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Moses Mendelssohn

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 22 March 2012

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the work and influence of the eighteenth-century philosopher Moses Mendelssohn. A prominent figure at the court of Frederick the Great, Mendelssohn was one of the most significant thinkers of his age. He came from a humble, but culturally rich background and his obvious intelligence was recognised from a young age and nurtured by the local rabbi where he lived in the town of Dessau in Prussia. Moses's learning earned him the sobriquet of the 'German Socrates' and he is considered to be one of the principal architects of the Haskala, the Jewish Enlightenment, and widely regarded as having helped bring Judaism into the mainstream of European culture.

Mendelssohn is perhaps best remembered today for his efforts to bring Jewish and German culture closer together and for his plea for religious toleration.

With:

Christopher Clark
Professor of Modern European History at the University of Cambridge

Abigail Green
Tutor and Fellow in History at the University of Oxford

Adam Sutcliffe
Senior Lecturer in European History at King's College, London

Producer: Natalia Fernandez.

  • FURTHER READING

    Alexander Altmann, ‘Moses Mendelssohn: A Biographical Study’ (Vallentine Mitchell, 1973)

    Shmuel Feiner, ‘Moses Mendelssohn: Sage of Modernity’ (Yale University Press, 2010)

    Shmuel Feiner, ‘The Jewish Enlightenment’ (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011)

    Michah Gottlieb, ‘Faith and Freedom: Moses Mendelssohn's Theological-Political Thought’ (Oxford University Press USA, 2011)

    Gotthold Lessing, ‘Nathan the Wise’ (Nick Hern Books, 2003)

    Moses Mendelssohn (trans. Allan Arkush), ‘Jerusalem’ (Brandeis UP, 1983)

    David Sorkin, ‘The Religious Enlightenment: Protestants, Jews and Catholics from London to Vienna’ (Princeton University Press, 2008)

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