‘Geldmacht as a product of the Jewish mind’: Abraham Kuyper and the transnational debate on Jewish wealth, 1875-1917

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Abstract

This article focuses on the emergence of the discourse of geldmacht (‘money power’) in the Netherlands from the 1870s until 1917. During this period, a variety of thinkers used the same notion of geldmacht to express opposing arguments. In the Netherlands, both Catholics like Joseph Alberdingk Thijm (1820-1889) and socialists like Pieter Jelles Troelstra (1860-1930) contributed to the circulation of this notion. During the interbellum, communists and fascist members of the NSB appropriated the notion of geldmacht for their own purposes yet again. As a first examination of the connotations of the discourse of geldmacht, the aim of this article is strategic rather than exhaustive. It offers a diachronic analysis of the word geldmacht as used by Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920), a Dutch journalist, protestant theologian, and prime minister of the Netherlands (1901-1905). As a protestant theologian and political thinker, Kuyper was much preoccupied with the role of Jews in the modern state. Although he used the notion of geldmacht to contest contemporary capitalism, he mainly used this word to accuse Jews of excessive political influence. This article draws attention to the consistency in which Kuyper drew this connection and to the possible sources for this discourse, including Bruno Bauer and Karl Marx.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTrajecta. Religion, Culture and Society in the Low Countrie
Volume32
Issue number1
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 31 Dec 2023

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