In: KulturPoetik 2002, Heft 2


Mounir Fendri


›Kultur‹ und ›Barbarei‹ im Kontext der Aufklärung.
Zu drei Berichten deutscher Maghreb-Reisender (Christian G. Ludwig, G.F.E. Schönborn, August von Einsiedel)




The point of view of a high-ranking European official, who stipulated categorically the inferiority of the Islamic world in comparison with the Christian Western civilization, evidently does not spring from recent events (as the shocking impact of 11 September 2001) but goes back to a well-ingrained tradition. In the 19thand 20th century it was used as a major argument for the colonialist propaganda to recommend the submission of these ›barbarian countries‹ as a noble act of civilization and humanism. But it is essentially in the rationalist 18th century that this attitude – in its modern version which supersedes the polemico-apologetic one of the Christian Church – and the discourse inherent to it, took shape and that their theoretical foundations were decisively developed. The present article aims to analyse this issue through the testimonies of three representatives of German culture and sciences in the 18th century who visited some Islamic countries and wrote down their impressions and reflections.