Download e-book for iPad: The Radical Enlightenment of Solomon Maimon: Judaism, by Abraham P. Socher

By Abraham P. Socher

ISBN-10: 0804751366

ISBN-13: 9780804751360

With outstanding chutzpa and deep philosophical seriousness, Solomon ben Joshua of Lithuania renamed himself after his medieval highbrow hero, Moses Maimonides. Maimon was once might be the main magnificent and positively the main arguable determine of the late-eighteenth century Jewish Enlightenment. He scandalized rabbinic gurus, embarrassed Moses Mendelssohn, provoked Kant, charmed Goethe, and encouraged Fichte, between others. this can be the 1st learn of Maimon to combine his idiosyncratic philosophical idealism along with his well known autobiography, and together with his early unpublished exegetical, mystical, and Maimonidean paintings in Hebrew. In doing so, it illuminates the highbrow and non secular probabilities open to a ecu Jew on the flip of the eighteenth century.

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Only a few months before his death, in a letter to his fellow Kantian and sometime patron, Lazarus Bendavid, MailTIOn wrote: Do SaInething that I might come back to Berlin; what this depends on you can figure out by yourself. Maybe we can undertake sOITlething together. Speak about it with Mr. ll This letter and another he wrote to Bendavid in the same year show Maimon in full intellectual form, discussing the nature of philosophy, defending Fichte against the attacks of Kant, and tweaking Bendavid for a mistake in a published mathematical proof.

Maimon did 110t give his wife a divorce imn1ediately and appears to have seriously considered the possibility ofretl1rning with her ifhe could raise "two or three hundred Thalers" in order to live independently of the Jewish authorities in Poland. Presumably, this was another attempt to get himself supported as a representative of "enlightened understanding" and "refined manners" within Polish Lithuania. His patrons seem to have largely resisted the opportunity, and, eventually, Maimon gave his wife a divorce, after another satisfying dispute with the local Beit Din (rabbinical court).

Garve was apparently impressed enough to introduce Maimon to his intellectual circle, as well as to a wealthy Jewish patron, Lipmann Meier. I(iih was an odd and fascinating man who had been raised in a wellto-do Breslau home. 84 Unlike Maimon, he had been taught literary German at a relatively early age. As a young man, he too had gone to Berlin and had become a minor poet in the German Neo-Classicist style ofthe time. In 1768, he left Berlin for a tour ofthe great cities ofEurope. Upon his returl1, in 1771, he suffered a nervous breakdown when he was 41 4-2 Chapter One identified as a Jew subject to special taxes by a Saxon customs official.

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The Radical Enlightenment of Solomon Maimon: Judaism, Heresy, and Philosophy by Abraham P. Socher


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