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Lessing's Philosophy of Religion and the German Enlightenment$
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Toshimasa Yasukata

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195144949

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195144945.001.0001

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Lessing and Christianity

Lessing and Christianity

(p.14) 1 Lessing and Christianity
Lessing's Philosophy of Religion and the German Enlightenment

Toshimasa Yasukata

Oxford University Press

Surveys Lessing's relationship with Christianity and theology in preparation for a detailed analysis of particulars in the ensuing chapters. The survey depicts in general terms Lessing's long and deep‐rooted engagement with Christianity. A glance at Lessing's formative period as well as his later involvement in the “fragments controversy” (Fragmentenstreit) provides instructive hints as to the salient features of his theological thought. In an attempt to identify Lessing's real intention and his theological position in this fierce theological dispute, the question is raised as to why Lessing ventured, anonymously, to publish Reimarus's posthumous manuscripts. Investigation suggests that Lessing's act of publishing the Fragments from an Unnamed Author can be construed as an act intended to serve the pursuit of truth.

Keywords:   formative period, fragments controversy, Lessing's theological position, pursuit of truth, Reimarus, relationship with Christianity, salient features

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