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Good Enough For The Goyim? Samuel Hirsch And Samuel Holdheim On Christianity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter specifically and briefly addresses the attitudes of two prominent nineteenth-century German Jewish thinkers, Samuel Holdheim and Samuel Hirsch. Holdheim was a Talmudic prodigy who was to be become one of the most radical reformers of Judaism in Germany. Hirsch, a devotee of Hegel, was famous for his systematic philosophy first formulated in Die Religionsphilosophie der Juden. The chapter focuses on Hirschs Die Humanität als Religion and examines Hirschs rebuttal of the arguments of the Prussian Freemasons, Bauer, and Marx against Judaism. For Hirsch, Christianity as an extensive religion served its purpose despite its distorted message. But there comes a moment, Hirsch optimistically concludes, when even the pagans have come of age. Yet the Church refused to recognize that intolerant Christianity as it has been known was no longer good enough for the goyim.

Keywords: Christianity; Die Humanität als religion; Die Religionsphilosophie der Juden; Germany; goyim; Judaism; Prussian Freemasons; Samuel Hirsch; Samuel Holdheim

10.1163/ej.9789004171503.i-626.99
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