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The Discipline of Philosophy and the Invention of Modern Jewish Thought$
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Willi Goetschel

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823244966

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823244966.001.0001

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Mendelssohn and the State

Mendelssohn and the State

Chapter:
(p.189) Eleven Mendelssohn and the State
Source:
The Discipline of Philosophy and the Invention of Modern Jewish Thought
Author(s):

Willi Goetschel

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823244966.003.0011

This chapter examines the views of Moses Mendelssohn on the state. It analyzes his book Jerusalem or On Religious Power and Judaism where he introduced an alternative notion of universalism as a dialogue with alterity. It explains that Mendelssohn believed that the state is neither the secularized derivative of the church nor its simple alternative and that neither state nor church can lay claim to the universal validity of the principles of their opus operandi. This chapter also considers how Mendelssohn dealt with the “German” and the “Jewish” labels and contends that his differentiated approach to power and authority challenged the deadlocked oppositions that still shape current theories of the state.

Keywords:   Moses Mendelssohn, state, universalism, opus operandi, church, power, authority

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