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The Radical Enlightenment of Solomon MaimonJudaism, Heresy, and Philosophy$
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Abraham P. Socher

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780804751360

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804751360.001.0001

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Introduction Solomon Maimon

Introduction Solomon Maimon

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction Solomon Maimon
Source:
The Radical Enlightenment of Solomon Maimon
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804751360.003.0001

In a letter to Immanuel Kant, Marcus Herz condescendingly described Solomon Maimon as having only recently been “one of the rawest of Polish Jews.” This condescension, bordering on contempt, is both endorsed and dismissed by Maimon in his autobiography. This book examines the extent to which Solomon Maimon must be understood in the context of the Jewish intellectual traditions and from the perspective of his late eighteenth-century contemporaries. It provides a historical overview of Maimon's life and work, from Jewish Lithuania to Enlightenment Berlin. It considers Maimon's philosophy in the philosophical and theological perfectionism first articulated in Hesheq Shelomo, his unpublished Hebrew manuscript, and discusses the significance of this perfectionism in understanding the thought of the early Haskala and its dialogue with Hasidism and the Mitnaged party of rabbinic traditionalism. It also looks at his revision of Kantian idealism and analyzes the untranslated allegory with which he ends his autobiography.

Keywords:   Kantian idealism, rabbinic traditionalism, Solomon Maimon, Polish Jews, philosophy, perfectionism, Hesheq Shelomo, Haskala, Hasidism, autobiography

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