When wealthy Jewish industrialist David Friedländer proposed in 1799 that Berlin's Jews undergo a sham conversion to Christianity in return for full German citizenship, he touched off a political and theological debate that would continue to define the relation between Jewish and German identity for more than a century.
In the series of provocative letters collected here, Friedländer, Protestant leader Wilhelm Abraham Teller, and young Christian theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher debate Friedländer's radical proposal. In so doing, they grapple with many of the thorny problems--such as citizenship, religious tolerance, and assimilation--that continue to vex world political leaders today.
Richard Crouter's Introduction provides the cultural, religious, and historical context for this compelling exchange; a postscript by Julie Klassen reveals the ways in which Germany's minorities continue to be marginalized more than two hundred years after Friedländer made his passionate appeal for political liberty and human rights.
About the Author
Richard Crouter is John M. and Elizabeth W. Musser Professor of Religious Studies Emeritus, Carleton College.
Julie Klassen is Professor of German, Carleton College.
What People are Saying About This
"It will surely enter the canon of standard works in the study of modern Jewish history."