Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Post hoc propter hoc: The impact of martyrdom on the development of Hasidut Ashkenaz
by Galoob, Robert Paul, Ph.D., Graduate Theological Union, 2017, 205; 10646811
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation explores the close literary, thematic and linguistic relationships between The Hebrew Chronicles of the First Crusade and the later pietistic text Sefer Hasidim. Despite a long-standing tendency to view the Jewish martyrdom of 1096 and the development of German pietism (Hasidut Ashkenaz) as unrelated. upon closer scrutiny, we find strong ties between the two texts. Sefer Hasidim, the most well-known pietistic text, contains dozens of martyrological stories and references that share similar language, themes and contexts as the crusade chronicles. Indeed, rather than standing alone, and unrelated to the first crusade literature, we find tales of martyrdom that closely resemble those in the first crusade narratives. Sefer Hasidim also contains numerous statements that indicate the primacy of martyrdom within the hierarchy of the pietistic belief system, while other martyrological references function as prooftext for the traditional pietistic themes distilled by Ivan Marcus and Haym Soloveitchik. The extent to which martyrological themes are integrated into the belief system articulated in Sefer Hasidim indicates that the martyrdom of the First Crusade should be viewed as formative to the development of Hasidut Ashkenaz. A close reading of Sefer Hasidim conclusively demonstrates this premise. Moreover, a similar analysis of the crusade chronicles reveals a wide range of martyrological tales described in quintessential pietistic terms; expressions of the will of God, the fear of God. and the pietistic preference for life in the hereafter, are found throughout the martyrological text.

When reading these two diverse texts side by side, we find substantive elements of a common world view spanning the period of the first crusade through the appearance of Sefer Hasidim. This allows us to understand each text through a new lens; the crusade chronicles now appear to be an early articulation of pietistic thought, while the later pietistic text now reads in part as a martyrological document of great significance.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Aranoff, Deena
School: Graduate Theological Union
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 78/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Medieval literature, Medieval history, Judaic studies
Keywords: 1096, First Crusade Martyroom, Hasidut Ashkenaz, Martyroom, Pietism
Publication Number: 10646811
ISBN: 978-0-355-20111-6
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