Morning Hours is the first English translation of Morgenstunden by MosesMendelssohn, the foremost Jewish thinker of the German Enlightenment. Published six months before Mendelssohn's death on January 4, 1786, Morning Hours is the most sustained presentation of his mature epistemological and metaphysical views, all elaborated in the service of presenting his son with proofs for the existence of God. But Morning Hours is much more than a theoretical treatise. It also plays a central role in the (...) drama of the Pantheismusstreit, Mendelssohn's "dispute" with F. H. Jacobi over the nature and scope of Lessing's attitude toward Spinoza and "pantheism". In Morning Hours Mendelssohn attempts to set the record straight regarding his beloved Lessing in this connection, not least by demonstrating the absence of any practical difference between theism and a "purified pantheism". (shrink)
Mendelssohn's Philosophical Writings, published in 1761, bring the metaphysical tradition to bear on the topic of 'sentiments' (defined as knowledge or awareness by way of the senses). Mendelssohn offers a nuanced defence of Leibniz's theodicy and conception of freedom, an examination of the ethics of suicide, an account of the 'mixed sentiments' so central to the tragic genre, a hypothesis about weakness of will, an elaboration of the main principles and types of art, a definition of sublimity and (...) analysis of its basic forms, and, lastly, a brief tract on probability theory, aimed at rebutting Hume's scepticism. This volume also includes the essay 'On Evidence in Metaphysical Sciences', selected in 1763 by the Berlin Royal Academy of Sciences over all other submitted essays, including one by Kant, as the best answer to the question of whether metaphysical sciences are capable of the same sort and degree of evidence as mathematics. (shrink)
Vier Untersuchungsfelder sind besonders hervorzuheben, die sich auf folgende Fragen konzentrieren: Was ist der Grund des Vergnügens? Welche Rolle spielt dabei die Konstitution des Kunstwerks, und wer kann es erschaffen? Wo verläuft die Grenze ästhetischer Wertschätzung? Welchen Einfluß hat die noch junge Wissenschaft der Ästhetik auf die Erkenntnistheorie und Morallehre? Mit seiner Theorie der vermischten Empfindungen, die eine Differenzierung zwischen der Beschaffenheit des schönen oder häßlichen Objekts, der künstlerischen Produktion und der Wirkung des Kunstwerks auf den Betrachter zuläßt, versucht (...) class='Hi'>Mendelssohn, Antworten auf diese Fragen zu formulieren. Im Rückgriff auf die so erfaßbaren psychologischen Gesetzmäßigkeiten ästhetischer Wahrnehmung konzipiert er die Ästhetik als Integrationsmoment, das die verschiedenartigen und bisweilen gegenläufigen Bestrebungen, Gefühle und Erkenntnisse des Menschen zu einem harmonischen Ganzen vereinen kann.Die hier zusammengestellten Schriften umfassen die grundlegenden Texte zu Mendelssohns Ästhetik. (shrink)
Diese neue Ausgabe der metaphysischen Schriften Mendelssohns, die neben der Evidenz- Abhandlung und den Morgenstunden die frühe Schrift Gedanken von der Wahrscheinlichkeit enthält, zeigt das Denken des jüdischen Philosophen in seiner Eigenständigkeit und Originalität.
Contents \t\t\t\t\t \tTRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTION \t\t1 \t \tNOTE ON THE TRANSLATION \t\t39 \t OBSERVATIONS ON THE FEELING OF THE BEAUTIFUL AND SUBLIME \t\t\t\t\t \tSECTION ONE: \t\t\t\t \t\tOf the Distinct Objects of the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime \t\t45 \tSECTION TWO: \t\t\t\t \t\tOf the Attributes of the Beautiful and Sublime.
What can one say about the state of the art in the Federal Republic? A number of aspects are discernible, not only in the practices and various traditions of intellectual history there, but also in its politics: the stark dichotomy between Marxists and anti-Marxists; the ever-present metahistorical question of which discipline, field, or method would set the political agenda; and the position of Jewish émigrés. These issues raise still more basic ones: how to understand the Nazi experience, which remained living (...) memory for most West Germans; how to confront the gradually congealing image of the Holocaust in private and public life; and the related matters of German intellectual traditions and the new order's foundations. Had the Nazi experience discredited those traditions and had the personal and institutional continuities from the Nazi to Federal Republican polities delegitimated the latter? These were questions with which intellectuals wrestled while they wrangled about historical method. In this introduction, I give a brief overview of these and other innovations in the field, before highlighting some of its characteristics today. (shrink)
The review demonstrates that there are four main historiographical approaches to explanation of the role of Mendelssohn’s philosophy in the emergence of the Haskalah project: (1) traditional approach (created by the Jewish historiography in the second half of the 19th century; it stressed secular and culture-centered character of Haskalah, making it closer to German intellectual tradition); (2) social historiography (it treated Haskalah as a consequence of and reaction to the processes of global social and political modernization); (3) the approach (...) practiced by researchers of early Jewish proponents of Enlightenment’s (determination of the intellectual foundations of Haskalah in the early Maskilim projects); (4) the researches of Mendelssohn's Jewish texts, the concept of “Political Theology”, and the interpretation of Mendelssohn’s ideas in the works of Leo Strauss (new interpretation of the role of Mendelssohn in the creation of Haskalah). (shrink)
Moses Maimonides was a rare kind of radical. Being a genuine Aristotelian, he recommended following the middle path and avoiding extremism. Yet, within the sphere of Jewish philosophy and thought, he created a school of philosophical radicalism, inspiring Rabbis and thinkers to be unwilling to compromise their integrity in searching for the truth, regardless of where their arguments might lead. Both Spinoza and Salomon Maimon inherited this commitment to uncompromising philosophical inquiry. But of course, such willingness to follow a (...) philosophical argument to any length is a fine prescription for getting into trouble with community and political leaders. In this paper I will trace the story of one such collision, which took place between the radical philosopher Salomon Maimon and the bourgeois Enlightenment politician, MosesMendelssohn. (shrink)
German Jewish philosopher MosesMendelssohn was one of the most influential thinkers of the Enlightenment. Until now, attention was focused on Mendelssohn’s German works—such as his groundbreaking _Jerusalem—_which have been duly translated into English. Edward Breuer and David Sorkin assert that his Hebrew works are essential for understanding both his biography and his oeuvre. This volume offers expertly translated and generously annotated selections from the entire corpus of Mendelssohn’s published Hebrew writings. Mendelssohn wrote in Hebrew (...) throughout his life, but these works—mainly grounded in biblical and other Hebrew classical works—have been hitherto inaccessible to most scholars. In this volume, Breuer and Sorkin make an important contribution to modern Jewish and religious thought, refuting the notion that Mendelssohn led a bifurcated intellectual and spiritual existence and demonstrating Mendelssohn’s ability to transform traditional religious genres into vehicles for philosophical argumentation. (shrink)
MosesMendelssohn is often described as the founder of modern Jewish thought and as a leading philosopher of the late Enlightenment. One of Mendelssohn's main concerns was how to conceive of the relationship between Judaism, philosophy, and the civic life of a modern state. Elias Sacks explores Mendelssohn's landmark account of Jewish practice--Judaism's "living script," to use his famous phrase--to present a broader reading of Mendelssohn's writings and extend inquiry into conversations about modernity and religion. (...) By studying Mendelssohn's thought in these dimensions, Sacks suggests that he shows a deep concern with history. Sacks affords a view of a foundational moment in Jewish modernity and forwards new ways of thinking about ritual practice, the development of traditions, and the role of religion in society. (shrink)
