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Jewish Unheil theologically founded

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Chapter Summary

Gerhard Kittels attitudes to Jews and Judaism present an enigma: the combination of great interest and expertise in Judaism, as well as instances of personal defence of certain Jews, and a strong and programmatic deprecation of Judaism, suggesting racist measures against German Jewry. This chapter discusses the question of how these attitudes and actions can be related to his overarching ideology and theology. Kittels negative picture of Jews and Judaism grows increasingly darker during National Socialism. It is in 1933 that Kittel introduces his dark determinism, Unheilsgeschichte, and his salvation-historical theology begins to focus on Gods judgment and curse upon Israel. Kittels description of early Christianity includes the same black backdrop as the one found in e.g. Boussets Late Judaism hypothesis. Palestinian Late Judaism, too, is dry, barren, ossified. Kittels predilection for Palestinian Judaism is sometimes paired with an equal antipathy to the Diaspora.

Keywords: Christianity; Gerhard Kittel; National Socialism; Palestinian Judaism; Unheilsgeschichte

10.1163/ej.9789004168510.i-678.115
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