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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's Basic Thought in The Education of the Human Race

Lessing's Basic Thought in The Education of the Human Race

(p.89) 6 Lessing's Basic Thought in The Education of the Human Race
Lessing's Philosophy of Religion and the German Enlightenment

Toshimasa Yasukata

Oxford University Press

Explicates Lessing's basic thought as set forth in his theological and religious‐philosophical manifesto, The Education of the Human Race. A meticulous and thoroughgoing analysis of the text unravels Lessing's dialectical conception of the relationship between revelation and reason. For Lessing, the human race finds fulfillment in a developmental process induced and propelled by divine revelation. Hence he introduces the novel concept of the development of human reason as a gradual appropriation of divine revelation. The chapter concludes that the ideal of Lessingian enlightenment is the attainment of an “autotheonomy” in which “autonomy is at the same time theonomy.”

Keywords:   autotheonomy, development, dialectical conception, education of the human race, gradual appropriation, Lessingian enlightenment, revelation and reason

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