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Carlos Fraenkel's "Philosophical Religions" Reviewed by Peter Gordon | New Republic
In a remarkable and important book, Carlos Fraenkel characterizes Lessing as one of the late exponents for an intellectual tradition of philosophical religion that stretches as far back as late antiquity. This is a tradition that united pagan thinkers such as Plato with Christians (Origen and Eusebius) and Muslims (Al-Fārābī and Averroes) and Jews (Philo and Maimonides) in a shared philosophical vision, according to which historically distinctive religions should not be understood in the literal sense. They must be interpreted instead in allegorical fashion, so as to grasp their higher and purely rational content. This allegorical content is far from self-evident. But those who are incapable of philosophizing, or have not yet arrived at the requisite intellectual maturity, are not lost: the historical forms of a given religion offer just the sort of moral and political instruction most of us need if we are to conduct our lives with virtue and for the common good. Only the philosopher will understand that the historical forms have an educative function
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november 2013 by dunnettreader

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