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Between 1890 and the 1920s petrologists and mineralogists began to apply concepts of theoretical chemistry – in particular, the concept of chemical equilibrium – to the study of metamorphic rocks. The majority of the petrological community, however, hesitated to apply the new method on a large scale to metamorphism. Focusing on the works of Becke, Goldschmidt and Eskola, some early approaches to a linkage of metamorphic petrology and theoretical chemistry are reviewed. The controversial discussion, particularly of Goldschmidt's classical study of the Christiania area, led Miyashiro to distinguish two paradigms of early twentieth-century metamorphic petrology. With regard to the contemporary discussion, as well as to Miyashiro's interpretation, this paper is concluded by an epilogue on 'image and logic', which is intended to relate the paradigms of early modern metamorphism to different cultures, and 'national styles' of Earth sciences in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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