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Buedinger, Max


BUEDINGER, MAX (1828–1902), historian. Buedinger was born in Cassel, Germany, the son of a Hebraist and teacher. After completing his studies in Marburg and Berlin – his teachers included the great German historians Leopold von Ranke and Heinrich von Sybel – Buedinger was unable to obtain an academic appointment because of his Jewishness. He tutored private pupils in Vienna (1857–61), traveled widely, and joined the circle of young Austrian historians. In 1861 he obtained a professorship of history at Zurich University, and during his ten years' tenure of the chair raised Swiss historiography to its highest level. After his conversion to Protestantism, he was appointed professor of general history at Vienna (1872–99). A universal historian, Buedinger combined excellent teaching with imaginative writing on ancient, medieval, and modern European history. Among his many books and articles was the first critical history of early Austria from unpublished primary sources (Oesterreichische Geschichte bis zum Ausgange des 13. Jahrhunderts, vol. 1, 1858). His major works include Die Universalhistorie im Alterthume (1895), Untersuchungen zur mittlern Geschichte (2 vols., 1871), Untersuchungen zur roemischen Kaisergeschichte (3 vols., 1868–70), and Vorlesungen ueber englische Verfassungsgeschichte (1880). Buedinger shared Ranke's views about the role of ideas in history and the interlinking of civilizations, and combined romantic ideas with historical criticism. An essay on Egyptian influences in Jewish ritual which he published in 1871–73 reflected contemporary scholarly fashion, but was marred by fallacies.


Festgabe zu Ehren Max Buedingers (1898); B.L. Mueller, Max Buedinger, ein Universalhistoriker aus Rankes Schule (dissert., Munich, 1964).

[Herbert A. Strauss]

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