pristine solvent of German tolerance

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NewAmerica

Banned
Mandarin
Does "pristine solvent of German tolerance" mean "perfect solution of German tolerance"?

Thanks in advance

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Even the self-proclaimed "friends of the Jews" who sought the admission of Jews into German society with the full privileges of citizenship did so only on the assumption that the Jews could be reformed thereby and rendered pure by sustained association with the German race. Thus, the voices of liberal tolerance within Germany were often as anti-Semitic as their conservative opponents, for they differed only in the belief that the Jew was capable of moral regeneration. By the end of the nineteenth century, after the liberal experiment had failed to dissolve the Jews in the pristine solvent of German tolerance, the erstwhile "friends of the Jews" came to regard these strangers in their midst with the same loathing that their less idealistic contemporaries had nurtured all along.

-Sam Harris

Source: The End of Faith (PDF)
 
  • analeeh

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    'Solvent' here means something that dissolves something else. 'Pristine' means 'perfectly clean'. It's a metaphorical usage, of course - he means that the 'Friends of the Jews' believed that the perfect, 'civilised' ideal of German tolerance would absorb the (in their eyes non-pristine, non-civilised) Jewish people into German society in such a way that they would basically become 'normal' (i.e. non-Jewish) Germans - i.e. their Jewishness would be dissolved.
     
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