Johann Gottfried von Herder

Johann Gottfried von Herder (yō´hän gôt´frēt fən hĕr´dər), 1744–1803, German philosopher, critic, and clergyman, b. East Prussia. Herder was an enormously influential literary critic and a leader in the Sturm und Drang movement. After an impoverished childhood, he studied theology at Königsberg and came under the influence of Kant. During an appointment at Riga, Herder gained attention with his Fragmente über die neuere deutsche Literatur [fragments concerning current German literature] (1767). In 1776 he became court preacher at Weimar through the influence of Goethe, whose work was greatly affected by Herder's ideas, particularly by his Über den Ursprung der Sprache [on the origin of language] (1772). In this treatise Herder held that language and poetry are spontaneous necessities of human nature, rather than supernatural endowments. At Weimar, Herder became the leading theorist of German romanticism and a contributor to the most brilliant court of the era. There he produced his anthology of foreign folk songs, Stimmen der Völker (1778–79) and also made some of the earliest studies of comparative philology, comparative religion, and mythology. His vast work Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit (1784–91; tr. Outlines of the Philosophy of Man, 1800) developed a major evolutionary approach to history in which he propounded the uniqueness of every historical age.

See biography by W. Koepke (1987); study by F. M. Barnard (1965, repr. 1989).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Johann Gottfried von Herder: Selected full-text books and articles

Herder's Aesthetics and the European Enlightenment By Robert E. Norton Cornell University Press, 1991
On World History: An Anthology By Johann Gottfried Herder; Hans Adler; Ernest A. Menze; Ernest A. Menze; Michael Palma M.E. Sharpe, 1997
Philosophical Writings By Johann Gottfried von Herder; Michael N. Forster; Michael N. Forster Cambridge University Press, 2002
Herder's Philosophy of Language, Interpretation, and Translation: Three Fundamental Principles By Forster, Michael N The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 56, No. 2, December 2002
Herder and Nationalism: Reclaiming the Principle of Cultural Respect By Spencer, Vicki The Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 43, No. 1, Winter 1997
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Enlightenment, Revolution, and Romanticism: The Genesis of Modern German Political Thought, 1790-1800 By Frederick C. Beiser Harvard University Press, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Part II "Herder and Early German Romanticism"
Politics and Opinion in the Nineteenth Century: An Historical Introduction By John Bowle Oxford University Press, 1954
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "The Originality of the Romantics: Herder: Hegel"
The Quest for the New Science: Language and Thought in Eighteenth-Century Science By Karl J. Fink; James W. Marchand Southern Illinois University Press, 1979
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Einfuhlung, Language, and Herder's Philosophy of History"
The Origin of Language: Aspects of the Discussion from Condillac to Wundt By G. A. Wells Open Court Publishing, 1987
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Herder"
Beyond Theory: Eighteenth-Century German Literature and the Poetics of Irony By Benjamin Bennett Cornell University Press, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "Herder's Difficult Position: The Uses of Contradiction" begins on p. 252
Philosophy and German Literature, 1700-1990 By Nicholas Saul Cambridge University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: "Radicalising the Enlightenment: Hamann and Herder" begins on p. 44
German Men of Letters By Alex Natan O. Wolff, vol.1, 1961
Librarian’s tip: "Johann Gottfried Herder" begins on p. 23
Approaches to History: Selections in the Philosophy of History from the Greeks to Hegel By Pardon E. Tillinghast Prentice Hall, 1963
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803)"
Folk Groups and Folklore Genres: A Reader By Elliott Oring Utah State University Press, 1989
Librarian’s tip: "Herder, Folklore, and Romantic Nationalism" begins on p. 21
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