Nathan der Weise

Nathan der Weise❮PDF❯ ✅ Nathan der Weise Author Gotthold Ephraim Lessing – GE Lessing was a German philosopher and was a key contributor to the Enlightment Era Lessing’s plays and philosophical writings are still considered classics in German literature This edition of Les GE Lessing was a German philosopher and was a key contributor to the Enlightment Era Lessing’s plays and philosophical writings are still considered classics in German literature This edition of Lessing’s Nathan the Wise includes a table of contents. The wise Nathan in Lessing's dramatic poem of 1779 knows how to help He tells Sultan Saladin a story that has become known as a ring parable and as a plea for tolerance and moral action In Lessing's classic five act drama the conflicts finally break into a true embrace After the Christian wants to marry the Jewess but can not Lessing unravels the threads with the unveiling of an unprecedented family history almost everyone is related to everyone Moral action reason humanity and religious tolerance are the cornerstones of Lessing's Enlightenment Drama which has been proving again and again for centuries and precisely today A ring to rule them all in three identical versions Tolerance taught in a story within a story containing the one and only ring or three of them as the case may be Nathan Der Weise is reuired reading in German schools supposedly celebrating the love and peace that can exist between Jews Muslims and Christians even in times of crusades I remember writing an essay on the metaphorical story Nathan told Saladin in one scene to illustrate the interchangeable character of the three religions clashing over details of worship tradition and power play The general idea behind the play is that all three religions derive from a common root symbolised by a mighty king in the story He has a beautiful ring and is expected to hand it over to his most beloved son when he dies With the ring the power in the palace is transferred to the next generation The supposedly loving father however can't find any distinction between his three obedient sons so he secretly makes two copies of the original ring to give each of his sons a version The copies are perfect and even the king doesn't know how to tell the rings apart When the king dies conflict arises as all three sons claim their right to rule the palace This is where I got annoyed the first time reading this as a teenager How incredibly stupid of the father not to foresee this outcome He delayed conflict and caused confusion by adding those two rings He must have understood that It doesn't make senseThe other thing that frustrated me when reading the story in school was the happiness with which my teacher claimed it was a symbol for the beauty of religion if it remains open minded and tolerant towards other beliefs Each son can be happy believing that he is in possession of the true ring I didn't get that either That means each son is secretly intolerant of the others as he is convinced his ring is the right one and the others wear fakes? Also all rings are man made aren't they? And can be reproduced in as many copies as needed? And they are of course not given to any daughters of the family either so how on earth can they be called tolerant and open minded?All those uestions arising and only stereotyped study guide answers offered to the indignant female student of the 20th century not feeling represented in the story at all I think my teacher was rather helpless towards the idea of challenging the logical structure of Lessing's naively beautiful story It is supposed to be a symbol of religious tolerance Period You are not to prove that is not possible Full stopNow I would say Lessing involuntarily wrote a play showing how fake news spreads in the world and is used to cement patriarchal power Those three rings are indeed identical in their claim to justify a power handover from one male tribal member to another using religious allegiances to keep the strength within the familyThe original ring symbolises the need for religion to identify community structures and scare people into bowing to random authority instead of looking for their own chosen identity based on education and critical thinking skills It was progressive at the time Lessing wrote it but to me it just shows the wrong approach of the ring in the first place For it to work at least approximately we would need thousands of replicas for the other religions in the world and the right to refuse wearing a ring at allThat is my choice Another timely little nugget aus Deustschland And much shorter than the uran Set in Jerusalem around those crusaderish times Nathan der Weise is read by every little German Gymnasium student as a lesson in tolerance Those who discover they can tolerate each other are Muslim Jew and Christian Were it written today we'd have to throw in that most intolerant believer the atheist But I think we could do it When I read Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's 1779 play Nathan der Weise for the first time and no not for high school as my family moved from Germany to Canada when I was ten years of age and thus in high school we of course read English language and not German language literature but rather in a 1986 university undergraduate course on the German Enlightenment for us students and indeed also for our professor Nathan's wisdom and his striving for universal religious tolerance and