Cover image for Moses Mendelssohn; a biographical study.
Moses Mendelssohn; a biographical study.
Altmann, Alexander, 1906-1987.
Publication Information:
University : University of Alabama Press [1973]
Physical Description:
xvi, 900 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


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B2693 .A64 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Altmann (1906-1987, founder of the Institute for Jewish Studies) presents Mendelssohn in strictly biographical terms. He does not attempt to assess his significance or trace his image in subsequent generations, but rather, he seeks to observe Mendelssohn's life from the period within which it was set. The result is a narrative of the entire European intellectual scene, Jewish and non-Jewish. Drawing from archival material, Altmann portrays a wide array of people--scholars, artists, politicians, scientists, philosophers, and theologians--with whom Mendelssohn was in contact, and sometimes in conflict. Altmann gives special attention to the relationships between Judaism and the Enlightenment, between reason and tolerance, and between assimilation and the Jewish identity. Distributed by ISBS. First published by Alabama University Press in 1973. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
Chapter 1 Years of Growthp. 3
Childhood in Dessaup. 3
The Early Years in Berlinp. 15
The Budding Philosopherp. 25
Lessingp. 36
The Metaphysicianp. 50
The Bel Espritp. 65
A Learned Societyp. 74
Kohelet Mussarp. 83
Chapter 2 Maturity and Famep. 92
Marriage and Family Lifep. 92
Thomas Abbtp. 100
The Prize-Essayp. 112
The Correspondence about the Vocation of Manp. 130
The Phaedonp. 140
Questions and Answersp. 158
Cognate Hebrew Writingsp. 179
Chapter 3 Turning Point: The Lavater Affairp. 194
"Juif de Berlin"p. 194
The Prehistory of the Lavater Affairp. 201
Lavater's Challenge and Mendelssohn's Replyp. 209
First Reactions and Behind-the-Scene Activities; Lavater's Reply and Mendelssohn's Epiloguep. 223
Reverberations of the Conflictp. 234
Literary Concerns and Another Lavater Episodep. 242
Chapter 4 Changes in the Pattern of Lifep. 264
The Strange Illnessp. 264
Ups and Downs: A Chronicle of Eventsp. 271
Hebraica and Judaicap. 286
The Chronicle Continuedp. 295
Some Philosophical Preoccupationsp. 313
Friends in Unexpected Quartersp. 329
Chapter 5 The Teacherp. 346
The Avant-Garde of Haskalap. 346
The German Translation of the Pentateuchp. 368
Obstacles on the Roadp. 383
Completing the Workp. 405
Chapter 6 Political Reformerp. 421
Spokesman of his Peoplep. 421
Cooperation with Dohmp. 449
A Momentous Event and a New Tract for the Timesp. 461
The Issue of Educational Reformp. 474
The Summer of 1782p. 489
Jerusalemp. 514
Chapter 7 Strains and Stressesp. 553
Friendship with Lessing: The Last Phasep. 553
A Projected Essay on Lessing's Characterp. 582
Jacobi's Attitude toward Mendelssohn: Antecedents of their Conflictp. 593
An Uneasy Correspondencep. 603
Chapter 8 Guardian of the Enlightenmentp. 638
The Contestp. 638
Literary Activity: 1783-1785p. 653
Morning Hoursp. 671
In Combatp. 698
The Social and Domestic Scenep. 712
The Endp. 729
Epiloguep. 744
Notesp. 760
Index of Subjects and Namesp. 876