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Schleiermacher as Plato Scholar Author(s): Julia A. Lamm Source: The Journal of Religion, Vol. 80, No.07/2014 05:09 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, re searchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. . The University of Chicago Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Journal of Religion. http://www.jstor.org " id="pdf-obj-0-34" src="pdf-obj-0-34.jpg">

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Schleiermacher as Plato Scholar*

Julia A. Lamm /

GeorgetownUniversity

"In fifty years someone else will probably do it better."' Schleiermacher's prediction regarding his own translation of Plato, if sincere, could not have been more wrong.2 Now, almost two hundred years later, his transla-

tion not only dominates sales of paperback editions of Plato in Germany but also remains an authoritative translation for scholars.3 As important as Schleiermacher's translation was the interpretation of Plato he offered

in

the accompanying introductions to the Dialogues.4 "Through it," Wil-

helm Dilthey claimed, "the knowledge of Greek philosophy first became

* Research for this article was

boldt Stiftung

(1996-97)

supported by a fellowship

Faculty

Research

from the Alexander von Hum-

Grant from Georgetown Univer-

and a Summer

sity (1996);

in

addition to these two institutions, I am also

grateful

to Humboldt-Universitit

zu Berlin and the

Berlin-Brandenburgische

Akademie der Wissenschaften. Most

especially,

generous

S.J.,

I thank Kurt-Victor

academic

hospitality.

Selge, Wolfgang

I would

Virmond, and Cilliers

Breytenbach

William

for their

also like to thank Dawn DeVries,

C. McFadden,

Elizabeth McKeown, Alexander Sens, Brent Sockness, David Wolfsdorf, and the readers for

the Journal of Religion;

1 Schleiermacher

their detailed comments on earlier drafts have

to G. A. Reimer, June

1803,

proved in Aus Schleiermacher's Leben: In Briefen,

invaluable.

4 vols. (Berlin, 1861), 3:349 (hereafter cited as ASL).

  • 2 Platons Werkevon E Schleiermacher, 3 vols. (Berlin, 1804-28).

See Hermann Gauss, Herbert

Lang, 1952-61), und seine Anmerkungen

phie

Platons,

ed.

Peter M.

Wilamowitz-Moellendorff's

able" stems in

PhilosophischerHandkommentar zu den Dialogen Platos, 6 vols. (Bern:

1:20-21; and

J6rg Jantzen,

dazu," in Friedrich Daniel

"Schleiermachers

Platon-Ubersetzung

Uberdie Philoso-

Ernst Schleiermacher,

Steiner (Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 1996),

minority

position

pp.

xlv-lviii. Ulrich von

that Schleiermacher's translation is "unbear- Plato is "untranslatable" and must be read in

part the Greek (Platon: Sein Lebenund seine Werke, 3d ed. [Berlin and Frankfurt am Main: Weid-

from his conviction that

mann, 1948], p. xii).

  • 4 Schleiermacher's introductions to the Platonic

able in the Steiner edition of Uberdie

dialogues

have

recently

been made avail-

Philosophie Platons. The English

Dialoguesof

noted

translation of Schleier-

Plato, trans. William

otherwise, all transla-

macher's introductions is under the title Introductionsto the

Dobson

tions are

(1836; reprint, New York: Arno Press, 1973). Unless

my

own,

and

page

in the main text I refer to as the "General Introduction" is

? 2000 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

references for the introductions are to the Meiner edition. What

cited in the notes as "Einleitung."

0022-4189/2000/8002-0002$02.00

206

Schleiermacher as Plato Scholar

possible."5 It is all the more remarkable, therefore,

that the English-

speaking world remains in a relative state of ignorance concerning one of Schleiermacher's greatest achievements.6 For just as Schleiermacher's

Glaubenslehre represented a watershed in the history of Christian thought,

and just as his Hermeneutik signaled a turning

point in critical theory, so

also his introduction to Platons Werkemarked a "geological fault" in the

philological world.' Schleiermacher "created a Platonic question," and, in doing so, he changed our assumptions about Plato.8

The very idea of undertaking so massive a project as a new translation

of the

entire corpus of Plato emerged in the context of a philological

renaissance in late eighteenth-century

Germany. Like the humanism of

the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, this new humanism

occupied

itself

with careful translations of classic texts. Unlike that earlier Renaissance, however, the new renaissance was not international in character but was

5

Wilhelm

Dilthey, Leben Schleiermachers(1870), in

Gesammelte Schriften, vol. 13,

pts.

