87. szám // 2022. Zsidó felemelkedés vagy térnyerés?
Zsidó polgárosodás és „zsidókérdés” a 19. századi Magyarországon
Jewish Middle Class and the “Jewish Question” in Nineteenth-Century Hungary
Based on theories of organic historical development and pressing for the merg- ing of social classes, the nineteenth-century liberal aristocracy considered the Hungarian middle class to be the driving force of national integration, with the landowning nobility, the honorácior (educated commoners in positions usually preserved for the aristocracy), and the upper echelons of the urban bourgeoisie being its primary constituent elements. It was not until the emancipation of the Jews that the question of integrating Jewish merchants, financiers and intel- lectuals into the emerging middle class was formulated in a meaningful way. The study examines how the role of the Jews in society was perceived by those who were engaged on the matter of forging a Hungarian middle class. Following an overview of the contemporaneous concepts that mentioned the Jewry, the author addresses the reasons for the absence of any narratives that would take into consideration and positively appreciate their role in the Hungarian middle class. Even though the emergence and remarkable Hungarianization of the Jew- ish bourgeoisie and middle classes were increasingly discernible by the 1880s, the existence of the Jewish bourgeoisie began to be solely interpreted as a “Jew- ish question.” The scope of the paper extends to the turn of the twentieth cen- tury, the time of escalating neo-conservative tendencies embracing anti-Semi- tism, which played a decisive role in the negative perception of the role of the Jews in society. The analysis also looks at the responses of the progressive-neolog intellectuals of the Hungarianizing Jewish middle classes, and how they shaped the ideology that was to provide guidance to integrating Jewish groups.