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The Nazi Quest for an Aryan Jesus

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This paper introduces perhaps the most neglected era in the history of the Quest for the historical Jesus. The era is National Socialist Germany and the particular Quest involves the attempt to prove Jesus was not Jewish but rather Aryan. Despite sev eral recent attempts to associate the contemporary Jesus Seminar with such ap proaches, the whole period is largely ignored in the standard works on the history of New Testament scholarship. This paper introduces and describes the most impor tant of the attempts to prove that Jesus was Aryan, that of Walter Grundmann. Important aspects of the general ideological background, as well as the influence of his teacher, Gerhard Kittel are discussed, with a more detailed treatment of the arguments in his Jesus der Galiläer und das Judentum (1940).

Affiliations: 1: Tyndale House Cambridge, England


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