Leipzig Studies on Jewish History and Culture

Volume 9 (2011)

Sprache, Erkenntnis und Bedeutung –

Deutsch in der jüdischen Wissenskultur

Leipzig Studies, Sprache, Erkenntnis und Bedeutung, 2011

From today's vantage, it may appear surprising to view German as an integral component of Jewish culture in modernity, given the events under National Socialism and during WW II. With the Holocaust, the German language lost its previous cosmopolitan innocence among Jews. It transformed into a language from which people felt the imperative need to distance themselves. German was in a sense exorcised from the Jewish sphere and also forfeited its formerly valid and recognized universal importance. German as a language of science and scholarship in particular found itself isolated, thrown back upon itself. In the meanwhile we can perhaps note a partial shift. A human lifetime after the catastrophe what is Jewish is once approaching the world of German. This does not signify a fully valid historical rehabilitation of the German language, but nonetheless something akin to an acceptance of elements of belonging – a belonging whose fundamental banning in the initial decades after the catastrophe seemed for many Jews like a veritable commandment.

This collaborative volume views itself as a document both observing and accompanying this process. The book is centered in the main on the hermeneutic role and status of German in the humanities, presenting in revised form the lectures and discussions of a symposium held in October 2012 at the Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture at the University of Leipzig and the Dahlem Humanities Center at the Freie Universität Berlin. The symposium brought together scholars from various disciplines and academic traditions with the intention of exploring the role and impact of German in the humanities as an (erstwhile likewise) »Jewish language.« Through a prism of select historical constellations, aspects of the German linguistic culture of Central and Eastern European Jewries are investigated. Their historically anchored Europeanness is described, and authors probe the paradigmatic importance of this configuration both for European history in general as well as for Jewish tradition in modernity in particular.

With contributions by Dan Diner, Kata Gellen, Jan Gerber, Ruth Ginsburg, Barbara Hahn, Elad Lapidot, Paul Michael Lützeler, Sabine Mangold-Will, Anu Põldsam, Na'ama Sheffi, Scott Spector, Marc Volovici, Daniel Weidner, Yfaat Weiss, Christian Wiese und Robert Zwarg

338 pp., Hardcover

Leipzig: Universitätsverlag 2015

ISBN: 978-3-86583-830-8
Price: 49,00 € (D)