Love Your Fellow As Yourself: Early Haskalah Reform As Pietist Renewal

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Abstract

This article demonstrates that Isaac Wetzlar’s Yiddish treatise Libes Briv (1748/49) substantially engages the concepts and initiatives encompassed by Pietist missionary efforts to Jews. As a calculated response to the challenge posed by Pietist missionaries and Christian critiques of Jewish life, the Love Letter should be read as a product of Jewish-Pietist interaction and entanglement. The article suggests that Wetzlar’s call for religious and social renewal competed with contemporaneous Christian Pietists over the preferable vision for eighteenthcentury Central European Jewry.

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