- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
Other titles in the Jewish Lives series:
Moses Mendelssohn: Sage of Modernity (Jewish Lives)by Shmuel Feiner
Synopses & Reviews
The and#8220;German Socrates,and#8221; Moses Mendelssohn (1729and#8211;1786) was the most influential Jewish thinker of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A Berlin celebrity and a major figure in the Enlightenment, revered by Immanuel Kant, Mendelssohn suffered the indignities common to Jews of his time while formulating the philosophical foundations of a modern Judaism suited for a new age. His most influential books included the groundbreaking Jerusalem and a translation of the Bible into German that paved the way for generations of Jews to master the language of the larger culture.
Feinerand#8217;s book is the first that offers a full, human portrait of this fascinating manand#8212;uncommonly modest, acutely aware of his task as an intellectual pioneer, shrewd, traditionally Jewish, yet thoroughly conversant with the world around himand#8212;providing a vivid sense of Mendelssohnand#8217;s daily life as well as of his philosophical endeavors. Feiner, a leading scholar of Jewish intellectual history, examines Mendelssohn as father and husband, as a friend (Mendelssohnand#8217;s long-standing friendship with the German dramatist Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was seen as a model for Jews and non-Jews worldwide), as a tireless advocate for his people, and as an equally indefatigable spokesman for the paramount importance of intellectual independence.
"Feiner, a professor of Modern Jewish History at Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv, presents an all-encompassing biography of Mendelssohn, a prominent 18th-century Jewish intellectual. From his early life as a child prodigy to an adulthood of serious study, notoriety, and wealth, Feiner paints a complete portrait. As a child, Mendelssohn had a remarkable capacity for learning, accompanying his rabbi and mentor to Berlin for advanced Torah studies. Although the Prussian economy was tightly controlled by Christians, Mendelssohn was allowed to stay for his scholarship and in virtue of the prominent family with whom he was boarding. Mendelssohn's intellectual interests soon expanded beyond Torah study, and he familiarized himself with the sciences and philosophy of his day. In his early twenties, he began publishing his own ideas, famously challenging other respected thinkers, which brought him respect, a reputation, and fortune. Feiner describes Mendelssohn's intellectual and social ascent in a tight, concise narrative, supported through preserved documents like Mendelssohn's correspondences between his friends and family. (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Shmuel Feiner is professor of Modern Jewish History atand#160;Barand#160;Ilanand#160;Universityand#160;and holds the Samuel Braun Chair for the History of the Jews inand#160;Prussia. His books includeand#160;Haskalah and History: The Emergence of a Modern Jewish Historical Consciousnessand#160;andand#160;The Jewish Enlightenmentand#160;(winner of the Koret Jewish Book Award).
What Our Readers Are Saying
Other books you might like