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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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The Religious Thought of the Young Lessing

The Religious Thought of the Young Lessing

(p.29) 2 The Religious Thought of the Young Lessing
Lessing's Philosophy of Religion and the German Enlightenment

Toshimasa Yasukata

Oxford University Press

Analyzes the young Lessing's religious thought with special attention to his early writings, particularly Religion, Some Thoughts about the Moravians, The Jews, and The Christianity of Reason. These poetic, theological, dramatic, and philosophical writings illustrate his religious skepticism, his theological critique, his ideal of universal humanity, and certain speculative reflections. The analysis shows that in his early years Lessing still vacillated among four ways of thinking: Lutheran orthodoxy, pietism, deism, and Leibniz‐Wolffian metaphysics. But these early writings also contain many of the germs of the religious‐philosophical thought of his mature years. The inquiry demonstrates that the young Lessing displayed brilliantly in these early writings something of his later genius both as a theological critic and as a philosopher of religion.

Keywords:   deism, early writings, Leibniz‐Wolffian metaphysics, Lutheran orthodoxy, pietism, religious thought, young Lessing

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