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The Jewish Enlightenment:
Moses Mendelssohn’s Jerusalem

Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786) aimed to show that Judaism and the Enlightenment could be reconciled. How successful was his synthesis? This course will offer close reading and discussion of his 1783 book, Jerusalem, or On Religious Power and Judaism. In it, Mendelssohn engages with a number of political theorists, including Spinoza, Hobbes, and Locke, to explore the idea of freedom of conscience. He asks a question still relevant today: what it would mean for Judaism to fit into a modern, secular state?