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Steinheim’s vs. Luzzatto’s Philosophy of Religion

Salomon Ludwig Steinheim (1789-1866) was called polyhistor for him being a famous theologian, politician, and physician, a historical figure who played a crucial part in the battle of the Jewish population for its emancipation. He was the first German-Jewish scholar who attempted to start the exploration of the concept of revelation in Judaism as well as challenges the role of the Torah on a philosophical level. Furthermore, he had separated himself from the general circle of religious philosophy to develop an original method based on the Sinaic revelation. Steinheim occupied a worldview that extended outside Orthodoxy and Reformation, for which he did not receive much praise from the proponents of either group.

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Throughout the historical development of Judaism as religion, the various philosophical views on Judaism were based on religious orientation and, in the classical sense, were not called philosophical. Thus, Steinheim cannot be given a title of a Judaist philosopher in the meaning of the Jewish scholars who captured the philosophical concepts related to various areas. Steinheim used the philosophical framework of writing to make himself understood in the philosophical sphere of the German idealism of the end of the nineteenth century.

The tyranny and criticism Steinheim received from his compatriots led him to the opinion that Jews could not become citizens. He linked the tyranny he received with the tyranny that caused Abraham to leave Canaan and the Israelites led by Moses to escape Egypt in a search for the Promised Land.

Samuel David Luzzatto (Shadal) (1800-1865) was the Italian-Jewish philosopher of the second half of the nineteenth century. Among all of his specializations, Shadal dedicated the majority of his time and efforts to interpreting and exploring the Bible. What distinguished him from the fellow religious philosophers of his time is that he placed a primary focus on the meaning and the value of the text despite believing in the unity and the divinity of the Torah.

While approaching the divine text with persistent scientific rigor, Shadal incorporated a range of various contemporary and ancient sources. This encouraged even the modern-day reader to view his findings as refreshing and novel. Among the remarkable commentary of Shadal, the most significant bears his commentary of the natural causes of the Ten Plagues that, in his opinion, had some minor supernatural characteristics. Furthermore, Shadal dared to disregard the legal sections of the Torah as interpreted by the Rabbi and focus on the examination of their literal significance.

Shadal strived to reconcile the traditional ideas of Judaism and to combine them with the philosophical concepts related to 19-century nationalism. The primary purpose of Shadal’s works was to show that the Torah could be used for outlining the primary logical principles and various categories of reason. Furthermore, he chose to interpret the traditions of Judaism as a culture of ethical and ethical frameworks and issues. He devoted a significant number of works to the exploration of Judaism as a religion that bears an ethical background instead of the speculative one. The primary critique of Shadal’s works was that his opinions were different from the prevailing views of the nature of Judaism because he placed a large focus on the theory of moral sense.

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StudyCorgi. "Steinheim’s vs. Luzzatto’s Philosophy of Religion." May 20, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Steinheim’s vs. Luzzatto’s Philosophy of Religion." May 20, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Steinheim’s vs. Luzzatto’s Philosophy of Religion'. 20 May.

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