Reading Maimonides Philosophy in 19th Century Germany

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1 Reading Maimonides Philosophy in 19th Century Germany

2 Amsterdam Studies in Jewish Philosophy Editor: Reinier Munk, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Editorial Board: Resianne Fontaine, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands Robert Gibbs, University of Toronto, Canada Steven Harvey, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel Warren Zev Harvey, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel Albert van der Heide, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Arthur Hyman, Yeshiva University, New York, U.S.A. David Novak, University of Toronto, Canada Kenneth Seeskin, North Western University, Illinois, U.S.A. Colette Sirat, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifi que (CNRS), France VOLUME 15 For further volumes:

3 George Y. Kohler Reading Maimonides Philosophy in 19th Century Germany The Guide to Religious Reform

4 George Y. Kohler Department for Jewish Thought Ben Gurion University of the Negev Beer Sheva, Israel ISBN ISBN (ebook) DOI / Springer Dordrecht Heidelberg New York London Library of Congress Control Number: Springer Science+Business Media B.V This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. Exempted from this legal reservation are brief excerpts in connection with reviews or scholarly analysis or material supplied specifically for the purpose of being entered and executed on a computer system, for exclusive use by the purchaser of the work. Duplication of this publication or parts thereof is permitted only under the provisions of the Copyright Law of the Publisher s location, in its current version, and permission for use must always be obtained from Springer. Permissions for use may be obtained through RightsLink at the Copyright Clearance Center. Violations are liable to prosecution under the respective Copyright Law. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. While the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication, neither the authors nor the editors nor the publisher can accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions that may be made. The publisher makes no warranty, express or implied, with respect to the material contained herein. Printed on acid-free paper Springer is part of Springer Science+Business Media (

5 Acknowledgments Many people have contributed to the successful publication of this book and to the forming of the theological thoughts expressed in this study. I would like to thank Neil Hendel for teaching me a rationalist approach to Orthodox Judaism, and my teacher Prof. Daniel J. Lasker for convincing me to take up studies at the department for Jewish Thought at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Of my other teachers at the department it was fi rst of all Prof. Yaakov Blidstein whose brilliancy and personal example shaped my own approach to Judaism as an academic subject as well as a religious conviction. Several scholars have read earlier versions of parts of this book and their comments have helped improving the quality of this study. Among them are Michael A. Meyer, David Novak, Lawrence Kaplan and Görge K. Hasselhoff. Special thanks go to my doctoral advisers, Prof. Haim Kreisel (BGU) and Prof. Gideon Freudenthal (TAU). Since this book is an extended version of my dissertation, accepted at Ben Gurion University in 2010, both Haim and Gideon have a tremendous share in its accomplishment. I would like to thank Prof. Reinier Munk for considering my manuscript for the prestigious Amsterdam Studies in Jewish Philosophy and all the people at Springer for their cooperation and openness to all my requests and wishes. In addition, many other people have helped me preparing the manuscript, among them especially Robert Klein, Sara Fine and Andre Kahane. And ultimately I want to thank my wife, Dr. Noa-Sophie Kohler. Without her I would not have been able to write this book in fact there is hardly any idea in the chapters of this study that she did not share with me, commented on, or that she has not improved for clarity and truth. v

6

7 Contents 1 Introduction... 1 I... 1 II III IV V VI Part I Maimonides: The Guide for the Reform Movement in Germany 2 The Beginnings Samson R. Hirsch and Simon Scheyer The First Reform Rabbis Abraham Geiger Heinrich Graetz Moritz Eisler and Leopold Stein The Rabbinical Seminaries Manuel Joel David Kaufmann Anti-Aristotelianism Philipp Bloch, Wolf Mischel and Israel Finkelscherer The Baden Prayerbook Religious Schoolbook and the Jewish Catechism The Moses ben Maimon Volumes Felix Perles, Wilhelm Bacher and Adolf Biach The Return to Philosophy David Neumark Hermann Cohen Benzion Kellermann vii

8 viii Contents Part II Specific Problems in the Reception of Maimonides Philosophy in Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Germany 6 Divine Attributes The Ethical Concept of God Manuel Joel Abraham Geiger and Moritz Eisler David Kaufmann Hermann Cohen s Ethics of Maimonides Benzion Kellermann Hermann Cohen s Religion of Reason The Law The Reform Approach to the Law Simon Scheyer s Translation of the Guide Maimonides Reasons for the Commandments The Frankfurt Conference and Leopold Stein Moritz Eisler Abraham Geiger Heinrich Graetz David Joel The Sabians Leo Bardowicz, Wilhelm Bacher, and Ludwig Pick Hermann Cohen s Return to Universalism Maimonides in the Religion of Reason Cohen on Guide III, Cohen on the Commandments Between Man and God Cohen on the Future of the Torah Maimonides and Kant Salomon Maimon Manuel Joel Adolf Schmiedl Moritz Eisler David Kaufmann Wolf Mischel Israel Friedländer David Neumark Julius Guttmann Moritz Steckelmacher Hermann Cohen Benzion Kellermann Max Freudenthal and Philipp Bloch Epilogue: The Year

9 Contents ix 9 Rambam or Maimonides Samson Raphael Hirsch Israel Deutsch and J. Bukofzer Josef Gugenheimer The Berlin Orthodox Seminary and Ignatz Münz David Hoffmann Simon Eppenstein Joseph Wohlgemuth Israel Friedländer Arnold Klein Appendix: The Debate Between Julius Guttmann and Leo Strauss Conclusions Primary German Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Sources on Maimonides Guide Bibliography Modern Secondary Literature Selected Hebrew Literature Author Index Subject Index Index of Chapters

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