If literary theory recently has undergone a fundamental change, the question arises: is it possible that the very nature of theory has itself changed? This paper argues that Walter Benjamin’s essay “The Task of the Translator” provides some strategies that allow us to take up this question. In order to make this clear, one must first bear in mind that Benjamin’s essay implies a new understanding of literary theory by stating that a general theory of understanding has to be designed by using the form of a translation theory that (in contrast to a simple translation) specifies the conditions that must be filled in order for the utterances of one’s own language to be seen as synonymous with those of a foreign language. Thus, like Donald Davidson after him, Benjamin had come to the conclusion that translation must be fused with the interpretational theory of translation in order to avoid infinite regresses. This, however, ultimately means that literary theory is — as pure or true language — the virtual goal, and not the precondition of any cognition that arises from the perspective of literary studies.