Die Wahrheit des Mythos Humboldt

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftÜbersichtsartikel (Review)BeigetragenBegutachtung



The paper deals with the so called "Humboldt myth" One the one hand it analyses the function of that myth while on the other hand it inquires into the historiographical problems that are linked with the cipher Humboldt. These two aspects will be understood as the political and the historical truth of the Humboldt myth. The paper represents the thesis, that within the context of politics the rhetorical figure "Humboldt" fulfils the neutral function of simplifying complex facts into political arguments. The figure works as a cipher that allows communicating political demands and analyses in an interested public sphere. Regarding the scientific truth of the Humboldt myth, the thesis is that a successful critique on the myth only leads to a mere renaming of the nexus of problems linked with the idea of the university that was developed in the years before 1810. In a final step, the paper presents a draft to theorise that special idea of the university based on a concept of self explication and self reflection. The idea of the university is not a monolithic structure of propositions but rather constituted through protests and contradictions. A second aspect of the self explication in question is the high degree of generality of the statements during the discussion before 1810. The paper elucidates both aspects of self explication by reference to the discussions about the right concept of research, as they are found in the memoranda concerning the establishing of the University of Berlin.


Seiten (von - bis)59-78
FachzeitschriftHistorische Zeitschrift
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Feb. 2012

Externe IDs

ORCID /0000-0001-9654-2207/work/142254151


ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete


  • Bildungsgeschichte, Humboldt, Universität