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Hegelianism

ROBERT R. WILLIAMS


Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631198963.2005.x


Extract

Hegel's relation to theology has always been controversial, because the complexity of Hegel's project is bound to stimulate controversy. Moreover, although his thought is famous, it is rarely studied in depth. In a pluralistic age many critics fail to see the need to respond to a now discredited Enlightenment rationalism, much less appreciate Hegel's project of responding to the Enlightenment's sceptical critique of theology as metaphysics that culminates with Immanuel Kant. Hegel's philosophy, like Friedrich von Schelling's, is a post-Enlightenment attempt to restore theology to its pride of place among the philosophical disciplines. In the first paragraph of his Enzyklopädie ([1830a] 1971) Hegel asserts that philosophy and religion have the same object and concern, namely truth, and that God and only God is the truth. Yet Hegel does not simply return to precritical modes of thought, according to which theology is a special metaphysical science of a supersensible highest being. Hegel does not bypass the critique of metaphysics, but accepts it. Accordingly, his project involves both a critique of traditional theology and a reconstruction of theology. This double focus has given rise to the suspicion that Hegel's thought may be atheistic and subversive of theology. Such views are held by those who tend to regard the tradition as an ahistorical preserve of truth that, unproblematic ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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