Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786) aimed to show that Judaism and the Enlightenment could be reconciled. How successful was his synthesis? This course will offer a 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?
Earn a Tikvah Certificate
For students who want to take at least 3 courses this summer, you can become eligible for special additional opportunities—including essay prizes/scholarships, special sessions w/ Jewish leaders, and a Tikvah online certificate.Learn More
Meet the Instructor
Seminars are taught by Tikvah faculty and experts in the subject matter. Please note that course faculty are subject to change depending on availability.
Bryan Garsten is Professor of Political Science and the Humanities, and Chair of the Humanities Program at Yale University. He is the author of Saving Persuasion: A Defense of Rhetoric and Judgment (Harvard University Press, 2006) as well as articles on political rhetoric and deliberation, the meaning of representative government, the relationship of politics and religion, and the place of emotions in political life. His writings have won various awards, including the First Book Prize of the Foundations of Political Theory section of the American Political Science Association.