A classic text of enduring significance, Moses Mendelssohn's Jerusalem (1783) stands as a powerful plea for the separation of church and state and also as the first attempt to present Judaism as a religion eminently compatible with the ideas of the Enlightenment. Allan Arkush's new translation, drawing upon the great strides made by Mendelssohn research in recent decades, does full justice to contemporary insights into the subject while authentically reflecting a distinguished eighteenth-century text. Alexander Altmann's learned introduction opens up the complex structure and background of Mendelssohn's ideas. His detailed commentary, keyed to the text, provides references to literary sources and interpretations of the philosopher's intent.
ALEXANDER ALTMANN, the acknowledged dean of Mendelssohn scholars, died in 1987. He taught at Brandeis University and wrote numerous books, including the highly acclaimed Moses Mendelssohn: A Biographical Study (1973) and Essays in Jewish Intellectual History (1981).