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Meaning in History: The Theological Implications of the Philosophy of History Paperback – April 15, 1957

ISBN-13: 978-0226495552 ISBN-10: 0226495558

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Product Details

  • Series: Theological Implications of the Philosophy of History
  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (April 15, 1957)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226495558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226495552
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #264,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Karl Löwith (1897-1973) was professor of philosophy at Heidelberg University, Germany.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By "moredean" on August 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
Prof. Lowith's work provides a wonderful introduction into the philosophy of History. Beginning in contemporary times with Jakob Burkhardt and working back to the beginning of the current era with the Bible-and including Marx, Hegel, Vico, and Augustine (among others)-Lowith argues that the immanentization of the historical world, giving meaning to history, in short, the philosophy of history originated with the Judeo-Christian eschatological framework: the salvation man sought at the end of life through faith in God and Christ is placed instead at the End of History, when humanity, as a whole, will reach a sort of "perfection" (an anti-Christian belief in my opinion).
Each thinker's approach to the understanding of history is explained, as well as his conception of the End of History. Whether you agree with Prof. Lowtih's main thesis-that the philosophy of history originates in Judeo-Chrisitian eschatology-or not, this work will be enlightening to anyone interested in the philosophy of history, theology, the history of Western philosophy, historicism, or just history in general.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Parish on April 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
Lowith's premise is that our view of history is confused because we look at it with 'one eye of faith and the other of reason'. We do not focus on history as a compilation of facts but by interpreting it through philosophy or theology. Both of these disciplines try to answer the question "To what end does humankind suffer?". The book traces the development of the philosophical and theological views of history and provokes questions for anyone interested in the study of history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on February 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Karl Löwith (1897-1973) was a German philosopher; he wrote in the Preface to this 1949 book, "I have tried to be honest with ... my reader about the possibility, or rather the impossibility, of imposing on history a reasoned order or of drawing out the working of God. History as a partial record of human experience is too deep and, at the same time, too shallow to put into relief the humble greatness of a human soul which can give meaning... to what otherwise would be a burden for man. History no more proves or disproves the incomparable value of a single man's righteousness and heroism in the face of powers of the world than it proves or disproves the existence of God... [Nietzsche] was wrong in assuming that the pseudo-religious makeup of nature and history is of any real consequence to a genuine Christian faith in God, as revealed in Christ and hidden in nature and history." (Pg. v)

He considers the ideas of philosophers such as Augustine; Joachim; Bousset; Vico; Voltaire; Condorcet; Comte; Hegel; Marx; Burckhardt, etc.

He concludes, "The attempt at elucidation of the dependence of the philosophy of history on the eschatological history of fulfillment and salvation does not solve the problem of our historical thinking. It rather poses a new and more radical problem, for it raises the question of whether the 'last things' are really the first things and whether the future is really the proper horizon of a truly human existence." (Pg. 204)

He adds, "The modern mind... eliminates from its progressive outlook the Christian implication of creation and consummation, while it assimilates from the ancient world view the idea of an endless and continuous movement, discarding its circular structure.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
Karl Lowith looks to the Judaeo- Christian tradition as basis for efforts at seeking ' meaning in history'. He contrasts the linear, directional view of history of Hebrew eschatology with the cyclical view of other religions. It is the Hebrew linear view which gives purpose, direction meaning to History.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bruce P. Barten on June 29, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Our totality has never lined up with our infinity. The urge to overthrow any institution which attempts to control space and time comes and goes. Augustine made the first coming of Christ the promise that a second coming would establish quite a difference that ends the "history of the empires, that is, of sin and death, comes to a real and definite end, which is, at the same time, a consummation of history and a redemption from it. . . . This does not mean that we are able by our own wisdom to judge the deserts of earthly kingdoms, which God gives to both pious and impious men." Augustine was master of Orosius, author of The Seven Books of History against the Pagans (418) pointing out how "the younger generation had reconciled itself to the new barbaric conditions." Like a song which proclaims:

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss . . .

each set of global powers wiping out those who have less faces a comparison:

"there may be found some Romans who,
living with the barbarians,
prefer freedom with poverty
to tribute-paying with anxiety
among their own people."

Hints that societies have been wiped out by the wealthy are suggested by comments like:

who by the "torch of greed" has set on fire the world;
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