Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim


Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim
(1729–81)
   Dramatist and Theologian.
   Lessing was the son of a Lutheran pastor and was born in Saxony. He became a wellknown literary critic and playwright and was regarded as a leading figure of the German Enlightenment. A personal friend of the important Jewish scholar Moses Mendelssohn (on whom his dramatic poem Nathan der Weise was based), he did much to encourage the integration of Jewish intellectuals into the cultural life of Germany. In his study of the Gospel origins, he argued for there having been an Aramaic original behind the Gospel of matthew which was also known by luke and mark. In his Die Erziehung des Menschengeschlects, he argued that Christianity could not be regarded as an historical religion, but that its truth could only be discovered through personal experience and objective enquiry. He became the centre of controversy when he published the Wolfenbüttel Fragments, extracts from the writings of reimarus which argued that the disciples had invented the story of Jesus’s resurrection in order to explain why his prophecies on the immediate arrival of the Kingdom of God had not been fulfilled. Lessing himself took a neutral position, but the controversy itself opened the door to disinterested investigations of the origins of the Christian faith.
   H.E. Allison, Lessing and the Enlightenment (1966);
   H.B. Garland, Lessing: The Founder of Modern German Literature, 2nd edn (1962).

Who’s Who in Christianity . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • LESSING, GOTTHOLD EPHRAIM° — (1729–1781), German dramatist, philosopher, and critic. One of the outstanding representatives of the Enlightenment in Germany, Lessing was   devoted to the principle of toleration. One of Lessing s earliest literary ventures was Die Juden (1749) …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim — Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim, einer unserer größten Dichter und Prosaisten, ein Genius, auf welchen die deutsche Nation stolz zu sein Ursache hat. Sein Riesengeist überflügelte seine Zeit und er gab der Literatur eine Richtung, die national wurde,… …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Lessing,Gotthold Ephraim — Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim. 1729 1781. German playwright and critic. A leader of the Enlightenment, he wrote the plays Minna von Barnheim (1763) and Nathan the Wise (1779). * * * …   Universalium

  • Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim — born Jan. 22, 1729, Kamenz, Upper Lusatia, Saxony died Feb. 15, 1781, Braunschweig, Brunswick German playwright and critic. After writing several light comedies, he became a theatre critic in Berlin in 1748. His play Miss Sara Sampson (1755) was… …   Universalium

  • Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim — (1729 1781)    Playwright, dramaturg, theorist. Lessing was a pastor s son who became the German theater s most accomplished playwright and critic during the mid 18th century. His influence and accomplishments were so substantial that he almost… …   Historical dictionary of German Theatre

  • Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim — (1729–81)    German advocate of religious toleration. Lessing was a poet, critic, dramatist and philosopher, and one of the leading figures in the German enlightenment. At the beginning and again at the end of his career he wrote pro Jewish… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim — (22 ene. 1729, Kamenz, Lusatia Alta, Sajonia–15 feb. 1781, Braunschweig, Brunswick). Dramaturgo y crítico alemán. Después de escribir varias comedias ligeras, se dedicó a la crítica teatral en Berlín en 1748. Su obra Sara Sampson (1755) fue la… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • LESSING, GOTTHOLD EPHRAIM —    a German author, and founder of modern German literature, born at Kamenz, Saxony, son of the pastor there; sent to study theology at Leipzig, studied hard; conceived a passion for the stage; wrote plays and did criticisms; wrote an essay on… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • LESSING, Gotthold Ephraim — (1729 1781)    German ENLIGHTENMENT PHILOSOPHER, publicist, playwright, critic, and art theorist. He worked for the free and democratic development of the German people and their CULTURE and was highly critical of the possibility of HISTORICAL… …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Gotthold Ephraim Lessing — Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Gemälde von Anton Graff (1771) …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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