Next Article in Journal
Spiritual Identity: Personal Narratives for Faith and Spiritual Living
Next Article in Special Issue
What is Jewish (If Anything) about Isaiah Berlin’s Philosophy?
Previous Article in Journal
Res aut res publica: The Evidence from Italian Renaissance Manuscripts and Their Owners
Previous Article in Special Issue
Meaning in History—A Comparison Between the Works of Karl Löwith and Erich Auerbach
Open AccessArticle

Karl Mannheim’s Jewish Question

Bard College, Annandale, New York 12504, USA
Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s NL, Canada A1C 5S7
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Religions 2012, 3(2), 228-250;
Received: 5 January 2012 / Revised: 26 March 2012 / Accepted: 6 April 2012 / Published: 11 April 2012
PDF [363 KB, uploaded 11 April 2012]


In this paper, we explore Karl Mannheim’s puzzling failure (or refusal) to address himself in any way to questions arising out of the position of Jews in Germany, either before or after the advent of Nazi rule—and this, notwithstanding the fact, first, that his own ethnic identification as a Jew was never in question and that he shared vivid experiences of anti-Semitism, and consequent exile from both Hungary and Germany, and, second, that his entire sociological method rested upon using one’s own most problematic social location—as woman, say, or youth, or intellectual—as the starting point for a reflexive investigation. It was precisely Mannheim’s convictions about the integral bond between thought grounded in reflexivity and a mission to engage in a transformative work of Bildung that made it effectively impossible for him to formulate his inquiries in terms of his way of being Jewish. It is through his explorations of the rise and fall of the intellectual as socio-cultural formation that Mannheim investigates his relations to his Jewish origins and confronts the disaster of 1933. The key to our puzzle is to be found in the theory of assimilation put forward in the dissertation of his student, Jacob Katz. View Full-Text
Keywords: Karl Mannheim; Jacob Katz; Jewishness; sociology; intellectuals; cultivation; assimilation; Germany Karl Mannheim; Jacob Katz; Jewishness; sociology; intellectuals; cultivation; assimilation; Germany
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Kettler, D.; Meja, V. Karl Mannheim’s Jewish Question. Religions 2012, 3, 228-250.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Religions EISSN 2077-1444 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert Logo copyright Steve Bridenbaugh/UUA
Back to Top