Jewish studies

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Jewish studies and Jewish studies are the official names of a scientific discipline that can be studied at several German-speaking universities and which, according to their self- image, tie in with the tradition of the science of Judaism , which developed as an independent academic discipline in the 19th century.

The younger term Jewish Studies is based on the discipline of the above-mentioned Judaism (Jewish Studies), which was initially continued in Anglo-American countries and Israel after the Shoah ( Holocaust ); the founder in the USA is Salo W. Baron (1895–1989), historian at Columbia University , formerly a professor in Vienna . On the other hand, Judaic Studies is the traditional technical term that prevailed in German-speaking countries after the Second World War, based on the names of other disciplines such as Oriental Studies, Romance Studies, German Studies and Hebrew Studies . The first German-speaking Judaic institutes were founded in the faculties of philosophy in the 1960s in Vienna ( Kurt Schubert ), Berlin-West ( Jacob Taubes ), Cologne ( Johann Maier ) and Frankfurt am Main ( Arnold Goldberg ). The subject of Israel Studies was offered at the Humboldt University in East Berlin .

Research subject of the subject

The subject aims to research and convey the 3000-year history , literary, religious and cultural history of Judaism . Jewish religious, intellectual and cultural history are not seen as a passive object of external influences, but as an active part of general culture. Knowledge of the source languages ​​of Judaism, especially Hebrew , but also Aramaic , Judaeo-Arabic , Yiddish , Ladino , Judeo-Persian and Judeo-Greek, is indispensable for dealing with Jewish religious and cultural history . The study of the Hebrew language in all of its stages of development (biblical, rabbinical, medieval, modern) is seen as a basic requirement for critical source reading. This principle does not just apply to the postgraduate phase, but already in the bachelor's degree programs, in which Anglo-Saxon universities mostly still work with translations, i.e. with second-hand texts. With this specifically Judaic expertise, Jewish Studies / Judaic Studies also stands out from other subjects in the Faculty of Philosophy that deal with Judaism (history, philosophy, etc.).

Jewish Studies / Judaic Studies sees itself in the tradition of the science of Judaism with regard to the philological and cultural-historical claim, but there is a difference: While the science of Judaism was a discipline by Jews for Jews, which among other things was the redefinition of Jewish identity Should serve in the modern state, emphasis is placed in Jewish Studies / Judaism on researching Judaism from a neutral point of view. Therefore, the subject is usually located at a philosophy faculty (or, where this no longer exists in its classic form, in one of the history and cultural studies departments) and not at a theological faculty. The subject should neither be denominationally defined as a purely internal Jewish matter nor limited to viewing Judaism as a religion alone. As a rule, teaching and research at the Judaistic chairs are based in the areas of Jewish / Hebrew literature, history, and religious and intellectual history.

One of the first professors for Jewish Studies, Johann Maier (Cologne), wrote in 1966 about the tension between the science of Judaism and Jewish studies: “At the beginning of this century, the establishment of a chair for the science of Judaism at the Berlin University was considered, but the plan remained , since the outbreak of the First World War prevented its realization. In the case of implementation, however, a definition of the new subject would have been necessary. Because the science of Judaism was the name of a work done by Jewish scientists, an internal Jewish event, and this even at the Berlin University for the Science of Judaism, which had not set itself the purpose of rabbi training. A representative of this direction would have been exposed to multiple misinterpretations in the planned chair, not only by the non-Jewish environment, but by the various Jewish parties themselves. The professor would have been seen not only as a specialist, but also as a representative of Judaism, which immediately his internal Jewish point of view is of particular importance. The difficulties that such a situation already brings with it for the question of filling the chair are generally underestimated. In contrast, for a Judaistic chair, the personal religion or ethnicity of the subject representative is fundamentally irrelevant, provided that he is only willing to supervise his discipline in an approach based on scientific objectivity. Now, without a doubt, the ancient science of Judaism has already shown an immeasurable achievement of such an 'objective' kind, only the effect remained almost entirely limited to the inner-Jewish area, because it was not the result of a traditional academic discipline and because In the non-Jewish area, the work of Jewish scholars is usually designed from the outset as pro domo and thus labeled as 'not objective'. "

In the recent past, some universities have also launched courses that promote the merging of Jewish studies with Islamic studies and, in some cases, social sciences (and Israel studies) - for example, in a cooperation between Heidelberg University and the University of Jewish Studies in Heidelberg since then Winter semester 2019/20. The background to such courses is on the one hand the endeavor to overcome the existing separation of preoccupation with Judaism and Israel on the one hand and preoccupation with the rest of the Middle East on the other. On the other hand, the language-based disciplines, Islamic Studies and Jewish Studies, are to be brought together with the method-based social sciences in order to enable supposedly better contemporary research. As early as 2005, the intention in Hesse was to withdraw Jewish studies from Frankfurt and incorporate it into a center for oriental studies in Marburg; The initiative was rejected with the support of the Association of Judaists in Germany, because the systematic connection to Oriental Studies would have meant an arbitrary restriction of the horizon of Jewish Studies, which would also affect the history of Jewish communities outside the Orient, especially Europe, but also North and South America, of the Far East and a. explored.

Universities and chairs

Jewish studies / Jewish studies can be offered at German universities as a one or two-subject bachelor's degree (Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt / Main, Cologne, Münster, Heidelberg, Halle / Saale, etc.) and as a master’s degree (Berlin, Frankfurt / Main , Cologne, Düsseldorf, Heidelberg etc.) can be studied. There are chairs with smaller equipment in Göttingen, Mainz (Judaistic modules in Protestant theology) and Munich (Judaistic modules in Middle East studies). Chairs with a specialization in one sub-area exist e.g. B. in Hamburg (Jewish philosophy) and Munich (Jewish history). All courses are open to applicants regardless of their religious affiliation. An exception to this is rabbi training , which is organized in cooperation between the Institute for Jewish Studies at the University of Potsdam and the Abraham Geiger College .

List of locations in German-speaking countries





See also


Web links

Individual evidence

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