The Meaning of Jewish Existence

The sudden change in the social situation of the Jew occasioned, throughout the nineteenth century, a deep internal debate about the terms and meaning of Jewish existence in the modern world. The old certainties, set forth in the Bible and refined by almost two millennia of rabbinic Judaism, were shaken. A single century gave birth to more dissension on how to define Jewish identity than the whole of the preceding seventeen centuries combined.

Crisis and Covenant, p. 8