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Hermann CohenAn Intellectual Biography$
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Frederick C. Beiser

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198828167

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198828167.001.0001

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Jewish Writings, 1880–1889

Jewish Writings, 1880–1889

(p.114) 7 Jewish Writings, 1880–1889
Hermann Cohen

Frederick C. Beiser

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Cohen’s Jewish writings in the 1880s, a crucial decade for him because it marks the beginning of his struggle with antisemitism. Cohen defends a communitarian doctrine against the liberalism of Kant, Mendelssohn, and Lazarus; his doctrine stresses the value of social unity above that of individual liberty. Cohen envisages a fusion of Judaism and Christianity to ensure this unity. He stresses the great value of religion and race to maintain and ensure unity, a doctrine which he will later abandon. A final section deals with Cohen’s stance in the Fenner trial, when Cohen was asked to serve as an advisor. This was one of the first trials to try someone for defamation of a public religion.

Keywords:   antisemitism, liberalism, communitarianism, racism, romanticism

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