J. Colin McQuillan I. In his article ``The Question of Enlightenment: Kant, Mendelssohn, and the Mittwochsgesellschaft,'' James Schmidt seeks to restore Immanuel Kant's essay ``An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?'' (1784) to its original context. According to Schmidt, Kant's essay is ``one response to a question which was addressed by a number of other writers and debated in a number of other forums.''1 The question to which Schmidt refers is, of course, ``What is enlightenment?'' The debate about the enlightenment question can be traced back to a footnote to an article that appeared in the Berlinische Monatsschrift in 1783.2 The author of the footnote, Johann Friedrich Zollner, wrote an arti¨ cle defending ecclesiastical marriage against Johann Erich Biester, the editor of the Berlinische Monatsschrift, who had advocated a purely civil and contractual conception of marriage in an earlier article. Biester's attempts to reduce marriage to a merely civil contract were ``unenlightened,'' in Zolln¨ er's view, because marriage is the basis of the family and, therefore, society James Schmidt, ``The Question of Enlightenment: Kant, Mendelssohn, and the Mittwochsgesellschaft,'' Journal of the History of Ideas 50 (1989): 270. 2 Norbert Hinske, Was Ist Aufklarung? Beitrage aus der Berlinischen
Journal of the History of Ideas – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Oct 21, 2014
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