Levinson on Gerhard von Rad’s Struggle against the Nazification of the Old Testament @UMNews @iupress

Bernard M. Levinson, University of Minnesota, has published Gerhard von Rad’s Struggle against the Nazification of the Old Testament in The Betrayal of the Humanities: The University during the Third Reich 154-204 (Bernard M. Levinson and Robert P. Ericksen eds., Indiana University Press, 2022). Here is the abstract.

From 1933 through 1945, the Hebrew Bible was under attack in Nazi Germany. As both the universities and the Protestant Church sought to align themselves with Nazi ideology, the entire notion that Christianity had any connection to Judaism was denied, and the historic tradition of “Old Testament” studies was compromised. This chapter provides an illuminating case study of Gerhard von Rad (1901–1971), one of the enduring giants of German Protestant biblical scholarship. Von Rad began his academic career at Friedrich Schiller University of Jena in 1934, a scant year after the Nazis rose to power. His university actively sought to position itself as the exemplary National Socialist university. A ranking SS officer served as the university’s President (Rektor); he arranged for medical students to undertake pathology training at the Buchenwald concentration camp, located just twenty miles away. Step-by-step, major changes took place throughout the university, including its prestigious Faculty of Theology, that transformed academic appointments, graduate research, and the curriculum in every field, as the university sought to position itself as Germany’s exemplary National Socialist academic institution.

The full text is not available for download from SSRN.