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Franz Rosenzweig

Birthplace: Kassel, Hesse, Germany
Death: December 10, 1929 (42)
Frankfurt, Hesse, Germany (Motor neuron disease)
Place of Burial: Hesse, Germany
Immediate Family:

Son of Georg Rosenzweig and Adele Rosenzweig (Alsberg)
Husband of Edith Rosenzweig (Hahn)
Father of Rafael Nehemia Rosenzweig

Occupation: Religious philosopher
Managed by: Malka Mysels
Last Updated:

About Franz Rosenzweig

Franz Rosenzweig (1886-1929) ranks as one of the most original Jewish thinkers of the modern period. There can be little doubt that Franz Rosenzweig was not only one of the most seminal thinkers of his time, but that he also left his mark on education, psychoanalysis, the critical study of religion and the Jewish Christian dialogue.

As a historian of philosophy, Rosenzweig played a brief but noteworthy role in the neo-Hegelian German intellectual scene of the 1910s. Like so many German Jews, Franz Rosenzweig came from a family of businessmen.  His grandfather was a chemist and his father George manufactured dyes.

Typical of Jewish interests, then and now, was Rosenzweig’s entry into medical school. He studied at several universities, as is still the custom in Germany, and graduated as a physician. He never practiced but instead followed one of his friends into the study of philosophy. There he of course encountered Kant (1724-1804) and Hegel (1770-1831). That was as also true of Karl Marx (1818-1883), who  turned Hegel upside down and therefore invented communism.

His reflections on human finitude and on the temporal contours of human experience made a lasting impact on 20th-century existentialism; and his account of dialogue presented the interpersonal relation between “I” and “You” as both constitutive of selfhood and as yielding redemptive communal consequences.

Rosenzweig, under the influence of his close friend Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, as well as his cousins, considered converting to Christianity. Determined to embrace the faith as the early Christians did, he resolved to first live as an observant Jew before becoming Christian. Famously, after attending Yom Kippur services at a small Orthodox synagogue in Berlin, Germany, he underwent a mystical experience. As a result, he became a baal teshuva.

Although he never put pen to paper to explain what transpired, he never again entertained converting to Christianity, deciding instead to remain a Jew. In 1913, he turned to Jewish philosophy. His letters to his friend, Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, whom he had nearly followed into Christianity, have been published as Judaism Despite Christianity.

Rosenzweig engaged in two major works of translation, most notably the German translation of the Bible in which he collaborated with Martin Buber. He founded a center for Jewish adult education in Frankfurt—the Lehrhaus—which attracted the most important young German-Jewish intellectuals of its time, and which is still held up today as a model for educational programs of its type.

But Rosenzweig's singular philosophical importance rests almost entirely on his having written what is arguably the greatest work of modern Jewish philosophy: The Star of Redemption. The Star is a system of philosophy that seeks to give a comprehensive and ramified account of “All” that is, and of the human being's place within that “All”. It is a system in which “revelation” plays a vital conceptual and methodological role, and in which Judaism and Christianity are claimed to offer glimpses, each through the course of its liturgical calendar, of the redemptive unity of the “All” which the philosopher seeks to know.


‘Love is as Strong as Death’: The Triadic Love of Franz Rosenzweig for Gritli Rosenstock- Huessy, wife of his friend Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy. Of the love story, it had been kept a secret for many years, first seeing the light of day in a public talk by Eckart Wilkens on October 10, 1978 at a Volkshochschule in Köln, while Edith was still alive.

For while the love story between Franz Rosenzweig and Gritli Rosenstock-Huessy had begun before Edith had become his fiancée, the correspondence reveals that Gritli had been his great passion. Edith Rosenzweig had not wanted this material to become public – so much so she had even burnt Gritli Huessy’s correspondence to her husband, whether in compliance with Rosenzweig’s wishes is not known. Edith Rosenzweig had not wanted this material to become public – so much so she had even burnt Gritli Huessy’s correspondence to her husband, whether in compliance with Rosenzweig’s wishes is not known.

In contrast to Edith Rosenzweig’s response, was Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy’s. From the beginning he had been told of the love that his best friend and his wife had for each other. Yet he had accepted and blessed it. Indeed, this was what both Franz and Gritli insisted they wanted. That did not mean it was easy – on the contrary. In another Rosenzweig conference at Kassel, this time 2004, Harold Stahmer referred to an unpublished letter of Rosenstock-Huessy to Gritli. There he writes of his pain in feeling shut out by the passion that Franz and Gritli have for each other, and he complains that his love for both has been forgotten or taken for granted.

‪The star of redemption‬ By Franz Rosenzweig,

‪Philosophical and theological writings‬ By Franz Rosenzweig,

‪German Jews: a dual identity‬ By Paul R. Mendes-Flohr


Franz Rosenzweig

Birth: Dec. 25, 1886

Death: Dec. 10, 1929

Philosopher, born at Kassel, died at Frankfurt (Main). Studied medicine, later philosophy. After the First World War, in which he had volunteered, built up the Frankfurt "Freies Juedisches Lehrhaus", a center of liberal Jewish thinking, where he co-operated with Martin Buber, Gershom Sholem, Erich Fromm and Siegfried Kracauer. Togehter with Buber, Rosenzweig wrote a partial translation of the Bible into German.

zekher tzadik livrakh

Burial: Jewish Cemetery Friedhof Eckenheimer Landstrasse Frankfurt am Main Frankfurter Stadtkreis Hessen, Germany

Created by: Dieter Birkenmaier

Record added: Sep 10, 2007

Find A Grave Memorial# 21477068



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About Franz Rosenzweig, פרנץ רוזנצווייג (עברית)

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Franz Rosenzweig's Timeline

December 25, 1886
Kassel, Hesse, Germany
September 8, 1922
Frankfurt am Main
December 10, 1929
Age 42
Frankfurt, Hesse, Germany
Jewish Cemetery Friedhof Eckenheimer Landstrasse, Hesse, Germany