Der Dämon und die Masse. Kritik und Verteidigung politischer Mythen bei Hans Blumenberg

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In his recently published posthumous works "Prefiguration" and "The Rigorism of Truth" Hans Blumenberg surprisingly steps into the area of political history that he had left widely unconsidered in "Work on Myth". While "Prefiguration" tackles the “demonic” aspects of Napoleon and Hitler that Blumenberg tries to dismantle and bring into derision, in "Rigorism of Truth" he attacks Hannah Arendt's phrase of the Banality of Evil in relation to the Jerusalem trial against Adolf Eichmann in 1961. In this latter issue Blumenberg defends the demonic he sees culminated in the form of Eichmann to assert what he calls the “mythical dimension“ in the Israeli process of nation-building. To him, Eichmann represents a prototypical demon incarnate that must be slaughtered by the heroic character seen in young state Israel. This obviously turns Blumenberg's criticism of Napoleon and Hitler into an affirmation of political myths that, on the face of it, appears to be a contradiction in terms. The essay focuses on this theoretical tension and tries to point out that significance (“Bedeutsamkeit”) is not only a necessity for individual self-assertion (“Selbstbehauptung”) but also a category of communality that must be handled with care.
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Archival date: 2017-02-25
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