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The jews in enlightenment exegesis from deism to de Wette

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Chapter Summary

Thomas Morgans description of the Jews is important as a background to the later German development, showing that the negative, stereotypical characterisation of Jews is not a German phenomenon per se. In his historiography of the Jewish people, Morgan differentiates between the early, happy period of the Hebrews Noah, Abraham and Enoch, and the time after Mosess arrival in Egypt, when the religion of the Hebrews degenerated into something else, and the Jews became thoroughly Egyptianised. He also argues for an early depravation of Israel, interpreting Moses and his time in Egypt negatively, whereas scholars such as de Wette and Baur consider Judaisms encounter with Hellenism in the time after Alexander to be something positive. The Jews are the degenerated Israel of the Old Testament, and the Old Testament has no relevance for Morgans own theology, which like much of Enlightenment theology has a negative view of the Old Testament.

Keywords: de Wette; Enlightenment theology; Jews; Old Testament; Thomas Morgan



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