1 and 2,

(hereafter cited

Ruprecht,

as GS, 13/1

or GS, 13/2), ed. Martin Redeker (Gdttingen: Vandenhoeck &

37.

1970), 13/2, p.

Gustav-Adolf Krapf's dissertation ("Platonic Dialectics and

6

An Essay

1953])

glish, even

towards the

Reinterpretation

remains the most

though

in-depth it is almost

Schleiermacher's Thought:

University,

in En-

of Schleiermacher" [Ph.D. diss., Yale

study of Schleiermacher's

a half

century old. Richard

interpretation of Plato

B.

Brandt (The Philosophyof

York:

Schleiermacher: The Developmentof His

Theoryof Scientific and Religious Knowledge [New

Greenwood,

1968])

only

mentions Plato on occasion. Robert R. Williams

(Schleiermacher the

Theologian:

The Construction of the Doctrine of

God

[Philadelphia: Fortress, 1978]) reminds us

that

Schleiermacher

had been

the translator of Plato

(p.

14)

and compares

ignores

features of

Schleiermacher's theology

macher

actually

macher and

wrote

with the Parmenides

dialogue;

his

(pp. 60-64),

primary

but he

what Schleier-

about that

concern is to

compare Schleier-

Cusanus, who represents a

type of Platonism. In contrast, Albert L. Blackwell

(Schleiermacher's Early Philosophyof Life: Determinism,Freedom, and

Scholars Press, 1982])

devotes a chapter to "Schleiermacher's Debt

translation project and draws

by

Plato. Hans Joachim

(pp. 123-36), in which he rehearses the

of how Schleiermacher had been influenced

Schleiermacher's introductions

has been

and the Foundations of

Phantasy [Chico, Calif.:

to Spinoza and Plato"

a preliminary sketch

Krfmer's study of

English

(Plato

translated from the Italian into

Metaphysics: A Workon the Theoryof

the Principles and UnwrittenDoctrines

of Plato with a Collection

of

the Fundamental Documents, ed.

and

trans. John

R. Catan

[Al-

bany,

N.Y.: SUNY Press, 1990]), but his concern has more to do with the debates concern-

ing

the direct and indirect Platonic traditions than

with understanding

Schleiermacher

(see Sec. III below). It was

my own reference to, but lack of

development

of, Schleiermacher's

"Platonized Spinozism" that

led me to investigate the matter

further (Julia Lamm, The

Living God: Schleiermacher'sTheological Appropriation of Spinoza [University Park: Pennsylvania

State

University Press, 1996],

pp. 91-94).

7

Heinrich

von Stein, Sieben Biicher zur Geschichtedes

1875; reprint, Frankfurt am Main, 1965),

Platonismus: Untersuchungeniiber das

3

vols.

(Gottingen,

System des Plato und sein Verhaltnisszur

1862, 1865,

spateren Theologie und Philosophie,

3:409.

8

Ibid.,

p.

375.

According to Holger

Thesleff, "Outside the German

sphere

of influence

there was no 'Platonic

Question.'

Plato and Platonism

were as a rule interpreted along in-

or

authenticity" (Studies

[Helsinki: Societas

herited lines, and little attention was

in Platonic Chronology, Commentationes

Scientiarum

Fennica, 1982], p. 3).

paid to questions of dating

no. 70

Humanarum Litterarum

207

The Journal of Religion

specifically German. Homer, Plato, and Shakespeare were translated into a self-conscioius and romantic style of German. Such philological activity was permeated by the sense that only a German, and only the German language, could uncover the soul of the classics. This new German renais- sance, moreover, was fueled by the emergence of a new historical con-

sciousness. After the revolutionary work on the nature of language by J. G. Hamann and J. G. Herder in the 1770s, not just texts, but language itself came to be viewed as fundamentally historical in nature.

