Modernity and Polish Jews: Recent Developments in Polish-Jewish Historiography

Marcin Wodziński

Abstract: The article investigates the differing meanings employed in the concept of modernity by historians of the Polish Jews of the nineteenth century and how it has evolved over the last thirty years. It traces two essential traditions of modernist discourse on the nineteenth-century Polish Jews as following either process-oriented or project-oriented approaches. It also asks whether modernization theory and the concept of modernity are helpful in understanding the nineteenth-century history of the Polish Jews and whether there is anything specific that, when applying these notions to Polish-Jewish history, distinguishes it from the modernity discourse on other European Jewries.
Słowa kluczowe: Keywords: modernity, Poland, Jews, modernization theory, Hasidism, progress, Enlightenment, liberal Judaism.