If the history of thinking is to be considered a series of creative errors, then the history of Durkheim’s reception in Germany is certainly a case study in creativity. In few other occasions can we observe such a long series of misunderstandings accompanied by such fruitful and innovative reflections on the grounding fields of sociology. The reasons for the split between the amount of attention addressed to Durkheim and the accuracy of the interpretations of his work are various, and this Special Issue aims to shed light on some of them. Classical sociological dichotomies such as action and structure, individualism and holism, positivism and hermeneutics all seem to suggest that this split can be explained in terms of concurring methodological traditions. From this perspective, French and German sociological debates would be understood as endogenously producing and transmitting knowledge of the social according to the epistemological programmes that characterize each tradition. However, a closer look at sociological debates shows how German and French sociology cannot be simply opposed one to the other as expressing two different predetermined realities.