Inspired by the new movement and destined to bring it further, Friedrich Schlegel deemed the time ripe in terms of the development of the German language for a new "artistic" translation of Plato. To help him in this project, he solicited the aid of none other than his housemate

at the time, the young preacher at Charit6 Hospital in Berlin, Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher. In the end, the Plato project would outlive

the friendship and would become Schleiermacher's enterprise alone. It would also significantly alter the course of Plato research. In retrospect, Schleiermacher's Plato project occupied a unique decade in the history

of German philology. In 1799 the field was open for so daring and monu-

mental an enterprise

as the one conceived

by Schlegel and Schleier-

macher; after 1809, the year in which Schleiermacher

published the

penultimate volume of Platons Werke, philology became increasingly pro- fessionalized as an independent discipline, and the older generation of translators--E A. Wolf, A. W Schlegel, and L. Tieck-came under attack

by a new generation. The result, according to R. Steven Turner, was an "alienation of a professional and esoteric philology from broader chan-

nels of cultural humanism."9 Given the significance of

Schleiermacher's contribution, and given the

immersed in Plato for arguably

facts that Schleiermacher had been fully

the most formative decade of his career and, as a member of the Royal

Academy of Sciences in Berlin, continued to be

occupied

with Plato

throughout his career, it is surprising that so little has been written on the topic of Schleiermacher and Plato.'- The topic indeed appears a rich

9 R. Steven Turner, "Historicism, Kritik, and the Prussian Professoriate, 1790 to 1840," in

Philologie und Hermeneutikim 19. Jahrhundert II, ed.

(Gottingen:

10 See,

Vandenhoeck &

Ruprecht,

1983),

in addition to the works cited above

p.

468.

Ethos in Schleiermachers Reden und

und

Religionsphilosophie 10 (1968): 268-88;

Philosophe

Logos

32

bei Platon"

Ideenlehre"

(pp. 849-74),

Selge

(Berlin: Walter de

Schleiermachers

Archivesde

Mythos

und

Platonische

ed. Kurt-Victor

Aristotelismus in

Ethik," in

Mayotte Bollack and Heinz Wismann

griechische

in note 6, Werner Schultz, "Das

Monologen," Neue Zeitschriftfiirsystematische Theologie

H.

G.

Gadamer, "Schleiermacher Platonicien,"

(1969): 28-39; Franz Christ, "Schleiermacher zum Verhailtnis von

(pp.

837-48),

and Gunter Scholtz, "Schleiermacher und die

both in

Internationaler Schleiermacher-Kongress 1984,

"Platonismus und

Gruyter, 1985); Eilert Herms,

Schleiermacher's Philosophy and the

1992), pp. 3-26.

Philosophical

Tradition,ed. Sergio Sorrentino (Lewiston, Maine: Edwin Mellen,

208

Schleiermacher

as Plato Scholar

one to pursue. Schleiermacher had on more than one occasion uttered such declarations as, "There is no author who has affected me as much and who has initiated me into the holiest of holies-not only of philoso- phy, but of all humanity-as this divine man.""IAnd Dilthey argued that

Plato, along with Spinoza and Shaftesbury, was a determining

cal force in Schleiermacher's thought.12 Nevertheless,

philosophi-

the fact remains

that the topic is an elusive one made even more so by a basic confusion

over the questions involved. Two different approaches to the topic of Schleiermacher and Plato must be distinguished. One approach focuses on Schleiermacher in his capacity as theologian or philosopher and asks, In what ways was Schleiermacher influenced by Plato or Platonism? The problem is that there are no defin-

itive texts to which we may appeal in any systematic fashion, and as a re- sult most who have addressed this question have done so by focusing on

a particular topic, whether that be dialectics, ethics, or education.'3 A sec-

ond approach focuses on Schleiermacher in his capacity as

philologist

part,

and asks, How did Schleiermacher understand Plato? For the most

the latter approach has been taken by philologists or philosophers.'4

However, unless and until this second question is addressed, the first

ques-

tion cannot be responsibly answered. In other words, the logically prior question is, Which Plato influenced Schleiermacher? For there were many

constructions of Plato, and many Platonisms, which Schleiermacher re- jected.

In the present essay, the first part of a larger study entitled Schleiermach- er's Plato, I shall take the second approach and focus on Schleiermacher

as a scholar of Plato, thereby hoping

to

fill

a lacuna

in

Schleier-

macher research, especially in the English-speaking world. That Schleier-

macher changed the course of Plato hardly makes for a new thesis-except

interpretation is incontrovertible and

it is a neglected and forgotten one,

My aim, therefore, is to

especially by those of us who are not philologists.

argue-by

means of an analysis of Schleiermacher's "General Introduc-

"

Schleiermacher

to C. G. von Brinckmann, June 9, 1800, in E D. E. Schleiermacher,

Kritische Gesamtausgabe(hereafter cited as KGA), pt.

