||Nachman Krochmal (Re-Na-K; 1785–1840), philosopher, historian, one of the founders of the "science of Judaism" (Wissenschaft des Judentums), and a leader of the Haskalah movement in Eastern Europe. Krochmal was born in the town of Brody, Galicia. His father Shalom Krochmalnik maintained contact with Haskalah circles in Germany, particularly with M. Mendelssohn and D. Friedlaender, and Krochmal himself attracted the luminaries of the Haskalah - S. J. Rapoport, I. Erter, S. Bloch, H. M. Pineles, J. H. Schorr, M. H. Letteris, - to the town of Zolkiew in Galicia, where he spent most of his life. He returned to Brody after his wife's death in 1836 and later settled in Tarnopol, where he died after a long illness.
Krochmal acquired his extensive education completely on his own. He devoted himself largely to philosophy and history. His chief inspiration in Jewish thought came from Maimonides and Abraham ibn Ezra, and in general philosophy from Kant, Schelling, and Hegel. His interest in philosophy and history, however, was subservient to the central preoccupation of Krochmal's life, namely, the understanding of Judaism in its historical manifestation. This was summed up in his Hebrew Moreh Nevukhei ha-Zeman ("Guide of the Perplexed of the Time"), which was edited by L. Zunz and published posthumously in 1851 (critical edition by S. Rawidowicz, 1924; revised edition, 1961). Krochmal believed that his chief contribution should be made through teaching and discussion. Through verbal communication he exerted a decisive influence on his associates, and it was only at the insistence of his friends that he set down his views in writing.
Consisting of 17 chapters, the work may be divided into four sections: chapters 1–7 deal with issues in philosophy of religion and philosophy of history; chapters 8–11 provide a summary of Jewish history; chapters 12–15 contain an analysis of Hebrew literature by means of the critical-historical method; and chapters 16–17 present the nucleus of Krochmal's philosophy.