“First possible significance of ‘modern’: ‘current’ [(gegenwärtig)] as distinguished from former [(vorherig)]. . . .
“Second possible significance of ‘modern’: ‘new’ as distinguished from ‘old’. . . .
“Third possible significance of ‘modern’: ‘passing [away]’ [(vorübergehend)] as distinguished from ‘eternal’ [(ewig)].
“This [third] significance of the predicate ‘modern’ becomes possible whenever a present and its concepts can be conceived by contemporaries as [the] ‘past of a future present’. It comes into its own [(gewinnt ihr volles Recht)] when it is used to designate a present [(bei der Bezeichnung einer Gegewart)] experienced as passing [away] so swiftly that one can no longer set over against it, as in the case of the second possible significance of ‘modern’, a past qualitatively different [in character], but only eternity as source of tranquility [(als ruhenden Pol)].”
Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, “Modern, Modernität, Moderne,” in Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe: Historische Lexikon zur politisch-sozialen Sprache in Deutschland, ed. Otto Brunner, Werner Conze, and Reinhart Koselleck, vol. 4 (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1978), p. 96 (pp. 93-131).