MENDELSSOHN, MOSES (1729-1786), philosopher and scholar, well known as Lessing's friend and the prototype of his "Nathan," was born on September 6, 1729, at Dessau on the Elbe, where his Jewish father made a scanty livelihood by teaching a small school and transcribing copies of the "law." The leading events of Mendelssohn's career have been indicated elsewhere (see JEWS, vox, xiii. p. 680). His numerous writings include Ueber Evidenz ila metaphysischen Wissenschaften (1763), which gained the prize in a competition in which Immanuel Kant took part ; Briefe fiber die Empfindungen (1764); Phadon, oder fiber die Unsterblichkeit der Seele (1767), an argument for immortality, founded on the nature of the soul as exempting it from the ordinary laws of change, which has been severely criticized by Kant ; Jerusalem, oder die religiose Macht and Judenthum (1783), a specially important contribution to the question of Jewish emancipation ; a number of contributions to his friend Nicolai's Literaturbriefest and Bibliothek der schonen Wissensclutflen ; one or two tracts in Hebrew; and some new German translations from the Old Testament. The controversy which led to the publication of his Morgenstunden (1785-86), a reply to Jacobi's Briefe fiber die Lehi? Spinoza's, is said to have been more or less directly the cause of his death, which took place on January 4, 1786 (see JACOBI, vol. xiii. p. 537). Of Mendelssohn's three sons, the second, Abraham, settled as a banker in Hamburg and married a Jewess, Lea Salomon Bartholdy, who bore him four children ; these, by advice of their mother's brother, himself a conscientious convert from Judaism, were educated as Christians, and thenceforth joined their mother's second surname to their own. The second of them, Felix, is the subject of the preceding notice. In later life Abraham Mendelssohn was accustomed to say, - " When I was young I was the son of my father ; now I am the father of my son." See The Mendelssohn Family, 1882.