The Elusiveness of Tolerance: The "Jewish Question" from Lessing to the Napoleonic Wars
Peter Erspamer explores the 'Jewish question' in German literature from Lessing's Nathan der Weise in 1779 to Sessa's Unser Verkehr in 1815. He analyzes the transition from an enlightened emancipatory literature advocating tolerance in the late eighteenth century to an anti-Semitic literature with nationalistic overtones in the early nineteenth century. Erspamer examines Nathan in light of Lessing's attempts to distance himself from the excesses of his own Christian in-group through pariah identification, using an idealized member of an out-group religion as a vehicle to attack the dominant religion. He also focuses on other leading advocates of tolerance and explores changes in Jewish identity, particularly the division of German Jewry into orthodox Jews, adherents of the Haskalah, and converted Jews. The tolerance discourse ended with the Napoleonic incursions into Germany, when nationalism was on the rise and Judaism came to be viewed in racial as well as religious terms.
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The Beginnings of the Tolerance Debate
Jewish Identity in a Changing World
Emancipatory Drama after Lessing
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advocates Arndt Ascher assimilation attempts authoritarian belief Berlin bourgeois Buchholz century character concept conﬂict consensus formation constitution critical discourse culture Deism Diez Dohm Dohm's dominant group drama economic elements Enlightenment exogamy expression feels Friedlšnder Friedrich Gentiles German gion Goeze Gott Grattenauer Haskalah hatred Herz History of Anti-Semitism Horkheimer and Adorno human humor Ibid ideology inﬂuence ingroup ingroup identification Jewish community Jewish emancipation Jewish question Jews Judaism Juden laughter laws Lessing's critical Lessings Nathan linguistic Lotich maintains Marcus Herz Maskilim Menschen minority monk moral Moses Mendelssohn mystical Nathan der Weise Natural Religion oppression orthodox Christianity outgroup pariah Pfranger philosopher play Poliakov political portrayal portrayed prejudices principles promote propaganda Rahel Rahel Varnhagen rationalistic reason Recha reﬂected religious Ring Parable rules of exclusion Saladin Saul Ascher Sessa social society status teachings thereby tion tolerance Tralles travestier truths Varnhagen Verkehr viewed Voss Voss's Wessels Wessely writing wuchernde Jude Zeit