History of Education and Science, The Long Nineteenth Century

Dr. Uta Lohmann in Kooperation mit Dr. Kathrin Wittler

Sponsored from March 2020 to May 2022 by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

The research project focuses on the work of the Jewish Enlightenment philosopher Joel Löwe (יואל ברי"ל Joel Bri’l, 1762–1802) in Breslau (today Wroclaw in Poland). In 1790, Löwe was appointed head teacher and member of the board of directors of the Jewish Wilhelm School, newly established there. From then on, he exerted a decisive influence on the local Enlightenment discourse. The aim is to reconstruct his work through the historical-critical edition of the programs of the Wilhelm School published between 1791 and 1800 and other texts by Löwe from his time in Breslau. With the editing of these writings, an important part of the work of a central figure of the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah) will be made accessible for the first time. In addition, the project opens up new insights into the context of the beginnings of a school that was significant for German-Jewish educational history in terms of ideas, language, culture, knowledge, and social history.

The program papers to be edited were used as invitations to the annual public examinations of the Wilhelm School. They contain not only internal school reports, but also scholarly treatises by Löwe, which served to establish his diverse and wide-ranging interests as an educator, linguist, Bible exegete, and historian.

The source value of the school programs is very high with respect to the Haskalah in Prussia and in terms of Löwe’s work biography. Today, they are preserved only in single prints, recorded in bibliographically insufficient quality, in a few libraries worldwide. By means of the edition, they are being made available as a book publication – based on a completely preserved collective copy of Wroclaw University Library – and rendered accessible by an index as well as by scholarly commentaries. Summarizing contributions on Löwe’s fields of knowledge will ensure a multi-layered interdisciplinary contextualization of his writings.

Löwe’s programmatic writings are also made available as high-resolution and searchable scans as open-access publications via the online portal Fachinformationsdienst Jüdische Studien: The Digitale Sammlungen Judaica provide online access to the sources, and detailed bibliographic information will be recorded in the Library of the Haskala database.

Project managers:
Dr. Uta Lohmann
Phone: +49 (0)40 42838-2307
E-mail: uta.lohmann[at]igdj-hh.de (Institute for the History of the German Jews, Hamburg),            
Dr. Kathrin Wittler (Peter Szondi Institute for General and Comparative Literature, Freie Universität Berlin) 
Project staff:
Maria Röger (student assistant, FU Berlin)
Lisa Trzaska (student assistant, IGdJ, February 2020 to March 2021)
Marcel Layher (student assistant, IGdJ June 2021 to August 2021, October 2021 to May 2022)

#Haskalah, #JewishEnlightenment, #BiographicalResearch, #JewishEducationalHistory, #Breslau, #Wilhelmsschule, #SchoolProgrammeWriting.