Critique, Commentary and Translation

A Conference at the University of Tel-Aviv, 15-17 December 2019

This conference will be devoted to exploring the relation of philosophy’s notion of critique and practices of textual commentary, translation and interpretation, as they come together in the formation of a tradition of thought. We tend to distinguish between philosophical forms of interpretation and appropriation of the past and practices of reading that are literary and philological in character. We aim to problematize this distinction, asking both about the philological dimension internal to the transformation of philosophical concepts as well as the epistemo- critical moment in reading literary texts. The late eighteenth and early nineteenth century provides a rich context for the questions we wish to explore. It will allow us to consider the formation of the Kantian and Idealist tradition of philosophy as it informs and is refracted in theories and practices of translation (for instance in Herder, Goethe and Hölderlin), scriptural interpretation (as in Mendelssohn and in Schleiermacher), literary critique (in Schlegel and the early Romantics), as well as in linguistic anthropology (Humboldt). Another important juncture for exploring these question in the conference will be the renewal of Kantian and Idealist thought in early twentieth century: we will pursue such questions as the relation between religious sources and the history of reason in Cohen, translation and the presentation of a universal language in Frege and Benjamin, as well as the implications of the conception of logic as grammar in Rosenzweig and Wittgenstein.

The conference is organized jointly by Jim Conant (Leipzig), Eli Friedlander (Tel-Aviv) and Johannes Haag (Potsdam), and it is funded by the German Israeli Fund (GIF), the University of Chciago Center for German Philosophy, the Humboldt Foundation and the FAGI.


bianca.ancillotti [at]


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Tel Aviv University, Gilman Building, Drachlis Hall, Room 496


15-17 December 2019

Conference Materials:

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Bianca Ancillotti (Leipzig)

Hent de Vries (NYU)

Ilit Ferber (TAU)

Menachem Fisch (TAU)

Paul Franks (Yale)

Christoph Koenig (Osnabrück)

Yuval Kremnitzer (TAU)

Christian Martin (München)

Benjamin Pollock (Hebrew U.)



Arata Hamawaki (Auburn)

James Conant (Chicago / Leipzig) 

Eli Friedlander (TAU)

Moran Godess Riccitelli (Potsdam)

Keren Gorodeisky (Auburn)

Johannes Haag (Potsdam)

Gal Katz (Columbia)

Paul North (Yale)

Jonathan Soen (Leipzig)


Conference Sponsors: