Definitions

Immanuel

Immanuel

[ih-man-yoo-uhl]
Immanuel or Emmanuel [Heb.,=God with us], in the Book of Isaiah, name given to the child who would be a sign to Judah of her deliverance. In the Gospel of St. Matthew it is given as a name of Jesus.
Kant, Immanuel, 1724-1804, German metaphysician, one of the greatest figures in philosophy, b. Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia).

Early Life and Works

Kant was educated in his native city, tutored in several families, and after 1755 lectured at the Univ. of Königsberg in philosophy and various sciences. He became professor of logic and metaphysics in 1770 and achieved wide renown through his writings and teachings. His early work, reflecting his studies of Christian Wolff and G. W. Leibniz, was followed by a period of great development culminating in the Kritik der reinen Vernunft (1781, tr. Critique of Pure Reason). This work inaugurated his so-called critical period—the period of his major writings. The more important among these writings were Prolegomena zu einer jeden künftigen Metaphysik (1783, tr. Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics), Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten (1785, tr. Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals), Kritik der praktischen Vernunft (1788, tr. Critique of Practical Reason), and Kritik der Urteilskraft (1790, tr. Critique of Judgment). His Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der blossen Vernunft (1793, tr. Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone) provoked a government order to desist from further publications on religion.

Philosophy

According to Kant, his reading of David Hume awakened him from his dogmatic slumber and set him on the road to becoming the "critical philosopher," whose position can be seen as a synthesis of the Leibniz-Wolffian rationalism and the Humean skepticism. Kant termed his basic insight into the nature of knowledge "the Copernican revolution in philosophy."

Instead of assuming that our ideas, to be true, must conform to an external reality independent of our knowing, Kant proposed that objective reality is known only insofar as it conforms to the essential structure of the knowing mind. He maintained that objects of experience—phenomena—may be known, but that things lying beyond the realm of possible experience—noumena, or things-in-themselves—are unknowable, although their existence is a necessary presupposition. Phenomena that can be perceived in the pure forms of sensibility, space, and time must, if they are to be understood, possess the characteristics that constitute our categories of understanding. Those categories, which include causality and substance, are the source of the structure of phenomenal experience.

The scientist, therefore, may be sure only that the natural events observed are knowable in terms of the categories. Our field of knowledge, thus emancipated from Humean skepticism, is nevertheless limited to the world of phenomena. All theoretical attempts to know things-in-themselves are bound to fail. This inevitable failure is the theme of the portion of the Critique of Pure Reason entitled the "Transcendental Dialectic." Here Kant shows that the three great problems of metaphysics—God, freedom, and immortality—are insoluble by speculative thought. Their existence can be neither affirmed nor denied on theoretical grounds, nor can they be scientifically demonstrated, but Kant shows the necessity of a belief in their existence in his moral philosophy.

Kant's ethics centers in his categorical imperative (or moral law)—"Act as if the maxim from which you act were to become through your will a universal law." This law has its source in the autonomy of a rational being, and it is the formula for an absolutely good will. However, since we are all members of two worlds, the sensible and the intelligible, we do not infallibly act in accordance with this law but, on the contrary, almost always act according to inclination. Thus what is objectively necessary, i.e., to will in conformity to the law, is subjectively contingent; and for this reason the moral law confronts us as an "ought."

In the Critique of Practical Reason Kant went on to state that morality requires the belief in the existence of God, freedom, and immortality, because without their existence there can be no morality. In the Critique of Judgment Kant applied his critical method to aesthetic and teleological judgments. The chief purpose of this work was to find a bridge between the sensible and the intelligible worlds, which are sharply distinguished in his theoretical and practical philosophy. This bridge is found in the concepts of beauty and purposiveness that suggest at least the possibility of an ultimate union of the two realms.

The Impact of Kantian Philosophy

The impact of Kant's work has been incalculable. In addition to being the impetus to the development of German idealism by J. G. Fichte, F. W. Schelling, and G. W. F. Hegel, Kant's philosophy has influenced almost every area of thought. Among the major outgrowths of Kant's work was the Neo-Kantianism of the late 19th cent. This movement had many branches in Germany, France, and Italy; the two chief ones were the Marburg school, founded by Hermann Cohen and including Ernst Cassirer, and the Heidelberg school, led by Wilhelm Windelband and Heinrich Rickert.

The Marburg school was primarily concerned with the application of Kantian insights to the understanding of the physical sciences, and the Heidelberg school with the application of Kant to the historical and cultural sciences. Closely connected with the latter group was the social philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey. Kant influenced English thought through the philosophy of Sir William Hamilton and T. H. Green, and some Kantian ideas are found in the pragmatism of William James and John Dewey. In theology, Kant's influence can be seen in the writings of Friedrich Schleiermacher and Albrecht Ritschl; his ideas in biology were developed by Hans Driesch and in Gestalt psychology by Wolfgang Köhler. All of Kant's important works have been translated into English.

