Encyclopaedia Judaica, Volume 14: Mel - Nas by Fred Skolnik

By Fred Skolnik

Social & cultural heritage; Jewish reports

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Lessing, who had died in 1781. Lessing, whose early support had been so crucial to Mendelssohn, had always been an interlocutor whom he cherished, even when they disagreed over matters of great importance, such as the views he had expressed in his Die Erziehung des Menschengeschlechts (The Education of the Human Race) on the nature of revelation and human progress. Lessing, for his part, had composed shortly before his death his famous play in support of religious toleration, Nathan the Wise, whose eponymous hero was unmistakably patterned after Mendelssohn himself.

Philosophy Mendelssohn made virtually no claim to be an original thinker in the realm of philosophy. He considered himself to be little more than an exponent of the teachings of the Leibniz/Wolffian school, perhaps contributing a more felicitous and contemporary expression to the demonstrations of God’s existence and providence and human immortality that had been propounded by Leibniz and Wolff and their other disciples. Here and there, however, he modestly acknowledged that he was providing a new version of an old argument or even saying something that had not been said before.

His brother is the cantor Jacob Ben-Zion *Mendelson. MENDELSSOHN FAMILY DOROTHEA 1765 –1839 JOHANN VEIT 1790–1854 SIMON VEIT PHILIPP VEIT 1793–1877 FRIEDRICH SCHLEGEL RECHA 1766 –1831 MENDEL MEYER [Akiva Zimmerman] HENRIETTA 1768 –1831 MENDELSSOHN, family of scholars, bankers and artists. The founder of the family was MOSES *MENDELSSOHN (1729–1786). His wife, FROMET (1737–1812), was a great-granddaughter of the Viennese Court Jew, Samuel *Oppenheimer. (See Chart: Mendelssohn Family). Moses’ eldest son, JOSEPH (1770–1848), had a banking business, at times in partnership with his brother ABRAHAM (1776–1835).

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