Abstract Reflecting on the differing historical approaches to Jewish history from ›within‹ or ›outside‹, this article argues in favor of an integrated approach. Taking a scandal that occurred in Hamburg in the middle of the 19 th century as an example, the article shows how closely intertwined both sides – the Jewish and the Christian – were. In contrast to the often used conceptual approaches with distinct polarized ideas of clearly differing entities, the discussions about the religious reinterpretation of Jewish religious law, the recognition of religious law by the state and the definition of a civil marriage law prove how intensely involved both sides were. The differing, interchanging and overlapping political interests during these decisive years forced both sides into intense negotiations about the relationship between church and state, Judaism and general society. While both parts still perceived themselves as distinct, the character of these ambivalent processes clearly shows quite the opposite. Instead of clear-cut and stable religious and political positions, the ongoing debates and their dynamics forced all the parties into a process of mutual social negotiations that generated a close interrelation.
Aschkenas – de Gruyter
Published: Dec 1, 2009