FORMSTECHER, SOLOMON (1808–1889), German philosopher and rabbi. Formstecher was born in Offenbach. He studied philosophy, philology and theology at the University of Giesen, and served as the rabbi of the Offenbach community from 1842 until his death. He took an active part in the Reform movement and edited the periodicals Der Freitagabend and Die Israelitische Wochenschrift. In his systematic work Die Religion des Geistes – Wissenschaftliche Darstellung des Judentums nach seinem Charakter, Enwicklungsgaeng und Berufe in der Welt (Frankfurt, 1841) Formstecher attempted to present a theoretical basis for the aims of the emancipation and Reform. Judaism is presented primarily as an idea, anchored in historical revelation and the full value of which is revealed through the gradual, progressive development of humanity. Formstecher used the philosophical categories of the German idealists Schelling and, to a lesser extent, Hegel in developing this concept. The three central concepts of Formstecher's system are revelation, spirit, and nature. By revelation, which is the source of the ethical monotheism of Judaism, he means the divine communication concerning the true nature of good and evil. It is not the knowledge of God's existence that represents the true ideal, but the identification of God as a pure moral being. The God of Israel is not a supreme concept reached through philosophic understanding, but a supreme being transcending both spiritual and earthly nature. Therefore, Judaism as an idea is not a philosophic religion, but the manifestation of the   true absolute revelation. The classical representatives of this idea were the prophets of Israel. They understood the truth of the original revelation – based on God's covenants with Noah and his chosen people , symbolized by the Sinai covenant – through knowledge of the objective source of the absolute values, which was revealed to them by an immediate feeling. Like Hegel, Formstecher meant by "spirit" the concretization of the absolute in the historic-conscious level of mankind. If, as he believed, religion in general is man's aspiration for a universe of values, then the religion of the spirit is the aspiration for the embodiment of an absolute moral idea, the source of which is divine revelation. Judaism as a phenomenon, i.e., historical Judaism, although subject to historical circumstances, clings to the aspiration of embodying the moral idea on earth. This aspiration distinguished Judaism from all other religions, which are fundamentally religions of nature, or physical monotheism. Following Schelling, Formstecher defined the religion of nature (paganism) as the aspiration for universal life, in which the spirit is manifested as the "soul of the world". The philosophic pantheistic concepts, as well as speculative metaphysical thought, are therefore, the refined form of the pagan view of life. In proposing his argument Formstecher foreshadowed some of the anti-metaphysical trends in modern Jewish theology, represented by Rosenzweig and Buber, for example. Judaism and paganism are polar phenomena, which by their very nature cannot coexist. Therefore, Formstecher rejected the concept of the mission of the Jews as the fundamental and direct heritage of Judaism. Within the framework of the dominant paganism, the isolation of Judaism among the nations is a direct result of its metaphysical nature. Nevertheless, Judaism does fulfill its mission among the nations, although not directly: it fulfills its mission through Christianity and Islam. These historical religions, in which pagan and spiritual elements are mingled, fulfill the requirement that paganism be overcome by the embodiment of the absolute moral value of the divine spirit. As the growth of the spirit and culture in modern times seemed to indicate, insofar as the human consciousness is aware of the moral source of all being, the universal human spirit will develop, and it will of itself bring about the removal of the barriers between the nations. Formstecher sincerely believed that the Emancipation was the social-political manifestation of this internal, spiritual process in the history of humanity. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: N. Rotenstreich, Jewish Philosophy in Modern Times (1968), 106–20 and index; Guttmann, Philosophies 308–13; ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: B. Ritter-Kratz, Salomon Formstecher – Ein deutcher Reformrabbiner (biography incl. full bibliography) (1991) (Wissenschaftliche Abhandlungen des Salomon Ludwig Steinheim-Instituts fuer deutsch juedische Geschichte, E. Heid (ed.), vol. I); T., "Solomon Formstechers Religion des Geistes – Versuch einer Neulekture," in: Aschkenas, 13:2 (2003), 441–460; N.M. Samuelson, An Introduction to Modern Jewish Philosophy (1989), 150–53; M.A. Meyer, Response to Modernity (1988), 70–72, index. (Moshe Schwarcz / Yehoyada Amir (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Игры ⚽ Нужна курсовая?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Formstecher, Solomon — ▪ German philosopher born July 28, 1808, Offenbach, Hesse [Germany] died April 24, 1889, Offenbach       Jewish idealist philosopher who was rabbi at Offenbach from 1842. Die Religion des Geistes (1841; “The Religion of the Spirit”) is considered …   Universalium

  • Formstecher, Solomon — (1808 89)    German philos opher and rabbi. He was born in Offenbach and served as rabbi there from 1842. He was active in the Reform movement and edited Der Freitagabend and Die Israelitische Wochenschrift. His Die Religion des Geistes presents… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Solomon Formstecher — (1808 1889) was a German rabbi and student of Jewish theology.Formstecher was born at Offenbach July 28, 1808. After graduating (Ph.D. 1831) from the Giessen University, he settled in his native city as preacher, succeeding Rabbi Metz in 1842; he …   Wikipedia

  • PHILOSOPHY, JEWISH — This article is arranged according to the following outline: WHAT IS JEWISH PHILOSOPHY? recent histories of jewish philosophy biblical and rabbinic antecedents bible rabbinic literature hellenistic jewish philosophy philo of alexandria biblical… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Judaism — /jooh dee iz euhm, day , deuh /, n. 1. the monotheistic religion of the Jews, having its ethical, ceremonial, and legal foundation in the precepts of the Old Testament and in the teachings and commentaries of the rabbis as found chiefly in the… …   Universalium

  • GOD — IN THE BIBLE The Bible is not a single book, but a collection of volumes composed by different authors living in various countries over a period of more than a millennium. In these circumstances, divergencies of emphasis (cf. Kings with… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • KANT, IMMANUEL° — (1724–1804), German philosopher. Born in Koenigsberg, East Prussia, Kant studied at the university in that city, where in 1755 he began to teach as a Privatdozent. In 1770 he was appointed to the chair of logic and metaphysics. His major work,… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Liste der Biografien/Fo — Biografien: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ARTICLES OF FAITH — ARTICLES OF FAITH. The term dogma which is well defined in Christianity has as such no place in Judaism. In Judaism the need for a profession of belief did not arise and rabbinic synods saw no necessity for drawing up concise formulas expressing… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • GOD, NAMES OF — Various Hebrew terms are used for God in the Bible. Some of these are employed in both the generic and specific sense; others are used only as the personal name of the God of Israel. Most of these terms were employed also by the Canaanites, to… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”