Wolfgang

12

See

13

See

Virmond

(Berlin

and

New York: Walter

13/2,

p.

43.

GS, 13/1, pp. 166-79;

(respectively)

Krapf (n.

mit spezieller Berticksichtigung

langen,

1889);

Norbert

5,

Briefwechsel, ed. Andreas Arndt and

Schleiermachers

de Gruyter, 1985-), 4:82.

Tugendlehre

A. Henn, 1968).

6 above); Paul Kroker, "Die

der

Tugendlehre

Bedeutung des

Platos" (Ph.D. diss., Universitdit zu Er-

Platonismus fiir den Aufbau der Erziehung-

Vorsmann, Die

stheoriebei Schleiermacher und

  • 14 See the three introductory

Arndt, "Schleiermacher

und

Schleiermachers Platon"

der Szlezaik, "Schleiermachers

Herbart (Dtisseldorf:

essays

to Uber

Platon"

(pp. vii-xxii),

die Philosophie Platons (n. 3 above): Andreas

Peter M. Steiner, "Zur Kontroverse um

(pp. xxiii-xliv),

'Einleitung'

and Jantzen (n. 3 above); see also Thomas Alexan-

zur

Platon-OJbersetzung

von 1804: Ein

Vergleich four
Vergleich
four

(1997): 46-62.

Of these

mit Tiedemann und Tennemann,"

Antike und Abendland 43

scholars only Arndt is a Schleiermacher specialist.

209

The Journal of Religion

tion" to the Dialogues and a review of "modern" scholarship on Plato-

the thesis anew. Toward that end, I offer here a description of the transla-

tion project itself-its

conception, its tumultuous progress, and its publi-

cation (Sec. I); an exposition of three central themes in Schleiermacher's "General Introduction" that were novel to Plato research at the time and

that had a profound impact on subsequent Plato interpretation (Sec. II); and a discussion of three points of controversy in Schleiermacher's inter- pretation of Plato, one of which remains controversial (Sec. III). To un- derstand how Schleiermacher understood Plato is to understand Schleier- macher a little better.

I. CONCEPTION

OF THE PROJECT

In the very month that Schleiermacher "penned the last stroke"15to his

On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers, 16 he wrote to his friend Hen- riette Herz that he was taking on an even more formidable project in

collaboration with his friend Friedrich Schlegel: "Schlegel wrote to me

before my last visit to Berlin about a great coup which he wishes to

pro-

pose with me, and that is nothing less than to translate Plato. Oh! It is a

divine idea, and I fully believe that few are as well suited to the task. However, I dare not undertake it until some years hence, and then it has

to be undertaken free from every external

years it takes ought to be given no notice.

dependency ...

and how many

Indeed that is a mystery and

the

plan

for the

still lies far away."17According to its earliest conception,

Plato project was fourfold: Schlegel and Schleiermacher would each se-

lect the dialogues that suited him best, translate those, and send the translation complete with annotation to the other, who would offer a criti-

cal commentary; Schlegel would write an introduction, a "Study of Plato," using the newest scientific method; Schleiermacher would write a con-

cluding piece on the "Characterization of Plato"; and, last, the

dialogues

would be organized for the first time according to a historical ordering,

which,

Schlegel was convinced, was only waiting to be discovered.'8 Each

would become a matter of controversy between the two

of these points

collaborator-friends.

5 Schleiermacher to Herz,

16Schleiermacher,

1799).

Uber die

April 15,

1799, KGA, pt.

5, 3:90.

Religion: Reden an die Gebildetenunter ihren Verdchtern (Berlin,

17 Schleiermacher to Herz,

April

29, 1799, KGA,

pt.

5,

3:101.

's See E Schlegel to Schleiermacher, March 10 and 28, 1800 (KGA,

respectively);

einen

no.

the announcement of the Plato translation was in

2

Literatur-Zeitung, March 29, 1800 (in KGA, pt. 5, 3:431-32,

(1800): 493-94;

pt.

5, 3:412, 442-43,

the Intelligenzblatt der Allgem-

n.)

and

PoetischesJournal 1,

Schleiermacher to A. Boeckh, June 18, 1808 (GS, 13/2, pp. 70-75).

