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Moses Mendelssohn
Writings on Judaism, Christianity, and the Bible
Michah Gottlieb, ed.

Tauber Institute Series for the Study of European Jewry
The Brandeis Library of Modern Jewish Thought
2011 • 296 pp. 6 x 9"
Philosophy / Jewish Studies

$29.95 Paperback, 978-1-58465-685-2
$24.99 Ebook, 978-1-61168-214-4

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“Gottlieb has chosen outstanding texts to include in this volume, which are certain to be of interest to anyone with even a passing interest in Mendelssohn or the Enlightenment. Indeed... [continued in Reviews below]”—Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

An English translation of key works, many never before translated, by Moses Mendelssohn, the founder of modern Jewish philosophy

German Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn (1729–1786) is best known in the English-speaking world for his Jerusalem (1783), the first attempt to present Judaism as a religion compatible with the ideas of the Enlightenment. While incorporating much of Jerusalem, Michah Gottlieb’s volume seeks to expand knowledge of Mendelssohn’s thought by presenting translations of many of his other seminal writings from the German or Hebrew originals. These writings include essays, commentaries, unpublished reflections, and personal letters.

Part One includes selections from the three major controversies of Mendelssohn’s life, all of which involved polemical encounters with Christian thinkers. Part Two presents selections from Mendelssohn’s writings on the Bible. Part Three offers texts that illuminate Mendelssohn’s thoughts on a diverse range of religious topics, including God’s existence, the immortality of the soul, and miracles. Designed for class adoption, the volume contains annotations and an introduction by the editor.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

"Gottlieb has chosen outstanding texts to include in this volume, which are certain to be of interest to anyone with even a passing interest in Mendelssohn or the Enlightenment. Indeed, I suspect this work will become the new standard volume for those teaching Mendelssohn. He provides helpful introductions and annotations to the works in question, making even Mendelssohn's more technical works on Jewish exegesis accessible to philosophers with no training in Jewish Studies. . . . A volume such as this is long overdue, and hopefully a new appreciation of Mendelssohn will follow in its wake."—Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"Gottlieb’s choices of letters, documents, and selections from major works are most enlightening. And while most of the works are by Mendelssohn, the fact that letters to him and commentaries by contemporaries are included gives an added, humanizing dimension to the book’s subject. What further distinguished this volume are the excellent prefatory notes which introduce nearly all the selections and the helpful footnotes which do much more than simply credit sources or define arcane terms."—Jewish Book World

"....Although the second scholarly edition of Mendelssohn’s collected works (Jubiläumsausgabe; 1929-1938; 1971) made his Hebrew texts available to modern scholars, only now, thanks to Micah Gottlieb and others, have Mendelssohn’s Hebrew writings become available in English (and thus stand some chance of being introduced to students at American universities). Anyone interested in Jewish contributions to modern Bible exegesis or to modern Jewish reflections about the Bible in general will welcome these translations." —The Bible and Interpretation

“We should be indebted to Gottlieb for providing the English-speaking community greater access to Mendelssohn, and especially those interested in teaching Mendelssohn’s writings. Mendelssohn has always deserved a place in our philosophy and general religious studies curricula. Thanks to Gottlieb, this is now possible.”—Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations

“The works of Moses Mendelssohn, the most prolific Jewish writer in eighteenth-century Europe, marked the beginning of a liberal Jewish philosophy that sought to promote the humanistic values of the Enlightenment and to interpret Judaism according to rationalistic and moral criteria. His public and private writings remain relevant to understanding the Jewish experience in all its complexity in these modern times. The publication of these key works will no doubt enrich the discussion of the challenges confronted by the Jews in the past and in the present.”Shmuel Feiner, Bar-Ilan University

“This volume is an invaluable resource for the intellectual-historical study of Moses Mendelssohn, his works, and his era. It will promote an appreciation of the importance Mendelssohn holds for Jewish philosophy and life today. The translations are superb, and Gottlieb has performed a major service for historical scholarship and contemporary religious thought in selecting, introducing, and annotating these sources. Bravo to Gottlieb and his colleagues!”David Ellenson, President, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion


Runner-up for the National Jewish Book Award

MICHAH GOTTLIEB is an assistant professor in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University.

Thu, 14 Mar 2019 13:08:17 -0500