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Gotthold Lessing (1729-81), playwright, critic, humanist philosopher and polemicist was a leading figure of the German enlightnement era. From his immense literary output two plays stand out - The Jews and Nathan the Wise - for the passion of the writing and the timeless urgency of the message. Though differering greatly in form and content, both plays are eloquent pleas for human beings to desist from mutual persecution on racial or religious grounds. The relevance of Lessing's thinking in today's world is all too clear. They are published here in new English versions by the award-winning translator, Noel Clark.