Identity Or History?: Marcus Herz and the End of the Enlightenment
Identity or History? is a unique study of Marcus Herz, a Jewish philosopher and doctor in late eighteenth-century Berlin, and of German-Jewish culture at the end of the Enlightenment. More than a biography, this book explores questions of German-Jewish identity and of the discrepancies between Enlightenment theory and practice. Martin Davies draws parallels between Herz's personal life and Prussian politics and culture to make sense of the end of the eighteenth century when Enlightenment tradition and Romantic thought coincided. Identity or History? attempts to reconstruct Herz's cultural and social identity from his misunderstandings of the movements in which he participated and to infer from his contradictions the coherence of his intellectual positions. Davies illustrates that the contradictions that mark Herz's life and works are symptomatic for his position as a German Jew and for his time.
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