Simon Dubnow Institute
for Jewish History and Culture at Leipzig University

Leipzig Studies Volume 6 (2011)


um 1900 –

Über antisemitisierende

Semantiken des Jüdischen


Edited by Nicolas Berg



Leipzig: Universitätsverlag, 2011.

461 pp.


ISBN 978-3-86583-334-1

Price: 59,00 € (D)






Volume 6 of the Leipziger Beiträge is dedicated to the genesis and reception of Werner Sombart's Die Juden und das Wirtschaftsleben (1911).  The book can be viewed as the first height in an ideological history of the Jewish economy. Among topics explored are the anti-Semitizing semantics of Jewishness and concomitant attributions, which can be found not only in the texts of openly espoused anti-Semitism but also in texts of economics. »Attribution« in this connection is seen in al literal sense: the seventeen articles all attempt to comprehend the academic and public debates on the relationship between capitalism and the Jews in the period around 1900 via language and conceptual formation.


The genesis of a style of thought, its origins in the nineteenth century and radicalization in the twentieth are examined looking at basic texts on the topic by Karl Marx, Gustav Freytag, Georg Simmel, Max Weber and Werner Sombart, and by exploring key concepts such as »finance capital,« »pariah nation,« »the stranger,« »German labor,« »Jewish Geist,« and »productivity«. It becomes evident what a substantial impact language had on contemporaneous ideas about the nature and degree of Jewish participation in the economic developments of the past and present, and how these conceptions at times expanded into phantasmagorias of »Jewishness«, which were to crystallize and solidify ever more down to 1945.


With articles by: Christine Achinger, Hans-Joachim Hahn, Thomas Haury, Georg Kamphausen, Jonathan Karp, Klaus Christian Köhnke, Friedrich Lenger, Hans-Christoph Liess, Mark Loeffler, Tobias Metzler, Thomas Meyer, Jerry Z. Muller, Hans-Christian Petersen, Moishe Postone, Rolf Rieß, Heinrich Schwendemann, Hartman Tyrell