Going to “Alimentary” School: <i>Brotstudium</i>, Ludwig Feuerbach, and the Dietetics of Antisemitism

Jay Geller

in The Other Jewish Question

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780823233618
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241781 | DOI:
Going to “Alimentary” School: Brotstudium, Ludwig Feuerbach, and the Dietetics of Antisemitism

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In her edition of Ludwig Feuerbach's Essence of Christianity, George Eliot mistranslated Feuerbach's reference to “Brotstudium,” by which he characterized theological study undertaken by Jews, as their “alimentary view” of theology. This chapter employs Eliot's mistranslation in order to lever open Feuerbach's construction of Judentum (Judaism) in his writings on religion and their Anglophone reception. It charts the differences of that construction in each edition of Feuerbach's most famous work. These and his later texts are placed in the context of notions of the Jewish stench (foetor Judaicus), of representations of Jewish food preferences and prohibitions, of ascriptions of Jewish misanthropy due to their apparent lack of commensality, of accusations of Jewish ritual blood consumption and ritual murder in contemporary press and scholarship, as well as of Feuerbach's subsequent diet-materialism (“You are what you eat”) and its privileging of eating, that is, of incorporation as the ruling principle of life.

Keywords: blood libel; ritual murder; Christianity; George Eliot; Essence of Christianity; Ludwig Feuerbach; foetor judaicus; food; Judentum; Judaism; translation

Chapter.  7073 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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