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The Gaon of VilnaThe Man and His Image$
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Immanuel Etkes

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520223943

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520223943.001.0001

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The Vilna Gaon and Haskalah

The Vilna Gaon and Haskalah

(p.37) 2 The Vilna Gaon and Haskalah
The Gaon of Vilna

Immanuel Etkes

University of California Press

This chapter deals with the myth of the Vilna Gaon as a maskil among both proponents and opponents of Haskalah. It traces this myth as reflected in the historiography of the Haskalah movement and shows that the matter of the Gaon and Haskalah is an instructive example of the continuity between Haskalah literature of the nineteenth century and Jewish historiography of the end of that century and the first half of the next. It discusses the image of the Vilna Gaon as a maskil as a weapon in the hands of Orthodox Judaism and evaluates the influence of the Vilna Gaon on the growth of the Haskalah movement in Lithuania.

Keywords:   Vilna Gaon, maskil, Haskalah movement, Jewish historiography, Orthodox Judaism, Lithuania

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