Moses Mendelssohn’s Living Script: Philosophy, Practice, by Elias Sacks

By Elias Sacks

Moses Mendelssohn (1729–1786) is usually defined because the founding father of glossy Jewish inspiration and as a number one thinker of the overdue Enlightenment. one among Mendelssohn's major matters used to be the best way to conceive of the connection among Judaism, philosophy, and the civic lifetime of a latest nation. Elias Sacks explores Mendelssohn's landmark account of Jewish practice--Judaism's "living script," to exploit his recognized phrase--to current a broader interpreting of Mendelssohn's writings and expand inquiry into conversations approximately modernity and faith. by means of learning Mendelssohn's suggestion in those dimensions, Sacks means that he exhibits a deep obstacle with heritage. Sacks gives a view of a foundational second in Jewish modernity and forwards new methods of considering ritual perform, the improvement of traditions, and the position of faith in society.

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Extra resources for Moses Mendelssohn’s Living Script: Philosophy, Practice, History, Judaism

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55 Indeed, Mendelssohn repeatedly indicates that he is using “ceremonial law” to refer, broadly, to the halakhic system governing Jewish practice—to norms presented in the Bible as well as laws outlined in rabbinic literature. ”56 12 Mose s M en de l ssoh n’s Li v i ng Scr ipt Jerusalem’s discussions of this system also employ some of the same terminology that Mendelssohn uses elsewhere when referring to laws in the Bible and rabbinic literature. Consider, for example, the similarities between a text he composed between 1774 and 1776 on the one hand, and Jerusalem (written and published from 1782 to 1783) on the other.

Whoever sacrilegiously desecrated the Sabbath implicitly abrogated a fundamental law of civil society. . Under this constitution these crimes could and, indeed, had to be punished civilly, not as erroneous opinion, not as unbelief, but as misdeeds, as sacrilegious crimes aimed at abolishing or weakening the authority of the lawgiver and thereby undermining the state itself. . ” Because God was the political ruler of the Hebrew commonwealth, offenses were political crimes against the state, and the permissibility of punishing such misdeeds does not imply the permissibility of coercion in purely religious matters.

But as rational as all that you say about the subject may be, it directly contradicts the faith of your fathers in the narrower sense. And it contradicts the principles of the [Jewish] church not only as the commentators understand them, but also even as they are explicitly stated in the books of Moses. . Moses attaches coercion and punishments to the failure to observe the duties associated with divine service. . 13 For Cranz, if “Moses attaches . . ”15 Mörschel writes: I have found signs leading me to believe that you are just as removed from the religion into which you were born as from the one that I received from my fathers.

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