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Krochmal, Nahman

KROCHMAL, NAHMAN (1785-1840), Jewish scholar, was born at Brody in Galicia in 1785. He was one of the pioneers in the revival of Jewish learning which followed on the age of Moses Mendelssohn. His chief work was the Moreh Nebuche hazeman (" Guide for the Perplexed of the Age "), a title imitated from that of the 12th-century " Guide for the Perplexed " of Maimonides (q.v.). This book was not published till after the author's death, when it was edited by Zunz (1851). The book is a philosophy of Jewish history, and has a double importance. On the one side it was a critical examination of the Rabbinic literature and much influenced subsequent investigators. On the other side, Krochmal, in the words of N. Slouschz, " was the first Jewish scholar who views Judaism, not as a distinct and independent entity, but as a part of the whole of civilization." Krochmal, under Hegelian influences, regarded the nationality of Israel as consisting in its religious genius, its spiritual gifts. Thus Krochmal may be called the originator of the idea of the mission of the Jewish people, " cultural Zionism " as it has more recently been termed. He died at Tarnopol in 1840.

See S. Schechter, Studies in Judaism (1896), pp. 56 seq.; N. Slouschz, Renascence of Hebrew Literature (1909), pp. 63 seq.

(I. A.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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