Youngest daughter of Moses Mendelssohn; born at Berlin 1768; died there Nov. 9, 1831. She was a woman of broad interests, clear judgment, and exquisite manners; she remained unmarried, being, like her father, slightly deformed. She first devoted herself to teaching in her sister Recha's school in Altona, but in 1799 entered a Jewish family in Vienna as governess. After a few years, however, probably on the invitation of her brother Abraham, she went to Paris, where she was at the head of a boarding-school. Her modest apartments were the rendezvous of scholars and artists: Spontini, Madame de Staël, and Benjamin Constant were among her frequent visitors, while the two Humboldts, Von of Vienna, and others visited her whenever they were in Paris. In the year 1812 she became governess to the daughter of Count Sebastiani and remained in the count's house until the marriage of her pupil to the Duke of Praslin, who became the murderer of his wife. Henriette, "the deepest and most thoughtful," as Rachel Levin called her, was indignant at her sister Dorothea's change of faith. Yet the course of action which she could not forgive in her sister, she later chose for herself, becoming not only a Catholic, but a bigot.
Moses Mendelssohn (Moses ben Menahem-Mendel; abbreviated RaMBeMaN); German Philosopher, translator of the Bible, and commentator; the "third Moses," with whom begins a new era in Judaism. He was called also, after his birthplace, Moses Dessau, with which name he signed his Hebrew and Judæo-German letters; born at Dessau Sept. 6, 1729; died at Berlin Jan. 4, 1786. Mendelssohn's father was a poor Torah scribe, whose exacting occupation had a marked influence on the delicate sense of form and the fine handwriting of his son. In spite of poverty, the father carefully educated the child, whose first Hebrew teacher he was, although he later engaged Rabbi Hirsch, the son of a Dessau dayyan, to instruct him in the Talmud. The boy then continued his studies under the rabbi of Dessau, David , who introduced him to Maimonides' "Moreh Nebukim." His unremitting application to his studies brought on an illness which left him with curvature of the spine. In Oct., 1743, Mendelssohn went to Berlin, where Fränkel had been called as rabbi a few months earlier; but the desire for knowledge, which was being more and more awakened, could not be satisfied with the Talmud. A considerable influence was exerted upon the young Mendelssohn by a learned Pole, Israel Zamosz, who had been persecuted at home because of his liberal views. Zamosz instructed him in mathematics, and at the same time a young Jewish physician from Prague, Abraham , was his teacher in Latin. Mendelssohn had scarcely learned the principal rules of grammar when with his scanty earnings he bought a few of the Latin classics and an old Latin translation of Locke's "Essay Concerning the Human Understanding." This book, which had a profound influence on his future development, he tried with indescribable toil to decipher with the aid of a Latin dictionary. He found yet another teacher in Aaron Solomon , a well-to-do Jewish medical student, who gave him lessons in French and English. Through him he acquired a taste for science and became interested in the Leibnitz-Wolffian philosophy. Gumperz, moreover, introduced him to several able young gymnasium teachers and to Maupertuis, the president, of the Berlin Academy. After seven years of privation a better time came for Mendelssohn.
Mendelssohn's "On Evidence in Metaphysical Sciences" (the so-calledPrize Essay) garnered first prize in the contest staged by theRoyal Prussian Academy of Sciences on the question of whethermetaphysical truths are able to have the same sort of evidence asmathematical truths. (An essay by Immanuel Kant came in second place.)In the essay, published in 1763, Mendelssohn argues that metaphysicspursues its subject matter by applying the same method that mathematicsdoes: conceptual analysis. As he puts it, "The analysis of concepts isfor the understanding nothing more than what the magnifying glass isfor sight" (Philosophical Writings, p. 258). But Mendelssohnthen proceeds to differentiate the kinds of evidence in mathematics andin metaphysics in the following way. Like calculus, but unlikegeometry, metaphysics works with concepts that are no less certain thanthose of geometry, but lack the transparency and imaginative resourcesavailable to the geometer's concepts. The difference betweenmathematics and metaphysics lies in the difference in the content ofthe concepts, namely, the difference between quantity and quality. Atthe same time, there is a basic harmony between the two disciplinessince quantity and quality are both intrinsic characteristics of finitethings and neither quantity nor quality exists without the other(though qualities and not quantities are allegedly conceivable withoutsome other thing).
Yet at other times the mature Mendelssohn begins to suspect theentire issue of idealism is misbegotten, a product of linguisticconfusion. "I fear that, in the end, the famous debate amongmaterialists, idealists, and dualists amounts to a merely verbaldispute that is more a matter for the linguist than for the speculativephilosopher" (Gesammelte Schriften, 3/2, p. 61). Mention hasalready been made of Mendelssohn's view in the Prize Essaythat metaphysics' necessary reliance upon artificial signs is onereason why its difficulties are more intractable than those ofmathematics. In 1785, in Morning Hours, he goes further: "Youknow how much I am inclined to explain all disputes among philosophicalschools as merely verbal disputes or at least to derive them originallyfrom verbal disputes" (Gesammelte Schriften, 3/2, p. 104). Inkeeping with these advancing suspicions about the origin and theefficacy of the issue of idealism, Mendelssohn eventually comes toassign reason a mediating role in disputes between common sense andspeculation. Common sense is usually but not invariably right, hecontends, and hence reason's task is to present a defense ofspeculation when it departs from common sense.
