George Mosse and Jewish History

in German Politics and Society
View More View Less
  • 1 Hebrew University
Restricted access

George Mosse viewed history as a totality. It should come as no surprise, then, that his vision of the modern Jewish experience was in accordance with this predilection. Just as, for him, the political and the religious, the scientific and the aesthetic realms, were intertwined, deeply co-implicated, he refused to pigeon-hole and separate, or to use one of his favorite terms, “ghettoize” Jewish history and cut it off from the larger European whole. When he arrived in the late 1960s at the Hebrew University, I recall, he rather jolted the more conservative historians there not only because they were aghast at the fact that, already then, George was discussing the history of masturbation in his classes(!), but, more pertinently here, also because he challenged the prevailing ethnocentric bias that Jewish history by definition followed its own unique narrative and immanent laws.