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Judaism as degenerated hebraism

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Chapter Summary

The Old Testament scholar W. M. L. de Wette established a view of Jewish history that would gain enormous influence. In his Biblical Dogmatic of the Old and New Testament or Critical Representation of the Religious Doctrine of Hebraism, Judaism and Early Christianity, 1813, de Wette further explicates his views, with even the three-part division of the title inferring his historiography. The Hebraism is described in four phases: pre-Mosaic polytheistic Hebraismus; Mosaic Hebraismus; degenerated polytheistic-Mosaic Hebraismus; and the ideal Hebraismus of the Prophets and Poets. A keyword in de Wettes thought is spiritual. In his conception of Christianity, Jesus is a spiritual Messiah, giving spiritual legislation and elevating the Mosaic law into moral reflection. De Wettes view on the Jews was probably directly related to his political position, the Jewish problem being on the tapis in Prussia, much due to the influence of French politics.

Keywords: Christianity; Hebraism; Judaism; W. M. L. de Wette



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