Samuel Hirsch (1815-1889) rejected the contention that in some ways Judaism is inferior to Christianity, on the contrary, he held a view that both religions are equal in their validity. While Judaism as a religion involves the intensive religious belief and implications of a way of living, Christianity, on the other hand, is a representative of the extensive religious beliefs, the functions of which rely on proclaiming the divine deity to the rest of the world. Hirsch describes both religions as being suitable for further development to become the absolute religious frameworks for the Christians converting pagans and the Jews freely obeying God.
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The primary focus of Samuel Hirsch’s work was grounded on explaining the role of Judaism within the process of the historical development of the society. He analyzed the involvement of Judaism in the historical evolution of religion alongside the primary framework this religion added to the overall evolution of the religious potential of humankind. Hirsch’s purpose was in depicting the distinct role of Judaism without disrupting the integrity of other religions such as Christianity.
Despite the fact that his writings were significantly affected by the works of Hegel, Hirsch was also able to present an alternative to the views of Hegel about the role and the nature of Judaism. For instance, he wished to make justifications for Judaism being superior to Christianity in its contribution to the historical development of global religions. By means of presenting the aspects in which Judaism overshadows other religions, Hirsch hoped to improve the system offered by Hegel.
The philosophical works of Salomon Formstecher (1808-1889) were different in nature from the works of Samuel Hirsch. Formstecher did not deny his freedom and separated from the Jewish community’s way of life and searched for explanations for his opinion that the Mosaic Torah was a divine and prophetic work of revelation. Formstecher’s fundamental work entitled Religion of Spirit bore deeply apologetic meanings that did not make excuses for hiding the purposes of arguments regardless of their directions.
He held a view that the Jewish population was the only population critical for the development of old Judaism, a contrasting opinion to the majority of German scholars who were predisposed to bias concerning the Christian religion. This happened because particular groups of Jewish-German philosophers shared a common subjective aim to have the same basic framework for their religion. Such a task was undertaken by Formstecher himself to prove the inferiority of Christianity under Judaism through the means of using universal criteria of humanism.
The scholar was able to make an important contribution to the study of the nature of Judaism not only as a pioneer in his own efforts but also as an individual who was able to outline the problems related to religion in the framework of historical development. Formstecher chose to ground his discussion on the historical inducement for dealing with the issue of Judaism: the secularization process which means freeing the Western culture from the bonds of religion and returning to the way of life of a free individual.
Thus, Formstecher grounded his work on the religious philosophy outlined by Schelling, a framework that was based on the reason of trying to achieve complete human progress and freedom that still sustained the religious verity outside it. Thus, while Formstecher advocated for the separation from the religious bonds to build a better society, Hirsch insisted on the premise of Judaism playing an integral role in the historical development of the Jewish society.
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