Roots of Theological Anti-Semitism

German Biblical Interpretation and the Jews, from Herder and Semler to Kittel and Bultmann

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As Adolf Hitler strategised his way to power, he knew that it was necessary to gain the support of theology and the Church. This study begins two hundred years earlier, however, looking at roots of theological anti-Semitism and how Jews and Judaism were constructed, positively and negatively, in the biblical interpretation of German Protestant theology. Following the two main streams of German theology, the salvation-historical and the Enlightenment-oriented traditions, it examines leading exegetes from the 1750s to the 1950s and explores how theology legitimises or delegitimises oppression of Jews, in part through still-prevailing paradigms. This is the first comprehensive analysis of its kind, and the result of the analysis of the interplay between biblical exegesis and attitudes to Jews and Judaism is a fascinating and often frightening portrait of theology as a servant of power.

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Biographical Note

Anders Gerdmar, Th. D. (2001) ) and Associate Professor in New Testament Exegesis, Uppsala University is researcher and author. His published works includes Rethinking the Judaism-Hellenism Dichotomy (Almqvist & Wiksell, 2001) and the methodological textbook Paths to the New Testament.

Table of contents

CONTENTS
Introduction: Roots of Theological Anti-Semitism
PART I: ENLIGHTENMENT EXEGESIS AND THE JEWS
Introduction
The Jews in Enlightenment Exegesis From Deism to de Wette
Johann Salomo Semler: Dejudaising Christianity
Johann Gottfried Herder: The Volk Concept and the Jews
F. D. E. Schleiermacher: Enlightenment Religion and Judaism
W. M. L. de Wette: Judaism as Degenerated Hebraism
The Jews in Enlightenment Exegesis from Baur to Ritschl
Ferdinand Christian Baur: Judaism as an Historical Antipode of Christianity
David Friedrich Strauss: Judaism in Continuity and Discontinuity with Christianity
Albrecht Ritschl: Kulturprotestantismus and the Jews
The History of Religions School and the Jews—An Historical Turn?
PART II: SALVATION-HISTORICAL EXEGESIS AND THE JEWS: FROM THOLUCK TO SCHLATTER
Introduction
Philo-Semitism
Friedrich August Tholuck: “Salvation Comes from the Jews”
Johann Tobias Beck: Organic Continuity Between Judaism and Christianity
Franz Delitzsch: Pioneering Scholarship in Judaism
Hermann Leberecht Strack: Missions to and Defence of Jews
Adolf Schlatter and Judaism: Great Erudition and Fierce Opposition
PART III: THE FORM CRITICS AND THE JEWS
Introduction
Karl Ludwig Schmidt: A Chosen People and a ‘Jewish Problem’
Martin Dibelius: Ambivalence to Jews and Judaism
Rudolf Bultmann: Liberal and Anti-Jewish
PART IV: NAZI EXEGESIS AND THE JEWS
Introduction
Gerhard Kittel: Jewish Unheil Theologically Founded
Walter Grundmann: Towards a Non-Jewish Jesus
Concluding Analysis

Readership

All those interested in anti-Semitism in general and the relation between theology, especially biblical interpretation and anti-Semitism in particular, as well as German intellectual history of Modernity, and the relationship between the scholarly society and Nazism.

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