Cookies Policy
Cookie Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

H. Steinthal: A Psychologist of the Jewish People

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
MyBook is a cheap paperback edition of the original book and will be sold at uniform, low price.

Buy this article

$30.00+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites

Abstract This paper deals with the concept of Judaism by H. Steinthal (1823–1899), a renowned linguist in nineteenth-century Germany and a lecturer at the Hochschule für Wissenschaft des Judentums. The first part (sections 1–3) outlines his early education and scholarly development with regard to Völkerpsychologie, which strives to clarify the mental characteristics of peoples in the richness and pletitude of their diversity. Through his intensive study of the works by Wilhelm von Humboldt, Steinthal constructed his own theory of linguistics, which would play a crucial role in that socio-psychological study of the culture represented by the discipline of Völkerpsychologie. The second part (sections 4–6) discusses in the main Steinthal’s commitment to Judaism in regard to personal, public and cultural aspects. Throughout this part of the paper, the role of emotional elements within his concept of Judaism is emphasized. As Dieter Adelman has pointed out, the notion of devotion (Andacht) constitutes the crux of his view on religious practice, even if Steinthal offered a quite rational (and almost atheistic) concept of religion, inclusive of Judaism. Section 6 explores Steinthal’s treatise on Deuteronomy (Das fünfte Buch Mose/Die erzählende Stücke im fünften Buch Mose) as a work of Völkerpsychologie. In this treatise, Steinthal sought to find a coherency of Deuteronomy, which originally consists of various sources, as Bible studies had revealed already in the mid-nineteenth century. Steinthal found it in the prosaic style of Deuteronomy, which he characterized as ‘charming’ and ‘endearing’, and it marked for him the birth of Jewish national literature and Jewish national spirit or national mind (Volksgeist). In conclusion, his treatise is reconsidered in its historical context. It was a challenge to reconstruct a synthetic view of Jewish literature, after Bible studies and the Wissenschaft des Judentums had pointed up the great variety and diversity within the history of Jews. Hermann Cohen succeeded in this task, building on Steinthal, in his major work, Religion of Reason Out of the Sources of Judaism.


Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to email alerts
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    European Journal of Jewish Studies — Recommend this title to your library

    Thank you

    Your recommendation has been sent to your librarian.

  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation