Synopses & Reviews
It was not until the emergence of the ideologies of Zionism and Socialism at the end of the last century that the Jewish communities of the Diaspora were perceived by historians as having a genuine political life. In the case of the Jews of Russia, the pogroms of 1881 have been regarded as the watershed event which triggered the political awakening of Jewish intellectuals. Here Lederhendler explores previously neglected antecedents to this turning point in the history of the Jewish people in the first scholarly work to examine concretely the transition of a Jewish community from traditional to post-traditional politics.
"With this study, Lederhendler has not only traced, carefully and successfully, the evolution of Jewish political thinking and behavior in the premodern era but also shed light on the background of that sudden eruption of Jewish consciousness and political activity that burst forth in the aftermath of the pogroms of 1881....Important and effective. His study presents students of both the Jewish and the Russian experiences with a varity of new questions worth pursuing."--American Historical Review
"This bold and provocative book is a highly original and astute study of the roots of modern Jewish politics in tsarist Russia...."Intelligent, challenging and enlightening."--Slavic Review
"Clear, concise, and scholarly....The author's unique focus is on the changing relationship of Jewish political representatives with higher non-Jewish authorities and on political conflicts within the Jewish community itself....The book should provide useful to a variety of social scientists interested in Jewish political life."--Choice
"Lederhendler's book should be read by every student of Russian Jewish history. The virtues of his basic argument are supplemented by his useful inclusion of lists of Jewish shtadlanim, censors, and learned Jews."--The Slavonic Review
"A well-written, well-researched book."L'Eyelah
This study explores the previously ignored antecedents to the political awakening of Jewish intellectuals and their break with the traditional, religion-centred culture.