Rabbi Loew (the Maharal) of Prague remains one of the most influential and prolific Jewish thinkers of his time. Widely considered one of the fathers of Hassidic thought and a harbinger of Modern Jewish philosophy, his life and work have retained their influence and remain prevalent today.
Adopting a multi-disciplinary approach, this book ranges from an analysis of the historical background to Maharal’s thought, to examining the relevance of this thought in the modern era, before addressing the popular cultural and folkloristic reception of Maharal’s impact on modern, Western culture. This book presents a new understanding of familiar material and will be an invaluable asset to students and scholars of Modern and Early-Modern Jewish History and Intellectual thought.
Table of Contents
Introduction Meir Seidler Part I: Netivot Olam – Paths of the World: The Historical Background 1. An emperor at the Prague Castle: cosmopolitan society, politics and culture in Bohemia during Rudolf II’s reignJaroslav Panek Part II: Gur Aryeh – In the Lion’s Den: Maharal’s Weltanschauung 2. Between Rationalism and Mysticism:Maharal’s place in Jewish Thought Binyamin Gross 3. The Love of God and the Fear of God in the Thought of the Maharal of Prague Yoseph Elkouby 4. Maharal of Prague on time Dov Schwarz 5.Maharal against Azaria de Rossi:The other side of skepticism Giuseppe Veltri 6. At the Crossroad:Maharal's dispute with Eli'ezer Ashkenazi Andre Neher 7. The Relationship Between Halakha, Philosophy and Education in Maharal’s Teachings:Maharal's attitude towards the Halakhic Kitzur Neria Gutel 8. Sexual Restraint and Male Identity in Rabbinic Ethics and the Maharal’s Further Elaborations- Applying Foucault`s idea of subjectivation to Jewish legal and ethical texts David Biernot Part III: Or Chadash – New Light: Anticipating the Birth Pangs of Modernity 9. Modernity and Religion:New explorations in the light of the ‘union of opposites’ Avinoam Rosenak 10. Torah and the Worldly Sciences in the Teaching of the Maharal of Prague and Chabad Chassidism Shimon Cowen 11. Maharal and Religious Coercion Meir Seidler 12. The counter-political theory of Maharal of Prague and the formation of modern orthodox Judaism David Sorotzkin Part IV: Derekh HaChayim – The way of Life: Maharal alias Rabbi Loew in Modern Western Culture 12. The Golem of Prague and his 'Master'- from legends to popular moviesKlaus Davidowicz
Meir Seidler is senior lecturer in the Department of Jewish Studies at the Ariel University Center in Samaria, Israel. His childhood in Prague acquainted him with the folklore surrounding the Maharal, whilst his position in academia has enabled him to upgrade a childhood memory to an academic endeavour.