to a certain point that Saladin himself could be also be tolerant were basically the main and the most essential points of consideration regarding Lessing's presented text although I did indeed find the famous Ring Parable both a bit difficult to understand in and of itself and also leaving me at times than somewhat personally uncomfortable with Nathan der Weise and really not completely satisfied either For if according to the play if according to Nathan der Weise and of course the Ring Parable Judaism Christianity and Islam are supposedly all sprung from some common and universally good and beneficial source why would in the ring story the father why would the king have even created and furnished those three separate rings? I mean it does not or at least it should not really take a genius to figure out and to realise that there would of course than likely be major conflicts arising within the three sons' families with everyone claiming that their specific ring is the right the correct the most important and ergo also the most universally acceptable ring and I could never understand therefore how in Nathan der Weise those three rings should supposedly be a solution to religious conflict if each of the ring wearers would be thinking and believing that his ring was the greatest and the one true ring since this would at least in my opinion and by simple logic and necessity discredit the other two rings and their wearers And therefore as much as I did indeed majorly enjoy reading Nathan der Weise in 1986 and still have rather found my recent reread very much pleasurable there is eually and in my humble opinion beneath Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's presented and indeed very essential messages of the necessity of religious tolerance also something that is not really one hundred percent positive not altogether shining and to be universally lauded namely how those rings really have created not a portrait of absolute tolerance but rather the opposite with separate claims of superiority something that I certainly doubt Lessing had intended but something that is nevertheless subtly but still overtly present in Nathan der Weise and not to be ignored and in particular with regard to the fact that religious tolerance is still totally and utterly a global pipe dream at best So today I finally had my German exam that means that I'll hopefully never ever have to read this again Words are ‘lifeless signs’ we attach to meanings and concepts But words are such delicious little playthings to bat around in our minds that they can delude us Often we end up adhering to the words than the concepts they represent Lessing seems to think this pitfall of human intelligence is at the root of much self inflicted misfortune and suffering In fact here he attributes to this penchant of ours among other things religious conflictThe point is summed up in this exchange A Christian ‘lay brother’ says to Nathan a Jew “You are a Christian Nathan Yes by heaven You are a Christian Never was a better” And Nathan replies to the Christian lay brother “What makes of me a Christian in your eyes Makes you in mine a Jew”Here the two characters speak to the essence of their religions over the names of their religions Their meanings over their words For Lessing religion is an illustrative way to portray this problem since in his view there is a mystical level where all faiths are the same This makes it easier for him to show that distorting the truth of things with language artificially and arbitrarily is a big ass problem we have There are mundane examples of this throughout the play Constantly how things are labelled differs from their truth Is your father the one who gave you your genes or the man who raised you? Are you really the winner of a chess game if someone helped you win? If you were born a Christian but everyone calls you a Jew which are you? I would love to see this on stage just for the costumes Watching a sultan a knight a monk a patriarch a princess a dervish and a wiseman bouncing into each other from scene to scene would be like watching a masuerade on ice skates In some ways you could not ask for a better and nobler representative of the Enlightenment than Gotthold Ephraim Lessing in his Nathan the Wise 1779 That is at least my initial current impression of Lessing In the face of the atrocious anti Semitic caricatures and treatment of Jews by professing Christians that would eventually fester into Nazi Germany and the Holocaust Lessing portrays a Jewish character who is humane and generous In a way similar to Shakespeare Lessing gives a human face to his Jewish character Unlike Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Lessing goes further in a way and explodes stereotypes of Jews as usurious greedy money lenders However Lessing is preachy and didactic than Shakespeare in my opinion and Shakespeare's Jewish villain is portrayed with human motivations which I think goes a long way to undermining prejudice and perhaps further than Lessing in that the characters are real A human villain is better than a didactic good guy for exploding anti Semitic myths of unearthly cabals I suspect Not to stress this point unduly everyone looks bad in comparison to Shakespeare I also acknowledge that I am have read Lessing in translation and that may be a factor In any case Lessing's characters are not so wooden as to be un moving However how much is Lessing really embracing the