Moses Mendelssohn's Living Script

Moses Mendelssohn's Living Script : Philosophy, Practice, History, Judaism

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Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786) is often described as the founder of modern Jewish thought and as a leading philosopher of the late Enlightenment. One of Mendelssohn's main concerns was how to conceive of the relationship between Judaism, philosophy, and the civic life of a modern state. Elias Sacks explores Mendelssohn's landmark account of Jewish practice--Judaism's "living script," to use his famous phrase--to present a broader reading of Mendelssohn's writings and extend inquiry into conversations about modernity and religion. By studying Mendelssohn's thought in these dimensions, Sacks suggests that he shows a deep concern with history. Sacks affords a view of a foundational moment in Jewish modernity and forwards new ways of thinking about ritual practice, the development of traditions, and the role of religion in more

Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 22.35mm | 662g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253023742
  • 9780253023742
  • 944,867

Review quote

"Scholars will take issue with this or that in Sacks's arguments, but they will not be able to ignore his work. It forces a rethinking of Mendelssohn's thought at a time when attention is again being focused on this Jewish thinker. Sacks's middle ground onMendelssohn's traditionalism or radicalism seems to me a persuasive one and will, I believe, win broad, if not complete acceptance." -Michael A. Meyer, author of Judaism within Modernity "Elias Sacks's suggestion that Mendelssohn is philosophically motivated by the threat of historical consciousness to traditional Judaism is novel. A fresh, important, and exciting argument for the continued relevance of this founder of modern Jewish thought." -Paul E. Nahme, Brown Universityshow more

About Elias Sacks

Elias Sacks is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado more

Table of contents

Translations and AbbreviationsAcknowledgementsIntroduction1. The "Living Script": Jerusalem's Perplexing Arguments2. Conceptual Disfiguring: Jewish Practice and Philosophical History3. The Felicity of the Nation: Jewish Practice and Social History4. "The Strict Obedience We Owe": Jewish Practice and the Study of History5. Rethinking Mendelssohn: Mendelssohn's Historical JudaismConclusion: Beyond Mendelssohn: History, Modernity, and Religious PracticeBibliographyshow more

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