Moses Mendelssohn


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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

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One phenomenon that Allerton-North and Wenborn stress is the unenviable position of Felix's father, Abraham Mendelssohn, himself the son of philosopher Moses Mendelssohn.
Part One explores the transition to modernity, retracing the philosophical accomplishments of thinkers such as Moses Mendelssohn, Spinoza, and religious figures such as Baal Shem Tov.
Hoffman's book explores the intensive effort to reclaim Jesus for the modern Jewish community through a detailed analysis of the writings of such leading Jewish scholars of the period as Moses Mendelssohn, Abraham Geiger, Heinrich Graetz, and Kaufman Kohler, as well as Yiddish writers, often quite secular in their orientation, such as Chaim Zhitlovsky and Sholem Asch, whose works are largely unknown in dialogue circles today and who were deeply connected with the East European effort to develop a modern Jewish cultural identity.
Today, the small park tucked away in a busy section of the city is marked by a single gravestone: that of the great Enlightenment philosopher and aesthetician Moses Mendelssohn (1729-86).
Her work has achieved worldwide praise and she has just been awarded the Moses Mendelssohn prize by Berlin City Council.
The Porcelain Apes of Moses Mendelssohn, by Jean Nordhaus; Milkweed Editions.
Specifically, Ruderman counters the commonly held assumption that the Anglo-Jewish community never developed intellectually in a manner comparable to that of German Jews under the influence of Moses Mendelssohn, the touchstone for the Haskalah in Jewish Studies.
Though personally close to Moses Mendelssohn during the first ten years of his long residence in Berlin (1774-1804), and though he wrote the third volume of Mendelssohn's modern commentary, the Bi'ur, Wessely was always very hesitant about full participation in the burgeoning drive to Enlightenment as it found expression in the periodical HaMeassef.