This biographical essay is designed to give a survey of Constantin Brunnerʼs early years, from his childhood and youth until the end of his student days, based on the available letters, manuscripts and published writings. A major focus is on Brunnerʼs intellectual development from protected child, spiritually shaped by Jewish orthodoxy, to aspiring religious scholar and finally to the secular philosopher known today. The article is therefore a contribution to a range of research topics: to the field of German-Jewish biography during the period of the German Empire; but also to the history of ideas, particularly in relation to the secularization of religious minorities. It also touches upon developments inside the Jewish community: the way different intellectual and religious currents are related to each other, the informal networks between Jewish intellectuals and how national (German or Jewish) identity is related to the Jewish self-image.
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