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Marranism and Western-European Modernity (EuMAR)
Start date: Jun 1, 2012, End date: May 31, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The project „Marranism and Western-European Modernity ” (EuMAR) has a particular approach to European history in modern times analyzing the mode of Jewish existence within this frame. The methodology is innovative and makes use of an exceptional reading of the issue. It is about the specific application of the concept of the ""Marrano"", the secret Jew. The construction of a European, trans-national Jewish identity, especially a secular identity, becomes evident. Moreover, a complex texture of “multiple modernities” (Shmuel N. Eisenstadt) within the very core of Western modernity is recognizable trough the prism of a Marrano paradigm. The Marrano does not represent something alien to European culture – and religious traditions – but is commonly assumed to be “the Other within” (Yirmiyahu Yovel) this culture. The thesis of the project EuMAR is that the Marrano is a central feature at the origin of European multicultural complexities, complexities which were augmented in the so-called post-emancipation period (after 1789). Furthermore, the backbone of the project EuMAR is that it delves into history, in particular the history of the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment), i.e. cultural Enlightenment and Europeanisation, as well as its reception in Western Europe, mainly in France, Italy and in the German speaking countries of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the turning point of the 19th century. This historical transnational perspective on the Haskalah and its reception is highly innovative, as this Jewish intellectual movement and its interplay with the European Enlightenment have been prevalently studied in national contexts. Haskalah’s protagonists accomplished a “secular intellectual revolution” (Shmuel Feiner) in Western and Eastern Europe, a revolution whose impact becomes graspable if one examines its “entangled history” beyond national borders. Marranism is considered a marginal phenomenon, even though it is precisely the marginality that reinforces this concept."
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