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In the (philosophical) sentence (from around 1860)

Man scheut sich, dem Logischen oder der Idee den Übergriff über das Reale einzuräumen, und es gibt Denker, die das Ideale und das Reale wenigstes im Gleichgewicht halten möchten; aber wenn man dennoch das Persönliche will, so sollte man bedenken, daß die Persönlichkeit, ihrem Wesen nach, ein über das Real-Natürliche Übergreifendes ist und auf einem Geltendmachen der Idee beruht, ferner, daß dieser Übergriff eben nur dann als ein Berechtigter erscheint, wenn das Real-Natürliche selbst an sich als von der Idee gesetzt und als ein von ihr zu Übergreifendes betrachtet wird.

I have (i) problems with identifying which sort of grammatical construction

zu Übergreifendes

represent?

While the previous "Übergreifendes" is easy to translate (to something like "overarching"), I have (ii) problems with translating the ultimate "zu Übergreifendes"?

  • I would need more context. In original orthography, too. – Dan Sep 16 at 18:37
  • Note that "etwas zu Übergreifendes" is an archaic remnant of a Gerundivum like in "ein zu lesendes Buch" -> a book that must/should be read, or more contemporary example, substantivized: "der Auszubildende" -> someone who must be educated – tofro Sep 16 at 21:21
  • tofro: But how would you then translate this "zu Uebergreifendes"? – Helge Sep 17 at 17:22
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Physisch kann eine Brücke den Rhein übergreifen. Der Rhein ist dann das von der Brücke zu Übergreifende. (Wieso Dein Text, der ansonsten Umlaute enthält, wie in 'natürliche', beim Übergriff immer zum Ue greift, entzieht sich meiner Kenntnis.)

Hier geht es um eine Realität, die von einer Idee übergriffen wird. Dass die Idee übergreifend ist, nicht schlicht ergreifend, besagt, dass sie das Reale komplett umschließt, nicht etwa nur einen Teil zu fassen bekommt.

Gegen Vectorys Lesart, dass das zu eine Überschreitung markiert wie in "das Wasser ist zu heiß" spricht, dass der Übergriff als berechtigt charakterisiert wurde - das schließt, meine ich, seine Interpretation aus. Das wäre eine Widerspruch in sich.

  • Wenn eine Brücke in Zukunft den Rhein übergreifen soll, dann ist sie eine zu Übergreifende. Tut sie das, nachdem sie gebaut ist, ist sie eine Übergreifende (Vielleicht - Ich weiß jetzt wirklich nicht, ob Brücken Flüsse überhaupt übergreifen, glaube das aber eher nicht. – tofro Sep 19 at 13:50
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In modern German (and in other contexts) the noun "der Übergriff" is

  • encroachment
  • infringement
  • violation
  • assault
  • attack

but the literal meaning of the compound noun that is built from "über" and "Griff" comes from its components:

  • über (adjective, adverb)

    • across
    • atop
    • above
    • about
    • over
    • via
    • hyper...
  • der Griff (noun)

    • grip
    • holder
    • handle
    • grasp

The noun "der Übergriff" as used in your text is much more related to the verb übergreifen than it is in modern German.

  • übergreifen (verb)
    • to encroach
    • to grab over
    • to overlap
    • to flash over (fire)

Note, that there is a very similar German noun, that would also fit into the text instead of "Übergriff":

  • der Überbegriff
    • umbrella term

(der Begriff = term, concept; begreifen = to understand, to realize, but also to grasp. So "der Begriff" is the thing that you understand, and it comes from "the thing that you can grasp, touch and feel")

All in all, in this context I would translate Übergriff simply as

the umbrella term

This does not match exactly the intended meaning, but is very close.

Also note, that the author makes excessive usage of nominalization. This means here, that he uses terms as nouns, that in everyday speech would only be used as adjectives. You can do this in German, but it's rare and makes the text hard to read. You can find this stile often in old academic texts. (The intention of the authors was to deliberately make the text harder to understand, because they hoped, that the readers believe, that the author must be a genius if he is able to express himself this way.)

