Moses Mendelssohn and the religious enlightenment /
David Sorkin.
Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, c1996.
xxv, 214 p.
0520202619 (cloth : alk. paper)
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Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, c1996.
0520202619 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
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"Sorkin has established himself as one of the most insightful scholars of modern Jewish intellectual history. Now Moses Mendelssohn reinforces his position as one of the most outstanding Jewish historians of his generation."--David N. Myers, University of California, Los Angeles
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1996-11-01:
Though useful, this book does not replace Alexander Altmann's monumental work Moses Mendelssohn: A Biographical Study (1973); and, in fact, it is much dependent on Altmann in biography and in two of its three parts--philosophy and politics. But in the third part, exegesis, it brings forward in a new way our view of Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn's Hebrew work has not been given much attention in assessing his worth; his work on the Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Pentateuch spans his entire life and must be considered in assessing his place as an Enlightenment thinker and his place in the history of Haskalah, that is, religious reform of Jews started in Germany. Sorkin, a historian, does not show much depth in dealing with philosophical issues--his book provides a bare introduction to Mendelssohn's philosophy--but he is better with the cultural and political conditions of his subject; again, it is the attention to Mendelssohn's Hebrew works that makes this book better than a very elementary introduction. That discussion, also, makes him speak to a more mature scholarly audience. General; upper-division undergraduate; graduate; faculty. M. A. Bertman emeritus, SUNY College at Potsdam
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Choice, November 1996
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Long Description
Through a close study of Mendelssohn's Hebrew and German writings, David Sorkin argues that Mendelssohn's two spheres of endeavor were entirely consistent. Mendelssohn attempted to rearticulate the medieval Jewish rationalist tradition in the terms of eighteenth-century philosophy, thereby showing his essential similarity to the Protestant and Catholic thinkers of the religious Enlightenment who attempted to use the new science and philosophy to renew faith. Sorkin restores Mendelssohn to his eighteenth-century milieu and in so doing shows that Mendelssohn, by being turned into a symbol, has been fundamentally misunderstood.
Table of Contents
Philosophyp. 1
Foundationsp. 3
Early Worksp. 15
"A Golden Bridge"p. 25
Exegesisp. 31
Ecclesiastesp. 35
Psalmsp. 46
The Pentateuchp. 53
Politicsp. 91
Intercessionp. 95
Rightsp. 108
Credop. 120
Conclusionp. 147
Biographical Notesp. 157
Abbreviationsp. 161
Notesp. 163
Select Bibliography in Englishp. 205
Indexp. 207
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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