Franz Rosenzweig

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Memorial plaque for Franz Rosenzweig on his former house in Frankfurt's Westend

Franz Louis August Rosenzweig (born December 25, 1886 in Kassel ; died December 10, 1929 in Frankfurt am Main ) was a German historian and Jewish philosopher .


Memorial plaque on his home in Freiburg im Breisgau

Rosenzweig grew up as the only child of the Jewish factory owner and Kassel city councilor Georg Rosenzweig and his wife Adele, née. Alsberg, in well-off circumstances. His family belonged to the emancipated, liberal Judaism .

In 1905 he began to study medicine in Göttingen , Munich and Freiburg im Breisgau . In 1907 he changed subjects and studied history and philosophy in Freiburg and Berlin . His most important philosophical mentor was his cousin Hans Ehrenberg , who was three and a half years his senior , and who had been teaching philosophy at Heidelberg University since 1910. In 1912, Franz Rosenzweig was awarded a doctorate by the historian Friedrich Meinecke in Freiburg. phil. PhD. His dissertation, which he expanded into a possible habilitation thesis in the following years, but which only appeared in two volumes after the First World War under the title Hegel and the State (1920), is the first comprehensive critical analysis of Hegel's political philosophy. In 1917 Rosenzweig published for the first time what he had discovered The oldest system program of German idealism , a four-page manuscript in Hegel's handwriting, which Rosenzweig identified as a draft by Schelling . He triggered a dispute between the Hegel, Schelling and Hölderlin researchers, which continues to this day.

On July 7, 1913, a memorable "night conversation" between Franz Rosenzweig and the private lecturer in legal history Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy , who had converted to evangelical faith, took place at his Christian cousin, the biologist Rudolf Ehrenberg , in Leipzig , which shook Rosenzweig so much from his religious-philosophical detachment became that he was considering converting to Christianity. After a period of reflection, however, Rosenzweig made the decision - as he wrote to Rudolf Ehrenberg on October 31, 1913 -: "So I will remain a Jew." It had become clear to him that he was living a decidedly existential religious life that his friends as Christians were leading , can also practice as a Jew. This was followed by months of intensive Jewish studies with the aged philosopher Hermann Cohen at the College for the Science of Judaism in Berlin.

During World War I in 1917

At the beginning of the First World War , Rosenzweig volunteered, initially for the medical service, later he joined the artillery on the Balkan front, where he remained deployed until the collapse of the German and Austro-Hungarian monarchies. From the front in 1916 he conducted a dramatic Judeo-Christian dialogue in letters from the field with Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, who was deployed on the Western Front - a dispute that has not lost its significance to this day. From the summer of 1917, the friend's young wife, Margrit (Gritli) Rosenstock-Huessy, brokered this correspondence. At the beginning of 1918 a great love flared up between the two of them, but Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy also remained involved. From then on, Franz and Gritli exchanged letters every day. During this time, from the end of August 1918 to mid-February 1919 - during the last months of the war, the collapse of the front and the months of the revolution - Rosenzweig's main work on the philosophy of faith, The Star of Redemption (published 1921).

During the war in 1917 Rosenzweig met the field rabbi Paul Lazarus in Üsküb , with whom a friendship developed with a lively exchange about literature and the Jewish educational problem.

Rosenzweig turned down the offer of a habilitation with his earlier work Hegel und der Staat in 1920 because he now wanted to devote himself exclusively to the service of Jewish educational work in Christian Europe. After he married the Jewish religious teacher Edith Hahn in 1920, he accepted the call to set up the Free Jewish Teaching House in Frankfurt am Main. The task of this educational institution was to show ways how Jewish life could succeed in modern times. The speakers there included Rosenzweig, the religious philosopher Martin Buber , the chemist and philosopher Eduard Strauss , Ernst Simon , Siegfried Kracauer and Erich Fromm .

In the same year 1922, in which his son Rafael was born, Franz Rosenzweig fell ill with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , which quickly led to total movement and speech paralysis and which meant imminent death. Despite this illness, however, he was able to finish the translation of the hymns and poems of Jehuda ha-Levi (1075–1141) and the philosophical treatise The New Thought (1925), initially using a special typewriter, but later only with his wife could dictate the eyelids. Together with Martin Buber, he worked in these years of illness at the " Germanization of Scripture ", the first part of the five books of the transfer could appear in his lifetime 1925th Buber then completed the further Germanization work on his own.

