Chapter

Lessing and Christianity

Toshimasa Yasukata

in Lessing's Philosophy of Religion and the German Enlightenment

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780195144949
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834891 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195144945.003.0002

Series: AAR Reflection and Theory in the Study of Religion Series

 Lessing and Christianity

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Surveys Lessing's relationship with Christianity and theology in preparation for a detailed analysis of particulars in the ensuing chapters. The survey depicts in general terms Lessing's long and deep‐rooted engagement with Christianity. A glance at Lessing's formative period as well as his later involvement in the “fragments controversy” (Fragmentenstreit) provides instructive hints as to the salient features of his theological thought. In an attempt to identify Lessing's real intention and his theological position in this fierce theological dispute, the question is raised as to why Lessing ventured, anonymously, to publish Reimarus's posthumous manuscripts. Investigation suggests that Lessing's act of publishing the Fragments from an Unnamed Author can be construed as an act intended to serve the pursuit of truth.

Keywords: formative period; fragments controversy; Lessing's theological position; pursuit of truth; Reimarus; relationship with Christianity; salient features

Chapter.  8087 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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