This essay traces the historical evolution of a novel type of individual in western and especially German-speaking Europe at the turn of the twentieth century: the Jew who recognized himself, and was recognized by others, through the way he thought as opposed to how he looked. Disillusioned by the persistence of antisemitism in the liberal age, German-speaking Jews were the first to assert an ethnic pride based on common traits they insisted remained embedded in their minds despite outward acculturation. While the emergent discourse of psychological Jewishness helped create a language of secular identity for Jews outside the communal fold, it also inadvertently fed into suspicions that Judaic patterns of thought were entering into the mainstream and turning everyone in the West into “Jews.”

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