Translating the Enlightenment: Scottish Civic Discourse in Eighteenth-century Germany

This is a study of the transmission of political ideas across languages and cultures. It focuses on a notably fruitful encounter between two eighteenth-century political cultures: the reception of Scottish civic ideas, voiced most powerfully in the works of the Edinburgh historian-philosopher Adam Ferguson, by German thinkers in the era of Enlightenment, and early Romanticism. Fania Oz-Salzberger's detailed and challenging analysis places Ferguson in the context of the Scottish Enlightenment, and highlights the affinities and differences between his milieu and that of his German readers. She traces the German reception of Ferguson's thought, pointing at conceptual stumbling-blocks and linguistic tensions. Dr Oz-Salzberger describes a complex, often unintended shift of Scottish civic language into a German vocabulary of spiritual perfection and inner life. This process, she argues, was far from futile: the reading and misreading of Ferguson and other Scottish authors enriched German intellectual life in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

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Über den Autor (1995)

Fania Oz-Salzberger is a Lecturer in Modern History at University of Haifa.

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