MosesMendelssohn was the leading Jewish thinker of the German Enlightenment and the founder of modern Jewish philosophy. His writings, especially his attempt during the Pantheism Controversy to defend the philosophical legacies of Spinoza and Leibniz against F. H. Jacobi’s philosophy of faith, captured the attention of a young Leo Strauss and played a critical role in the development of his thought on one of the fundamental themes of his life’s work: the conflicting demands of reason and revelation. (...) _ Leo Strauss on Moses Mendelssohn_ is a superbly annotated translation of ten introductions written by Strauss to a multi-volume critical edition of Mendelssohn’s work. Commissioned in Weimar Germany in the 1920s, the project was suppressed and nearly destroyed during Nazi rule and was not revived until the 1960s. In addition to Strauss’s introductions, Martin D. Yaffe has translated Strauss’s editorial remarks on each of the passages he annotates in Mendelssohn’s texts and brings those together with the introductions themselves. Yaffe has also contributed an extensive interpretive essay that both analyzes the introductions on their own terms and discusses what Strauss writes elsewhere about the broader themes broached in his Mendelssohn studies. Strauss’s critique of Mendelssohn represents one of the largest bodies of work by the young Strauss on a single thinker to be made available in English. It illuminates not only a formerly obscure phase in the emergence of his thought but also a critical moment in the history of the German Enlightenment. (shrink)
Die Schrift "Über die Lehre des Spinoza in Briefen an den Herrn MosesMendelssohn" dokumentiert und reflektiert das berühmte Gespräch zwischen Lessing und Jacobi vom Juli 1780, in dem Lessing sich zum Pantheismus Spinozas bekannte. Das von Jacobi überlieferte Bekenntnis bildet den Ausgangspunkt für den Spinozastreit – zunächst in Briefen ausgetragen zwischen Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi und MosesMendelssohn. Die Auswirkungen des Spinozastreites auf die Entwicklung der Philosophiegeschichte sind kaum zu ermessen. Er markiert die Wende von der (...) Aufklärung zur Romantik und zum Deutschen Idealismus. (shrink)
This paper proposes that MosesMendelssohn’s Morning Hours be viewed as the final chapter in a philosophy of imperfection that Mendelssohn had been developing over the course of his life. It is further argued that this philosophy of imperfection is still of philosophical interest. After demonstrating that the concept of imperfection animates Mendelssohn’s early work, this paper turns towards the specific arguments about imperfection Mendelssohn made in the midst of the pantheism controversy—in particular, the claim (...) that human imperfection attests to an independent existence. Simply put: God knows human imperfection, but does not possess it. Therefore, there is a sense in which humans, because of our imperfections, are distinct from God. It is shown that, at least in part, Mendelssohn’s entry into the pantheism controversy, and his willingness to engage even his recently departed friend Lessing in argument, is part of his strategy to preserve his philosophy of imperfection. (shrink)
In his Doctrine of Right, Immanuel Kant calls MosesMendelssohn, the towering figure of the German and the Jewish Enlightenment, a ‘Rechtsforscher’—a legal scholar. Yet not only Kant, but numerous scholars of Natural law in the 18th and 19th centuries refer to and reflect on the juridical aspects of Mendelssohn’s work, in particular his thoughts on the law of contract. In this article, I hope to shed some light on this hitherto rather unexplored facet of Mendelssohn’s (...) oeuvre. Mendelssohn develops his theory of contract from the starting point of the officium amoris: the unenforceable ‘duty of love’ to exercise beneficence. Mendelssohn’s theory knows nothing yet of the modern contrast between altruism, distributive justice and ‘freedom of contract’. By exploring Mendelssohn’s theory, we will thus be able to catch a glimpse of the birth pangs of the modern Western discourse on the ‘freedom of contract’, which formed the backdrop as well as the jumping-off point of the development of a ‘liberal’ will theory of contract. Since this ‘liberal’ model is still the paradigm of how contract is mostly perceived today, Mendelssohn’s theory also exemplifies the possibility of an alternative to our own conceptualizations of contract that inescapably shape the way we think. (shrink)
"What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” Asked by the early Christian Tertullian, the question was vigorously debated in the nineteenth century. While classics dominated the intellectual life of Europe, Christianity still prevailed and conflicts raged between the religious and the secular. Taking on the question of how the glories of the classical world could be reconciled with the Bible, _Socrates and the Jews _explains how Judaism played a vital role in defining modern philhellenism. Exploring the tension between Hebraism and (...) Hellenism, Miriam Leonard gracefully probes the philosophical tradition behind the development of classical philology and considers how the conflict became a preoccupation for the leading thinkers of modernity, including Matthew Arnold, MosesMendelssohn, Kant, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. For each, she shows how the contrast between classical and biblical traditions is central to writings about rationalism, political subjectivity, and progress. Illustrating how the encounter between Athens and Jerusalem became a lightning rod for intellectual concerns, this book is a sophisticated addition to the history of ideas. (shrink)
Leo Strauss's introductions to ten writings of MosesMendelssohn -- Preliminary remark by Alexander Altmann -- Introduction to Pope a metaphysician! -- Introduction to "Epistle to Mr. Lessing in Leipzig" -- Introduction to Commentary on Moses Maimonides' "Logical terms" -- Introduction to Treatise on evidence in metaphysical sciences -- Introduction to Phädon -- Introduction to Treatise on the incorporeality of the human soul -- Introduction to "On a handwritten essay of Mr. de Luc's" -- Introduction to The (...) soul -- Introduction to Morning hours and to the friends of Lessing -- Introduction to God's cause, or providence vindicated. (shrink)