About this product
- DescriptionPioneering biblical critic, theorist of democracy, and legendary conflater of God and nature, Jewish philosopher Baruch Spiza (1632-1677) was excommunicated by the Sephardic Jews of Amsterdam in 1656 for his horrible heresies and monstrous deeds. Yet, over the past three centuries, Spiza's rupture with traditional Jewish beliefs and practices has elevated him to a prominent place in genealogies of Jewish modernity. The First Modern Jew provides a riveting look at how Spiza went from being one of Judaism's most torious outcasts to one of its most celebrated, if still highly controversial, cultural icons, and a powerful and protean symbol of the first modern secular Jew. Ranging from Amsterdam to Palestine and back again to Europe, the book chronicles Spiza's posthumous odyssey from marginalized heretic to hero, the exemplar of a whole host of Jewish identities, including cosmopolitan, nationalist, reformist, and rejectionist. Daniel Schwartz shows that in fashioning Spiza into the first modern Jew, generations of Jewish intellectuals--German liberals, East European maskilim, secular Zionists, and Yiddishists--have projected their own dilemmas of identity onto him, reshaping the Amsterdam thinker in their own image. The many afterlives of Spiza are a kind of looking glass into the struggles of Jewish writers over where to draw the boundaries of Jewishness and whether a secular Jewish identity is indeed possible. Cumulatively, these afterlives offer a kaleidoscopic view of modern Jewish cultureand a vivid history of an obsession with Spiza that continues to this day.
- Author BiographyDaniel B. Schwartz is assistant professor of history at George Washington University.
- PrizesCommended for National Jewish Book Award for Jewish History 2012.
- Author(s)Daniel B. Schwartz
- PublisherPrinceton University Press
- Date of Publication09/10/2013
- Place of PublicationNew Jersey
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintPrinceton University Press
- Content Note10 halftones.
- Weight428 g
- Width152 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine16 mm
- Format DetailsTrade paperback (US)
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