Jews? Does he not want to convert them to an Enlightenment view of religion just as much as the true believing Christian wants to convert the Jew to Christianity? Nathan is wise in an Enlightenment style wisdom and is that really wise? He is deemed wise because he is not truly a Jew or a believing Jew anyway He is culturally a Jew The good guys the wise in this story end up trivializing their professed faiths in words and deeds For instance the the Templar ostensibly a Christian ends up often repudiating his faith in words even calling it superstition and he says in one place that he would become a Muslim to please Saladin So much for Christ I think of Lessing in conjunction with the German Jewish poet Heinrich Heine who converted to Christianity but had an ambiguous relationship to Christianity and Judaism Whatever the case for him personally he made some startlingly prescient predictions of Nazi Germany one hundred years before it occurred In his day he said Now they burn books; then they'll burn bodies But the most interesting of all is a passage which concludes his book Religion and Philosophy in Germany 1832 and which is one of the most remarkable prophesies in all literature In it in vivid terms he predicts a play will be played out in Germany and abroad which makes the French Revolution look like child's play and he attributes this to the break up of the staying power of that talisman the cross by the influence of Kantians and Fichteans and philosophers of nature See here That is he indicts Immanuel Kant the prince of the Enlightenment One might even surmise he lays the coming German thunder at the feet of Lessing as well Lessing brings into relief the vicious and murderous cruelty of Christian fanatics in the Crusades in his play as part of his argument for an Enlightenment view Even if we are in postmodern or post postmodern times much of this Enlightenment view of religions remains intact and is perhaps becoming virulent At the same time Lessing observes contradictions between the Christians and their Scriptures which naturally raises the unintended uestion whether their belief is the really the point of error or their believing in such a way as not to obey Heinrich Heine on the otherhand sees the void opened up by the Enlightenment neutralization of the Cross in the hearts of the Germans a void later to be most fully elaborated and hailed by Friedrich Nietzsche Heine sees that the void will be filled by the unbaptized unconverted Beserker rage of the Germans as he calls it Perhaps some of this Teutonic volatileness he refers to is reflected in the Templar's character in the play The anti Christs the little Übermensches are an ugly host the prophecy seems to have implied in retrospect that were summoned by the Enlightenment or at least made possible by it though one might add the Holocaust was first made possible by Christian anti Semitism before the Enlightenment solution to Christian historic sins concatenated the sins into something far virulentLessing in some ways provides just one of the elouent iterations of a doctrine whose most religious version is that many roads lead to salvation and God is like an elephant which blind men grab different parts of and think the whole This view is held by those who think they see the whole comprehensively There is still great contemporaneity to this idea The condescending doctrine is the wraith's embrace of religion the deadly kiss which drains the life and meaning from a religion while claiming to defend the religionsRecha's epithet toward Daja in the play one could say is Lessing's judgment and epithet and is broadly representative of the Enlightenment epithet in general toward religious belief She's one of those fanatics who imagine they know the universal and only true path to God Implied in Recha's statement of course is a belief in a universal negative of the possibility of there being such a way and it's being known There is the supreme condescension toward religions which poses itself as an embrace of the religions but finally trivializes all that it embraces The Enlightenment seems to me a reincarnation of Greek universalism All there is is thought to be universal principles and temporal mundane processes Belief in a unfolding particularity in history or an advent in history is derided as foolishness The cross of Christ is foolishness to the Greeks Had to read it for school in 8th grade AND in 12th grade In 8th grade I hated it When I reread actually I didn't read the whole book in 8th grade some years later I thought it was okay It has some unexpected twists at the end and a nice philosophy about tolerance and religionoh and I remember calling him Satan der Heiße instead P Before realism and naturalism became cardinal virtues of drama in the nineteenth century one of the core devices of European plays particularly comedies was the error or misunderstanding by which resolution was delayed and action held in a state of suspension Take the countless instances in Shakespeare's comedies in which the primary action of the plot revolves around a simple misunderstanding or case of mistaken identity One dramatic purpose of such a device is to expand the scope of action and to put it under a microscope Delay prolongs transient states of tension and allows a work to meditate on the precise nature of specific kinds of mistakes In this sense I see it as analogous to the function of arias in nineteenth century opera The