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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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Literary Afterlife

Literary Afterlife

(p.143) Five Literary Afterlife
The Radical Enlightenment of Solomon Maimon
Stanford University Press

As a writer and philosopher, Solomon Maimon acknowledged that his work was not as graceful as Moses Mendelssohn's mellifluous German prose or as architectonically grandiose as Immanuel Kant's Critiques. Indeed, his work is not as revered as that of Mendelssohn and Kant. While Maimon's afterlife in European philosophy was what he cared most about, his literary afterlife is primarily the story of his autobiography, which became one of the key texts in the self-construction of Jewish identity and in the representation of Jews by non-Jewish writers. Maimon was viewed by Maskilim such as Moshe Leib Lillienblum and Mordechai Aaron Guenzberg as their great predecessor. Franz Rosenzweig was influenced by Maimon's autobiography in the sense that it introduced him, along with several previous generations of German-Jewish readers, to a serious account of Moses Maimonides' thought. Other prominent German-Jewish thinkers who read Maimon's autobiography are Leo Strauss, Walter Benjamin, and Gershom Scholem. This chapter examines Maimon's literary afterlife and its influence on novels, philosophical works, historical narratives, and the Jewish popular imagination.

Keywords:   autobiography, Solomon Maimon, literary afterlife, Jews, Maskilim, Moses Mendelssohn, Immanuel Kant, German-Jewish thinkers, Moses Maimonides, Jewish identity

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