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Nachman Krochmal

Guiding the Perplexed of the Modern Age

Jay Harris

Publication Year: 1993

"A well-organized and engaging read."
Religious Studies Review

The first in-depth look at...an important nineteenth century Jewish thinker and historian. Well-written [and] well- researched."
The Jerusalem Post Magazine

"A significant contribution to our understanding of the rise of modern Judaism in its East European manifestation."

Harris examines Nachman Krochmal's work, particularly as it aimed to guide Jews through the modern revolution in metaphysical and historical thinking, thus enabling them to commit themselves to Judaism without sacrificing intellectual integrity.

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-xiv

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xv-xvi

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Chapter 1: Introduction

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pp. 1-43

There are at least two different approaches one can take in writing the biography of a towering intellectual figure such as Nachman Krochmal (1785-1840). One is to carefully track the events of his life, his friends, acquaintances...

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Chapter 2: Metaphysics and Jewish Faith

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pp. 44-102

Consistent with the method outlined above, in chapters 5, 6, 7, and 17 of the Guide we find Krochmal attempting to clarify the central metaphysical positions of Judaism in a way that allows for their latent philosophical...

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Chapter 3: Krochmal's Theory of History

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pp. 103-155

Krochmal Claimed that his metaphysical specu- . lation represents the metaphysical position that is at the root of Judaism, and of which Jews have been aware, in full or inchoate form, throughout their history. That Jewish...

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Chapter 4: Biblical Studies

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pp. 156-205

The onset of historical thought and scholarship touched on virtually all aspects of traditional self-understanding, but perhaps none more than on the place of the Bible within traditional culture. From the time of Hobbes and Spinoza...

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Chapter 5: The Rabbinic Tradition

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pp. 206-273

In traditional Jewish self-understanding, the Torah, the basis of Judaism, is actually comprised of two Torahs, one written, the other oral. This fundamental claim represents the basis of rabbinic Judaism. The history of Jewish...

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Chapter 6: The Perplexities of the Aggadah

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pp. 274-307

Krochmal's chapter on aggadah opens with the juxtaposition of these conflicting rabbinic pronouncements. He cites them to illustrate the deep ambivalence of Jewish culture toward this genre of rabbinic discourse. On the...

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Chapter 7: Conclusion

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pp. 308-328

Krochmal's work remains of interest for at least three reasons. It represents an important Jewish reaction, both critical and sympathetic, to the intellectual modernization that shook the foundations of traditional society; it...


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pp. 329-339

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780814744758
E-ISBN-10: 0814744753
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814735084
Print-ISBN-10: 0814735088

Publication Year: 1993

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Subject Headings

  • Krochmal, Nachman, 1785-1840. Moreh nevukhe ha-zeman.
  • Judaism -- History -- Philosophy.
  • Jewish philosophy.
  • Bible. O.T. -- Criticism, interpretation, etc., Jewish -- History -- 19th century.
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