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Meaning in History—A Comparison Between the Works of Karl Löwith and Erich Auerbach
International Center for Ethics in Sciences, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, 72074, Germany
Received: 5 January 2012; in revised form: 28 February 2012 / Accepted: 7 March 2012 / Published: 23 March 2012
Abstract: Karl Löwith (1897–1973) and Erich Auerbach (1892–1957) were assimilated German Jewish scholars who came to America during and after World War II. In the early 1940s both émigrés wrotetheir masterpieces From Hegel to Nietzsche and Mimesis in Japan and Turkey. In these books, the philosopher as well as the philologist, provide a certain philosophy of history forced by the historical crisis of Europe. The differences in their viewpoints can clearly be seen in their decisive judgments on Goethe and the French Revolution. The comparison first looks at the question what impact the reality of being expelled from the German University of Marburg had on the development of their thoughts. The expanding war and the persecution of the European Jews is taken into account as well. The second focus is directed on the experience both made at the American East Coast and how this might have influenced their later writings namely Meaning in History and Philology of World-Literature. And at last the question is raised which significance the Jewish-Christian background had for Löwith and Auerbach especially for their attitude towards the religious sphere.
Keywords: Auerbach; Löwith; exile; philosophy of history; Mimesis; Hegel; Nietzsche; Goethe
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Bormuth, M. Meaning in History—A Comparison Between the Works of Karl Löwith and Erich Auerbach. Religions 2012, 3, 151-162.
Bormuth M. Meaning in History—A Comparison Between the Works of Karl Löwith and Erich Auerbach. Religions. 2012; 3(2):151-162.
Bormuth, Matthias. 2012. "Meaning in History—A Comparison Between the Works of Karl Löwith and Erich Auerbach." Religions 3, no. 2: 151-162.