No Reli­gion With­out Idol­a­try: Mendelssohn’s Jew­ish Enlightenment

Gideon Freuden­thal
  • Review
By – February 15, 2013

Moses Mendelssohn (17291786) has long been con­sid­ered a founder and pio­neer of the Haskalah (enlight­en­ment). In this book, Dr. Gideon Freuden­thal, a pro­fes­sor at Tel Aviv Uni­ver­si­ty, explores many areas of Mendelssohn’s thought in a sys­tem­at­ic and order­ly way, con­nect­ing this thought with the phi­los­o­phy of his day. The times — as they always seem to — were chang­ing and Judaism had to meet the chal­lenges of those times. For that rea­son, Mendelssohn inter­pret­ed the Torah using Ger­man writ­ten in Hebrew script to fos­ter Torah study by Jews famil­iar pri­mar­i­ly with Yid­dish.

This work will give stu­dents of Jew­ish phi­los­o­phy and his­to­ry fur­ther insight into a fair­ly bold intel­lec­tu­al of the eigh­teenth cen­tu­ry. Sem­i­nary and uni­ver­si­ty libraries will find this book a use­ful addi­tion to their collection.

Mor­ton Merowitz holds degrees from Yeshi­va Uni­ver­si­ty, the Drop­sie Col­lege for Hebrew and Cog­nate Learn­ing, and the State Uni­ver­si­ty of New York at Buf­fa­lo. He was involved in Jew­ish edu­ca­tion for some ten years and cur­rent­ly reviews non-fic­tion lit­er­a­ture which may be of inter­est and rel­e­vance to stu­dents and teach­ers of Jew­ish studies.

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