Hermann Cohen

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Introductory Thoughts on Hermann Cohen (1842 – 1918)

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Looking at Jewish thinking throughout the ages, it would seem that it was dominated by two clearly distinguished trends: The one is very much aware of ideas and studies pursued in the contemporary non-Jewish world; attempts to harmonise these with Judaism. The other concerns itself more directly with Jewish religious sources; it considers that, whenever Judaism’s subtle speculations seem to correspond to intellectual patterns in the world of the Gentiles, this would seem to happen unintentionally and is, so to speak, mere coincidence. The former is the rationalist tendency, the latter is philosophic-mystical.