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Hermeneutics, Politics, and the History of ReligionsThe Contested Legacies of Joachim Wach and Mircea Eliade$
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Christian Wedemeyer and Wendy Doniger

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195394337

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195394337.001.0001

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The Master-Interpreter: Notes on the German Career of Joachim Wach (1922–1935 )

The Master-Interpreter: Notes on the German Career of Joachim Wach (1922–1935 )

Chapter:
(p.21) 2 The Master-Interpreter: Notes on the German Career of Joachim Wach (1922–1935)
Source:
Hermeneutics, Politics, and the History of Religions
Author(s):

Steven M. Wasserstrom

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195394337.003.0002

This article examines the life and works of Joachim Wach (1898–1955) during his career in Germany (1922–35). Aspects examined include his homosocial participation in youth movements (Jugendbewegung) and in the Stefan George Circle, the development of his conceptions of the Master, interpretation (Verstehen), and the science of religion (Religionswissenschaft), and his personal relationships with members of the so-called Conservative Revolution. These aspects are examined in an effort to illuminate the strengths and weaknesses of his thought in its American versions, especially during his time at the University of Chicago (1945–55). His flight from Nazi Germany, his self-understanding of his own Jewish ancestry and of his Mendelssohn heritage, and his establishment of an Americanized history of religions are also applied toward an integrated interpretation of his life and works.

Keywords:   Joachim Wach, Stefan George, Joseph Kitagawa, Kurt Rudolph, Germany, Jugendbewegung, Verstehen, Religionswissenschaft, Moses Mendelssohn, homosociality, youth movements, van der Leeuw, masculinist philosophy, history of religions

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