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The Essentials of Spirituality

Felix Adler (1851-1933) was a Jewish rationalist intellectual, popular lecturer, religious leader and social reformer who founded the Ethical Culture movement. He graduated from Columbia University in 1870 and moved to Germany where he received a doctorate from Heidelberg University. Starting in 1874 he spent two years at Cornell University in the Department of History as Professor of Oriental Languages and Hebrew before his "dangerous attitude" caused him to leave. He returned to New York and preached some sermons at the Temple Emanu-El in New York City where his father was still the head rabbi. Then, at the age of twenty-four, Adler founded the New York Society for Ethical Culture in 1876. While the Ethical Culture movement which Adler founded was open to people of diverse beliefs, Adler himself developed and promoted his own vision of an essentially Kantian moral philosophy which prized public work and the use of reason to develop ultimate ethical standards. Adler published such works as Creed and Deed (1878), Moral Instruction of Children (1892), Life and Destiny (1905), The Religion of Duty (1906) and Essentials of Spirituality (1908).
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