SELMA THE JEWISH SEER: FEMALE PROPHECY AND BOURGEOIS RELIGION IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY GERMANY

  • Ari Joskowicz
  • Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, December 2014, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/14725886.2014.981953

Jewish middle-class mysticism

What is it about?

This article discusses the importance of spiritualism and mysticism for nineteenth-century German Jews though the lens of a book about a Jewish female clairvoyant in 1830s Berlin. In 1838, Morris Wiener published Selma, die jüdische Seherin, a widely read story about his sister’s miraculous healing and prophetic visions after being treated by a physician specializing in Mesmerism. This article proposes that we consider Selma’s unusual story as an expression of nineteenth-century German Jews’ experiences of bourgeois religion. In their attempt to prove that their religion was compatible with modern life, many German Jews sought to show not only how rational their religion was, as scholars have long emphasized: they also sought to demonstrate how spiritual Jews could be and to suggest that Judaism, like Protestantism and Catholicism, could engender multiple forms of mystical religiosity.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14725886.2014.981953

The following have contributed to this page: Ari Joskowicz