The Pantheism Controversy

After Lessing’s death in 1781, Mendelssohn planned to write a tribute to his deceased friend. Hearing about this through their mutual friend Elise Reimarus, the German Counter-Enlightenment mystic Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi informed Mendelssohn that at the end of his life Lessing had confessed to him that he had abandoned the religious enlightenment and became a Spinozist, then a code word for an atheist. A furious correspondence between Mendelssohn and Jacobi ensued that was mediated through Reimarus and became known as the “Pantheism Controversy.”

Debate with Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi