Leopold Zunz Seen from the End of Emancipation: Max Wiener on the Beginnings of the Science of Judaism

in European Journal of Jewish Studies
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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.

Leopold Zunz Seen from the End of Emancipation: Max Wiener on the Beginnings of the Science of Judaism

in European Journal of Jewish Studies




Robert S. SchineJewish Thought Adrift: Max Wiener (1882–1950) (Atlanta: Scholars Press1992) xii.


WienerJüdische Religion4.


WienerJüdische Religion4.


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.


Immanuel Wolf“Über den Begriff einer Wissenschaft des Judenthums,” Zeitschrift für die Wissenschaft des Judentums 1 (1822): 23. Wiener quotes this statement in Jüdische Religion 192.


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.


WienerJüdische Religion175.


Max Wiener“Um die Zukunft der jüdischen Wissenschaft,” Jüdische Rundschau 41/27–28 (1936): 10.


Max WienerJ.G. Fichtes Lehre vom Wesen und Inhalt der Geschichte (Kirchhain: Schmersow1906) 90.


WienerJüdische Religion194.


Max Wiener“Moses Mendelssohn und die religiösen Gestaltungen des Judentums im 19. Jahrhundert,” Zeitschrift für die Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland 1 (1929): 202.


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.


WienerAbraham Geiger44.


WienerAbraham Geiger79.


SchineJewish Thought Adrift156.


WienerJüdische Religion185.


WienerJüdische Religion16.


Max Wiener“Der Rabbiner als geistiger Führer,” Der Morgen 9 (1933): 109.


WienerAbraham Geiger56.


WienerJüdische Religion176.


WienerJüdische Religion179.


WienerJüdische Religion180.


WienerJüdische Religion182.


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.”


WienerJüdische Religion229.


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 Rundschau 24 [March 23rd 1934] 935).

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