Any discussion of Thomas Metzger's book, Escape from Predicament, must begin with an evaluation of its possible meanings, not exegetical arguments over his specific reading and selection of texts. Most exegeses are reduced to quibbling over the interpretation of texts and the decision to use certain writings over others. This is possible because of a mistaken belief that the whole—the thesis or argument—is reducible to its parts. Moreover, it is precisely because of a tacit agreement with the general argument that critics usually resort to the form of a commentary. But, it is important to note, the overall effect of such a mode is to confirm the study under examination in its broad outline. It is my intention to concentrate on some of the terms which made this book possible and gave it a specific orientation. Yet, in so doing, I should say at the outset that I will focus on three large areas of discussion: the construal of history and its function for the discourse on modernization; the problematik informing this construing; and the problem of reading texts.

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