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Inventing the IsraeliteJewish Fiction in Nineteenth-Century France$
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Maurice Samuels

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804763844

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804763844.001.0001

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A Conservative Renegade: Ben Baruch and Neo-Orthodoxy

A Conservative Renegade: Ben Baruch and Neo-Orthodoxy

(p.112) Three A Conservative Renegade: Ben Baruch and Neo-Orthodoxy
Inventing the Israelite
Stanford University Press

A crisis of modernity that erupted in France under the July Monarchy gave rise to a Reform movement which sought to free Jews from religious laws and strictures that were deemed incompatible with modern life. Reformers tried to make the practice of Judaism easier and more pleasant in an effort to encourage religious affiliation and communal participation among French Jews. In the mid-1840s, French “conservatives,” inspired by the German neo-Orthodoxy movement started in the 1830s by Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808–1888), claimed that the Reform movement failed to achieve its goals and proposed a different approach to address religious indifference: maintain the forms of traditional Jewish practice and subtly modernize their content. The neo-Orthodox movement relied on fictional narrative to pursue their objective. This chapter focuses on the career of Ben Baruch (1791–1872), who, using the pseudonym Alexandre Créhange, engaged in a wide range of literary activities in support of Jewish Orthodoxy in modern France. His fiction represented a new kind of modern Jew and offered a new set of solutions to the dilemmas of modernity.

Keywords:   France, modernity, Reform movement, neo-Orthodoxy, Ben Baruch, French Jews, Judaism, fictional narrative, Jewish Orthodoxy, conservatives

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