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Moses MendelssohnA Biographical Study$
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Alexander Altmann

Print publication date: 1984

Print ISBN-13: 9780197100158

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780197100158.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Years of Growth

Years of Growth

(p.3) Chapter One Years of Growth
Moses Mendelssohn

Alexander Altmann

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores Moses Mendelssohn's formative years. It first takes a look at his childhood in Dessau, Germany, before tracking his early journeys to the capital city of Berlin. From there, the chapter explores Mendelssohn's first brushes with philosophy, including non-Jewish philosophy and theology. His philosophical undertakings matured further after his first meeting and subsequent friendship with Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. Both men had many things in common—and here, Lessing was able to bring out the best of Mendelssohn's talents. With Lessing, Mendelssohn was able to develop his metaphysics further before both men parted ways. From there on, Mendelssohn cultivated his philosophic leanings and steadily transformed into a bel esprit as he went on to join the “Learned Coffeehouse”—a society of scholars and artists. Finally, the chapter traces the publication of Mendelssohn's Kohelet Mussar (“Preacher of Morals”), a Hebrew weekly meant for Jewish youth.

Keywords:   Moses Mendelssohn, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, non-Jewish philosophy, Jewish philosophy, Learned Coffeehouse, Kohelet Mussar, Christian theology, metaphysics, Jewish youth

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