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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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Strains and Stresses

Strains and Stresses

Chapter:
(p.553) Chapter Seven Strains and Stresses
Source:
Moses Mendelssohn
Author(s):

Alexander Altmann

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9780197100158.003.0007

This chapter returns the focus to Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. It first discusses the final phase of his friendship with Moses Mendelssohn, as shown through their correspondence regarding his final work. Lessing's youthful comedy The Jews had helped to initiate his friendship with Mendelssohn. His last play, Nathan the Wise, became the crown and glory of their relationship. Lessing died in 1781, leaving behind a distraught Mendelssohn. However, Mendelssohn could bear the loss somewhat because he had so integrated the image of Lessing, his “friend and judge,” into his own being that death could not rob him of it. Aside from Lessing, the chapter also turns to another individual—Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi—with whom Mendelssohn would have a rather tense relationship, particularly on the matter of Lessing's own work.

Keywords:   Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, Nathan the Wise, Elise Reimarus, Bible, Johann August Eberhard, Moses Mendelssohn

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