Though the Science of Judaism (Wissenschaft des Judentums) is undoubtedly one of the most prominent achievements of Jewish thought in the nineteenth century, it is, however, also a historical phenomenon which appears to have concluded. It is by Max Wiener’s (1882–1950) thinking that the Science of Judaism considers its own finality by means of critically looking back upon its beginnings. In this respect Wiener’s writings mark the end of the direct influence the work of Leopold Zunz has exercised on the Science of Judaism.
See Knut Martin Stünkel“Die letzte Entdeckung des Christentums durch die Wissenschaft des Judentums bei Max Wiener,” in Die Entdeckung des Christentums in der Wissenschaft des Judentumsed. Görge K. Hasselhoff (Berlin and New York: De Gruyter2010) 301–342.
See Leonore Siegele-Wenschkewitz“Das Verhältnis von protestantischer Theologie und Wissenschaft des Judentums während der Weimarer Republik,” in Juden in der Weimarer Republik: Skizzen und Porträtseds. Walter Grab and Julius H. Schoeps (Darmstadt: Primus1998) 158.
WienerAbraham Geiger8. In Wiener’s selection a letter of Geiger to Zunz praises him luciferically: “Into this quiet labor there suddenly fell that ray of light of which I was hardly conscious which illuminated my path and prepared me for the even greater light that was to stream forth for me later on. That one beam honored Master was your own Zeitschrift fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums which accidentally came into my hands.” Quoted in Wiener Abraham Geiger 142.
WienerJüdische Religion183. Here Zunz arrives at a position concerning the concept of nation that is very close to Wiener’s own. See Schine Jewish Thought Adrift 156: “To take the outstanding example liturgical poetry was to Zunz such an expression of the national soul. [. . .] To be sure the elevation of the idea of the Jewish ‘nation’ to the status of a commanding authority is problematic but it is precisely this side of Zunz’ thought to which Wiener was sympathetic.”
Wiener“We are History”: 14–15. In a programmatic text from 1934, Wiener formulates important tasks for future reflection on the Jewish religion. Here, History may well be used as an auxiliary device, but not as an archeological substitute for Jewish life itself (Max Wiener, “Die Stellung der Religion im jüdischen Nationalismus,”Jüdische Rundschau24 [March 23rd 1934] 935).