SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

The Prose Literature And Culture Of The Haskalah

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2020/21
Half course
The course introduces students to the prose literature of the Haskalah in Europe, exploring the reasons for, the evolution of and the consequences of the Jewish movement of Enlightenment. Readings will begin with some of the earlier Haskalah texts drawn from eighteenth-century Geramny but will concentrate on the work of Mapu, Mendele and Peretz. At the end of the course students should be able to read pre-modern Hebrew literature and have a grasp of the social and historical context of the literature.


Appropriate standard of competence in modern Hebrew and acceptance on to a host programme.


Two hours per week, jointly with the undergraduate class, and one hour Master's seminar, over eleven weeks.

Method of assessment

One two-hour written paper in May/June (70%); one 3500-4500 word essay to be submitted by the first day of Term 3 (30%).

Suggested reading

  • Katz, J.: Tradition and Crisis. 1961
  • Graupe, Heinz Mosche: The Rise of Modern Judaism: An Intellectual History of German Jewry, 1650-1942. Huntington, NY
  • Meyer, Michael A.: The Origins of the Modern Jew: Jewish Identity and European Culture in Germany, 1749-1824
  • Meyer, Michael A.: Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism. 1988
  • Patterson, D.: A Phoenix in Fetters. 1988
  • Patterson, D.: The Hebrew Novel in Czarist Russia. 1964, 1999
  • Patterson, D.: Abraham Mapu. 1964
  • Perl, Joseph: Revealer of Secrets: The First Hebrew Novel
  • Pelli, Moshe: The Age of Haskalah: Studies in Hebrew Literature of the Enlightenment in Germany. Studies in Judaism in Modern Times, 5. Leiden
  • Rabinovitch, I.: Major Trends in Modern Hebrew Fiction. 1968


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules