Moses Mendelssohn (1725–1786) is taken into account the most important consultant of Jewish Enlightenment. In No faith with out Idolatry, Gideon Freudenthal deals a unique interpretation of Mendelssohn’s basic philosophy and discusses for the 1st time Mendelssohn’s semiotic interpretation of idolatry in his Jerusalem and in his Hebrew biblical remark. Mendelssohn emerges from this research as an unique thinker, no longer a shallow popularizer of rationalist metaphysics, as he's occasionally portrayed. Of targeted and lasting worth is his semiotic conception of idolatry.
From a semiotic viewpoint, either idolatry and enlightenment are beneficial components of faith. Idolatry ascribes to non secular symbols an intrinsic price: enlightenment keeps that symbols are traditional and purely represent non secular content material yet don't percentage its homes and price. with out enlightenment, faith degenerates to fetishism; with out idolatry it becomes philosophy and frustrates non secular event. Freudenthal demonstrates that during Mendelssohn’s view, Judaism is the optimum spiritual synthesis. It includes temporary ceremonies of a “living script.” Its ceremonies are symbols, yet they aren't everlasting items which may be commemorated. Jewish ceremonies therefore supply a non secular event yet frustrate fetishism. through the ebook, Freudenthal fruitfully contrasts Mendelssohn's perspectives on faith and philosophy with these of his modern critic and opponent, Salomon Maimon. No faith with out Idolatry breaks new flooring in Mendelssohn reports. it's going to curiosity scholars and students in philosophy of faith, Judaism, and semiotics.
"In this lucid and provocative learn, Gideon Freudenthal deals an unique and compelling analyzing of Mendelssohn in addition to a protection of the potential for non secular rationalism extra quite often. This publication isn't just a good contribution to a turning out to be physique of scholarship on Mendelssohn and early smooth philosophy, however it additionally considerably sharpens and advances modern conversations in regards to the family members among faith and reason." —Leora Batnitzky, Princeton University
"In this masterful research, Gideon Freudenthal demonstrates how Mendelssohn’s philosophy, together with his philosophy of faith, is grounded in semiotics. the result's a landmark paintings that not just effectively demanding situations regular interpretations of Mendelssohn’s 'enlightened Judaism' and its alleged inconsistency but in addition successfully invitations reconsideration of the very risk of 'religion with out idolatry.'" —Daniel O. Dahlstrom, Boston University
"In concentrating on Mendelssohn's 'semiotics of idolatry,' Gideon Freudenthal writes as a thinker totally at domestic in a number of traditions: modern philosophy, eighteenth-century philosophy, Jewish biblical exegesis, and comparative faith. the result's a scientific and penetrating examine, in line with the Hebrew in addition to the German texts, that engages Mendelssohn on possibly the main severe factor of his realizing of faith with remarkable philosophical rigor and imagination." —David Sorkin, urban collage of recent York Graduate Center