This is the first modern translation of Moses Mendelssohn’s classic work of 1767, the
Phädon. It includes Mendelssohn’s own introduction and appendix, as well as footnotes and explanatory introduction by David Shavin. (Charles Cullen’s translation of 1789 is the only other extant translation.) The «modern Socrates» of the German classical period, Mendelssohn has created a beautiful translation and elaboration of Plato’s
Phädo led to a revolution in thought, and a subsequent renaissance in Germany. The debt of the German classical period to ancient Greece is embodied in Mendelssohn’s
Phädon, as is the promise of the American Revolution. The translation and accompanying notes recapture Mendelssohn’s unique marriage of depth of thought and breadth of appeal.