Contents

Abbreviations xiii

Note on Texts and Translations xv

Introduction 3

Lessing's Significance for German Intellectual History 3

Lessing and Modern Protestant Theology 5

Tasks of Lessing Studies 7

The Question of Methodology for Lessing Studies 11

1 Lessing and Christianity 14 Lessing's Formative Period (Bildungsjahre) 14 Lessing and the Fragments Controversy (Fragmentenstreit) 18 Lessing's Theological Position 20 Lessing and the Pursuit of Truth 22 Salient Features of Lessing's Theological Thought 25

2 The Religious Thought of the Young Lessing 29 The Young Lessing and His Religious Skepticism 29 The Young Lessing and His Theological Critique 31 The Ideal of Universal Humanity as Expressed in the Comedy The Jews 34 Lessing's Speculative Reflections in The Christianity of Reason 36

3 The Controversy between Lessing and Goeze 41 Beginning and Development of the Controversy 42 Goeze's Attack 44 Lessing's Defense 47 Lessing's Anti-Goe%e 51

4 Lessing's "Ugly Broad Ditch" 56 The Proof of the Spirit and of Power 57 Truths of History and Truths of Reason 60 The "Inner Truth" of Religion 62

Genuine Christian Love 64

The Authenticity of Lessing's "Ugly Ditch" 67

Lessing's Problem and Peter's Problem 69

5 Nathan the Wise and Lessing's "Ideal of Humanity" 72 The Background and Main Theme of Nathan the Wise 73 The Parable of the Three Rings 75 The Truth Claim of a Historical Religion in the Interim 79 Nathan and the Education of Humanity 82 The Essence of Nathan's Reason 85

6 LESSING'S Basic Thought IN The Education of the Human Race 90 Basic Features of The Education of the Human Race 91 Basic Structure of The Education of the Human Race 93 Lessing's Historical Position 94 Revelation as the Education of the Human Race 95 Revelation and Reason: (1) The Old Testament Age 96 Revelation and Reason: (2) The New Testament Age 104 A "New Eternal Gospel" and the Completion of the Human Race 108 The Idea of Reincarnation 111 A Dialectical View of Revelation and Reason 113

7 LESSING'S "Spinozism" 118 The Beginning of the Pantheismusstreit 119 The Spinoza Conversations between Lessing and Jacobi 121 Jacobi and Spinozism 125 Mendelssohn and "Refined Pantheism" 128 Lessing's Hen kai Pan 131 Lessing's Panentheism 135 Lessing's View of God and the World 137

Conclusion 141

Notes 148

Bibliography 188

Index 202

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