Reflections on the philosophy of the history of mankind

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University of Chicago Press, 1968 - History - 401 pages
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Near Eastern Beginnings
The Greeks
The Spread of Early Christianity

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About the author (1968)

Herder, humanist philosopher, poet, and critic, was born in Mohrungen in East Prussia. He suffered a deprived childhood but managed to attend the University of Konigsberg, where he soon abandoned medical studies for theology. It was then that he came under the aegis of Kant, an influence that led to Herder's revolutionary approach to history. In his major work, Reflections on the Philosophy of the History of Mankind (1784--1791), he proclaimed "humanity to be the essence of man's character as well as the irrevocable aim of history" (Ernst Rose). By articulating the idea of different cultures as units that could be understood from without by empathy rather than by analysis, Herder became the foremost theorist of European nationalism. He called attention to folk genres such as the ballad and the fairy tale, thereby exerting an important influence on romanticism. The work of Herder provided much of the foundation for the developing disciplines of folklore and anthropology.

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