Professor of Judaism
The study of Jews and Judaism in modernity has increasingly engaged the interest of scholars over the past 50 years. My own fascination is with the effects of Enlightenment and modernity on Jewish identity, both collective and individual, in Western Europe. The link between the rise of nationalism and the majority religion in the 19th c. brought about a rethinking of what it meant to be Jewish. Having lost political autonomy yet accused of double loyalty, Jews sought to redefine themselves in terms of a religious denomination. How Jews then reformed and recast their religion, engaging in polemics with Christianity and the Christian majority has been the topic of much of my research. The parallels with the present debates concerning Islam and the integration of Muslims in Western Europe seem obvious, yet no one has as yet made a concerted effort to compare the integration of these two minority groups. This is then the challenge that I have set myself for the coming years.
- “Good Enough for the Goyim. Samuel Hirsch and Samuel Holdheim on the Relationship between Judaism and Christianity”, in M. Poorthuis, J. Schwartz and J. Turner (eds.), InteractionsBetween Judaism and Christianity in History, Religion, Art, and Literature (Jewish and Christian Perspectives Series 17, Leiden 2008) 271-287.
- J. Frishman and G. Hellemans (eds.), Christendom en de Wereldreligies. Dialoog en confrontatie (Utrechtse Studies 12, Westervoort 2008).
- “Joods-christelijke relaties na de Sjoa. Tussen wantrouwen, vertrouwen en hoop”, in J. Frishman and G. Hellemans (eds.), Christendom en de Wereldreligies. Dialoog en confrontatie (Utrechtse Studies 12, Westervoort 2008) 103-124.
- J. Frishman and H. Berg (eds.), Dutch Jewry in a Cultural Maelstrom, 1880-1940 (Amsterdam 2007). “ De Vrijdagavond (1923-1931) as a mirror of Dutch Jewry in the Interbellum”, in J. Frishman and H. Berg (eds.), Dutch Jewry in a Cultural Maelstrom, 1880-1940 (Amsterdam 2007) 85-96.