Bibliography

See H. W. Cassirer, A Commentary on Kant's Critique of Judgment (1938, repr. 1970) and Kant's First Critique (1954); L. W. Beck, Studies in the Philosophy of Kant (1965) and (ed.) Kant Studies Today (1969); H. Arendt, Lectures on Kant's Philosophy (1989).

(born April 22, 1724, Königsberg, Prussia—died Feb. 12, 1804, Königsberg) German philosopher, one of the foremost thinkers of the Enlightenment. The son of a saddler, he studied at the university in Königsberg and taught there as privatdocent (1755–70) and later as professor of logic and metaphysics (1770–97). His life was uneventful. His Critique of Pure Reason (1781) discusses the nature of knowledge in mathematics and physics and demonstrates the impossibility of knowledge in metaphysics as it was traditionally conceived. Kant argued that the propositions of mathematics and physics, but not those of metaphysics, are “synthetic a priori,” in the sense that they are about objects of possible experience (synthetic) but at the same time knowable prior to, or independently of, experience (a priori), thus making them also necessarily true, rather than merely contingently true (see necessity). Mathematics is synthetic and a priori because it deals with space and time, both of which are forms of human sensibility that condition whatever is apprehended through the senses. Similarly, physics is synthetic and a priori because in its ordering of experience it uses concepts (“categories”) whose function is to prescribe the general form that sensible experience must take. Metaphysics in the traditional sense, understood as knowledge of the existence of God, the freedom of the will, and the immortality of the soul, is impossible, because these questions transcend any possible sense experience. But though they cannot be objects of knowledge, they are nevertheless justified as essential postulates of a moral life. Kant's ethics, which he expounded in the Critique of Practical Reason (1788) and the earlier Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785), was based on the principle known as the “categorical imperative,” one formulation of which is, “Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” His last great work, The Critique of Judgment (1790), concerns the nature of aesthetic judgment and the existence of teleology, or purposiveness, in nature. Kant's thought represents a turning point in the history of philosophy. In his own words, he effected a Copernican revolution: just as the founder of modern astronomy, Nicolaus Copernicus, had explained the apparent movements of the stars by ascribing them partly to the movement of the observers, so Kant had accounted for the existence of a priori synthetic knowledge by demonstrating that in knowing, it is not the mind that conforms to things but instead things that conform to the mind. Seealso analytic-synthetic distinction; deontological ethics; idealism; Kantianism.

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(born April 22, 1724, Königsberg, Prussia—died Feb. 12, 1804, Königsberg) German philosopher, one of the foremost thinkers of the Enlightenment. The son of a saddler, he studied at the university in Königsberg and taught there as privatdocent (1755–70) and later as professor of logic and metaphysics (1770–97). His life was uneventful. His Critique of Pure Reason (1781) discusses the nature of knowledge in mathematics and physics and demonstrates the impossibility of knowledge in metaphysics as it was traditionally conceived. Kant argued that the propositions of mathematics and physics, but not those of metaphysics, are “synthetic a priori,” in the sense that they are about objects of possible experience (synthetic) but at the same time knowable prior to, or independently of, experience (a priori), thus making them also necessarily true, rather than merely contingently true (see necessity). Mathematics is synthetic and a priori because it deals with space and time, both of which are forms of human sensibility that condition whatever is apprehended through the senses. Similarly, physics is synthetic and a priori because in its ordering of experience it uses concepts (“categories”) whose function is to prescribe the general form that sensible experience must take. Metaphysics in the traditional sense, understood as knowledge of the existence of God, the freedom of the will, and the immortality of the soul, is impossible, because these questions transcend any possible sense experience. But though they cannot be objects of knowledge, they are nevertheless justified as essential postulates of a moral life. Kant's ethics, which he expounded in the Critique of Practical Reason (1788) and the earlier Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785), was based on the principle known as the “categorical imperative,” one formulation of which is, “Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” His last great work, The Critique of Judgment (1790), concerns the nature of aesthetic judgment and the existence of teleology, or purposiveness, in nature. Kant's thought represents a turning point in the history of philosophy. In his own words, he effected a Copernican revolution: just as the founder of modern astronomy, Nicolaus Copernicus, had explained the apparent movements of the stars by ascribing them partly to the movement of the observers, so Kant had accounted for the existence of a priori synthetic knowledge by demonstrating that in knowing, it is not the mind that conforms to things but instead things that conform to the mind. Seealso analytic-synthetic distinction; deontological ethics; idealism; Kantianism.

Learn more about Kant, Immanuel with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Immanuel is also a town in Israel, near Ariel. For other articles, please see Emanuel (disambiguation).

