Beyond the Conceivable: Studies on Germany, Nazism, and the Holocaust

By Dan Diner | Go to book overview

SEVEN
Historical Understanding and
Counterrationality

The Judenrat as Epistemological Vantage

The difficulty inherent in describing Nazism—or, more precisely, in representing the mass extermination in historiographical terms—reflects the basic unimaginability of the event itself. Such an observation would be trivial if this problem of describability and representation did not have a powerful epistemic dimension: one directly bound up with the entire question of understanding Nazism. Moreover, the remarkable debate between Martin Broszat and Saul Friedländer on the historization of the Nazi era has underscored just how narrow the boundaries indeed are of a descriptive mode aimed at achieving historiographical understanding, Verstehen:1 a considerable theoretical and analytic effort is necessary before any effort to historicize Nazism can begin.

Beginning with Droysen if not sooner, historical research has proceeded on the assumption that a Verstehen-oriented reconstruction of a historical, hence social, context is possible only under one condition: when the reconstruction can be subjectively meaningful for the observer; 2 when he or she can rely on what is familiar from previous experience. Moreover, this project of experientially based comprehension must not be in conflict with the dictates of reason. 3 Such a notion of Verstehen as a process in which conclusions are drawn about an internal motive on the basis of external evidence relies on the assumption that the historian proceeds in the same way as the agent making history. 4 Or to formulate it differently, that both historical reconstruction and the action of the historical subject rely, in similar fashion, on reason. 5 In short, we have an assumption that the anticipated, logical connection between explanans and explanandum is fully functional in the process of understanding. 6 From this perspective, the meaningfulness of a dia-

-130-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Beyond the Conceivable: Studies on Germany, Nazism, and the Holocaust
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 286

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.