Rosenzweig and DH

“Verification” or “corroboration” in English, “Bewährung” is a key concept proposed by Rosenzweig first in the Star. “Bewährung” proposes a criterion of truth by which non-scientific ideas and practices, such as those of religion, can be evaluated. For Rosenzweig, religious beliefs cannot be “proved” as “true” or “valid,” but rather show themselves to be (are “corroborated as”) “true” and “valid” through human work and participation.

“Bewährung” offers an example of how the annotation and tagging of intertextual references can reveal the revision, reuse, and development of a  particular idea:

Truth must therefore be corroborated, and just in the way in which it is generally denied; namely, by letting the “whole” truth rest on itself and yet taking the share that we comply with for eternal truth. (Star of Redemption, 1921)

There is a way that a time, an –ism, or something similar can become absolute. […] It’s a question of a becoming-absolute, not of a being-absolute […] in a certain sense, a being-absolute by partial payments. It depends on if the installments are paid on time […] Hence, logically (new-logically) speaking: it depends not on proof, but on corroboration. (Letter to Siegfried Kracauer, 1923)

Thus truth ceases to be what “is” true and becomes that which has to be corroborated as true. [… ] From those most unimportant truths of the type “two times two is four” […] the way leads over those truths for which man is willing to pay, to those he cannot corroborate in any other way than with the sacrifice of his life, and finally to those whose truth can be corroborated only by staking the lives of all generations. (“The New Thinking,” 1925)

“Bewährung” circumvents “proving” the “significance” of digital scholarship, by providing an alternative understanding of “significance” or “relevance” dependent on the work we as scholars “invest” into a project, and our students willingness to continue such projects.