Immanuel or Emmanuel or Imanu'el (עִמָּנוּאֵל "God [is] with us" consists of two Hebrew words: אל (El, meaning 'God') and עמנו (Immanu, meaning 'with us'); Standard Hebrew ʻImmanuʼel, Tiberian Hebrew ʻImmānûʼēl). It is a name used in the Bible in and . It also appears in in the Christian New Testament.

Christian usage

Christian belief holds that the Emmanuel is the Messiah foretold in the other prophecies of Isaiah. In Isaiah 8:8, Palestine is called the land of Emmanuel, though in other passage it is termed the land or the inheritance of God, so that Emmanuel and God are identified. Again, in the Hebrew text of Isaiah 8:9-10, the Prophet predicts the futility of all the enemies' schemes against Palestine, because of Emmanuel. In 9:6-7, the characteristics of the child Emmanuel are so clearly described for Christians that they do not doubt his Messianic mission. The eleventh chapter pictures the Messianic blessings which the child Emmanuel will bring upon the earth. Moreover, St Matthew (1:23) expressly identifies the Emmanuel with Jesus the Messiah, and Christian tradition has constantly taught the same doctrine. A number of the Church Fathers, such as St Irenaeus, Lactantius, St Epiphanius, St John Chrysostom, and Theodoret, regarded the name "Emmanuel" not merely as a pledge of Divine assistance, but also as an expression of the mystery of the Incarnation by virtue of which the Messiah will be "God with us".

Christians hold that Emmanuel as described in Isaiah cannot be an ideal or metaphorical person, and cannot be identified with the regenerate people of Israel, nor with religious faith, for "he shall eat butter and honey." It is thought that both the text and the context indicates that the Prophet does not refer to a child in general, but points to an individual.

Christians reject the idea that the name Emmanuel refers to a son of either Isaiah or Ahaz which is the Jewish understanding. As well there are those who believe that Immanuel cannot be Jesus either, for 3 reasons, the first being the angels who spoke to Mary did not say he would be called Immanuel, secondly he was named Jesus by his parents, and finally because in Isaiah 9:6 it is said that "...His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."

In the Nativity of Jesus

In Matthew "an angel of the Lord" appears to Mary's betrothed husband Joseph in a dream and tells him: "she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins". The text continues with the comment: "All this happened to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 'Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel, which being interpreted is God with us'".. Some 5-6th century manuscripts of the Gospel according to Matthew read "Isaiah the prophet" instead of merely "the prophet" (e.g. D), but this does not have the support of other important witnesses (see Nestle26).

Rather than using the Masoretic text which forms the basis of most modern Christian Old Testament translations, Matthew's quotation is taken from the Septuagint. The verb кαλεω kaleō (to call) is used by both Isaiah and Gabriel; but whilst the former employs the third person plural (they shall call), the latter has the second person singular you shall call. Gabriel himself therefore is not applying Isaiah's prophecy to Joseph, but his purpose is to invite him to assume legal paternity of the son to be born of Mary by naming him. It is the following comment that explains Mary's conception by the Holy Spirit, Joseph's vocation as the child's legal father, and the child's own vocation as the Saviour of his people as indicated by the name Jesus, in the light of Isaiah's prophecy that henceforth "God is with us". However, this understanding of this passage tends to be regarded as Christian apologetics, because almost all Jewish sources are certain that "Immanuel" was intended as a name, not a mere title.

Scholars have other concerns with Matthew's reference to Isaiah; for instance, they argue that it is much more likely that Isaiah is referring to the far more immediate future, particularly as the text can be considered to be past tense - implying that the saviour in question was already conceived when Isaiah was writing. Matthew also appears to have adjusted the meaning slightly, but in a significant way -although Matthew uses the Greek term parthenos, usually translated virgin, Isaiah uses the Hebrew word almah, which more accurately translates as young woman.

The purpose of the quotation is better understood by looking at the context in which it is used in Isaiah. Isaiah is in the process of promising that God can save Israel from the immediate threat of the Assyrians, but that if the Jews continue to sin, the Assyrian empire will be the instrument of God's vengeance. Hence, in the eyes of scholars such as Carter, Matthew is using the situation as an allegory for the time in which he was writing; if followed, Immanuel would lead to salvation from the Roman empire, but if rebuffed, Rome will be the instrument of punishment against the Jewish people.

Jewish usage

Judaism understands the passages in Isaiah literally as referring to a child born during the reign of king Ahaz to whom the prophecy was made and does not consider the verses to be connected with the Messiah. Opinions differ as to whether this is a son of Isaiah or Ahaz and in the latter case whether he is identical to Hezekiah who ruled after Ahaz. According to Rashi's reckoning Hezekiah would have been 9 years old at the time. Rashi interprets the verse as referring to a son of Isaiah.

Spelled in English as "Emanu-El," "Emanu El," or "Emanuel," Emanu-El is a common name for Jewish synagogues.

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