A New History of Hasidism

In 1931 Simon Dubnow's classic two-volume study »Toldot Chasidut« appeared in a German translation, »Geschichte des Chassidismus« (Berlin: Jüdischer Verlag). It remained for a long time the sole comprehensive work on this religious movement that arose in the mid-eighteenth century in Eastern Europe.

An international group of researchers started their work on a New History of Hasidism in 2011. The research team aimed at writing a new and first truly comprehensive history of the movement as a whole, going beyond the time frame of Simon Dubnow's study, which utilized source materials down to 1815 as a cutoff point. It was comprised of experienced senior and younger historians from Poland, Israel, Great Britain and the United States.

The project, funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, included four research stays for the participating scholars between two weeks up to one month in order to deepen international scientific cooperation. In the summertime 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, these research stays at the Dubnow Institute assisted the research team in essential work and writing on the multi-volume study of Hasidism that was projected. Not only was the corpus of source materials so large that it could only be properly dealt with by a research collective; the material is also scattered in many localities, and is written in four languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish and Russian.

At the end of 2017, the new history of Hasidism compiled by David Assaf, David Biale, Benjamin Brown, Uri Gellman, Samuel C. Heilman, Moshe Rosman, Gadi Sagiv, and Martin Wodziński has now been published.

Team Members

Tel Aviv University
David Assaf

University of California, Davis
David Biale (Projektleiter)

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Benjamin Brown

Tel Aviv University
Uriel Gellman

Queens College, New York
Samuel Heilman

Boston University
Elly Moseson

University College, London
Ada Rapoport-Albert

Bar-Ilan University
Moshe Rosman

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Gadi Sagiv

Wrocław University
Marcin Wodziński