VEREIN FUER KULTUR UND WISSENSCHAFT DES JUDENTUMS


VEREIN FUER KULTUR UND WISSENSCHAFT DES JUDENTUMS
VEREIN FUER KULTUR UND WISSENSCHAFT DES JUDENTUMS ("Kulturverein"), Society for the Culture and Science of Judaism, founded in Germany in 1819. It was initiated by eduard gans , leopold zunz , isaac marcus jost , moses moser , and others. At a later date, heinrich heine also joined the society. Founded in the aftermath of the anti-Jewish riots that took place in 1819 (see Hep\! Hep\! ), young Jewish intellectuals, most of them university students, proposed as the object of the society the investigation of the nature of Judaism by modern scientific methods in order to bring to light the universal value of Jewish culture and controvert the stereotype of the inferior image of the Jew. The society sponsored an institute for the scientific study of Judaism, which arranged lectures on Jewish history and culture and published (1822–23) a periodical Zeitschrift fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums, edited by Zunz. The first issue contained a programmatic lecture by Immanuel Wohlwill (Wolf), in which he dealt with the great idea embodied in Judaism since the revelation on Sinai, an issue that found its consummate expression in the teachings of spinoza . After Spinoza, the idea was eclipsed by the alleged backwardness of the Jews and their failure to keep up with the general advance of culture. It was the task of the society to restore to the idea of Judaism its ancient glory and to adapt it to the scientific spirit of the times. This led to the idea of the Jewish mission: "The Jews must once again show their mettle as doughty fellow-workers in the common task of mankind. They must raise themselves and their principle to the level of a science … and if one day a bond is to join the whole of humanity, then it is the bond of science, the bond of pure reason …" The society also established a school at which Heine lectured on Jewish history. The society failed to gain the recognition of either Jews or non-Jews and folded in May 1824. Some of its members, among them its president, Eduard Gans, chose to become baptized in order to gain the acceptance of Christian society. Despite its demise, however, the society succeeded in furthering scientific study of the Jewish heritage, especially as a result of the research into rabbinic literature carried out by Zunz. -ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: M.A. Meyer, The Origins of the Modern Jew (1968), 144–82; I. Schorsch, From Text to Context (1994); R. Livneh-Freudenthal, in: Streams into the Sea (2001), 153–77; N. Roemer, Jewish Scholarship and Culture in Nineteenth-Century Germany (2005), 26–34. (Michael Graetz / Nils Roemer (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • GERMAN LITERATURE — Biblical and Hebraic Influences Before the Aufklaerung (Age of Enlightenment), Jewish influences in German literature were essentially biblical and Hebraic. The medieval miracle or mystery plays, in Germany as in England and France, dramatized… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • MOSER, MOSES — (1796–1838), banker and a founder of the verein fuer kultur und wissenschaft des judentums . An employee (and eventual partner) in the firm of Moses Friedlaender (son of david friedlaender ), he attended philosophical lectures at Berlin… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • KIRSCHBAUM, ELIEZER SINAI — (1798–1870), physician and author; leader of the haskalah in Galicia; born in Sieniawa, Poland. In 1816 he went to Berlin to study medicine and later practiced in Cracow, where he distinguished himself during the cholera epidemic in 1831. In… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • AUERBACH, ISAAC LEVIN — (1791–1853), German preacher and pioneer of the reform movement. From 1815 Auerbach served as preacher in the Berlin synagogue established by israel jacobson ; he was co founder of the verein fuer kultur und wissenschaft des judentums , taught… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • SOCIETIES, LEARNED — Learned societies among Jews, whose prototypes existed in the talmudic period, flourished in the late Middle Ages and were particularly widespread in Eastern Europe even into the 20th century. They were conceived on a broad basis. Unlike… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • GANS, EDUARD — (1789–1839), jurist and historian in Berlin. From 1816 to 1819 he studied law and philosophy in the universities of Berlin and Heidelberg; at Heidelberg he was influenced by hegel and his system and became one of the philosopher s closest… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism


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