You have to translate the text together with the context and the intention of the writer:

    • Man scheut sich, dem Logischen oder der Idee den Übergriff über das Reale einzuräumen.
    • People are (one is) afraid to grant logicnoun and idea to stand above the real.
    • Es gibt Denker, die das Ideale und das Reale wenigstes im Gleichgewicht halten möchten.
    • There are thinkers (philosophers), who want to keep the ideal and the real on the same level. (literal: in balance)
    • Aber wenn man dennoch das Persönliche will, so sollte man bedenken, daß die Persönlichkeit, ihrem Wesen nach, ein über das Real-Natürliche Übergreifendes ist und auf einem Geltendmachen der Idee beruht.
    • But if you still want the personalnoun, so you should reflect, that personality by nature is something that covers the real-naturalnoun and is based on an assertion (enforcement) of the idea.
      (Literal: "... personality by nature is an over the real-natural spanning" where "over the real-natural spanning" has to be handled as one term (think of it as one multi-word noun)
    • Ferner (sollte man bedenken), daß dieser Übergriff eben nur dann als ein Berechtigter erscheint, wenn das Real-Natürliche selbst an sich als von der Idee gesetzt und als ein von ihr zu Übergreifendes betrachtet wird.
    • (You should reflect) furthermore, that this coverage just only in this case appears as a beneficiary (legitimatednoun), if the real-naturalnoun itself will be seen as being stated by the idea, and something to be covered by it.
  • HS:I would like to learn your comment to my rephrasing, especially the ultimate part: One is afraid to concede the logic and the idea to transcend the real, and there are thinkers who want to keep the ideal and the real at least in balance; but if one nevertheless wants the personal, one should bear in mind that personality, by its very nature, is transcending the real-natural and is based on the assertion of the idea, further, that this transcendence only appears to be justified if the real-natural is considered to be separate from the idea and something to be transcended by the idea. – Helge Sep 18 at 11:40
  • ... and something which so to say should be transcended by the idea. would better reflect the "zu Uebergreifedes" – Helge Sep 18 at 12:06
  • @Helge: I did not say anything about transcendence, nor was this term part of your text. And neither me nor the original author did say anything about separation of the real-natural from the idea. The text says, that it is justified only if the idea states/sets/puts (I think he means creates) the real-natural, and if the real-natural will be seen as something that has to be covered/overlapped/ruled by the idea. The verb "to transcend" means to go beyond something. This meaning is nowhere in the text. The text is talking about hierarchies: Which term rules which. – Hubert Schölnast Sep 18 at 20:59
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Your original text is partway written in somewhat archaic scientific German, using forms like "als ein zu Übergreifendes", which is a remnant of the Latin Gerundivum, meaning "something that needs to be overruled/infringed" - here: "is being accepted by the real-natural as something that may overrule it" (This archaic form is closely related to "he is to order a new TV" meaning "must order" in English).

The rest of the terminology is also a bit awkward to translate. In my opinion, "das Ideale" needs to be translated with "ideology" rather than "the ideal", while "das Persönliche" rather targets at "individuality" than "the personal".

Giving logic or ideas superiority over reality is eschewed and there are thinkers who at least want to keep a balance between ideology and reality; however, if individuality is a target, it should be noted that individuality is, in essence, somewhat beyond the real-natural, as well based on legitimity of an ideology, and that this uverruling is only accepted when the real-natural is based on the ideology itself and also accepts itself as to be transcended.

Using the above, the sentence starts to make sense (at least to me) both in German and in English - What it is meant to be saying is that individuality ("das Persönliche") is both based on accepting the reality/nature as is, but still thriving towards the ideal, the individual accepting ideology as a concept that may overrule/extend/transcend pure rationality.

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