The German-Jewish Paul

The Pauline Epistles remain a challenge for scholars interested in political theology. This corpus and the figure of Paul himself became the object of a fruitful engagement with pending questions of modernity in German lands since the eighteenth century. The reception of Paul—arguably the first Christian theologian—by German-Jewish authors and their attempts to articulate certain criticism of modernity has not been explored. At stake in this preoccupation with Paul is the self-understanding of the modern project and the Jewish modern identity.

While the intense Paul reception by major German and German-Jewish authors has been partially recognized, the scholarship to this day lacks a genuine interpretation. Most scholars concentrate exclusively on either the Pauline corpus or on the Jewish reception. In contrast, this project intends to examine the Epistles themselves and their creative reception by a network of writers, Jewish and non-Jewish in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries: Jacob Emden, Phillip Jacob Spener, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Franz Werfel, Leo Baeck, Karl Barth, Gershom Scholem, Martin Buber, Jacob Taubes and Carl Schmitt.

Minerva Stiftung Scholarship 2019–2020
Head researcher(s): Idan Gillo