Lessing's Basic Thought in The Education of the Human Race

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

 Lessing's Basic Thought in The Education of the Human Race

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Explicates Lessing's basic thought as set forth in his theological and religious‐philosophical manifesto, The Education of the Human Race. A meticulous and thoroughgoing analysis of the text unravels Lessing's dialectical conception of the relationship between revelation and reason. For Lessing, the human race finds fulfillment in a developmental process induced and propelled by divine revelation. Hence he introduces the novel concept of the development of human reason as a gradual appropriation of divine revelation. The chapter concludes that the ideal of Lessingian enlightenment is the attainment of an “autotheonomy” in which “autonomy is at the same time theonomy.”

Keywords: autotheonomy; development; dialectical conception; education of the human race; gradual appropriation; Lessingian enlightenment; revelation and reason

Chapter.  14823 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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