“Knigge refers to religious authorities as cheats who bow to superstition and fanaticism. He advocates a slow overthrow of religion so that the fanatics will not be alarmed and will not be aware of what is going on. Of Jewish mysticism he declares:
“The Jewish Theosophy was a mystery; like the Eleusinian, or the Pythagorean, unfit for the vulgar.”
“Sensual pleasures were restored to the rank they held in the Epicurean philosophy. Self-murder was justified on Stoical principles. In the Lodges death was declared an eternal sleep; patriotism and loyalty were called narrow-minded prejudices, and incompatible with universal benevolence; continual declamations were made on liberty and equality as the unalienable rights of man.”
“The baneful influence of accumulated property was declared an insurmountable obstacle to the happiness of any nation whose chief laws were framed for its protection and increase.”
Jews and Freemasons in Europe: Chapter 1: The Problem and Its Background and, the dated but still saucy Is John Kerry a Frankist too?
In Yeshiva growing up, there was an unexplained terror of the sinister conspiritorial undertones of the early haskala and reform movement. Having grown up a bit, I became sceptical of exactly how malicious Enlightenment scholars had been to established orthodoxies, and so, it’s exciting for me to see detailed articles pulling together some of my favorite threads, from radical revolutionary antinomianism, to baby killing elite cults with Kabbalistic overtones that make a little bit too much sense to my chassidis addled heart. Do any of these ideas sound familiar?