Moses Mendelssohn (b. 1729, d. 1786) was a creative and eclecticthinker whose writings on metaphysics and aesthetics, political theoryand theology, together with his Jewish heritage, placed him at thefocal point of the German Enlightenment for over three decades. WhileMendelssohn found himself at home with a metaphysics derived fromwritings of Leibniz, Wolff, and Baumgarten, he was also one of hisage's most accomplished literary critics. His highly regarded pieces onworks of Homer and Aesop, Pope and Burke, Maupertuis and Rousseau— to cite only a fraction of his numerous critical essays —appeared in a series of journals that he co-edited with G. F. Lessingand Friedrich Nicolai. Dubbed "the Jewish Luther," Mendelssohn alsocontributed significantly to the life of the Jewish community andletters in Germany, campaigning for Jews' civil rights and translatingthe Pentateuch and the Psalms into German. Not surprisingly, as a Jewwith an unwavering belief in the harmonizing effects of rationalanalysis and discourse, Mendelssohn rankled both institutional andself-appointed advocates of Christianity as well as Judaism. Thus,Johann Lavater infamously challenged him to refute the arguments of thePietist theologian, Charles Bonnet, or convert to Christianity (achallenge that Mendelssohn effectively disabled with a plea fortolerance and a series of reasons for refraining from such religiouscontroversy). Similarly, some Jewish thinkers took exception toMendelssohn's Jerusalem, or on Religious Power and Judaism andits argument for conceiving Judaism as a religion founded upon reasonalone. In addition to the "Lavater affair" and his work as editor andcritic, Mendelssohn was probably best known to his contemporaries forhis penetrating accounts of the experience of the sublime, for lucidarguments for the soul's immortality and God's existence, for his closeassociation with G. F. Lessing and, in the protracted "pantheismdispute" (Pantheismusstreit) with Jacobi during the 1780s, forhis insistence that Lessing was not the Spinozist that Jacobi portrayedhim to be. To posterity he is perhaps best known as the model forNathan der Weise, the protagonist in Lessing's famous play ofthe same name, championing religious tolerance.
Two of his sons established a famous banking house, and the world-renowned composer Felix Mendelssohn was the philosopher's grandson.In 1764 Mendelssohn competed against Immanuel Kant and won the Berlin Academy prize with an essay, "Evidence of Metaphysical Science." His main philosophic reputation stemmed from his influential treatises on esthetics and on the philosophy of religion.
Mendelssohn's “On Evidence in Metaphysical Sciences” (the so-calledPrize Essay) garnered first prize in the contest staged by theRoyal Prussian Academy of Sciences on the question of whethermetaphysical truths are able to have the same sort of evidence asmathematical truths. (An essay by Immanuel Kant came in second place.)In the essay, published in 1763, Mendelssohn argues that metaphysicspursues its subject matter by applying the same method that mathematicsdoes: conceptual analysis. As he puts it, “The analysis of concepts isfor the understanding nothing more than what the magnifying glass isfor sight” (Philosophical Writings, p. 258). But Mendelssohnthen proceeds to differentiate the kinds of evidence in mathematics andin metaphysics in the following way. Like calculus, but unlikegeometry, metaphysics works with concepts that are no less certain thanthose of geometry, but lack the transparency and imaginative resourcesavailable to the geometer's concepts. The difference betweenmathematics and metaphysics lies in the difference in the content ofthe concepts, namely, the difference between quantity and quality. Atthe same time, there is a basic harmony between the two disciplinessince quantity and quality are both intrinsic characteristics of finitethings and neither quantity nor quality exists without the other(though qualities and not quantities are allegedly conceivable withoutsome other thing).
Moses Mendelssohn lived between the years 1729 and1786. He was known as the ' father of Haskalah ' becauseof his contributions to the Haskalah movement. Mendelssohnwas a Jewish philosopher, and got much of his educationfrom his father, the local rabbi, David Frankel. Mendelssohnstudied the philosophy of Maimonides. He had written the 'Principally Leibnia ',as an attack on the national neglect ofnative philosophers.
Mendelssohn, right after reading the Neues Organon, confessed to his friend Thomas Abbt: “If I had read Mr. Lambert’s New Organon a few years before, my prize essay would surely have remained on my desk, or perhaps would otherwise have felt the fury of the volcano.
Also published by Mendelssohn was the' Philosophical Conversations ' in 1755. Between the years1756 and 1759, Mendelssohn became known as the 'leading spirit of the Bibiothek ' and ran some risk by freelycriticizing the of the king of Prussia. In 1762 he wonthe prize offered by the Berlin academy for an essay on theapplication of mathematical proofs to metaphysics. OnOctober 1763, the King granted Mendelssohn the privilegeof Protected Jew (Schutz - Jude), which assured his right toundisturbed residence in Berlin. Mendelssohn devoted hislife to the culture and emancipation of the Jews. He began byhis German translation of the pentateuch and other parts ofthe bibleFrom this, the Jews learned the German language, German culture, and got a desire for German nationality. Mendelssohn put forward his plea for tolerance in Jerusalem' Oder Uben Religios Macht und Judenthum '. Mendelssohnwas a great philosopher, and his contributions to the Jewswere and still are great. Samson Raphael Hirsch livedbetween the years 1808 and 1888. He was the leader ofOrthodoxy in Germany in the nine-teenth century. Hirschwas known as the ' Jewish religious thinker ', and the 'founder of Trenniley-Othodixie ' (separatist Orthodoxy). Hewas the leading spirit in the establishment and of modernizedOrthodox Jewish congregation and school system.