Law, Ethics, and the Needs of History: Mendelssohn, Krochmal, and Moral Philosophy Journal Article uri icon



  • AbstractAlthough the role of ethics in modern Jewish thought has been widely explored, major works by foundational philosophers remain largely absent from such discussions. This essay contributes to the recovery of these voices, focusing on the Hebrew writings of Moses Mendelssohn (1729–1786) and Nachman Krochmal (1785–1840). I argue that these texts reveal the existence of a shared ethical project animating these founding philosophical voices of Jewish modernity, and that reconstructing their claims contributes to broader conversations about the relationship between ethics and law. Mendelssohn and Krochmal present Jewish law as addressing needs emerging from the history of moral philosophy—from the modern histories of Platonic and Aristotelian ethics. Moreover, my reading highlights these thinkers’ ongoing relevance, suggesting that their work illuminates the role of law in ethical cultivation.

publication date

  • June 1, 2016

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • February 12, 2017 11:43 AM

Full Author List

  • Sacks E

author count

  • 1

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0384-9694

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1467-9795

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 352

end page

  • 377


  • 44


  • 2