The Religious Thought of the Young Lessing

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:

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

 The Religious Thought of the Young Lessing

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Analyzes the young Lessing's religious thought with special attention to his early writings, particularly Religion, Some Thoughts about the Moravians, The Jews, and The Christianity of Reason. These poetic, theological, dramatic, and philosophical writings illustrate his religious skepticism, his theological critique, his ideal of universal humanity, and certain speculative reflections. The analysis shows that in his early years Lessing still vacillated among four ways of thinking: Lutheran orthodoxy, pietism, deism, and Leibniz‐Wolffian metaphysics. But these early writings also contain many of the germs of the religious‐philosophical thought of his mature years. The inquiry demonstrates that the young Lessing displayed brilliantly in these early writings something of his later genius both as a theological critic and as a philosopher of religion.

Keywords: deism; early writings; Leibniz‐Wolffian metaphysics; Lutheran orthodoxy; pietism; religious thought; young Lessing

Chapter.  6184 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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