Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture Online

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Burial Controversy
(1,279 words)

In the 18th century, new medical findings led to an increasing fear of the burial of the so-called seemingly dead. While the Jewish Lumières criticized the early burial common in Judaism for being backward and demanded its abolition, the rabbinic authorities opposed any kind of innovation. The heated debate referred to as the burial controversy is considered the first and paradigmatic inner-Jewish reform controversy in the early era of emancipation.

In Jewish tradition, leaving a dead body overnight to decompose without sufficient reason is considered an insult to…

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Krochmalnik, Daniel, “Burial Controversy”, in: Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture Online, Original German Language Edition: Enzyklopädie Jüdischer Geschichte und Kultur. Im Auftrag der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig herausgegeben von Dan Diner. © J.B. Metzler, Stuttgart/Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland 2011–2017. Consulted online on 27 February 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2468-8894_ejhc_COM_0080>
First published online: 2017
First print edition: 20170409

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