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Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus (Chicago Studies in the History of Judaism) Paperback – 11 Apr 1998

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 2nd edition (11 April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226329593
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226329598
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,818,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Susannah Heschel is the Eli Black Associate Professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of Religion at Dartmouth College. She is the coeditor of Insider/Outsider: Multiculturalism and American Jews and the editor of On Being a Jewish Feminist: A Reader and Moral Grandeur and Spirited Audacity: Essays on Abraham Joshua Heschel.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Geiger is without doubt one of the most lucid commentators on Liberal Judaism. Heschel has done an excellent appraisal of his work and this book is destined to become a standard text for the critique of Geiger. Geiger's work now has to be seen in the light of the wonderful and more revelatory "The Autobiography of Jesus of Nazareth..." by Richard G Patton which delivers the HUman Being of Christ in the same context as Geiger but without kowtowing to the early Christian politics. I hope Heschel has more works to offer because I found this work truly informative and easily accessible.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8cfaa6c0) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d1a3cf0) out of 5 stars Lucid and accessible research. Recommended. 8 April 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Geiger is without doubt one of the most lucid commentators on Liberal Judaism. Heschel has done an excellent appraisal of his work and this book is destined to become a standard text for the critique of Geiger. Geiger's work now has to be seen in the light of the wonderful and more revelatory "The Autobiography of Jesus of Nazareth..." by Richard G Patton which delivers the HUman Being of Christ in the same context as Geiger but without kowtowing to the early Christian politics. I hope Heschel has more works to offer because I found this work truly informative and easily accessible.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8cce37a4) out of 5 stars A great work from Susannah Heschel 4 April 2013
By C. R. Fischer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With strong influence from Amon Funkenstein, whose theories of counter history permeates this work, Susannah Heschel’s book (which is not in her usual field of research) on Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus presents an excellent narrative of Geiger’s life and valuable insight as to the source of his historiographic approach.

Geiger was raised with a more traditionally Jewish education, but various academic theories lead him to form a more critical assessment of his own religion. His ultimate goal was to reform and reshape Judaism into a modern religion, which he believed had to be done with a slow and internal transition to wean people away from the more traditional views. He came to these conclusions by looking at the evolution of Rabbinic Judaism wherein he saw moderate voices that sought to reform the Judaism of their own time and how they struggled with the Sadduceean institution.

The works of Geiger are described by Heschel as an attempt at creating a Jewish counter history with the goal of reclaiming the Jewish roots of traditionally Judenrein concepts. He spent most of his academic career challenging Christianity, but he began his journey into counter history with a universally accepted and lauded essay investigating what Mohammed took from Judaism in creating Islam. His attempt to bring the same post-colonial analysis to Jesus received largely the opposite reaction from the dominantly protestant academic circles. He further pushed his agenda by trying to reclaim the idea of the Pharisees, an otherwise much maligned group, by pointing to Christianity’s corruption at the hands of Sadduceean influences. This latter part was not as academically sound, but ideologically pushed the suggestion.

The biggest problem for Geiger was his inability to extend any influence on the Christian sector with his Jewish Jesus ideology. Naturally, they did not want to accept that Jesus had any Jewish sources whatsoever. Several works made attempts to distance Christianity from the Jewishness of the Old Testament, calling to mind the concerns of Marcion, via the claim that anything good in the Old Testament was Christian while anything bad was a Jewish corruption. While the Jewish side fully embraced the idea, they had no power in the academic world at the time.

Geiger’s attempts at reclaiming Jesus as a Jewish figure were well intentioned but ultimately doomed. As Heschel mentions “Jews dress him as a Jew, Christians dress him as a Christian, making him a figure on the boundary of the two religions” a religious divide that continued to today out of religious necessity.

The one disappointment with this book is found towards the end in the authors attempts to talk about the influence of Geiger on a later period. Heschel brings in a lot of subjects that seem somewhat out of place. They filter in from her other interests but I'm not sure they fit the style of the book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d1341c8) out of 5 stars Well thought out book 11 Jan. 2013
By David L. Cairns - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book that provides insights into the start of Reform Judaism. Well written with plenty of documentation to back it up.
HASH(0x8cb47138) out of 5 stars Readable, Interesting and Brilliantly Written 12 April 2015
By David G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Important, foundational and beautifully written, here are the crossroads of German philosophy, Jewish enlightenment and the struggle to reconcile Jewish identity with assimilation before the slide to the 20th century horror. Before the Holocaust can be understood, a firm grasp of the 19th century must be made, and Susannah Heschel's Geiger is a necessary component. Along with Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism and Lionel Gossman's Basel in the Age of Burckhardt: A Study in Unseasonable Ideas, these three studies are essential reading.
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