Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in German






Karl Gutzkow (1811-1878), Sadduzäer von Amsterdam, Uriel Acosta (1585 ca. - 1640) -- In literature



Physical Description

1 online resource (135 p.)


The same theme of one unorthodox man opposing a self-appointed authoritative religious institution is interpreted is interpreted in two different ways in two related works by Karl Friedrich Gutzkow: his Novelle, Der Sadduzaer von Amsterdam (1834), and in his drama, Uriel Acosta (1846). Both works fictionalize the life Uriel Acosta (1585-1640), an unorthodox Jew who fled the Spanish Inquisition in Portugal to the relatively tolerant country of Holland. Acosta’s problems were not with the government of Holland, however, but with his own orthodox Jewish temple authorities. He opposed the written interpretations of the Talmud and attempted to question the very idea of institutionalized religion as a mere human invention. For this skepticism he was excommunicated and persecuted. Eventually he took his own life, leaving behind his autobiography, A Specimen of Human Life, which Gutzkow read.

This thesis attempts to define the likenesses as well as the contrasts in Gutzkow’s two interpretations. The twelve year span elapsing between the two works effects changes in the author’s use of characterization and in his resolution of the plot. The method of investigation used was to analyze each work for plot, form, and content; the latter included style and characterization. Materials used were simply the two works themselves as well as supplementary reading regarding developments in the author’s life during the years between the writing of the Novelle and the drama.


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A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in German

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