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The history of religions school and the jews—An historical turn?

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Chapter Summary

The History of Religions school both was and was not an historical turn with regard to the picture of the Jews. Two representatives of the school deserve special attention due to their work on Jews and Judaism in relation to the New Testament: Wilhelm Bousset for his book on the religion of the Jews, and Johannes Weiss for his attempt to place Jesus in his religio-historical background. This chapter discusses Boussets main work on Judaism, Die Religion des Judentums im neutestamentlichen Zeitalter, a standard work that impacted generations of scholars in Germany and other countries where German exegesis was influential. Weiss professes to be an historian with a clear purpose to render the New Testament teaching on its own terms, and on the whole, his first book confirms that he was able to do so, letting his findings challenge his own theology. Das Urchristentum has the same characteristics.

Keywords: History of Religions School; Jews; Johannes Weiss; New Testament; Wilhelm Bousset



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