The Young Ranke’s Vision of History and God (Excerpts from a letter to his brother Heinrich from Frankfurt/Oder, end of March 1820)
Now the vacation is coming, I am looking forward to important work. I would like to learn something of the life of the nations in the fi fteenth century, of the repeated opening up of all the sprouts which antiquity planted – as if now the old blossoms were gone, blown away, and the germ, long tended, was sprouting again. I know nothing about it yet. But I already know that this striving, forming, wanting did not remain with the literary nobility, but in a way was there with the common people. I know it from the Reformation. For although the Gospel was revealed originally to Luther by the grace of God, there are other reasons for the success of this message. Only dry wood goes up in fl ames immediately.