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Bidding Information
Lot #    19812
Auction End Date    1/8/2008 1:03:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Saemmtliche Werke
Author    Moses Mendelssohn
City    Vienna
Publisher    Sollinger
Publication Date    1838
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   [3], 1016, [8] pp., octavo 215:145 mm., light age staining. A very good copy bound in contemporary boards, rubbed.
   Collected works of Moses Mendelssohn (Moses of Dessau; 17291786) philosopher of the German Enlightenment in the pre-Kantian period, early Maskil, and a renowned Jewish figure in the 18th century. Born in Dessau, son of a Torah scribe, Mendelssohn received a traditional Jewish education under the influence of David Fraenkel, who was then rabbi of Dessau. When the latter was appointed rabbi of Berlin in 1743, Mendelssohn followed him there in order to pursue his religious studies and to acquire a general education. He earned his livelihood with difficulty while simultaneously studying Talmud diligently and acquiring a broad education in literature and philosophy. In addition to his fluent knowledge of German and Hebrew, he acquired knowledge of Latin, Greek, English, French, and Italian. His teachers were young, broadly educated Jews, such as the Galician immigrant Israel M. Zamosc, who taught him medieval Jewish philosophy, the medical student Abraham Kisch, who taught him Latin, and the well-born Berlin Jew, A.S. Gumpertz, who taught him French and English and in general served as a model of a pious Jew immersed in the larger intellectual world. During this period he met the writer and dramatist G.E. Lessing (1754) and a deep and lifelong friendship developed between them. In 1750 he became a teacher in the house of Isaac Bernhard, owner of a silk factory; in 1754, he was entrusted with the bookkeeping of the factory and eventually he became a partner in the enterprise. Throughout his life he worked as a merchant, while carrying out his literary activities and widespread correspondence in his free time. Only in 1763 was he granted the "right of residence" in Berlin by the king. In 1762, he married Fromet Guggenheim of Hamburg, and they had six children. In 1754 Mendelssohn began to publish at first with the assistance of Lessing philosophical writings and later also literary reviews. He also started a few literary projects (for example, the short-lived periodical Kohelet Musar) in order to enrich and change Jewish culture and took part in the early Haskalah. In 1763, he was awarded the first prize of the Prussian Royal Academy of Sciences for his work Abhandlung über die Evidenz in metaphysischen Wissenschaften ("Treatise on Evidence in Metaphysical Knowledge"). However, when the academy elected him as a member in 1771, King Frederick II refused to ratify its decision. In 1769, he became embroiled in a dispute on the Jewish religion, and from then on, he confined most of his literary activity to the sphere of Judaism. His most notable and enduring works in this area included the translation into German and commentary on the Pentateuch, Sefer Netivot ha-Shalom ("Book of the Paths of Peace," 178083) and his Jerusalem: oder, Ueber religiöse Macht und Judenthum ("Jerusalem, or On Religious Power and Judaism," 1783), the first polemical defense of Judaism in the German language and one of the pioneering works of modern Jewish philosophy. An active intermediary on behalf of his own people in difficult times and a participant in their struggle for equal rights, he was at the same time a forceful defender of the Enlightenment against the opposition to it which gained strength toward the end of his life. In the midst of a literary battle against one of the leading figures of the counter-Enlightenment, he died in 1786.
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Other:    Austria
Language:    German
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica