Moses Mendelssohn's (1729-1786) religious philosophy, pathbreaking as it was, became the object of heavy critique by many German Jewish thinkers of the nineteenth century. One of the most outspoken rejections of Mendelssohn's ideas came from Samuel Holdheim (1806-1860), probably also the most radical Reform rabbi of the century. Holdheim objected against Mendelssohn's separation of religious law and philosophy - suggesting rather a re-integration of the great humanistic ideas of the Hebrew Bible into Jewish thought, proposing thus an inherent connection between the monotheistic principle and the more rational commandments of the Torah. On the other hand, Holdheim denied Mendelssohn's belief in the eternal validity of the ceremonial commandments of the Bible and demanded to view those as largely obsolete, outdated by history itself. However, Holdheim explained Mendelssohn's positions as born out of their own time, and essentially as the attempt to ward offf Christian attempts at luring the Jews into baptism.
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