This book examines the development of Jewish positions on the relationship between church and state in France from the French Revolution until the 1905 law of separation. It is a comprehensive study of the complex interplay among all segments of the Jewish population and the community’s attempt to come to terms with its social and religious status in the nineteenth century. It addresses how French Jews understood the constitutional right of religious freedom in a state that supported Judaism, while, at the same time, in its Concordat with the Catholic Church, officially recognized Catholicism as “the religion of the great majority of French citizens.” Conversely, it examines how they responded to the attempts by the republican majority during the Third Republic to radically secularize the public sphere and separate church from state. The volume considers the extent to which the positions expressed by the representatives of French Jewry on church-state policies were pragmatic and the extent to which they were ideological and compares Jewish attitudes toward the relationship between church and state with those of other religious groups in France.
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