Goethe and Judaism

Paper Text – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3173-6

E-book – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3166-8

Cloth Text – $99.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3133-0
Publication Date
October 2015
Page Count
264 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Goethe and Judaism

The Troubled Inheritance of Modern Literature
Karin Schutjer

In Goethe and Judaism, Karin Schutjer examines the iconic German writer’s engagement with, and portrayal of, Judaism. Her premise is that Goethe’s conception of modernity—his apprehensions as well as his most affirmative vision concerning the trajectory of his age—is deeply entwined with his conception of Judaism. Schutjer argues that behind his very mixed representations of Jews and Judaism stand crucial tensions within his own thinking and a distinct anxiety of influence. Goethe draws, for example, from the Jewish ban on idolatry for his own semiotics, from the narratives of nomadic wanderings in the Hebrew Bible for his own trope of the existential wanderer, from the history of Jewish exile for his own emergent conception of a German Kulturnation. Schutjer thus uncovers the surprising debt to Judaism owed by one the most formative thinkers in German history.

About the Author

KARIN SCHUTJER is a professor of German at the University of Oklahoma.


"This cogent reading of a most influential (and ambiguous) text of twentieth-century German literature makes one hope for further examinations of German modernism informed by the monograph's impressive achievements." —Seminar

"Karin Schutjer has produced a major contribution to Goethe studies. This is not an incremental addition to the English-language scholarship on Goethe; it is a recasting of our image of Goethe.” —David Wellbery, Professor of Germanic Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago

“This is top-notch scholarship: Goethe and Judaism fundamentally changes our understanding of Goethe, and will inspire debate and future research.” —Monatshefte

"Schutjer offers a compelling new facet to our understanding of Goethe." —German Studies Review

The boldness and ambition of this undertaking is inspiring. The source matter is vast and diffuse, spanning the breadth of Goethe’s (enormous) corpus; the manner in which Schutjer marshals the material into a coherent narrative is in itself an impressive feat of critical scholarship." —European Romantic Review