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GERMAN HISTORICAL INSTITUTE WASHNGTON, D.C. ANNUAL LECTURE SERIES No. 8 - page 43 / 46

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who were capable of learning what there was to learn from the catastrophe of 19141918, designed a new medieval scholarship and a new history in that they transferred the questions and issues raised by

around 1900 to their discipline. In Germany, on the other hand, we are still awaiting today a comprehensive reception of

from historians. As recent comments demonstrate, Max Weber is considered to be a sociologistby German historians, and Georg Simmel is even referred to as a philosopher,from whom a historian cannot really learn much.

III

In this discussion we have touched upon a broad range of topics. It is to Patrick Gearys credit that he has explicitly drawn our attention to these issues. I am referring specifically to the interpretations of the Middle Ages upon which the scholarship of medieval historians is based and through which they link these epochs with their own time and with the modem age. It is important to devote our attention to this type of thought process and formation of ideas for two reasons.

First of all, in critically examining this type of thinking, we reach a deeper region, beyond a mere history of ideas and dogmas or a mere history of institutions. It is from this deeper zone that the mental steering of the approach as well as the selection of knowledge deemed relevant stems. This is especially true in regard to the problem of the relationship of the Middle Ages to the modem era as a construct of historical thinking.29 The intellectual construct of the Middle Ages and the modern era, or of the modern era and its Middle Ages, or, better yet, of

29

Otto Gerhard Oexle, "Das entzweite Mittelalter," in

, ed.

Gerd Althoff (Darmstadt, 1992), 728.

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