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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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Jewish Philosophers and the Enlightenment

Jewish Philosophers and the Enlightenment

(p.150) Nine Jewish Philosophers and the Enlightenment
The Discipline of Philosophy and the Invention of Modern Jewish Thought

Willi Goetschel

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines the works of some of the most notable Jewish philosophers during the Enlightenment Period. It traces themes that unite and divide the projects of Baruch Spinoza, Moses Mendelssohn, and Salomon Maimon in the context of the Enlightenment trajectories in modern philosophy beginning with Michel de Montaigne and Etienne de La Boëtie. It analyzes Spinoza's controversial place in the history of Jewish philosophy and the legacy of the Jewish Enlightenment philosophers. This chapter suggests the Jewish philosophers saw themselves as developing projects that would embrace Jewish tradition as an emancipatory and progressive force and contribute to the project of critically rethinking the problem of the universal claim of philosophy in the face of the particularity that defines the universal terms of the project of modernity.

Keywords:   Jewish philosophers, Enlightenment Period, Baruch Spinoza, Moses Mendelssohn, Salomon Maimon, Michel de Montaigne, Etienne de La Boëtie, Jewish tradition, modernity

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