<span class="smallCaps">one</span> Performing Reason: Mendelssohn on Judaism and Enlightenment

Bruce Rosenstock

in Philosophy and the Jewish Question

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780823231294
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235520 | DOI:
one Performing Reason: Mendelssohn on Judaism and             Enlightenment

Show Summary Details


This chapter considers the background to Moses Mendelssohn's Jerusalem, namely, the debates surrounding Christian Wilhelm Dohm's work advocating Jewish emancipation. It examines the argument of Jerusalem as a provocation against the regnant understanding of the nature of enlightened sociality among Mendelssohn's contemporaries in Germany. According to Mendelssohn, the Jewish people can serve as a model of enlightened sociality because they are the “living script” of divine revelation, embodying a noncoercive, dogma-free social-religious bond. At the heart of Judaism is an open-ended conversation across the generations. In explicating Mendelssohn's conception of Judaism as a conversation-based sociality, the chapter invokes its modern parallel in Ludwig Wittgenstein's analysis of how meaning is constructed through language practices that are open to constant revision and reinterpretation.

Keywords: Moses Mendelssohn; Jerusalem; Christian Wilhelm Dohm; emancipation; Judaism; sociality; Ludwig Wittgenstein

Chapter.  21709 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Fordham University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.