Did Moses Mendelssohn Lack Historical Thinking?: A Critique of a Common Prejudice

Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 68 (4):564-589 (2020)
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There is widespread agreement in scholarship that Moses Mendelssohn lacked historical thinking, an opinion accepted even among Mendelssohn experts. This misjudgment is based on a remark in his Jerusalem against Lessing’s Education of Humankind and surely ignores Mendelssohn’s historical work. I will question the misjudgment by a detour: first, I will ask for whom Lessing wrote his Education of Humankind. Then I will turn to the usually celebrated origin of historical thinking in Semler and Herder and question the historicity of their views. It is only in the 3rd section that I will focus directly on Mendelssohn’s historical work and his truly historical understanding of religion, in agreement with Lessing.



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Ursula Goldenbaum
Emory University

Citations of this work

How the Better Reason Wins: Mendelssohn on Enlightenment.Anne Pollok - 2020 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 68 (4):540-563.

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