In May 1929, Rosenzweig wrote his first posthumously published and then controversial essay Confused Fronts on the Davos Disputation between Ernst Cassirer and Martin Heidegger, in which he compared the latter with the founder of the Marburg School , Hermann Cohen - expressly with reference to his religion of reason from the sources of Judaism .

Shortly before his 43rd birthday, Rosenzweig succumbed to his illness on December 10, 1929 in Frankfurt am Main.


Single fonts

  • Yehuda Halevi . Ninety-two hymns and poems. German. With an afterword and comments by Franz Rosenzweig. The Sixty Hymns and Poems Second Edition. Schneider, Berlin 1900 ( digitized at ).
  • It's time ... thoughts on the Jewish educational problem of the moment. To Hermann Cohen. Publishing house of the New Jewish Monthly Issues, Berlin a. a. 1918 ( digitized from Judaica Frankfurt).
  • Hegel and the State. Printed with the support of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences. 2 volumes. R. Oldenbourg, Munich / Berlin 1920 ( digitized volume 1 at the BNF ; digitized volume 2 at the BNF; digitized volume 2 at
    • Hegel and the State. Scientia, Aalen 1962.
    • Hegel and the State (= Suhrkamp-Taschenbuch Wissenschaft. Vol. 1941). Edited by Frank Lachmann. With an afterword by Axel Honneth. Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2010.
  • The star of salvation. Kauffmann, Frankfurt am Main 1921 ( digitized version ); Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1988; Frankfurt am Main 2002 ( full text , edited by Albert Raffelt, Freiburg University Library).
  • The builders. Philo, Berlin 1925 ( digitized from Judaica Frankfurt).
  • The new thinking. A subsequent comment on the “Star of Redemption”. In: The morning: Monthly journal of the Jews in Germany. 1925, no. 4, pp. 426-451 ( full text ).
  • The writing . Translated into German by Martin Buber together with Franz Rosenzweig. 15 volumes. Heidelberg 1926–1955.
  • The little book of common sense and common sense. Edited and introduced by Nahum Norbert Glatzer , Melzer, Düsseldorf 1964.

Collected Writings

  • Man and his work. Collected Writings I-IV , The Hague 1976 ff.
    • Vol. I, 1 and I, 2: Letters and Diaries
    • Vol. II: The Star of Redemption
    • Vol. III: Mesopotamia. Smaller fonts
    • Vol. IV, 1: Linguistic thinking in translation (hymns and poems by Jehuda Halevi)
    • Vol. IV, 2: Linguistic thinking in translation (working papers on the Germanization of writing)

Letter editions

  • Judaism Despite Christianity: The "Letters on Christianity and Judaism" between Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy and Franz Rosenzweig. Introduction by Harold M. Stahmer. University of Alabama Press, Alabama 1969.
  • The Gritli letters. Edited by Inken Rühle / Reinhold Mayer. Tübingen 2002, ISBN 3-933373-04-2 (letters from Franz Rosenzweig to Margrit (Gritli) Rosenstock-Huessy and to Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy ).
  • Franz Rosenzweig: Letters. Selected and edited by Edith Rosenzweig with the assistance of Ernst Simon . Berlin, Schocken 1935. 742 pp.

