The Jews of Hungary: History, Culture, Psychology

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Wayne State University Press, 1996 - History - 730 pages
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The Jews of Hungary is the first comprehensive history in any language of the unique Jewish community that has lived in the Carpathian Basin for eighteen centuries, from Roman times to the present. Noted historian and anthropologist Raphael Patai, himself a native of Hungary, tells in this pioneering study the fascinating story of the struggles, achievements, and setbacks that marked the flow of history for the Hungarian Jews. He traces their seminal role in Hungarian politics, finance, industry, science, medicine, arts, and

literature, and their surprisingly rich contributions to Jewish scholarship and religious leadership both inside Hungary and in the Western world.

In the early centuries of their history Hungarian Jews left no written works, so Patai had to piece together a picture of their life up to the sixteenth century based on documents and reports written by non-Jewish Hungarians and visitors from abroad. Once Hungarian Jewish literary activity began, the sources covering the life and work of the Jews rapidly increased in richness. Patai made full use of the wealth of information contained in the monumental eighteen-volume series of the Hungarian Jewish Archives and the other abundant primary sources available in Latin, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Yiddish, and Turkish, the languages in vogue in various periods among the Jews of Hungary. In his presentation of the modern period he also examined the

literary reflection of Hungarian Jewish life in the works of Jewish and non-Jewish Hungarian novelists, poets, dramatists, and

journalists.

Patai's main focus within the overall history of the Hungarian Jews is their culture and their psychology. Convinced that what is most characteristic of a people is the culture which endows its existence with specific coloration, he devotes special attention to the manifestations of Hungarian Jewish talent in the various cultural fields, most significantly literature, the arts, and scholarship. Based on the available statistical data Patai shows that from the nineteenth century, in all fields of

Hungarian culture, Jews played leading roles not duplicated in any other country.

Patai also shows that in the Hungarian Jewish culture a specific set of psychological motivations had a highly significant function. The Hungarian national character trait of emphatic patriotism was present in an even more fervent form in the Hungarian Jewish mind. Despite their centuries-old struggle against anti-Semitism, and especially from the nineteenth century on, Hungarian Jews remained convinced that they were one hundred percent Hungarians, differing in nothing but denominational variation from the Catholic and Protestant Hungarians. This mindset kept them apart and isolated from the Jewries of the Western world until overtaken by the tragedy of the Holocaust in the closing months of World War II.

 

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Contents

Preface
11
Acknowledgments
17
The Jews in Roman Pannonia and Dacia
21
Medieval Origins and the Khazar Question
27
After the Magyar Conquest
31
The Jews in Early Hungarian Law Eleventh to Thirteenth Centuries
40
Expulsion and Recall Fourteenth Century
54
The Jew Judge and the Perfidious Jews Thirteenth to Fifteenth Centuries
61
Jewish Women in the Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries
194
Conversions in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
197
The Theben Story Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
226
The Patriotic Imperative 180048
269
The Harsh Years 184959
282
The Moderate Years 186067
302
Economy and Society
358
Demography and Occupations 18901920
429

From Sigismund to Matthias 13851490
68
The Mendels 14751531
85
The First Scholars and the First Blood Libel Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries
108
Jewish Physicians in the Fourteenth to Eighteenth Centuries
116
Jewish Criminals in the Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries
125
Emericus Fortunatus Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries
141
Transylvania and the Sabbatarians Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
153
The Jews in TurkishOccupied Hungary 15261686
162
The Jews in Royal Hungary 15261686
182
The Jews in Reunited Hungary 16861740
187
Zionism and AntiSemitism in the Early Twentieth Century
442
The First and Second Jewish Laws 193839
535
World War II 193945
548
The Beginnings
560
The Destruction of Provincial Jewry
568
Under Communist Rule
623
PostHolocaust Jewish Authors
659
Bibliography
675
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About the author (1996)

Raphael Patai (1911-1996) was a prominent cultural anthropologist, historian, and biblical scholar of international reputation. He was the author of more than three dozen books on Jewish and Arab culture, history, politics, psychology, and folklore.

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