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Book Reviews 125 way that the 1997 volume of documents assembled by Yeshayahu A. Jelinek is (Zwischen Moral und Realpolitik: Deutsch-israelische Beziehungen 1945-1965. Eine Dokumentensammlung. Band 16. Gerlingen: Bleicher Verlag, 1997). Lily Gardner Feldman Center for German and European Studies Georgetown University Judentum, Jurisprudenz und Philosophie: Bilder aus dem Leben des Juristen Eduard Gans (1797"':1839), by Johann Braun. Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft ; 1997. 254 pp. DM 76. Johann Braun's study, Judentum, Jurisprudenz und Philosophie: Bilder aus dem Leben des Juristen Eduard Gans (1797-1839) was published on the two hundredth anniversary of Eduard Gans's birthday, March 22,1797. A well-known legal scholar in his time, Gans's work is largely unknown today both in Germany and the United States, and he is more often cited for his role within the Berlin Jewish community than for his books on inheritance law or legal philosophy. Gans was born as the son of a Berlin banker and businessman who had worked repeatedly for the Prussian government after 1806. He was destined to follow his father's footsteps and enter the business world. After his father's death, however, he was able to pursue a different career path and study law; first in Berlin and Gottingen, and finally in Heidelberg, where he completed his dissertation with highest honors in 1819. Because ofboth personal and general political concerns, Gans became increasingly engaged in Jewish issues. 1819 was a year of extensive civic urnest, particularly in the Baden area, that led to the destruction of Jewish property and hate campaigns against Jews. With the call of"Hep-Hep!" (a possible shortening for "Hierosolima est perdita"; the origin of this call is unclear), students and citizens of many German towns ransacked Jewish houses and threatened their inhabitants. Still in Heidelberg, Gans was able to witness some of these activities. After his return to Berlin, Gans faced a personal setback. While he was able to complete his legal studies, he was by no means able to join the faculty of any German university. Despite the 1812 proclamation of Jewish emancipation, a German professorship was not in every citizen's reach. A German professor was a civil servant, and Prussia, as well as other German states, viewed itself as a Christian polity. Law, moreover, was a central field for any government. How could a Jew represent it in an official institution? 126 SHOFAR Summer 1999 Vol. 17, No.4 For the next few years, Gans's stubborn pursuit of a professorship tested the Prussian emancipation edict, and [mally resulted in more explicitly stated restriction for the professional careers of Jewish students, the so-called "Lex Gans." Gans decided to proceed with what could be viewed as a particularly German form of Jewish protest. In late 1819, he founded the Verein zur Verbesserung des Zustandes der Juden im Deutschen Bundesstaat (an association for the improvement ofthe status ofJews within the German states). A year and a halflater, it was renamed the Verein fUr die Kultur und Wissenschaft der Juden. It issued its own journal, founded its own educational institution, and drew scholars and artists like Leopold Zunz and Heinrich Heine into its fold. The Verein's goal was to work towards a Judaism without Rabbinic influence and attempt a true symbiosis of Jewish and German culture. Stifled by endless discussions about statutes, meeting schedules, and membership rules and regulations, as well as a call for assimilation that finally led to the conversion to Christianity of many of its members, the Verein folded in 1825. Gans, its forceful president, traveled that year to Paris, and was baptized in the Protestant faith. Although he was still regarded by many as a simply baptized Jew, Gans seems honestly to have embraced Christianity as the proper religion for the age of reason. A few months after his return, he received his coveted professorship, joined his admired teacher Hegel at the Berlin university, and continued as a public opponent ofthe most prominent legal scholar ofhis day, Carl von Savigny. Until his death in 1839, Gans proceeded to sketch a philosophical system of legal studies that was much at odds with Savigny's historical approach that would continue to dominate...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 125-127
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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