19th Century Jewish Scholarship in Hungary

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 9:00am
Max Kade Center at 3401 Walnut Street.

The two speakers are Dr. Mirjam Thulin, a post-doctoral fellow at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, and Tom Tearney, a third-year graduate student in the department.


"Science and Judaism: David Kaufmann and Modern Jewish Scholarship in 19th Century Hungary"

By Dr. Mirjam Thulin

During the 19th century, the German appreciation of “Wissenschaft” and its values initiated a new understanding of knowledge based upon “objectivity” and “neutral” methodological standards. In the process, this very transformation of knowledge also affected Jewish scholarship in Europe and North America. However, Jewish scholarship was always denied inclusion in the structure of the prospering research universities. Thus, the preservation and transmission of Jewish knowledge as well as the development of the so-called Wissenschaft des Judentums that emerged during the 1820’s became the principal practice of a transnational network of scholars and rabbis.

By presenting the life and legacy of David Kaufmann (1852–1899), one of the figureheads of Hungarian Wissenschaft des Judentums, I will sketch the history of modern Jewish scholarship in the context of European intellectual history in the 19th century.


"A Triumphant Failure: Goethe’s Egmont and the Spinozistic Beginnings of Weimarer Klassik"

By Tom Tearney

Goethe’s play Egmont remained a work in progress over a decade in the making as he departed for his Italian Journey. By the time of his return to Weimar, the play was completed and Goethe had a new understanding of the universe. In this paper, I will examine Goethe’s intellectual environment during the completion of Egmont in Italy. During this period, the latter half of 1787, Goethe’s discussions with Karl Philipp Moritz and his readings of Herder’s Gott. Einige Gespräche were among his limited company during a brief reclusive period of rich literary productivity. A parallel reading of Egmont, Herder’s Gott, and Moritz’s Über die bildende Nachahmung des Schönen will show the Spinozistic extent of this period, above all in the non-teleological nature of all three works.

Sponsored by the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures Graduate Student/Faculty Colloquium Series.

Please email the colloquium coordinator, Didem Uca (uca@sas.upenn.edu), with any questions, requests for special accommodation, or if you would like to present at our next colloquium.

A continental breakfast will be served at 8:45 a.m.

Jewish Studies Program
711 Williams Hall, 255 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
215-898-6654 / 215-573-6026 fax / jsp-info@sas.upenn.edu