From philological to "völkische" comparative religion. The discipline of comparative religion at the University of Tübingen ca. 1850 to the end of the Third Reich
The discipline of comparative religion/history of religions was institutionalized at the University of Tübingen in 1922 and is, until now, one organizational unit together with the discipline of indology. The first lecturer and later its director was the indologist Jakob Wilhelm Hauer (while the emergence of the field of history of religions at Tübingen was prepared by Heinrich Ewald, Rudolf Roth, and Richard Garbe at the end of the 19th century), who headed the department during the Nazi era as well. Since he has been director for a long time, a major focus is on his work (and behavior during the Nazi era). In the course of these developments Junginger also concentrates on the racist ´Aryan worldview´, and shows how, with the rise of the Nazis, especially Hauer actively supported the Nazi ideology in promoting a ´Völkische Religionswissenschaft´, and he renamed the department into ´Aryan Seminar/Aryan Institute´. Junginger also discusses Hauer´s work regarding theology, and he shows Hauer´s theoretical position as based on religious-philosophical speculation. The list of courses taught at the department from 1921 to 1945 clearly shows this support of the Nazis. This study also shows ideological tendencies and developments among the educated classes (Bildungsbürgertum) in Germany at that time, attitudes towards democracy, etc. Comparative religion in Tübingen at that time was closely linked with general political developments in Germany. And while scholars in 19th century Germany were often politically powerless, more power was given to them by the Nazis.
Keywords: Hauer, J.W., indology and Nazism, history of religions and Nazism, Tübingen Department of History of Religions, racism, ´Aryanism´, Nazi ideology, National Socialism, scholars and Nazis