The others had to apply for rights for themselves, granted for a proper payment only if they were considered useful in their own right. Otherwise they were demoted to the status of the unprivileged, unprotected Jew who always faced the threat of expulsion and had usually to pay piecemeal for continuing his existence in the state. The 1750 Prussian regulation for Jews embodies systematically and in detail the execution of these principles.

[Fragmentation of the Jewish society in Europe by the privileged and the non privileged Jews - new variegation in economic Jewish activity - "Court Jews" and "rich Jews" - estrangement]

This situation contributed to accelerate the fragmentation of Jewish society. The privileged Jew became richer, the unprivileged one, poorer. The first went into trade and finance operations on a large scale, with the state's blessing. The unprivileged Jew had either to earn his livelihood as an official or servant of a privileged Jew or to eke out his living precariously as a peddler or a moneylender on pawn in the old style. As this situation became a rule in many principalities of Germany in particular, it put for the Jew a (col. 705)

premium on enrichment and economic initiative as the only means of bettering his lot and obtaining some type of broader acceptance by the state.

Combined with the former structure of the Court Jews, it led during the 18th century to unprecedented variegation in economic Jewish activity, in particular among the richer strata, hand in hand with an unprecedented social and cultural differentiation in Jewish society. As most of the communities this affected lacked strong continuous traditions, this being the result of the multiple expulsions in the German Empire from the 16th century  onward, disintegration proceeded unchecked by cultural strength. With the development of the *Landjudenschaften type of communal leadership, the influence of the Court Jew and of the rich Jew grew, while estrangement between him and poorer Jews also became proportionately greater.

[Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews in Netherlands and France]

In the Netherlands and southern France (*Bordeaux, *Nantes) there was another line of cleavage - between the more prosperous Sephardi Jew who was more acculturated to the host society, and the less well-to-do and less acculturated Ashkenazi Jews in these countries, in particular in France, where the line of division had also a regional character, most of the Ashkenazi Jews being concentrated in *Alsace and *Lorraine.

The Sephardi Jews came from Africa to Spain, then they were driven out (1492 from Spain, 1498 from Portugal) and went to Holland and France. So, the Sephardi Jews had more general experience and flexibility and were more prosperous than the Ashkenazim].


[Measures to make the Jews less "harmful": More rights and more education]

Enlightened absolutism added another element to the former attitude of mercantilist absolutism toward Jews. This aimed at "betterment of the Jews" so as to make them less "harmful" to general society - for whose weal the enlightened absolutist ruler felt himself responsible - as well as to prepare them gradually for increased rights and better conditions of and when they might deserve them.

The tolerance edict of Emperor *Joseph II issued in Austria in 1782 embodies the most systematic attempt to carry out this policy in relation to Jews. It continued the attempts to hold down their numbers, though granting them a few alleviations in the field of economic activity, while setting out a whole system of measures aimed at their "education" through their linguistic and social *assimilation and curtailment of their unproductive economy.

[[When one knows the orthodox Jewish customs this really can be understood. There are customs like the Shabbat prohibitions to help persons or to make a telephone call, like the bald head of Jewish women to be nearer to God, like the rite of menstruation bathing every month, etc. These customs are very hindering for any integration in a "normal" life until today]].


[The British intellectual Toland sees the Jews as officials and on the bourse]

At the same time, several circles of intellectuals and sectarian divines of the 16th to 18th centuries developed more intensely and more consequentially the approach to real toleration and a different appreciation of the Jew and his status. Jewish apologetics of this period found a more appreciative reception in these circles.

Typical and most systematic of such innovators was John *Toland of England [[an Irish British Protestant free thinker with Catholic parents]]. In his

Reasons for Naturalizing the Jews in Great Britain and Ireland. On the same foot with all other Nations, Containing also, A Defence of the Jews against All Vulgar Prejudices in all Countries (1714),

he relies expressly on the work of Simone Luzzatto which he promises to translate into English. He uses many mercantilist arguments in favor of the Jews. Toland is ironic toward the anti-Jewish Christian hierarchy, applying a new twist to an old Reformation accusation against the Christian hierarchy that it derived its hieratic and hierarchical spirit from the precedents of Jewish priesthood. In the spirit of upholding the "betterment of the Jews" he promises that they will achieve productivization after they had been granted rights. Even Toland was not ready to permit them to hold state office, though he was prepared to see them as officials in the municipality and the bourse.> (col. 706)

Encyclopaedia Judaica: History, vol. 8,
                        col. 703-704
Encyclopaedia Judaica: History, vol. 8, col. 703-704
Encyclopaedia Judaica: History, vol. 8, col.
Encyclopaedia Judaica: History, vol. 8, col. 705-706

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