Julius Guttmann

Julius Guttmann ( born Yitzchak Guttmann, born April 15, 1880 in Hildesheim, † May 19, 1950 in Jerusalem ) was a German rabbi and philosopher of religion. His book Philosophy of Judaism (1933 ) is a historical judaism standard work.


Julius Guttmann was the son of Rabbi Jakob Guttmann (1845-1919) and Beate Guttmann, born Simonson, (* 1858) from Copenhagen. His father was from 1874 to 1892 Chief Rabbi in Hildesheim. During this time, Hildesheim had a large Jewish community. The father also published treatises on philosophical topics. 1880 the family moved to Breslau.

Julius Guttmann attended the Rabbinical Seminary in Breslau and the University of Breslau. He was professor at Breslau from 1910 to 1919 and a lecturer at the School of the Science of Judaism ( the seminar of the Jewish reform movement ) in Berlin from 1919 until 1934. 1934 he was appointed professor of Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. On this professorship he held until his death.

The philosophy of Judaism

Guttmann is most known for his philosophy of Judaism ( Reinhardt -Verlag, 1933). Translations are in Hebrew, Spanish, English, Japanese, and in other translations. The work has been called " the last product of Judeo- German, Jewish Studies ' " (Leon Roth).

Guttmann's representation leads ( in the final chapter " The Jewish philosophy of religion in the modern age ") to Moritz Lazarus and Hermann Cohen, the latter through his book "Religion of Reason out of the Sources of Judaism " (1919) Guttmann's own philosophy has greatly influenced. A later Hebrew edition also includes Franz Rosenzweig. Play a supporting role in " The Philosophy of Judaism " Chiwi al - Balkhi, Saadia ben Joseph, Isaac Israeli, Solomon ibn Gabirol, Bahya ibn Pakuda, Judah ha -Levi, Abraham ibn Daud, Maimonides, Levi ben Gerson, Chasdaj Crescas, Moses Mendelssohn, Spinoza, Solomon mold engraver, Samuel Hirsch, Nachman Krochmal, Salomon Ludwig Steinheim and Lazarus, Cohen and Rosenzweig. Important Thinkers of the Kabbalah, however, remain excluded, which Guttmann's approach to Jewish philosophy characterized ( see Werblowsky 1964).


Philosophy of Religion

Guttmann argues that philosophy is the philosophy of religion. Thus he says: The Jewish Philosophy " is the philosophy of religion in the specific sense, which is given by the nature of the monotheistic religion of revelation, the face itself as its own power by the energy of their claim to truth as by the depth of their intellectual content of philosophy " For Guttmann there is in Jewish thought an autonomous theology: the " Mishneh Torah" of Maimonides. However, the heretical philosophical speculation on matters of religion formed themselves into a religious philosophy. The " sense of religion " alone can not lead to the possession of religious truth. Guttmann noted that this is not a truth of objective knowledge, but a personal inner certainty. However, this certainty is not therefore less reliable. , The religion is called " own province in mind " to consider. the meaning of religion, the immediacy of feeling comes in the religious life a " autonomous " reality character. Guttmann followed up on Edmund Husserl's phenomenology to with which he descriptive " could be a priori elements and structures are visible, as original datum in human consciousness are present. " This allows it to analyze the process, interpret through the generations of Jewish philosophers, the Jewish religion as something pre-given and also justify sometimes want., the inwardness of the religious consciousness could be a rationalist explanation Guttmann, because it's not about the religious ideas went as such. It was rather the philosophical expression and to the philosophical formulation of the basic principles of religion.


Guttmann writes of Jewish philosophy and its historiography has an important role and represents a historical- chronological division of the Jewish history of philosophy according to the philosophical schools. So he divided the Jewish philosophy in historical schools of philosophy, from Aristotle to Neoplatonism to existentialism in a linear historical sequence. This was due to the 'diaspora character of the Jewish community ". He makes a classification according to currents and says that there will always be a connection to the tradition of Jewish philosophy. The authors attribute the modern currents of thought of the philosophical tradition, so that the Jewish philosophy rooted to the past does not lose. Guttmann is aware that Jewish existence today (1933 ) has changed significantly and this circumstance Jewish philosophy presents entirely new problems. He says that "the philosophy of our generation that's what it used to be ." It is unpredictable, given the ambiguous situation, which way they 'll take. He compares the natural sciences with the history of philosophy, noting that there had been progress in the natural sciences and a continuous change. In contrast, the history of philosophy is vitiated by crises and controversies, where the new ideas are constantly faced with the thinking of past times. Even within modern philosophy, the impact of the main lessons to be taken of past generations, and therefore continue to drive even the "so-called revolutionaries of philosophy " consciously or unconsciously the thoughts of the philosophical tradition. These ancient thoughts would now be better understood, and it could now new conclusions. Regardless of all disputes, " the philosophy that their own continuity " would preserve. As an example, Guttman refers to the development of Jewish philosophy, " which retains its link with the past, despite the gulf that separates the medieval from the modern era ." Guttmann noticed that there are the same problems that are addressed both in the Middle Ages and in modern times. The modern Jewish philosophy have learned from the solutions of the great philosophers such as Maimonides or Judah Ha -Levi. This linkage with past philosophers is to be seen even in modern Jewish philosophy, in spite of all differences.


  • Kant's concept of objective knowledge, 1911
  • The Jews and the economy, 1913 ( review of Sombart's work )
  • Religion and science in medieval and modern thought, 1922
  • Co-editor of " anniversary edition " of Moses Mendelssohn's works, 1928-1938
  • The philosophy of Judaism, 1933. The philosophy of Judaism. With a tracking of Esther Seidel and a biographical introduction by Fritz Bamberger, Berlin: Jewish Publishing House, 2000.