Stanford University

Research Topic

Was There a Jewish Historicism in the Nineteenth Century?


Amos Bitzan is an historian of modern European Jewry, specializing in the cultural and intellectual history of Central and Eastern European Jews from 1700 to the early twentieth century. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2011 with his dissertation, “The Problem of Pleasure: Disciplining the German Jewish Reading Revolution, 1770–1870,” which examined how the discovery of pleasure reading both stimulated and challenged Jewish intellectuals who were attempting to articulate novel ways of interacting with texts outside of the domain of traditional rabbinic scholarly activity. In the fall of 2015, Dr. Bitzan will begin an appointment as the Frances and Laurence Weinstein Assistant Professor of Modern European Jewish History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. While at the Katz Center his work will reevaluate the assumptions of the origins of Wissenschaft des Judentums and its relation to Jewish historical writing, historicism, and secularization.



Deepening our understanding of the intellectual revolution at the heart of modern Jewish history.