chapter  8
“Dieses wirklich westöstlichen Mannes”
The German-Jewish Orientalist Josef Horovitz in Germany, India, and Palestine
ByRuchama Johnston-Bloom
Pages 16

As the editors of the recent volume, Colonialism and the Jews, write in the introduction, “historians have been surprisingly reticent to explore the complex ways in which Jews interacted with nineteenth- and twentieth-century overseas empires.” 1 This is due in large part to debates regarding Zionism and the State of Israel, which “rendered colonialism a veritable minefield for Jewish Studies.” 2 However, the volume Colonialism and the Jews is itself evidence that scholars have finally begun to explore the complexity of European Jewish engagement with empire. One facet of this engagement that has received growing attention is the complicated position of Jews vis-à-vis Orientalism. European Jews varyingly embraced, rejected, inverted, and “thought with” Orientalist tropes linked to European colonialism. Jewish Orientalist scholarship has also received recent scholarly attention, and Jewish scholars have been recognized as bringing a particular set of questions to the study of Islam. One such scholar, the German-Jewish Orientalist, Josef Horovitz (1875–1931), whose career took him to both British India and Mandatory Palestine, where he was the founding director of Islamic Studies at Hebrew University, is a particularly interesting figure in light of questions about European Jewish scholars working in colonial contexts, as well as questions regarding the connections between European scholars and scholarship and modern Arab and Islamic thought, and the reception of German-Jewish scholarship in the Mashriq and India.