Johann Georg Hamann (2612 words)

  • John R. Betz (University of Notre Dame )

Among the German authors of the eighteenth century, none can claim the distinction of being so revered by his contemporaries and so forgotten by posterity as Johann Georg Hamann, otherwise known as the “Magus of the North”. Admittedly, to some of the lesser critics (and to some modern historians), he was an obscure “irrationalist” and “enemy” of the Enlightenment. By the greatest intellectuals of the age, however, he was almost unanimously regarded as a “wise man” and seer. To Herder, his first disciple, he was the German Socrates, whose ideas he popularized. To Goethe, he was “the brightest mind of his day” [“der hellste Kopf seiner Zeit”], “an original mind” [“

Betz, John R.. "Johann Georg Hamann". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 August 2005
[, accessed 24 October 2016.]