Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
HasidismKey Questions$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Marcin Wodzinski

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190631260

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190631260.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 October 2021

A Definition

A Definition

(p.1) 1 A Definition

Marcin Wodziński

Oxford University Press

What did it mean for an ordinary Jew to be a Hasid? Although there are dozens of definitions of Hasidism, all of them are built on doctrinal categories. The chapter demonstrates these kinds of ideological definitions are inadequate, given that they turn Hasidism into an abstract doctrine, disconnected from its believers and their daily practices. Instead, this chapter offers a behavioral, or performative, definition of Hasidism as practiced in everyday life, a definition based on low-profile, often folk testimony, i.e. it shows what rank-and-file followers understood being a Hasid meant and how they defined their own distinctive features. It demonstrates that, contrary to a predominant assumption, the self-definition of a Hasidic group was closer to a confraternity than to a sect, which provides entirely new analytical categories and allows for a new view of the history of Hasidism, inter-group boundaries, and more.

Keywords:   Hasidism, East-European Jews, behavioral definition, sect, confraternity, group boundaries, church-sect typology

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .