Abraham Geiger (1810 – 1874)

Abraham Geiger (1810 – 1874)

Abraham Geiger (1810 – 1874)

One of the leading figures of the Reform Judaism movement, Abraham Geiger believed that Judaism was not a given quantity or a national law but a process still in flux; tradition itself was the result of this continuous process of growth. He made the case for this view in his magnum opus, Urschrift und Übersetzungen der Bibel (“Original Text and Translations of the Bible”), which applied philological and historical techniques to illuminate the political and theological subtext of various translations and commentaries on the Bible. He described a tension between the progressive, democratic spirit of the Pharisees and the reactionary, aristocratic Sadducees who were the custodians of the Second Temple. The Pharasaic tradition, according to Geiger, represented the “the principle of not being slaves to the letter of the Bible, but rather to witness over and over its spirit and its authentic faith-consciousness.”

Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen? […]

Bonn, 1833. LBI call number BP 173 J8 G4 1833

This essay, Geiger’s dissertation at the University of Marburg, demonstrated how elements of Rabbinic thought and literature were reflected in the Koran. It was programmatic for Geiger’s career-spanning intellectual project, which sought to raise the prestige of Judaism as the origin of monotheism, which was then spread through the pagan world through Islam and Christianity.

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