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Monatsschrift Fuer Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums


MONATSSCHRIFT FUER GESCHICHTE UND WIS-SENSCHAFT DES JUDENTUMS , learned monthly publication which appeared in Germany for 83 years between 1851 and 1939. The Monatsschrift was founded by Z. *Frankel, while he was still rabbi at Dresden, to serve as the organ of what was called the "positive-historical school" in Jewish life and scholarship, which took up a middle position between Reform as represented by A. *Geiger, and Orthodoxy as interpreted by S.R. *Hirsch and A. *Hildesheimer. This type of Judaism, conservative in its approach to Jewish observance and ritual but undogmatic in matters of scholarship and research, was taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary at Breslau, founded in 1854 with Frankel as head; the Monatsschrift was intimately though not formally connected with this Seminary and drew its editors and contributors mainly from the ranks of its lecturers and alumni. Frankel remained the editor of the Monatsschrift until 1868. In the post-revolutionary years after 1848, Frankel had hoped to stem the growing indifference of the younger generation to Jewish values by spreading the scientific knowledge of the Jewish past, thus reviving Jewish consciousness and self-respect. Frankel hoped, in particular, to influence the younger generation of rabbis who had turned their back on traditional learning. In time, the Monatsschrift became the Jewish world's leading journal. Frankel himself wrote about a quarter of the material published under his editorship, dealing with such subjects as the Septuagint, Jewish Hellenism, history of halakhah, and religious disputations in antiquity; he also wrote many painstaking book reviews. In 1869 H. *Graetz took over the editorship, assisted from 1882 to 1886 by P.F. Frankl of the Berlin *Hochschule. Graetz himself wrote mainly on Jewish history, Bible, and the language of the Mishnah. In 1887, when Graetz was 70, publication ceased for five years until M. *Brann revived it in 1892, sharing the editorship with D. *Kaufmann until his death in 1899, upon which Brann continued as sole editor. In 1903 the Monatsschrift found a new financial backer in the *Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der Wissenschaft des Judentums. At Brann's death in 1920, I. *Heinemann took over until his immigration to Palestine in 1938. The last volume was prepared by L. *Baeck. From Frankel to the last, the Monatsschrift steered, more or less, an even course. Articles ranged over the entire gamut of Jewish scholarship. The editors generally tended to avoid systematic theology and purely religious problems. Most of the nearly 500 contributors were rabbis and seminary or university lecturers from Germany, Austria, and Hungary; but there were some from other European countries, the U.S., and Ereẓ Israel. The last volume (83, 1939) of the Monatsschrift, a tragic and heroic monument to German-Jewish scholarship in its death throes, was confiscated and destroyed by the Nazis and only a few copies were saved; it was reprinted in 1963. Previously A. Posner had published a general index for volumes 1–75 (1938, repr. 1966, including an update of the last 8 volumes).


D.S. Loewinger, in: S. Federbush (ed.), Ḥokhmat Yisrael be-Ma'arav Eiropah, 1 (1959), 529ff.; K. Wilhelm, in: G. Kisch (ed.), The Breslau Seminary (1963), 325ff.; L. Baerwald, ibid., 351ff. add. bibliography: A. Brämer, in: M. Nagel (ed.), Zwischen Selbstbehauptung und Verfolgung (2002), 139ff.

[Nahum N. Glatzer]

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