Lessing's “Spinozism”

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 “Spinozism”

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Argues the question of Lessing's alleged “Spinozism.” The discussion shows that Lessing's hen kai pan [One and All] signifies not a Spinozistic pantheism but a panentheism of spiritualistic stamp. It is also pointed out that for Lessing's hen kai pan there are three different Greek formulas: hen kai pan, as Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi reports in his letter to Moses Mendelssohn; hen ego kai panta, as Lessing's own 1780 handwritten epigram suggests; and hen ego kai pan, as introduced in recent years by Alexander Altmann and Erwin Quapp. Religious‐philosophical as well as linguistic observation recommends taking the phrase hen ego kai panta [I am One and All] as Lessing's most authentic formula, thus suggesting that the world (panta and God (theos) are mediated through the first person “I” (ego). In view of this “panta” formula, our concluding proposal is to characterize Lessing's view of God and the world as “pantaentheism.”

Keywords: hen kai pan; Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi; Moses Mendelssohn; panentheism; pantaentheism; pantheism; spinozism

Chapter.  11935 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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