210

Schleiermacher

as Plato Scholar

Schlegel had clearly been the leader of the project.19 His name gave

weight to the project. It was he who had invited Schleiermacher to

help

in the project, he who had evidently dictated the original plan, and he

negotiations According to the agreement reached

who had undertaken

with the publisher Karl Frommann.

by Schlegel

and Frommann in late

winter 1800, the Plato translation was to be a two-volume work, with the

first volume appearing around Easter 1801. Schlegel communicated the

details of the agreement in a letter to Schleiermacher and

inquired

and on

His explanation

to

be

whether he would like to be named both in the announcement

the title page.20 That Schlegel even

had to ask such a question is curious;

that, rather than waiting for a reply, he unilaterally decided that only his

name would appear in the announcement is

startling.

after the fact was that "in the current Announcement I

prefer named alone; two names-that is too much for people and unnerves

them."21 Schlegel's

reaction to Schleiermacher's protest, which had ar-

rived too late to effect any change, was one of "astonishment." He saw no

need to apologize and remained

convinced that he had done nothing

beginning

of the

project

had

wrong, but he did express regret that the

been tainted by Schleiermacher's displeasure and offered reassurance

that his friend would be named on the title page

and in a special fore- question that antici-

word. He tried to justify his decision with a rhetorical

pated the eventual fate of the project: "How can two translate Plato to-

gether?"22

In a letter to his friend Carl Gustav von Brinckmann, Schleiermacher

mentioned the episode over the announcement without any

terness.23 Nevertheless, the

apparent

bit-

episode remained a sensitive issue between

Schlegel and

Schleiermacher, and in retrospect it proved to be a telling

already crept into the friendship

during the

profound disagreements that insatiable

sign of tensions that had

summer of 1799, as well as an omen of the

would define their collaboration on the Plato

project. Schlegel's need for money led to his taking on more projects than could be com-

19 There is some evidence to

suggest that the two had conceived the project together

of Kritische

during the first year of rooming together. However, Ernst Behler, the editor

Friedrich-Schlegel-Ausgabe (Mfinchen,

been

occupied

(see

with a translation

19:536).

macher

20

of

E Schlegel to Schleiermacher, ca.

He

went on to say that the work

inexpressibly

same

time

my powers. May heaven

pt. 5, 3:486).

Paderborn, Wien,

Plato as early as

1958-),

1796, long

argues

that

Schlegel

had

before he met

5, 3:412.

for I

Schleier-

21

22

See E Schlegel to Schleiermacher, March 10, 1800, KGA,

E Schlegel to Schleiermacher,

pt.

23

March 21, 1800, KGA, pt. 5, 3:431-32.

April 4, 1800, KGA,

on Plato "fills me with

pt. 5, 3:455.

enthusiasm,

am deeply,

at the

the limits of

imbued with veneration of Plato ever since I have known him-but

I

stand in

holy

awe before

him,

and

I fear

having

gone

beyond

help us" (Schleiermacher to Brinckmann, April 22, 1800, KGA,

211

The Journal of Religion

pleted, which often resulted in Schleiermacher's having to pick up the

slack.24 Moreover, Schlegel's personal life and erratic work habits, cou-

pled with the physical distance between

them, made it impossible for

profound

of all, however,

what their study of

year-between

the

pub-

pro-

them to meet any of their deadlines.25 Most

were their diverging interpretations of Plato and of Plato should look like. During the course of the next

appearance of the announcement in March 1800 and the scheduled

lication date of Easter 1801-these differences would become more

nounced, and an unacknowledged reversal of roles occurred. Whereas

Schlegel had begun the project as the acknowledged expert and Schleier-

macher as the awestruck novice, the latter's enthusiasm and

diligence

produced a new expertise that would surpass that of the former.26 In the end, Schlegel would himself admit that "the translation is perhaps really

not my strength."27 Already by the summer of 1800, Schleiermacher

friend Friedrich "seems not to think

translation, and he

Heindorf,

who

very seriously

was aware that his about"28 the Plato

Friedrich

the Phaedrus.29

in order to decide

found a more congenial partner in Ludwig

on

a critical edition

of

was working

Schlegel, for his part, reported that he was still reading

which texts he wanted to choose for himself but insisted that he nonethe-

less had the "chief ideas."30 He had, however,

begun

to cut corners, for

he suggested that his introduction could wait until the end. Schleier-

macher's long letter of

response

marked the first important turning point

just

do not see it," he wrote, adding,

"I

in their collaborative effort. "I

hope, since you are reading diligently and already have the chief ideas in

your head,

...

you can write it down."31 Clearly, he had

begun to chal-

lenge Schlegel's leadership: Did Schlegel really intend to remain silent

24

See E

Schlegel to Schleiermacher, March 28, 1800, KGA,

pt.

