Moses Mendelssohn 's Thoughts On Judaism

907 Words Sep 2nd, 2015 4 Pages
Moses Mendelssohn’s thoughts on Judaism, mainly laid out in Jerusalem, Or on Religious Authority and Judaism, were meant to show non-Jews that Judaism was already compatible with enlightenment ideas as is. He had no thoughts on changing how Jews practiced Judaism in any way. Mendelssohn himself remained an observant Jew and felt he could do so while still studying and contributing to secular subjects. However, early reformers believed that the practice of Judaism needed to be changed for Jews to fit into modern times. Mendelssohn had no intention of disregarding oral law or overturning the rule of rabbinic Judaism to which this law had given power. In fact, Mendelssohn included oral law with the Torah as written laws that were revealed to Jews. In Jerusalem, he makes the case that oral and written law can still be followed as divine law, but that they can no longer go before the state law. This point does not mean that any law should not be followed. On the other hand, early reformers were content with disregarding Talmudic law and the rabbis that ruled using it. Rabbi Samuel Holdheim, one of the more radical reformers, claimed that Talmudic Judaism had “authority only in [its] age” and therefore had “no authority dogmatically or practically.” So unlike Mendelssohn, reformers did not even see the Talmud as divine law that could go along with modern state law. Instead, reformers thought oral law and even some parts of the Torah had no place in the modern world and needed…
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