'Wissenschaft des Judentums' in Europe. Comparative Perspectives

'Wissenschaft des Judentums' in Europe. Comparative Perspectives

European Association for Jewish Studies, Oxford; Christian Wiese, Martin Buber Chair in Jewish Thought and Philosophy, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main
Yarnton Manor, University of Oxford
United Kingdom
Vom - Bis
23.07.2012 - 26.07.2012
Wiese, Christian; Thulin, Mirjam

Jewish Studies today is an integral part of academia, but the history of the discipline throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries is of a young, new field of research that was never really accepted at European universities before the Holocaust. Despite this discrimination, modern Jewish scholarship developed in Germany after the Enlightenment, when it was called Wissenschaft des Judentums.

The Wissenschaft des Judentums spread to most of the European Jewish communities, creating its own institutions and producing an impressive record of scholarship in the fields of Jewish history, religion, literature and culture. Apart from its scholarly endeavours, the Wissenschaft des Judentums served an important role in the Jewish minority’s struggle for political and cultural emancipation. Moreover Wissenschaft des Judentums was not only part of the attempt to foster Jewish identity but also served as an instrument for the defence against anti-Semitism.

Most of the research on Wissenschaft des Judentums undertaken so far focuses on Germany or analyzes the history of Jewish Studies along national lines. This is especially problematic as Jewish Studies was clearly a transnational European endeavour, characterized by a network of scholars all over Europe and North America. Furthermore, the situation of Wissenschaft des Judentums varied in different countries and political contexts.

The purpose of the EAJS Colloquium 2012 is to bring together young international scholars in the field and to partly rewrite the history of Wissenschaft des Judentums/ Jewish Studies in a collective, interdisciplinary endeavor, and to provide a comprehensive systematic and comparative representation of the history of Jewish Studies in Europe before the Holocaust.


Monday, July 23

15:00 Welcome
Christian Wiese (Frankfurt am Main)
Garth Gilmour (Oxford)

15:15 The Beginnings: Wissenschaft des Judentums in Italy
Chair: Mirjam Thulin (Frankfurt am Main)

Cristiana Facchini (Bologna)
The Challenge of Wissenschaft des Judentums in a Catholic Country: The Italian Case

Asher Salah (Jerusalem)
The Intellectual Horizons of Rabbi Marco Mortara, a Representative of Wissenschaft des Judentums in 19th-Century Italy

Chiara Adorisio (Rome)
Wissenschaft des Judentums between Italy and France: Samuel David Luzzatto’s Letters to Salomon Munk in Paris

18:00 Dinner

19:30 Keynote Lecture
Chair: Christian Wiese (Frankfurt am Main)

Andreas Gotzmann (Erfurt)
Scholarship and Faith in the Founding Years of Wissenschaft des Judentums

Tuesday, July 24

9:30 Wissenschaft des Judentums in Eastern Europe
Chair: Mirjam Thulin (Frankfurt am Main)

Keynote Lecture
François Guesnet (London)
Wissenschaft des Judentums in Eastern Europe: Successes and Failures of a Complex Relationship

10:45 Coffee Break

Michał Galas (Kraków)
Preachers and Scholars. The Great Synagogue in Warsaw as Center of Wissenschaft des Judentums

Kerstin Armborst-Weihs (Mainz)
Jewish Scholarship in Russia: Historical and Ethnographic Research as Pillars of a New Jewish National Consciousness

13:00 Lunch Break

14:30 Wissenschaft des Judentums in the Habsburg Empire
Chair: François Guesnet (London)

Ferenc L. Laczó (Jena)
Faith Enlightened? Jewish History, Identity, Values and Contributions in the Hungarian Variant of Wissenschaft des Judentums in the Horthy Era

Mirjam Thulin (Frankfurt am Main)
Instituting Wissenschaft des Judentums in Hungary: The Case of the Landes-Rabbinerschule in Budapest

Björn Siegel (Hamburg)
A “Community” within a Community? Adolf Jellinek and Wissenschaft des Judentums in Habsburg Vienna

16:45 Coffee Break

17:00 Visions and Values in Wissenschaft des Judentums
Chair: Christian Wiese (Frankfurt am Main)

Céline Trautmann-Waller (Paris)
The Buch Zunz or: Wissenschaft des Judentums from an Intimate View

George Y. Kohler (Beer Sheva)
“The Jewel of our Science” – Wissenschaft des Judentums and Kabbalah Research in 19th-Century Germany

18:45 Dinner

Wednesday, July 25

9:30 The Intersection of Wissenschaft des Judentums and Islamic Studies
Chair: George Y. Kohler (Beer Sheva)

Dirk Hartwig (Berlin)
An Antidote for Orientalism? German-Jewish Attitudes towards the Qur‘an and the Prophet Muhammad

Ottfried Fraisse (Frankfurt am Main)
Interlacing “Darwin” and “Hegel” through Maimonides – Ignác Goldziher’s Idea of Intercultural Evolution in Judaism and Islam

11:00 Coffee Break

11:30 Wissenschaft des Judentums at the Beginning of the 20th Century
Chair: Ferenc L. Laczó (Jena)

Kerstin von der Krone (Berlin)
Between History and Re-Orientation. Revisiting Modern Jewish Scholarship in the Early 20th Century

Nicolas Berg (Leipzig/London)
“For pure Knowledge Resentment is a Veil” (Ludwig Feuchtwanger). Werner Sombart and Wissenschaft des Judentums

13:00 Lunch Break
14:30 Material Cultures of Wissenschaft des Judentums
Chair: Kerstin von der Krone (Berlin)

Eva-Maria Jansson (Copenhagen)
David Simonsen and his Archive in Copenhagen

Zsuzsanna Toronyi (Budapest)
Collections of the Hungarian Jewish Museum related to Wissenschaft des Judentums

16:00 Coffee Break

Rachel Heuberger (Frankfurt am Main)
Aron Freimann and the Hebraica and Judaica Collection of the Frankfurt University Library

18:00 Dinner

Thursday, July 26

9:30 Wissenschaft des Judentums and Identity
Chair: Ottfried Fraisse (Frankfurt am Main)

Keynote Lecture
Christian Wiese (Frankfurt am Main)
Wissenschaft des Judentums and Jewish Nationalism. Mutual Perceptions and Debates

10:45 Coffee Break

Tally Gur (Haifa)
Non-Jews and Jewish Studies in Post Second World War Germany 1967–1989

Concluding Remarks

13:00 Lunch – Departure


Mirjam Thulin

Martin Buber Chair in Jewish Thought and Philosophy, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main


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