5, 3:443.

25

Hans Stock

a broader context

attributed

solely

argued that the falling-out between the two friends must be

interpreted in

cannot be

by claiming

that

than just the Plato project and that the tensions between them

to

Schlegel's personal faults; yet

he idealized the situation

the drift was a result of the different

of individuality ("Friedrich Schlegel

burg,

to

"an

1930]). Dilthey was harsher

opposition

between

work on Plato

foundational

in his

ways in which each internalized the Romantic notion

und

Schleiermacher" [Ph.D. diss., Universitat zu Mar-

assessment, attributing

divinatory

thought

the difference between them

of Schlegel and the solid,

(GS, 13/2,

p. 48).

"What studies I will have to do

So

inspired

I am

and never would I forgive myself,

the immature,

by

Schleiermacher"

Schleiermacher wrote to Brinckmann on June 9, 1800,

26

in order to be

by the whole venture, so

if

I produce here

Schlegel's worthy companion in the translation of Plato! ...

much

holy

reverence have I also,

something mediocre" (KGA, pt. 5, 4:82).

27

28

29

E Schlegel to Schleiermacher, May 5, 1803, ASL, 3:341.

Schleiermacher to Herz,

See L. Heindorf, Platonis

July 5, 1800, KGA, pt. 5, 4:119.

lin, 1802).

Dialogi Quattuor:Lysis, Charmides, Hippias Major, Phaedrus (Ber-

  • 30 E Schlegel to Schleiermacher, early July 1800, KGA, pt. 5, 4:122.

  • 31 Schleiermacher to E Schlegel, July 10-11,

1800, KGA, pt. 5, 4:145-51.

212

Schleiermacher

as Plato Scholar

about other scholarship on Plato? If Schlegel could not produce the intro- duction, should Schleiermacher undertake it instead? Schlegel accepted

the challenge, explaining that he was "Platonizing" very intensely, read- ing the dialogues again and again in order to discover authenticity and order. He also reasserted his leadership, incredulous that Schleiermacher would claim to have more expertise in the Phaedrus and stubborn in his

belief regarding the authenticity of certain dialogues, despite arguments to the contrary. Schleiermacher, however, remained unconvinced. He

criticized Schlegel for offering fragments rather than arguments and pressed for a more systematic approach to the dialogues. He had clearly grown impatient over Schlegel's "known passivity."32Schlegel, in turn, be- came suspicious that Schleiermacher just wanted to confiscate the most important material for himself. A second turning point occurred in December 1800, when Schlegel

finally came through with his "Complexus of Hypotheses," in which he offered a brief chronology of Plato's dialogues (divided according to the

three periods of Plato's career) and an even briefer explanation

of his

fundamental principles. Taking the concept of irony as his guiding prin- ciple, he arrived at the unusual conclusion that the Theages is authentic

and the Apology inauthentic. "Never before," he proclaimed, "was I more pleased with myself."33 Schleiermacher, neither pleased nor impressed,

warned that using irony as one's basic critical principle

"will only lead to

inconsistencies."34 Indifference can be harder to bear than harsh criti-

cism. Although at first seemingly unfazed by Schleiermacher's

reception

of his "Hypotheses," Schlegel later recalled the incident with some resent-

ment,

declaring that "the coldness with which you received my theory

excuses any lack on my

part."35 Schleiermacher simply

of ordering ....

thought that Schlegel occupied himself too much with the more theoreti-

cal question of how the dialogues should be ordered, while he himself

was certain that the philological task was the fundamental one. The

pre-

cise and painstaking work of translation, which, like Schlegel, he under-

stood to be an art, would yield the rest.

"Philosophy and the higher gram-

1801, when Schleier-

mar should therein revise each other."36 The final turn in the partnership came in April

macher, distressed that the publication date had come and gone, finally

32

Schleiermacher to E

Schlegel, September

13, 1800, KGA, pt. 5, 4:258. See also letter

dated October 20, 1800, KGA,

pt.

5, 4:299-300.

33

E

Schlegel

to Schleiermacher, December 8, 1800, KGA,

pt.

5, 4:352.

34

Schleiermacher to E

Schlegel, January 10, 1801, ASL, 3:251.

 

35

E

Schlegel

to Schleiermacher,

October

26, 1801, ASL, 3:295.

