Jewish Universalisms: Mendelssohn, Cohen, and Humanity’s Highest Good by Jeremy Fogel
The Tauber Institute Series for the Study of European Jewry
An original and comprehensive comparison of the universalisms of two major modern Jewish philosophers.
Any version of universalism relevant to a more attentive, pluralistic, and postcolonial outlook would balance the urgent current need for a universalistic perspective with the desire to maintain the richness of human diversity. The modern Jewish philosophers who sought to partake in the Enlightenment’s universalistic vision while maintaining their distinct identities as members of a religious minority within Europe offer insightful answers.
Jewish Universalisms analyzes how two major figures, Moses Mendelssohn and Hermann Cohen, dealt with the perceived tension between the universal values characteristic of the Enlightenment and aspects of Judaism often depicted as particularistic and parochial. Jeremy Fogel joins this lively debate in modern Jewish philosophy, offering a comparative examination of these thinkers and analyzing their worldviews from an innovative axiological perspective. Fogel writes that to gain a precise understanding of how Mendelssohn and Cohen argued for the concordance of Judaism and universalism, one must first seek out what they delineated as ultimately valuable. Then one can work out how that highest good, and the method of valuation it sustains, are universal.
Year first published: 2023