Wissenschaft des Judentums as a Paradigm for New Muslim Approaches to Islam

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Khaleel Mohammed



Although Wissenschaft des Judentums was the brainchild of German Jews,
it reflected the aims of European Jews in general. As noted by the late Professor
Amos Funkenstein, “even if we grant that the majority of traditional
Jews in France, Austria, and Germany were not aware of the full scope
of the achievements of the Wissenschaft, its results nevertheless faithfully
reflected the desires and self-image of nineteenth-century Jews craving for
emancipation, the mood of the “perplexed of the times.”1 The period of
the Enlightenment did little to change the lot of the Jew: he was still seen
by many as a Christ-killer, his identity linked to a particular nation—and
he could, therefore, never be fully accepted as part of any other national
entity. Although some Jews may have become totally assimilated and even
converted to Christianity, the general perception was that the Jews wanted
to be conditional citizens: while adopting the culture of the environment,
they wanted to preserve their special nature as a subculture ...

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