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Nathan the Wise: With Related Documents (The Bedford Series in History and Culture) / Edition 1 available in Paperback
One of the most frequently performed and widely read comedies of the eighteenth century, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's Nathan the Wise (1779) combines rich characterization with an engaging plot. Set in Muslim-ruled Jerusalem at the time of the Crusades, it deals with universal themes including the nature of God, antisemitism, wealth and poverty, and the conflict between love and duty. Today the play is as timely as ever. This edition, the first English version expressly intended for undergraduates, contains an insightful introduction that discusses the play, Lessing and the Enlightenment, and the situation of Jews in eighteenth-century Europe. Additionally, there are five related historical documents each with a context-setting headnote illustrations, a chronology, questions for consideration, and a selected bibliography.
Table of Contents
A Note about the Text and Translation
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Beyond Tolerance — Lessing, Nathan the Wise, and the Legacy of the Enlightenment
Nathan the Wise
1. Johann Andrea Eisenmenger, Jewry Revealed, 1700
2. Christian Wilhelm von Dohm, On the Civic Improvement of the Jews, 1781
3. François-Louis-Claude Marin, History of Saladin, 1758
4. Moses Mendelssohn, On Lessing, 1786
5. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Theodicy, 1710
A Gotthold Ephraim Lessing Chronology (1729-1786)
Questions for Consideration