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Two Persistent Tensions Within Wissenschaft Des Judentums

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on a few methodological issues and modes of thought characteristic of early Wissenschaft that still have repercussions in current academic work and discourse in the field. It confines the examples mostly to the first two generations of modern scholars, since they set the parameters for both what was to follow and what later would be critically reacted against. The chapter refers shortly to some of the distortions caused by various contemporary extrascholarly agenda, but wishes to point out as well some problematic aspects of the scholarly agenda, methods, and habits of mind proper. Specifically, it would single out the following: (1) oversystematization and credulous readings of partial and ambiguous evidence; (2) oversimplified, evolutionary models of historical development; and (3) rigid application of heuristic generalizations, particularly in philological and literary criticism.

Keywords: literary criticism; philological criticism; Wissenschaft



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