Challenging Colonial Discourse: Jewish Studies and Protestant Theology in Wilhelmine Germany

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On the basis of postcolonial theory, this study shows how Jewish scholars, in the controversies about the “essence” of Judaism and Christianity at the beginning of the 20th century, challenged the intellectual hegemony of Liberal Protestantism in Germany. By carefully examining the impact of the political circumstances—the loss of relevance of political liberalism, the spreading of antisemitism, and the crisis of Jewish identity in an age of contested emancipation and assimilation—on the theological discourse, it provides a critical analysis of anti-Jewish implications of Protestant theology in the 19th and 20th centuries and discusses the function of Jewish polemics against Protestant distortions of Jewish history, religion and culture. Furthermore, it develops important guidelines for a contemporary interdisciplinary relationship between Jewish Studies and Christian theology.

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Meet the Author

Christian Wiese, Ph.D. (1997) in Protestant Theology, is Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at Erfurt University and taught at McGill University in Montreal and Dartmouth College. He has published extensively on Modern Jewish History and Thought, including Hans Jonas. ‚Zusammen Philosoph und Jude‛, (Frankfurt a. M. 2003).
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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 The political and social situation of the Jewish community in Wilhelmine Germany, 1890-1914 41
Ch. 2 The self-conception and research conditions of Jewish studies 77
Ch. 3 Jewish studies and the Protestant "mission to the Jews", 1880-1914 109
Ch. 4 The controversy over the representation of Pharisaic-Rabbinic Judaism by Protestant historiography on the New Testament era, 1900-1914 159
Ch. 5 The Jewish perception of Protestant research and evaluation of the Hebrew Bible, 1900-1914 217
Ch. 6 The legitimacy of Judaism's continuation - the political dimension of liberal Judaism's debate with liberal Protestantism in the context of the internal Jewish identity debate, 1900-1914 289
Ch. 7 The reception of Jewish studies by Protestant academic theology, 1900-1914 351
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