First delivered as a short laudatory speech on the occasion of Hans Blumenberg receiving the Sigmund Freud Prize for Academic Prose in 1980, this essay by the German philosopher Odo Marquard served as a eulogy at a memorial event for Blumenberg after his death in 1996. Marquard, who was a colleague of Blumenberg’s at the University of Giessen between 1965 and 1970, offers one of the first and still most influential attempts at condensing Blumenberg’s thought to a basic idea: willfully reductive, Marquard argues that all of Blumenberg’s books can be read as a variation on the theme of “unburdening from the absolute”—the task of human beings to keep an overwhelming reality at bay. Marquard thus interprets him mainly as a proponent of the German current of “philosophical anthropology.” The text also sheds light on Blumenberg’s relationship to finitude, his life and reclusiveness, and his writing technique.

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