Moses Mendelssohn: Writings on Judaism, Christianity, and by Michah Gottlieb

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By Michah Gottlieb

German Jewish thinker Moses Mendelssohn (1729–1786) is better recognized within the English-speaking global for his Jerusalem (1783), the 1st try and current Judaism as a faith suitable with the information of the Enlightenment. whereas incorporating a lot of Jerusalem, Michah Gottlieb’s quantity seeks to extend wisdom of Mendelssohn’s suggestion via offering translations of lots of his different seminal writings from the German or Hebrew originals. those writings contain essays, commentaries, unpublished reflections, and private letters.

Part One comprises choices from the 3 significant controversies of Mendelssohn’s lifestyles, all of which concerned polemical encounters with Christian thinkers. half offers choices from Mendelssohn’s writings at the Bible. half 3 deals texts that remove darkness from Mendelssohn’s options on a various diversity of spiritual issues, together with God’s lifestyles, the immortality of the soul, and miracles. Designed for sophistication adoption, the amount comprises annotations and an advent via the editor.

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Nahmanides wrote to the French rabbis, requesting that they annul the ban on Maimonides’s works. ] The Lavater Affair and Related Documents | 21 wisdom, then no intermediary is required to secure this pardon for him. No one should be in error about the natural intermediary causes. Because wisdom would rather work through the connection of things, it makes use of the intermediary causes that connect events. Contingent things would exist separately in both time and space, each on its own, if omnipotence were supposed to work on everything in an immediate fashion.

In fact, the religion of the Israelites consists of only three main principles: (1) God; (2) providence; and (3) legislation, which, with some elaboration by our religious teachers, are expressed in roughly the following fashion: (1) God, the creator and unlimited ruler of all things, is a single, simple God (both in His person as well as in His essence). (2) This God perceives all that happens in creation, rewards goodness, and punishes evil through natural, and at times even through supernatural, means.

I may say that with respect to religion this already happened to me some years ago. I read, compared, reflected, and took a side. And yet for all I care, Judaism could have been razed to the ground in every polemical textbook and triumphed over in every scholastic exercise, without my ever having to be drawn into a dispute about it.  [A prominent example of this in eighteenth-century Prussia was Johann Eisenmenger’s Judaism Unmasked (1711), which used Talmudic sources to show that Jews were immoral, superstitious, fanatical people who hated Christians.

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