Amos Funkenstein on the Theological Origins of Historicism

Moyn, Samuel

It is not, of course, a new suggestion to turn history on itself in order to discover the historical conditions for the possibility of the modern historical outlook. This project began in the early modern period, taking on a new direction and momentum with J. C. Gatterer's complaint that his discipline had studiously exempted itself from the methods it pioneered. Few recent contributors to this ongoing endeavor, perhaps, have undertaken as interesting or fundamental a version of it as the late Amos Funkenstein. As his student Abraham P. Socher has recently observed, "One of Amos Funkenstein's central historical concerns was the development of the discipline and methods of history itself." Nonetheless, Funkenstein's contribution in this realm of inquiry remains little-known and ill-understood; this paper attempts a critical overview of it.



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Journal of the History of Ideas

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April 27, 2010