Moses Mendelssohn Bibliography

Briefe über die Empfindungen (Letters on the Sensations) 1755
Mendelssohn was influenced by Shaftesbury and sought to ground aesthetics in psychology. ?Every rule of beauty is simultaneously a discovery in psychology.?
Philosophische Gespräche (Philosophical Dialogues) 1755
Mendelssohn’s first work, in praise of Leibniz, was published with the help of Lessing.
Treatise on Evidence in the Metaphysical Sciences 1764
The Treatise, which compared the demonstratability of metaphysical and mathematical propositions, received the Berlin Academy prize in 1763 for which Kant also competed and who received the second prize. It was also the first of Mendelssohn’s works to be printed under his own name. As a result of winning the prize Frederick the Great exempted Mendelssohn from the restrictions Jews were normally forced to endure.

In 1764 Mendelssohn translated Rousseau’s second Discours.
Phädon, oder über die Unsterblichkeit der Seele (Phaedo, or the Immortality of the Soul) 1767
A highly popular work, where Mendelssohn updates Plato’s treatment of immortality. In the form of a dialogue Mendelssohn, contrary to the then dominant materialism, defended the immortality of the soul with the help of Leibniz.
On the Civil Amelioration of the Condition of the Jews 1781
Jerusalem, order über religiöse Macht und Judenthum ( Jerusalem, or on Religious Power and Judaism) 1783
Jerusalemdescribed the limits of the state and the necessity for tolerance; it promulgated the highly influential view of Judaism as a rational religion and the non-mystical religon of law. Mendelsshon distinquished between moral and political obligations founded on natural law and natural rights, from the less perfect rights and less stringent laws and duties, as they develop in civil society.

Mendelssohn wrote Jerusalem after an anonymous writer accused him of betraying Judaism in a preface (1782) Mendelssohn had written to a German version of Manasseh ben Israel’s Vindiciae Judaeorum.
Morgenstunden 1784

A defence of the ‘natural’ theism of Leibniz at a time when the ‘critical’ philosophy of Kant was increasingly gaining ground.

What is Enlightenment? 1784

“The Enlightenment which concerns man as man is universal, without regard to differences of estate; the Enlightenment of man when when he is viewed as a citizen modifies itself according to estate and occupation.”