36

Schleiermacher

to E Schlegel,

February

7,

1801, ASL, 3:261.

Years later Schleier-

macher

gave

a fuller

in the dialogues (see

explanation

letter to E

of his own method for

determining

authenticity and order

Schlegel, October 10, 1804, ASL, 3:404-6).

213

The Journal of Religion

called Schlegel to task: "I must frankly confess to you, that, given

 

way

You show

you,

no

had not

the

in which you treat the Plato project and my part therein, you do every-

thing

possible

to spoil

any desire

for the whole

thing

....

no consideration for my activity: no replies to my criticisms of

shadow of ajudgment about anything from me, know whether you have read it or not. This lies

...

so that I do not even

beyond all excuse.""7 In

short, Schleiermacher had come to the conclusion that

Schlegel

only lost control of the material but had lost credibility as the chief con- tributor as well.

The rest of 1801 brought further disagreements

but also some conces-

sions and new promises. The two were reunited in Berlin for a few weeks

over the new year and were able then cording to Schleiermacher, however, no

to reaffirm their friendship. Ac- progress was made on the Plato

Schlegel

project during that visit. In 1802 more deadlines were missed,

moved to Paris with Dorothea Mendelssohn Veit, Schleiermacher took a position in Stolpe, and Frommann gave more than one ultimatum. In March 1803, Schleiermacher broached the subject of the inevitable and

gently urged

in

hand.

Schlegel

to hand the

project over, which Schlegel finally did

lay

[the Plato

project] in your

according

Schlegel

a letter dated May 5, 1803: "Friend, I

...

I entrust now to you the decision of the whole affair,

to the particular items which here follow."38In what followed,

assumed responsibility for the money owed to Frommann, retained his

right to write the introduction

his ordering, and tried to

should Schleiermacher choose

to adopt

tempta-

persuade Schleiermacher to resist the

dialogues.

tion to find "completeness" in the

That summer, Frommann,

too, pulled out of the project. Schleiermacher was therefore free to ar-

range a new contract with his friend and publisher,

set for Easter 1804, In his November

Plato, Schleiermacher

the project announced three

did so because he cal world that had

had to gain eagerly been

Georg

Andreas Rei-

unity

mer. "At least," Schleiermacher wrote to Reimer, "there will be more

in the whole

because Friedrich has pulled out."39The new deadline was

three years after the original publication

1803 "Report" for the forthcoming

date.

translation of

emphasized the continuity of his translation with

and a half years earlier; in

large

part

he

the respect of the literary and philologi-

anticipating

Schlegel's

translation and

"Study of Plato."40 Schleiermacher explained that, although Schlegel had

  • 37 Schleiermacher to E

Schlegel, April 27, 1801, ASL, 3:271-72.

May

5, 1803, ASL, 3:340.

  • 38 E Schlegel to Schleiermacher,

  • 39 Schleiermacher to Reimer, November 11, 1803, ASL, 3:370.

  • 40 Schleiermacher, "Anzeige die Ubersetzung des Platon betreffend," in

AllgemeinenLiteratur-Zeitung, November

rung," KGA, pt. 1,

12, 1803

Intelligenzblatt der

Einftih-

(in G. Meckenstock, "Historische

Schriften und Entwiirfe, 3:civ-cv; also in Arndt [n. 14 above], pp. xviii-xix, n.).

214

Schleiermacher

as Plato Scholar

failed to mention it, he had been involved in the project since its incep- tion and had gained the respect of two established philologists, Heindorf and G. L. Spalding. Whereas Schlegel had felt it necessary to end the contract, Schleiermacher found himself "incapable of leaving the work;

to the contrary, I find myself compelled in all ways to

attempt

it alone."

He was confident that this "feeling of necessity" would carry him through whatever difficulties, including his own limitations, he would encounter. Such modest disclaimers, however, belied the fact that Schleiermacher had in the previous three years gained tremendous confidence as a trans- lator and interpreter of Plato. He concluded his report saying that the friends of philosophy would be able to see for themselves where Schlegel and he were agreed, and where they deviated from one another. How precisely did they deviate? As Schleiermacher understood it, it

had less to do with their different opinions regarding the ordering and authenticity of the dialogues than with different views of the method and

task of philology itself. Schleiermacher reproached Schlegel and Schle-

gel's student, Friedrich Ast, for neglecting the

painstaking,

detailed

publication

on

historical-critical work of philology.41