Ciclo de conferencias 'Seminario de Estudios Judíos': "Behind a Best Seller: Kabbalah, Science, and Loving One’s Neighbor in Pinhas Hurwitz’s Sefer ha‐Brit (1797)"

Por David Ruderman (University of Pennsylvania)

Sala Gómez Moreno 2C

The Book of the Covenant [Sefer ha‐Brit] was one of the most popular Hebrew books read by modern Jews, reflected in its forty editions spanning two centuries, including three Yiddish and six Ladino translations. Part scientific encyclopedia, part manual of mystical ascent, and part plea to Jews to embrace a universal ethics, the work was widely influential in an era of radical change and internal debate for Jews as well as for others. The amazing popularity of the author, the eastern European Jew Pinhas Hurwitz (1765‐1821), stemmed from his kabbalistic pedigree. He offered his readers an exciting compendium of scientific knowledge they could read in their holy language under the pretext that its acquisition fulfilled their highest spiritual goals. The reception of The Book of the Covenant among modern Jewish readers allows us to understand more profoundly the ways in which a traditional society absorbed and creatively adopted aspects of modern science and cosmopolitanism. The book and its author open a wonderful window in studying the complex interplay of tradition, science, and inter‐group relations in the modern era.
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