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Rudolf Klein, professor of modern architectural history at Szent István University, Budapest, will give a talk on his new book, Synagogues in Hungary, 1867–1918 (Central European University Press, 2017).
This is the first comprehensive study that systematically covers all synagogues in Hungary from the Edict of Tolerance by Joseph II to the end of World War I. Unlike prior attempts, dealing with post-World-War-II Hungary only, the geographical range of this study includes historic Hungary, today Austro-Hungarian successor states, within the mentioned chronological timespan. The study presents the architecture of Hungarian synagogues in a chronological order; the author gives special attention to the boom of synagogue architecture and art from 1867 to 1918, a time also called the modern Jewish Renaissance . However, the greatest contribution of this book is the innovative matrix method, which the author applies to determine the basic types of synagogues by using eight basic criteria. The book also deals with the problem of urban context, the position of the synagogue in the city and its immediate environment. There are two detailed case studies how communities built their synagogues and how these were received by the general public. A theoretical summary tries to determine the role of post-emancipation period synagogues in general architectural history.