Jewish Encounters with Buddhism in German Culture

Between Moses and Buddha, 1890–1940

  • Sebastian Musch

Part of the Palgrave Series in Asian German Studies book series (PSAGR)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Sebastian Musch
    Pages 1-18
  3. Sebastian Musch
    Pages 19-40
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 255-289

About this book


In Germany at the turn of the century, Buddhism transformed from an obscure topic, of interest to only a few misfit scholars, into a cultural phenomenon. Many of the foremost authors of the period were profoundly influenced by this rapid rise of Buddhism—among them, some of the best-known names in the German-Jewish canon. Sebastian Musch excavates this neglected dimension of German-Jewish identity, drawing on philosophical treatises, novels, essays, diaries, and letters to trace the history of Jewish-Buddhist encounters up to the start of the Second World War. Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, Leo Baeck, Theodor Lessing, Jakob Wassermann, Walter Hasenclever, and Lion Feuchtwanger are featured alongside other, lesser known figures like Paul Cohen-Portheim and Walter Tausk. As Musch shows, when these thinkers wrote about Buddhism, they were also negotiating their own Jewishness. 


German Buddhism Buddhist thought Jewish thought Orientalism Rainer Maria Rilke Bertholt Brecht Thomas Mann German-Jewish intellectuals German-Jewish identity German Orientalism German–Jewish literature Theodor Lessing Franz Rosenzweig Leo Baeck Martin Buber

Authors and affiliations

  • Sebastian Musch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryOsnabrück UniversityOsnabrückGermany

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-27468-9
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-27469-6
  • Buy this book on publisher's site