Reinventing religion: Jewish religion textbooks in Russian Gymnasia

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Abstract

This article examines 10 textbooks used in Jewish religion classesin Russian high schools in the final decades of the 19th century. The textbooks reveal an expectation of a low level of Hebrew background, an interest in promoting the practice of prayer, and two distinct approaches to teaching Judaism. While some of the books introduce students to their religion through Biblical or later Jewish history, others present the religion as a systematic set of beliefs and practices. Although it is difficult to ascertain exactly how the books were utilized in classrooms, they certainly provide a sense of the priorities of a group of educators, as well as of the relative freedom they had in defining Judaism for the next generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-156
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Jewish Education
Volume77
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Religious studies

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