Honors and aftermath

Grave of Franz Rosenzweig in the Jewish cemetery on Eckenheimer Landstrasse in Frankfurt
  • In May 1923, the liberal rabbi Leo Baeck awarded Franz Rosenzweig the rabbi title Maurenu , "our teacher", at the suggestion of the late rabbi Nehemia A. Nobel .
  • The Buber-Rosenzweig Medal named after him is awarded annually by the Coordinating Council of the “Societies for Christian-Jewish Cooperation” to people who are particularly committed to the Christian-Jewish dialogue.
  • On the 100th birthday of Rosenzweig, the first International Franz Rosenzweig Congress was held in 1986 in his native Kassel.
  • Since 1987, the University of Kassel has appointed a Jewish scientist who has been driven into exile to the Franz Rosenzweig visiting professorship every summer semester .
  • In 2004 the second International Franz Rosenzweig Congress took place in Kassel, at which the International Rosenzweig Society was founded. The International Rosenzweig Society has been publishing the Rosenzweig Yearbook / Rosenzweig Yearbook and the Rosenzweigiana series since 2006, both of which are published by Alber Verlag Freiburg / Munich.
  • On April 29, 1993, Rosenzweig's former home in Frankfurt a. M., Schumannstraße 10, a memorial plaque with the following text is revealed: “Franz Rosenzweig. He was the pioneer of the Jewish-Christian dialogue, companion of Martin Buber, master of the Germanization of the Bible, founder of the 'Free Jewish House of Teaching' in Frankfurt am Main. Born on December 25, 1886 in Kassel, lived in this house from 1920 until his death on December 10, 1929. (Psalm text in Hebrew) And yet I will always stay with you (Psalm 73:23). "

