Nathan der Weise
Nathan the Wise
By Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Performed in German
"Nathan the Wise"is a play published by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing in 1779. It is a fervent plea for religious tolerance. Its performance was forbidden by the church during Lessing's lifetime and the play was first performed in 1783 at the Döbbelinsches Theater in Berlin.
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.