The emergence of scientific literature in Hebrew for children and youth in the nineteenth century: Preliminary directions for research

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Abstract

One of the toughest challenges undertaken by German–Jewish Maskilim was to create a corpus of scientific texts in Hebrew. Most of the scientific texts written by them were aimed for both adult and juvenile audiences, signifying that no clear differentiation between corpuses for adults and for children had been made yet at the time. After a short blossoming of Hebrew scientific writing in the last third of the eighteenth century in German–Jewish culture, the first half of the nineteenth century saw a degeneration in Hebrew writing in Europe. Hebrew science literature flourished again from around the middle of the nineteenth century, especially in Eastern Europe, along with the growth in science literature for children and youth. This article is an initial exploration of this corpus, which has scarcely been examined. Three test cases are studied: a textbook, a didactic fictitious text, and a journalistic text. They present exclusive attributes of children’s literature, thereby demonstrating the process of crystallization of scientific literature in Hebrew for children and youth at that time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-263
Number of pages15
JournalJewish Culture and History
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016

Keywords

  • 19th century Ashkenazi culture
  • Haskalah’s literature
  • Hebrew scientific literature
  • Literature for children and youth

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