Judaism Paper

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Judaism Paper

Judaism Paper


The main purpose of this paper is to discuss the history of Judaism, Jewish rituals, practices, key beliefs, and holy days and the issues of today's and tomorrow's Jews.

Brief History of the Origins of Judaism

In the war, years of 1943-44, when the destruction of European Jewry was spiraling to a dreadful conclusion, two émigré historians (among the lucky ones who had taken refuge in exile) took up their pens to write about an old essay on the economic function of medieval Jewry. Wilhelm Roscher's 1875 essay argued that the Jews had functioned in the middle ages as a commercial carrier and "tutor" to the "younger nations." When these nations get matured, and engaged in commerce, they rebelled against their tutors, and imposed anti-Semitic strictures out of commercial jealousy. This was a striking philosemitic argument for a liberal German historian to make in the years following the stock market crash of 1873 which had precipitated a backlash against German-Jewish emancipation and presumed "Jewish commercialism."

Oelsner challenged assumptions which had played a decisive role in modern Jewish history. Nazi anti-Semitic imagery of bloodsucking Jewish capitalism was but the negative underside of widely held assumptions about Jewish economic difference -- and the awful conclusion to these debates.

The notion of Jewish commercialism was explored through the apparatus of Nationalökonomie (political economy), resulting in a focus on the middle ages as the historical origin of the German nation. Out of this German intellectual tradition would develop Jewish political economy. Their works spurred a wave of Jewish historians to write on Jewish economic history. This was the period in which Jewish political economy and philanthropy evolved into Jewish social science, and its secular, economic historiography, until its apex and end-point was reached in the Second World War and came to suffer the fate of ...
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