2021-01Discussion Papers, Comments, Book Reviews
Through a Glass, Darkly: The Struggle of Perfecting Humanity


/Review: Jennifer A. Herdt, Forming Humanity: Redeeming the German Bildung Tradition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019), 312 pages./

Jennifer A. Herdt’s book Forming Humanity: Redeeming the German Bildung Tradition (hereafter FH) traces the post-Kantian secularization of Bildung from its roots in Pietism through its development into the human autocracy of Herder and Goethe, to the reconciliation and expression of the concept in Hegel. In the journey through the history of Bildung, Herdt specifically focuses on the role of Christianity in human formation, the tension between human formation and divine formation, and the failures of Kunstreligion to achieve the formation of humanity. Reforming Humanity is a meticulously researched foray into the history of a question that has haunted humans since it emerged as the Greek paideia: How do we form humanity? For any scholars of the German philosophical or theological tradition, or any scholars of the aesthetic purpose of education, Herdt’s book is a vital library addition.

How to cite:

Mueller, Laura. “Through a Glass, Darkly: The Struggle of Perfecting Humanity.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 5, no. 1 (2021): 162-168. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2021.0012.


Laura Mueller
Department of English, Philosophy, and Modern Languages, West Texas A&M University
2403 Russell Long Blvd. Canyon, TX 79015, USA

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