Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The importance of the Vilna Ga'on to Haskalah

You can find some interesting stuff on Google book search nowadays, as they scan more and more books. I found a chapter from The gaon of Wilna; a review of his life and influence by Mendel Silber (1905), which I decided to upload:

'Elijah Gaon of Wilna; His Importance.' You can download it or read it here.

Aside from the interest of the information contained in these ten pages in itself, it might also be of interest to readers in that it is a lucid example of how non-traditionalist Jews idealized the Vilna Gaon from an entirely different angle than traditionalists (Silber was an American Reform rabbi in St. Louis).


It really is worth reading the entire chapter.

The phenomenon of individuals who people with all sorts of opposing views feel kinship with is interesting. I have previously posted about how the Rambam was one such figure. The Ga'on was another. More recent figure were R. Samson Raphael Hirsch and R. J.B. Soloveitchik. Interesting it would be to investigate all such figures and contrast them with those who opposites never tried to co-opt for their own.

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