Birth of Jewish Philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, Father of Jewish Enlightenment

Birth of Jewish Philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, Father of Jewish Enlightenment

Moses Mendelssohn
Source: Wikipedia

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Religious History

Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn is born in Dessau, Germany. Valuing reason above revelation and tradition, he will strive to bring secular ways of thinking to those living a generally Orthodox Jewish life in Germany.

Although he himself will received a very traditional education, he expands his perspective on life by devouring the works of various philosophers and other secular writers.

Mendelssohn will become an important figure in the wider age of European Englightenment because of his advocacy of Jews living in and being a part of German society, rather than remaining forever outsiders and separate. Because of such work he will be the inspiration for the character of Nathan in famous Lessing play "Nathan der Weise," or Nathan the Wise.

Mendelssohn comes to sincerely believe that reason might allow a person to arrive at valid religious truths, but he also believes that Judaism is unique among world religions because of its revealed code of divine laws. Later he will be regarded as the father of the Haskalah, or Jewish enlightenment.

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