Geiger, Abraham

born May 24, 1810, Frankfurt am Main, Ger.
died Oct. 23, 1874, Berlin

German Jewish theologian.

He served as rabbi in Wiesbaden from 1832 and in Breslau 1838–63. He helped found a theological journal in 1835 and served as its editor. Geiger urged the need for simplified ritual, liturgy in one's native language, and emphasis on the prophetic writings as the core of Judaism, and he stressed the process of change and growth in Jewish religious consciousness, a basic idea in Reform Judaism.

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▪ German theologian
born May 24, 1810, Frankfurt am Main
died Oct. 23, 1874, Berlin, Ger.

      German-Jewish theologian, author, and the outstanding leader in the early development of Reform Judaism.

      In 1832 Geiger went to Wiesbaden as a rabbi and in 1835 helped to found the Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift für jüdische Theologie (“Scientific Journal of Jewish Theology”), which he then edited. In 1838 he became junior rabbi in Breslau (now Wrocław, Pol.), where his known Reform leanings aroused Orthodox opposition. Remaining in Breslau until 1863 (he became senior rabbi in 1843), Geiger organized the Reform movement there and wrote some of his most important works, including a translation into German of the works of Judah ben (Judah ha-Levi) Samuel ha-Levi (1851), considered the greatest Hebrew poet of 12th-century Spain, and Geiger's own magnum opus, Urschrift und Übersetzungen der Bibel in ihrer Abhängigkeit von der innern Entwicklung des Judentums (1857; “The Original Text and the Translations of the Bible: Their Dependence on the Inner Development of Judaism”). In the latter work, Geiger analyzes the Sadducees (Sadducee) and the Pharisees (Pharisee), Jewish sects in whose history he sees a paradigm of a basic idea of Reform Judaism: in some respects, the Jewish religious consciousness grows and changes, and this development is reflected in the succeeding editions and translations of the Bible.

      In a series of rabbinical conferences at Brunswick (1844), Frankfurt (1845), and Breslau (1846), Geiger incisively presented other main tenets of Reform Judaism: the necessity of simplifying ritual and of using a liturgy spoken in one's native tongue; an emphasis on the prophetic teachings as presenting the core of Judaism, a core that will not lose validity with changing time and place, unlike other components of religion; and a deemphasis on a return to the land of Israel. Geiger's last years were spent as a rabbi at Frankfurt and at Berlin, where he also lectured at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums (“Institute of Jewish Science”), the liberal seminary.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Geiger, Abraham — (1810–74)    German Reform rabbi. An accomplished historian and the holder of various rabbinical appointments, Geiger advocated the reform of Judaism, for instance, the use of the vernacular in worship. He opposed Jewish nationalism, and regarded …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Geiger, Abraham — (1810 74)    German Reform leader and scholar. In 1832 he became rabbi in Wiesbaden, where he reformed the synagogue services and published the Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift fur jüdische Theologie. In 1837 he convened the first meeting of Reform… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Geiger, Abraham — (24 may. 1810, Francfort del Meno, Alemania–23 oct. 1874, Berlín). Teólogo judío alemán. A contar de 1832 fue rabino en Wiesbaden y en 1838–63 en Breslau. En 1835 contribuyó a fundar una revista de teología, de la que fue editor. Insistió en la… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • GEIGER, ABRAHAM —    an eminent Hebrew scholar and Rabbi, born at Frankfort on the Main, and editor of the Zeitschrift für jüdische Theologie; strove hard to break down the barrier of Jewish exclusiveness (1810 1874) …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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  • Abraham Geiger — (1810 ndash;1874) was a German rabbi and scholar who led in the foundation of Reform Judaism, seeking to remove all nationalistic elements (particularly the Chosen People doctrine) from Judaism, stressing it as an evolving and changing religion.… …   Wikipedia

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