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"The Best Antidote To Anti-Semitism"? Wissenschaft Des Judentums, Protestant Biblical Scholarship, And Anti-Semitism In Germany Before 1933

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Chapter Summary

While current scholarship on the German-Jewish relationship in Wilhelmine Germany has uncovered an “anti-colonial impulse” on the part of members of the Wissenschaft des Judentums vis-à-vis their Protestant colleagues, Jewish and Protestant socialists in the Weimar period engaged in a joint challenge to the colonialist discourse of bourgeois culture associated with Religionswissenschaft. These scholars attempted to infuse social and political institutions with spiritual meaning by fashioning a neutral zone of religious socialism between the liberal historicism of Religionswissenschaft and the ahistorical eschatology of neo-Orthodoxy. In order to fully understand the anomaly of religious socialism in the Weimar period, this chapter explores the writings of Martin Buber and Paul Tillich, the Jewish and Protestant thinkers who were determined to rebuild the very foundations of modern culture destroyed in World War I by reunifying religion and culture with the intent of reconstructing true community.

Keywords: German-Jewish relationship; Jewish; liberal historicism; Martin Buber; Paul Tillich; Protestant socialists; Religionswissenschaft; religious socialism; Wilhelmine Germany; Wissenschaft des Judentums



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