The Politics and Ethics of Pietism in Judaism: The Hasidim of Medieval Germany

Journal of Religious Ethics 8 (2):227 - 258 (1980)
Abstract
Judah the Pietist's [d. 1217] program of socio-religious innovation in "Sefer Hasidim" [The Book of the Pietists] led to tensions in the medieval Rhineland Jewish communities between the norms of Jewish piety and the demands of a new vision of Jewish pietism. Because Judah sought to impose his vision of God's complete will on other Jews (the politics of pietism), Pietists came into conflict with non-Pietist Jews in childrearing, choice of marriage partner, style of public worship and philanthropy. This tension (the ethics of pietism) was resolved when Judah's disciple, Rabbi Eleazar of Worms [d. ca. 1230], adapted his teacher's program into an acceptable form.
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