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

Hardcover | December 12, 2016

byElias Sacks

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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 society.

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From the Publisher

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 accoun...

Elias Sacks is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:December 12, 2016Publisher:Indiana University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0253023742

ISBN - 13:9780253023742

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Translations and Abbreviations
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1. The "Living Script": Jerusalem's Perplexing Arguments
2. Conceptual Disfiguring: Jewish Practice and Philosophical History
3. The Felicity of the Nation: Jewish Practice and Social History
4. "The Strict Obedience We Owe": Jewish Practice and the Study of History
5. Rethinking Mendelssohn: Mendelssohn's Historical Judaism
Conclusion: Beyond Mendelssohn: History, Modernity, and Religious Practice
Bibliography

Editorial Reviews

"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