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This book explores three schools of fascinating, talented, and gifted scholars who absorbed into their thought the Jewish and secular cultures of their respective homelands. They include halakhists such as Rabbi Ettlinger and Rabbi Eliezer Berkowitz; Jewish philosophers from Isaac Bernays to Yeshayau Leibowitz; and biblical commentators such as Samuel David Luzzatto and Rabbi Umberto Cassuto. Running like a thread through the analysis of the different scholars, is the attempt to conciliate Jewish orthodoxy with a wish to connect with Western culture and philosophy and to accept the conclusions of scientific research. Among these attempts is Luzzatto's famous `dual truth' approach. This book is the sequel to the Ephraim Chamiel's previous book The Middle Way, which focused on the challenges faced by the members of the "Middle Trend" in nineteenth-century Jewish thought.
This book in two volumes is devoted to examining the first encounter between traditional Judaism and modern European culture, and the first thinkers who sought to combine the Torah with science, revelation with reason, prophecy with philosophy, Jewish ethics with European culture, worldliness with sanctity, and universalism with the particular redemption of the Jews. These religious thinkers of the nineteenth century struggled with challenges of the modern age that continue to confront the modern Jews to this day. This objective work of scholarship, neither simplistic and isolationist nor destructive and arrogant, will be of interest to the modern thinker and to scholars of the history of religions. It is relevant to comparative study between Judaism and the various denominations of Christianity and other faiths that seek to find a middle way between their traditions and modernity.
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