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Lessings Verständnis von ›Religion‹ (und Friedrich Niewöhners Reflexion darauf)

Zurück zum Heft: Archiv für Begriffsgeschichte. Band 55
DOI: 10.28937/9783787336692_8
EUR 16,90

In his early writings, Lessing uses the notion of ›religion‹ as an eqivalent to ›faith‹ and ›law‹. He replaces the older term ›law‹ (›lex‹) by ›religion‹ and says that no religion is higher than another. In his middle period, Lessing recognizes a ›natural religion‹ of all men which consists only in knowing God and make a dignified concept of him. But as men are different there grow positive religions which add many things to the natural religion, as well as each natural right becomes realized only by positive rights. The best religion would be the one with only a few positive additions. At the beginning of the Ringparabel (Nathan der Weise, act 3) the late Lessing repeats the three main notions of all worship of God: ›faith‹, ›law‹, and ›religion‹. (Boccaccio, Lessing’s source has only ›law‹.) As there can be no historical proof on the rightness of one of the three religions and there are necessarily positive religions, Lessing recommends that everyone should be in his own religion. But the religions must give up the claim to disseminate themself by force. F. Niewöhner interprets the Ringparabel that there can be only different religions and therefore they have to tolerate each other.