When wealthy Jewish industrialist David Friedländer proposed in 1799 that Berlin's Jews undergo a sham conversion to Christianity in return for full German citizenship, he touched off a political and theological debate that would continue to define the relation between Jewish and German identity for more than a century.
In the series of provocative letters collected here, Friedländer, Protestant leader Wilhelm Abraham Teller, and young Christian theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher debate Friedländer's radical proposal. In so doing, they grapple with many of the thorny problems--such as citizenship, religious tolerance, and assimilation--that continue to vex world political leaders today.
Richard Crouter's Introduction provides the cultural, religious, and historical context for this compelling exchange; a postscript by Julie Klassen reveals the ways in which Germany's minorities continue to be marginalized more than two hundred years after Friedländer made his passionate appeal for political liberty and human rights.
"One of the most fascinating and, indeed, seminal debates in the protracted struggle of German Jewry to gain full citizenship and civic equality. As the translators make clear in their learned and generally lucid Introduction, this debate illuminates the enduring difficulty of modern nation states to establish a civic society that is, if not religiously neutral, at least inclusive... It will surely enter the canon of standard works in the study of modern Jewish history..." -- Paul Mendes-Flohr, Hebrew University.
Series: Hackett Classics
Number Of Pages: 192
Published: 15th September 2004
Publisher: Hackett Publishing Co, Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.96 x 13.97
Weight (kg): 0.23