Judith Frishman occupies the chair for Jewish Studies at the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Religion (LUCSoR) since 2008. She is also chair of the centre’s academic programs. She joined the staff at Leiden University after serving as full professor of Rabbinic Judaism at the (then) Faculty of Catholic Theology, Tilburg University (location Utrecht), between 1997-2008. She concurrently occupied a special chair for the History of Jewish-Christian Relations in Modernity at Leiden between 1995-2005.
Her interests focus on Jewish cultural history in Western Europe and the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries. She is particularly interested in questions of emancipation, citizenship, religious freedom and religious reform.
The debates concerning religious Enlightenment and the emancipation of the Jews of Europe took place in the public arena. Those Jews hoping for citizenship while simultaneously desiring to remain Jews were forced to defend themselves against accusations of unworthiness coming from various sources. Samuel Hirsch (Thalfang 1815–Chicago 1889), German born rabbi, religious reformer and Freemason employed in Luxembourg from 1843-1866, argued in favor of a role for religion in the State by linking religion and humanity and identifying Judaism as the highest form of humanity. He shaped his ideas in response to Christian supersessionism, the identification of Freemasonry with Christianity and the use of Judaism by Bauer and Marx as an exemplar of society’s ailments. Using apologetics and polemics Hirsch, like many of his intellectual Jewish contemporaries, developed a new understanding of Judaism, ritual and tolerance.
During my stay in Erfurt I hope to finish editing a volume on Hirsch I have been working on with Thorsten Fuchshuber, to be published by De Gruyter. In the near future I hope to study the development of a transnational Reform Judaism by way of the correspondence in the Hirsch-Einhorn archives.
I will also prepare several lectures I have held in the past year for publication.
Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien Universität Erfurt Postfach 90 02 21 99105 Erfurt