From Gershom Scholem, Walter Benjamin: The Story of a Friendship:
Philosophy in Jena was rather annoying to me. I despised Rudolf Eucken, who looked unbelievably formal and spoke that way as well....Bruno Bauch's lectures, on the other hand, were mandatory, and to the extent they dealt with Kant, of interest to me, for I read a great deal on Kant that half-year....in the course of the semester I became acquainted with the polemic against Cohen, initiated by a lady, in the journal Kant-Studien, which betokened a nationalistic and mild but unmistakable anti-Semitic orientation on the part of certain neo-Kantians. On the positive side, I was drawn to two very dissimilar teachers. One of these was Paul F. Linke, an unorthodox pupil of Husserl, who induced me to study a major portion of Husserl's Logische Untersuchungen, about which Benjamin had only an indistinct impression from his Munich period. The other was Gottlob Frege, whose Grundlagen der Arithmetik I was reading along with related writings by Bachmann and Louis Couturat (Die philosophischen Prinzipien der Mathematik). I attended Frege's one-hour lectures on "Begriffsschrift". At that time I was greatly interested in mathematical logic -- ever since I had discovered Schroeder's Vorlesungen ueber die Algebra der Logik in a second-hand bookshop in Berlin. These and similar attempts to attain a pure language of thought greatly fired my imagination. The logic of Hermann Lotze, which we read in Bauch's major seminar, left me cold. For my seminar paper I wrote a defense of mathematical logic against Lotze and Bauch; the latter listened to it in silence. The linguistic-philosophical element of a conceptual language wholly purged of mysticism, as well as the limits of the latter, seemed clear to me. I reported to Benjamin about this, and he asked me to send him my seminar paper. In those days I fluctuated between two poles of mathematical and mystical symbolism -- much more so than Benjamin, whose mathematical talent was slight; he was then and for a long time to come an adherent of mystical views of language.
As for Frege, who was almost as old as Eucken and like him wore a white beard, I enjoyed his unpompous manner, which so agreeably contrasted with Euken's. But in Jena hardly anyone took Frege seriously.
There is a lot to say about the significance of this passage of Scholem, from a memoir about his relationship with Benjamin (even ignoring the tragic irony that Frege was himself an anti-semite, though perhaps, as these pages suggest, a closeted one). Of course Scholem's own work on the Kabbalah led him to be interested in all sorts of attempts to devise universal languages, even ones of the non-mystical variety. But I also think it shows the great gap between the European humanist tradition and current American humanism. It is scarcely conceivable today that an American historian (or cultural anthropologist, or literary theorist), even of Scholem's stature, would write that groundbreaking work on mathematical logic "fired her imagination" as an undergraduate, much less evince such startlingly acute judgment about what philosophical work was likely to bear future fruit (indeed, it is unlikely that the typical contemporary American humanist has even been exposed to mathematical logic as part of his undergraduate education). This accords with my suspicion that the uniquely American attitude in the humanities towards philosophy has much more to do with the very different conception of the humanities prevailing now in the United States than it does with the putatively changing nature of philosophical inquiry.