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Nathan der Weise (German)

Nathan der Weise (German)

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Nathan der Weise is a play by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, published in 1779. It is a fervent plea for religious tolerance. Its performance was forbidden by the church during Lessing's lifetime and along with another of his works, The Jews (German title: Die Juden), was also banned by the Nazis.

Set in Jerusalem during the Third Crusade, it describes how the wise Jewish merchant Nathan, the enlightened sultan Saladin and the (initially anonymous) Templar bridge their gaps between Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Its major themes are friendship, tolerance, relativism of God, a rejection of miracles and a need for communication.

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