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Reuchlin—An Intellectual of His Time

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Chapter Summary

Augenspiegel shows evidence of an individual's moral courage that defended a minority's religious texts, though rejecting their beliefs. The only comment that exists is by Josel von Rosheim, who in his memoirs praises Reuchlin as being one of the wisest people ever to exist. Here it became entangled in the debates on humanism, religion, nationalism and in personal rivalry battles. All copies of the Augenspiegel in Christian hands were to be confiscated and all further use or discussion of it was forbidden. Thus he lost the legal battle that had dragged on for over nine years of his life and which had taken his strength. For him the preservation of knowledge was a civic duty irrespective of whether it accords with our opinions. Hence the religious literature of a minority should be saved from destruction by appealing to the public. He believed only posterity could determine its value to society.

Keywords:Augenspiegel; Josel von Rosheim; religious literature; Reuchlin; scholars



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