This article traces the development of German Jewish reading cultures from the Napoleonic wars to the demise of the Weimar Republic. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Jewish reading clubs promoted works of Bildung, but by the second half of the nineteenth century, they provided access to books about Jewish religion, history, literature, and philosophy as well. Whereas the institutions of the Jewish public initially emerged outside of established religious communities as part of bourgeois sociability, the end of the nineteenth century saw public and religious institutions intermingling. Moreover, reading was increasingly represented as a cultural practice that was compatible with religious tradition in times of profound cultural and religious changes and as an example of the educated middle class's ideal of Bildung.
© 2010 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston