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PhD ceremony Mr. R.A. Krol: Het geweten van Duitsland. Friedrich Meinecke als pleitbezorger van het Duitse historisme

When:Th 06-06-2013 at 14:30

PhD ceremony: Mr. R.A. Krol, 14.30 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Het geweten van Duitsland. Friedrich Meinecke als pleitbezorger van het Duitse historisme

Promotor(s): prof. F.R. Ankersmit, prof. H.J. Paul

Faculty: Arts

The German historian Friedrich Meinecke (1862-1954) lived through all major political en intellectual events of modern Germany. The unification of Germany in 1871, the First World War, the ‘Crisis of Historicism’, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, the Second World War, and the subsequent partition of Germany left a considerable mark on Meinecke’s philosophy of history – the subject of Reinbert Krol’s dissertation. To deal with the constant political and intellectual upheavals Meinecke reflected on the history of these upheavals. In order to form a counterbalance against the many crises his country went through, he constructed a reconciliatory view of history. It is in particular a panentheistic philosophy of history on the basis of which he was able to reconcile different polarities.

Panentheism, in short, differs from (Spinoza’s) pantheism in the sense that reality or the world is perceived as not identical with God. In panentheism reality is seen as an emanation of God. The world is ‘in’ God, while God also transcends the world. That means that God leaves room for individualities to develop freely. Opposites like ‘good and evil’, ‘spirit and matter’ share the same origin, being all emanations of God. This panentheistic philosophy enables Meinecke to reconcile polarities like ‘power and ethics’, and ‘individuality and the absolute’. Moreover, this philosophy gave him the tools to withstand the many political and intellectual crises of his age. In this research Krol shows, therefore, that Meinecke’s panentheistic philosophy can give us the key to understanding his philosophy of history.

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