Ueber die Lehre des Spinoza in Briefen an den Herrn Moses Mendelssohn

Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi (1743-1819) turned from being an early admirer of the great German-Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1796) into his bitter adversary. The most basic touchstone of their dispute was that Mendelssohn firmly believed that Reason provides the key to human morality, while Jacobi in an attempt to dethrone Reason, called into question its ability to provide ultimate answers and instead argued on behalf of pure feeling. When Jacobi claimed that Mendelssohn's colleague Gottthold Lessing (1729-1781) confided to him (Jacobi) in his final days that he was a Spinozist, which is to say a pantheist, Mendelssohn took this as a personal attack. The present volume contains Jacobi's correspondence with Mendelssohn on this matter. See A. Altmann, Moses Mendelssohn: A Biographical Study (1973), p.638. [Source: Kestenbaum auction 2013-01 Lot 165].

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