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Regents of the University of California, Davis (Davis, CA 95618-6153)
David Biale (Project Director: November 2010 to May 2017)
A History of Hasidism: A Pietistic Revival Movement in the Modern World

Preparation for publication of an 800-page collaborative history of the Jewish Hasidic movement. (36 months)

Hasidism, an Eastern European movement of religious pietism (the word hasidut means piety) has played a key role in Jewish life for the last two hundred fifty years. Starting in the mid-eighteenth century, it infused the Jewish religion with new values by democratizing access to the divine and created a new social structure around wonder-working rabbis. This project, a collaboration of nine specialists from the United States, the United Kingdom, Poland and Israel, aims to produce the first synthetic history of Hasidic literature, thought and institutions from the eighteenth to the end of the twentieth century. A study of this movement will also shed comparative light on the phenomenon of pietistic religious revival in the modern world. Hasidism's militant rejection of modernity, as well as the compromises it has made with modernity, make it a fascinating case study of religious fundamentalism.

Project fields:
History of Religion

Collaborative Research

Research Programs

$150,000 (approved)
$149,911 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2011 – 2/28/2017