See also


  • Yehoyada Amir, Yossi Turner, Martin Brasser (Eds.): Faith, Truth, and Reason. New Perspectives on Franz Rosenzweig's "Star of Redemption". Row: Rosenzweigiana. Contributions to Rosenzweig Research, 6. Karl Alber, Freiburg 2012, ISBN 3-495-48505-8 , table of contents (PDF; 86 kB).
  • Bernt Armbruster (Red.): Franz Rosenzweig (= Kassel University Speeches. Vol. 2). Kassel 1987, ISBN 3-88122-349-5 , therein:
    • Bernhard Casper: time, experience, redemption. On the importance of Franz Rosenzweig in the face of thought in the 20th century.
    • Schalom Ben-Chorin : Franz Rosenzweig and the end of German Jewry.
    • Rafael N. Rosenzweig : German and Jew, Franz Rosenzweig's path to the Jewish people.
  • Claudio Belloni: Filosofia e rivelazione. Rose branch nella scia dell'ultimo Schelling. Marsilio, Venezia 2002.
  • Gérard Bensussan: Franz Rosenzweig. Existence et philosophy. Paris 2000, ISBN 2-13-050662-3 .
  • Myriam beehive: Cohen face à Rosenzweig. Debat sur la pensée allemande. Vrin, Paris 2009, ISBN 978-2-7116-2170-5 .
  • Myriam beehive (ed.): Héritages de Franz Rosenzweig, "Nous et les autres". L'éclat, Paris 2011, ISBN 978-2-84162-227-6 .
  • Martin Brasser, Hans Martin Dober (Ed.): We and the others. We and the Others (= Rosenzweig Yearbook. Vol. 5). Alber, Freiburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-495-46405-2 .
  • Bernhard Casper : The dialogical thinking. Franz Rosenzweig, Ferdinand Ebner and Martin Buber . First in 1967. Revised and expanded new edition. Alber, Freiburg 2002, ISBN 978-3-495-47933-9 .
  • Else Freund: Franz Rosenzweig's philosophy of existence. A contribution to the analysis of his work "The Star of Redemption". 2nd Edition. Hamburg 1959.
  • Martin Fricke: Franz Rosenzweig's philosophy of revelation. An interpretation of the "star of salvation". Wuerzburg 2003.
  • Nahum N. Glatzer Ed .: Franz Rosenzweig. His life and thought. First in 1953. With a foreword by Paul Mendes-Flohr . Cambridge 1998, ISBN 0-87220-428-6 .
  • Peter Eli Gordon: Rosenzweig and Heidegger : Between Judaism and German Philosophy. Berkeley / Los Angeles / London 2003.
  • Heinz-Jürgen Görtz : Death and Experience. Rosenzweig's "experiential philosophy" and Hegel's "science of the experience of consciousness". Düsseldorf 1984.
  • Cordula Hufnagel: The cultic gesture. Art, politics, religion in Franz Rosenzweig's thinking. Freiburg 1994, ISBN 3-495-47790-X .
  • Hanna Liss : Decontextualization as a program: The meaning of the divine name in Franz Rosenzweig and the pronominal “replacement” of the tetragram. In: Klaus Herrmann et al. (Ed.): Jewish Studies Between the Disciplines. Judaism between the disciplines. Leiden 2003, 373-404.
  • Reinhold Mayer : Franz Rosenzweig. A philosophy of dialogic experience. Munich 1973, ISBN 3-459-00873-3 .
  • Ephraim Meir: Letters of Love. Franz Rosenzweig's Spiritual Biography and Oeuvre in Light of the "Gritli Letters". New York 2006.
  • Stéphane Mosès : System and Revelation. The philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig. Munich 1982.
  • Peter Mühlbach: “He who speaks, translates.” Three studies on Franz Rosenzweig. Bielefeld 2018. ISBN 978-3-8498-1272-0 (AISTHESIS thinking spaces).
  • Benjamin Pollock: Franz Rosenzweig's Conversions: World Denial and World Redemption. Indiana University Press, 2014. ISBN 978-0-253-01312-5 (print); ISBN 978-0-253-01316-3 (eBook).
  • Norbert Samuelson: A User's Guide to Franz Rosenzweig's "Star of Redemption". London 1999.
  • Wolfdietrich Schmied-Kowarzik (ed.): The philosopher Franz Rosenzweig. International Congress Kassel 1986. 2 volumes. Freiburg 1988, ISBN 3-495-47655-5 .
  • Wolfdietrich Schmied-Kowarzik: Franz Rosenzweig. Existential thinking and lived probation. Freiburg 1991, ISBN 3-495-47705-5 .
  • Wolfdietrich Schmied-Kowarzik:  Rosenzweig, Franz. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 22, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-428-11203-2 , p. 86 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Wolfdietrich Schmied-Kowarzik (ed.): Franz Rosenzweig's "new thinking". International Congress Kassel 2004. 2 volumes. Freiburg 2006, ISBN 978-3-495-48185-1 .
  • Wolfdietrich Schmied-Kowarzik: Rosenzweig in conversation with Ehrenberg , Cohen and Buber (= Rosenzweigiana. Vol. 1). Freiburg 2006, ISBN 978-3-495-48244-5 .
  • Wolfdietrich Schmied-Kowarzik: Franz Rosenzweig's return to Kassel in letters. Speech. Kassel 2006, urn : nbn: de: hebis: 34-2007021917232 .
  • Eva Schulz-Jander, Wolfdietrich Schmied-Kowarzik (eds.): Franz Rosenzweig, religious philosopher from Kassel. Kassel 2011, ISBN 978-3-933617-47-7 .
  • Frank Stern : Franz Rosenzweig. Thinker of the Jewish Modern Age. Jewish miniatures vol. 200, Hentrich & Hentrich, Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-95565-149-7 .
  • Oreste Tolone: La malattia immortale. Nuovo pensiero e nuova medicina tra Rosenzweig e Weizsäcker. In: Teoria. Vol. 1 (2008), pp. 235-242 ( online ).
  • Hartwig Wiedebach (Ed.): The thought figure of the system in the outcome of Franz Rosenzweig's "Star of Redemption" (Philosophical Writings Volume 80). Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-428-14022-0 .
  • Sebastian Wogenstein: Franz Rosenzweig: Dialogical reading, eloquent silence. In: Sebastian Wogenstein: Horizons of Modernity: Tragedy and Judaism from Cohen to Lévinas . Winter, Heidelberg 2011, ISBN 978-3-8253-5851-8 , pp. 95-130.
  • Josef WohlmuthFranz Rosenzweig. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 8, Bautz, Herzberg 1994, ISBN 3-88309-053-0 , Sp. 698-703.
  • Michael Zank: The Rosenzweig-Rosenstock Triangle, or: What Can We Learn From "Letters to Gritli"? A review essay. In: Modern Judaism. Vol. 23, No. 1, February 2003, pp. 74-98.

Web links


Overview representations

More specific representations

Institutions and miscellaneous

Individual evidence

  1. death certificate. Retrieved January 20, 2018 .
  2. Franz Rosenzweig: “… and I'm always curious about rabbis” , Kalonymos 17 (2014), issue 2, pp. 6-7
  3. Reversed fronts