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

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 guidelines of the Enlightenment. whereas incorporating a lot of Jerusalem, Michah Gottlieb’s quantity seeks to extend wisdom of Mendelssohn’s suggestion via featuring translations of lots of his different seminal writings from the German or Hebrew originals. those writings comprise essays, commentaries, unpublished reflections, and private letters.

Part One contains decisions from the 3 significant controversies of Mendelssohn’s existence, all of which concerned polemical encounters with Christian thinkers. half provides choices from Mendelssohn’s writings at the Bible. half 3 bargains texts that light up Mendelssohn’s ideas on a various variety of non secular themes, together with God’s life, the immortality of the soul, and miracles. Designed for sophistication adoption, the amount comprises annotations and an creation via the editor.

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Additional info for Moses Mendelssohn: Writings on Judaism, Christianity, and the Bible

Sample text

This addition, however, has no authority in the Talmud. [See] Maimonides, “Laws of Repentance,” 3:5; “Laws of Kings,” 8:11. In a letter to Rabbi Hasdai Halevi, Maimonides writes: “As regards the other nations, know, my dear friend, that God looks only to the hearts of men and judges their actions in accordance with their conscience. ” Menasseh ben Israel, in his treatise Nishmat Hayyim, cites conclusive passages from the Talmud, the Zohar, and other texts that place this doctrine beyond doubt.

To this I add the single condition that this calling could relate only to the other nations, but that it could not at the same time extend to absolving the Jewish nation of its obligation to the Mosaic laws. I have stated my reasons for this in what I have said above. At a minimum, the scholars of this faction cannot be assured of the opposite, since the founder of their religion nowhere said explicitly that he had been called to release the Jews from the Mosaic laws. But as regards the other peoples, I have already indicated on various occasions that according to the principles of the Jewish religion they have been instructed by God to adhere to the law of nature.

Some of them have even begun to attempt to make small changes in the signs, but they have been deterred from going any further by the zeal of those who call themselves orthodox believers. In order, however, to fully detail the parallels between Judaism and the religion of the Unitarian Christians, it is also worthwhile to compare the external fate of the adherents of each religion. The Jews have at all times fearlessly professed their faith; they have remained immovable where they have believed that they have found the truth; they have endured all that only human malice can contrive for tormenting their fellow men, without disavowing their convictions.

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