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Jewish Scholarship and Culture in Nineteenth-Century Germany
Between History and Faith
Nils Roemer

Studies in German Jewish Cultural History and Literature

A fresh perspective on the importance of religion and history in nineteenth-century German Jewish culture

German Jews were fully assimilated and secularized in the nineteenth century—or so it is commonly assumed. Nils Roemer challenges this assumption, finding that religious sentiments, concepts, and rhetoric found expression through a newly emerging theological historicism at the center of modern German Jewish culture.

Modern German Jewish identity developed during the struggle for emancipation, debates about religious and cultural renewal, and battles against anti-Semitism. A key component of this identity was historical memory, which Jewish scholars had begun to infuse with theological perspectives. After German unification in the early 1870s, Jewish intellectuals reevaluated their embrace of liberalism and secularism. Without abandoning the ideal of tolerance, they asserted a right to cultural religious difference—an ideal they held to more tightly in the face of growing anti-Semitism. This newly re-theologized Jewish history, Roemer argues, helped German Jews fend off anti-Semitic attacks by strengthening their own sense of their culture and tradition.

Studies in German Jewish Cultural History and Literature
Paul Mendes-Flohr, Series Editor

Nils H. Roemer is the Ian Karten Lecturer in Jewish History at the University of Southampton. He is a co-editor of Jüdische Geschichte lesen: Texte der jüdischen Geschichtsschreibung im 19. und 20., and numerous articles and essays on these subjects.

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cover of Roemer's book is beige, with a border of 27 famous men running around the edge

July 2005
264 pp.   6 x 9
2 b/w photos, 1 illus.
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Cloth $60.00 s
ISBN 978-0-299-21170-7
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