Moses Mendelssohn

Writings on Judaism, Christianity, and the Bible

Edited by Michah Gottlieb

Moses Mendelssohn

Edited by Michah Gottlieb

Distributed for Brandeis University Press

296 pages | 6 x 9
Paper $29.95 ISBN: 9781584656852 Published October 2011
German Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn (1729–1786) is best known in the English-speaking world for his Jerusalem (1783), the first attempt to present Judaism as a religion compatible with the ideas of the Enlightenment. While incorporating much of Jerusalem, Michah Gottlieb’s volume seeks to expand knowledge of Mendelssohn’s thought by presenting translations of many of his other seminal writings from the German or Hebrew originals. These writings include essays, commentaries, unpublished reflections, and personal letters. Part One includes selections from the three major controversies of Mendelssohn’s life, all of which involved polemical encounters with Christian thinkers. Part Two presents selections from Mendelssohn’s writings on the Bible. Part Three offers texts that illuminate Mendelssohn’s thoughts on a diverse range of religious topics, including God’s existence, the immortality of the soul, and miracles. Designed for class adoption, the volume contains annotations and an introduction by the editor.
Contents
Foreword • Introduction: Moses Mendelssohn and the Project of Modern Jewish Philosophy • POLEMICAL WRITINGS • The Lavater Affair and Related Documents (1769–1773) • Lavater’s Dedication • Open Letter to Lavater • From “Counter-Reflections to Bonnet’s Palingenesis” • Letter to Rabbi Jacob Emden, 26 October 1773 • Letter to “a Man of Rank” (Rochus Friedrich Graf von Lynar) • Jerusalem and Related Documents (1782–1783) • From the Preface to Vindiciae Judaeorum • “The Search for Light and Right” • Mörschel’s Postscript • From Jerusalem, or on Religious Power and Judaism • From Letter to Naphtali Herz Homberg • The Pantheism Controversy (1785–1786) • From Jacobi’s On the Doctrine of Spinoza • From Morning Hours • From To Lessing’s Friends • WRITINGS ON THE BIBLE • From Introduction to Commentary on Ecclesiastes • Introduction to Translation of Psalms • From Letter to August Hennings, 29 June 1779 • From Light for the Path • Selections from the Bi’ur • On Peshat and Derash • Lex Talionis • On Adam’s Sin • On Biblical Poetry • The Eternal • On Commanding Belief in God, Jewish Election, and Idolatry • On Divine Jealousy • On Kingship • MISCELLANY • On the Religious Legitimacy of Studying Logic • An Ontological Proof for God’s Existence • A Cosmological Proof for God’s Existence • A Proof for the Immortality of the Soul • A Rational Foundation for Ethics • On the Possibility of Miracles • On the Reliability of Miracles • Suggestions for Further Reading • Index
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