Samuel Hirsch. Philosopher of Religion, Advocate of Emancipation and Radical Reformer
Volume 97 in the series Studia Judaica, De Gruyter, October 2022
Rabbi Samuel Hirsch (Thalfang 1815 – Chicago 1889) was instrumental in the development of Reform Judaism in Europe and the USA. This volume is the first lengthy publication devoted to this striking personality whose significance was no less than that of his contemporaries Abraham Geiger and David Einhorn.
En route from Thalfang via Dessau and Luxembourg to Philadelphia, Hirsch left his mark on societal, religious, and philosophical developments in manifold ways. By the time he was appointed Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community in Luxembourg in 1843, he had already written many of his most important works on the philosophy of religion. In them he engaged in debate with the Young Hegelians on the importance of Judaism, the religion that, more than any other, enabled the human actualization of freedom so central to Hegel’s philosophy.
Over time Hirsch took an increasingly radical stance on issues such as Jewish rituals and mixed marriage. The goal of his reforms was not assimilation. He strove to strengthen Judaism to meet the demands of modernity and enable its survival in the modern era.
Hirsch’s story is key to understanding the transnational history of Reform Judaism and the struggle of Jews to secure a place in history and society.
A book launch sponsored by the University of Luxembourg will take place on November 3rd, 2022 at the University’s campus at Esch-sur-Alzette.