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The Enlightenment Period

The Philosophes

Who was Gotthold Lessing?

Gotthold Lessing (1729–1781) represented the philosophes in Germany, which was a difficult task, owing to the conservatism and strict censorship there. In Nathan the Wise (1779) he argued for the toleration of Jews and for human equality across religions. In On the Education of the Human Race (1780) he claimed that all religions are part of a progression of humanity to the point when it will turn away from religion and toward pure reason.



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