Mendelssohn, Moses

Mendelssohn, Moses

(mĕn`dəlsən, Ger. mō`zĕs mĕn`dəls-zōn'), 1729–86, German-Jewish philosopher; grandfather of Felix MendelssohnMendelssohn, Felix
(Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn) , 1809–47, German composer; grandson of the Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn was one of the major figures in 19th-century music.
..... Click the link for more information.
. He was a leader in the movement for cultural assimilation. In 1743 he went to Berlin, where he studied and worked, becoming (1750) a partner in a silk merchant's firm. In 1754 he met LessingLessing, Gotthold Ephraim
, 1729–81, German philosopher, dramatist, and critic, one of the most influential figures of the Enlightenment. He was connected with the theater in Berlin, where he produced some of his most famous works, and with the national theater in Hamburg.
..... Click the link for more information.
, and a life-long friendship began, out of which grew Lessing's play Nathan the Wise (1779). Mendelssohn's philosophy anticipated the aesthetics of KantKant, Immanuel
, 1724–1804, German metaphysician, one of the greatest figures in philosophy, b. Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia). Early Life and Works
..... Click the link for more information.
 and Friedrich SchillerSchiller, Friedrich von,
1759–1805, German dramatist, poet, and historian, one of the greatest of German literary figures, b. Marbach, Württemberg. The poets of German romanticism were strongly influenced by Schiller, and he ranks as one of the founders of modern
..... Click the link for more information.
. His writings include Philosophische Gespräche (1755), Philosophische Schriften (1761), Phädon (1767), and Jerusalem; oder, Über religiöse Macht und Judentum (1783). He also translated the Psalms and the Pentateuch into German.

Bibliography

See biography by A. Altman (1973).

Mendelssohn, Moses

 

Born Sept. 6, 1729, in Dessau; died Jan. 4, 1786, in Berlin. German idealist philosopher and representative of the moderate wing of the German Enlightenment.

Mendelssohn came to Berlin in 1742, subsequently becoming a tutor to the children of a manufacturer and later his book-keeper. Together with G. E. Lessing, Mendelssohn wrote Pope the Metaphysician, published anonymously in 1755, defending Leibniz’ theodicy against the criticism of the English poet A. Pope. Mendelssohn was one of the most important popularizers of the teachings of Leibniz and C. Wolff and attacked Voltaire’s critique of Leibniz’ theodicy. In his treatises on the existence of god (Morgenstunden, 1785) and the immortality of the soul he added moral and theological proof to the arguments of Plato and Leibniz (Phaedo, or on the Immortality of the Soul, 1767; Russian translation, 1811). He called for toleration and religious freedom and advocated the separation of church and state. The controversy between Mendelssohn and F. Jacobi over Lessing’s Spinozism led to a dispute about Spinoza’s pantheism, in which many German philosophers of the time became involved.

WORKS

Gesammelte Schriften: Jubilaumsausgabe, vols. 1-16. Berlin, 1929.
Schriften zur Philosophic, Asthetik und Apologetik, vols. 1-2. Hildesheim, 1968.
In Russian translation:
Rassuzhdenie o dukhovnom svoistve dushi chelovecheskoL Moscow, 1806.

REFERENCES

Gulyga, A. V. Iz istorii nemetskogo materializma. Moscow, 1962.
Kayserling, M. M. Mendelssohn: Sein Leben und Wirken, 2nd ed. Leipzig, 1888.
Bamberger, F. Die geistige Gestalt M. Mendelssohns. Frankfurt-am-Main, 1929.
Baumgardt, D. Spinosa und Mendelssohn. Berlin, 1932.
Nador, G. M. Mendelssohn. Hannover, 1969.

T. M. RUMIANTSEVA

Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
Mendelssohn, Moses, "On Sentiments" in Philosophical Writings, ed.
Mendelssohn, Moses, "Rhapsody or additions to the Letters on Sentiments" in Philosophical Writings, p.