Translations and Reception of Mendelssohn’s Works

Mendelssohn’s works have been translated into numerous languages, and they produced some vigorous responses. Some conservative Rabbis felt that his philosophy and writings, especially those in German, promoted assimilation. Later followers like Isaac Leeser in America and Moses Samuel in England, while also conservative, praised him for his reconciliation of enlightened philosophy and adherence to religious law. The proto-Zionist writer Peretz Smolenskin positively excoriated Mendelssohn for allegedly denuding Judaism of its national consciousness through his emphasis on cultural attainment.

Mendelssohn's Translators, Followers, and Critics Abroad