This article deals with the mark of Richard Wagner on Franz Rosenzweig’s account of the Day of Atonement service in Der Stern der Erlösung. It exposes the presence of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, his theory of Gesamtkunstwerk, and particularly his theory of gesture in Rosenzweig’s discussion of the liturgical gesture of the Jewish holiday. It suggests that Rosenzweig models this most significant moment as a form of “sacred theater” depicting the Wagnerian “music opera.” Through this analysis, not only does “drama” emerge as the link between the three sections of Der Stern and as the key to unlocking the work’s argument as a whole, but also the fertility of Wagner’s theatrical theory for religious thought is revealed.

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