action stops moving forward and we have occasion for characters to analyze and articulate their feelings and motivations the character of their yearning their misguided anger or what have you Perhaps the greatest example of this device in all of western literature is found in Hamlet which almost entirely occurs in such a state of suspension Hamlet believes he knows the truth but is not yet prepared to act In Shakespeare's hands this device itself is reflexively thematized as a deeply enigmatic crisis of Hamlet's subjectivity This is precisely why the principle interpretive uestion of Hamlet has always been why he waits so long to act Is he conflicted? Mad? Does he really believe that the ghost may be a deceitful evil spirit? Can he simply not bring himself to play the part of the avenging son? Drama of the last century or two has generally eschewed devices of all kinds except for broad entertainments such as the work of Gilbert and Sullivan An audience today is trained to find contrivances false and distracting as we are accustomed to action unfolding with something or less approaching plausibility In our age the prolonged case of mistaken identity belongs to sitcoms and is amusing precisely because it is falseThis I think highlights the great distance contemporary audiences are likely to find between themselves and a work like Nathan the Wise which like Hamlet could not exist without key contrivances but which unlike Hamlet employs them naively Almost by definition such a drama feels false to the modern audience Such contrivances are distracting and confuse us with regards to the characters' motivations Why we ask does that man not simply say such and such to clear everything up? Why because then there would be no play That is no occasion to meditate at length on the misunderstandings Nathan the Wise is of course famous largely for the nature of the misunderstandings upon which it dwells It has two principal messages for us 1 decency and humanist virtues such wisdom are far important than confession creed or dogma; and 2 the particulars of religious doctrine particularly with respect to miracles and revelation are superficial superstitious accretions which threaten to distract us from the core virtues that all religions share and which according to Lessing are the real heart of religious life Lessing creates artificial situations in which he can analyze and dissect the mechanics of human prejudice specifically antisemitism and to analyze what it is how it spreads and what human frailties underlie it At times his analysis is psychologically revealing and deeply chilling and the drama becomes engrossing At other times and all too often I was put off by its contrivance which blocked me from immersion and identification and kept me at arm's length One may find a certain admirable if somewhat unsophisticated idealism in Lessing's brand of humanism but I think the problems of religious identity are much deeper and complicated than his formulation would have it I do not believe that there is a shared ethical humanist core to all religions even if we restrict ourselves to the so called Religions of the Book Nor do I believe that the Beatitudes are fundamental to Christianity than say Leviticus or penance or celebrating Eucharist or singing hymns or Pentecost festivals or Trinitarian theology I certainly believe that the simple existential humanism of the Synoptic Gospels is core for Lessing and his circle of poets and philosophes But what makes them better representatives of what Christianity is really about than the tens of millions of less sophisticated believers who surround them? One can only have limited enthusiasm for the literature of the Enlightenment which deals with messages that are better treated by jurists and philosophers than playwrights We can enthusiastically applaud the message of Candide but are there people who truly love the story? Like most people who read it in college all I remember from it now is its mockery of Leibniz's best of all possible worlds dictum which he caricatures and its one should tend one's garden It is hard to love Candide as a novel because it is didactic and didactic literature is two dimensional Its purpose is to express one point of view one argument I imagine a modern Nathan the Wise it would have to allow for genuine differences in perspective that don't boil down to the fact that many characters are simply wrong but rather they inhabit different lifeworlds and have to coexist in the midst of actual difference Such a work would closely resemble Goethe and this is one reason why Lessing is interesting and notable but Goethe is great he was too much an artist to believe a play like Faust should have a messageIronically the character in Nathan the Wise who comes closest to being a real villain is led astray by her conviction that hers is the only path and all others must follow it Is this not Lessing's conviction about his own conclusions? More school reading I remember being really into this book when we read it in school I just loved everything we studied while we read it all that what we call meta these days And there's so much meta surrounding Nathan the WiseWithout doubt one of the most important books of German literature and due to its main subject religion one that I feel very close to It's certainly not one of the books that you read purely for the reading pleasure It's all about the context historical and philosophical