The following paper considers Rabbi Dr. Ludwig Philippson’s contributions to the many-faceted Jewish-theological discourses of the 19th century, with special focus on his IsraelitischeReligionslehre: comprising three volumes and published between the late 1850s and early 1860s, this work can be regarded as a result of his rabbinic teachings. We will therefore consider the importance of an emerging religious theory as well as the ambivalence in locating Philippson’s religious affiliations: even though Philippson favoured an increasingly theoretical approach to religion, his Religionslehre nevertheless betrays conspicuous moments of orthodoxy. It will be the purpose of this paper to examine the contradictions in Philippson’s argumentation.
This article describes a relief that was sculpted in 1727. The relief depicts a Good Friday scene in 1287, when Jews allegedly tortured and killed Werner of Oberwesel, who came to be venerated as a Christian saint. Attached to the Oberwesel Werner Chapel, the relief was near the vault of the chapel, where the ritualized murder of Werner supposedly took place. After his burial in neighbouring Bacharach, hundreds of Jews were attacked and murdered in Oberwesel, Boppard, as well as along the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. This story contributed to the defamation of Jews for centuries. It was, in fact, not until 1963 that the Diocese of Trier expunged Werner’s memorial day from its liturgical calendar. This article also demonstrates how the Nazis incorporated this relief into their anti-Semitic propaganda campaigns and shows how the relief was part of traditional worship in the area until it was reluctantly removed in 1970.
Takkanot have been an important instrument for the unification of Ashkenazi culture since the Middle Ages. They spread from the Rhineland to the East, to Poland, Bohemia and Moravia. They regulated all areas of Jewish life. Whereas the addressees of the Takkanot were the Jewish communities, the new Synagogenordnungen (Statutes for the Synagogue), developed first in the West and soon followed by Moravia in the East, were directed primarily at the Christian authorities. This change began as early as the mid-18th century when the Austrian empress Maria Theresia asked for a translation of older Takkanot in order to formulate new legal standards for the Jewish life in her lands. The translation of these Jewish regulations into German, brought with it, nolens volens, a Christianization of Jewish technical terms used in their institutions. Soon, the Jewish Neologists and reformers welcomed these translations as useful for their own aspirations to transform Judaism. This was the case in both the West and the East. Among them was Samson Raphael Hirsch, the later leader of the Neo-Orthodox community in Frankfurt am Main and Chief Rabbi of Moravia in Nikolsburg.