Religion, Rationality and Community: Sacred and secular in the thought of Hegel and his critics / Edition 1

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This study is an attempt to examine the relationships between religious belief and the humanism of the Enlightenment in the philosophy of Hegel and of a group of thinkers who related to his thought in various ways during the 1840's. It begins with a study of the ways in which Hegel attempted to evolve a genuinely Christian humanism by his demonstration that the modern understanding of man as a free and rational subject derived its strength and validity from the union of God and human existence in the incarnation. The rest of this study is con­ cerned with two different forms of opposition to Hegel: first, the criti­ cal discipleship of the Young Hegelians and Moses Hess, who insisted that Hegel's notion of Christian humanism was false because religious belief was necessarily inimical to a clear consciousness of social evil and the determination to abolish it; second, the religious opposition to the Enlightenment in the thought of Schelling and Kierkegaard, which emphasized God's transcendence to human reason and the insig­ nificance of secular history. In the years leading up to the revolution of 1848, Hegel's synthesis was rejected in favour of the assertion of atheistic humanism or religious otherworldliness. Chapter One, after discussing the young Hegel's critique of the social and political effects of Christianity, examines the union of religi­ ous belief, speculative philosophy and the rational state in Hegel's mature system.

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Table of Contents

1. Religion and Politics in the Philosophy of Hegel.- 1. The Opposition of Christianity and Community in Hegel’s Early Writings.- 2. The Divine Life-Process and Human Existence in Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion.- 3. The Divine Spirit in Human History.- 4. The Union of Divine and Human Subject in Sacred and Secular.- a. The Division of Sacred and Secular: the ‘Unhappy Consciousness’ and ‘Absolute Freedom’.- b. Subjectivity in the Religious Community and the Rational State.- 5. A Critical Conclusion: Hegel’s Synthesis of Religion, Rationality and Community.- a. Religion and Philosophy.- b. History of Ethics.- c. The State and Subjectivity.- 2. Bauer: Atheistic Humanism and the Critique of Religious Alienation.- 1. The Foundations of Atheism.- a. The Critical Dissolution of the Gospels.- b. The Transformation of Hegel’s Absolute Idealism.- 2. The Rights of Self-Consciousness and Political Freedom.- 3. The Psychopathology of the Religious Consciousness.- 4. Bauer’s Critique of Feuerbach: ‘Self-Consciousness’ in Opposition to ‘Species-Being’.- 5. Conclusion: Religious Alienation and the Human Subject.- 3. Political Utopia and the Philosophy of Action.- 1. Ruge: The Realization of Philosophy and Religion in Political Action.- 2. Hess: The Transcendence of Human ‘Pre-History’ in Social Utopia.- a. The Spirit in History.- b. The Ethical Deed.- c. Socialism and Human Nature.- d. Hess and Historical Materialism.- 3. Conclusion: The Ethical Will as Creator of the Future.- 4. Schelling’s Philosophy of Mythology and Revelation.- 1. The Critique of Hegel and the Foundations of Positive Philosophy.- 2. The Doctrine of the Powers and the Philosophy of Mythology.- 3. The Process of Salvation and Secular Freedom.- 4. Conclusion: The Fate of Schelling’s Positive Philosophy.- 5. Individualism and Religious Transcendence in Kierkegaard’s Thought.- 1. The Critique of Historical Immanentism.- a. In Ethics.- b. In Religion.- 2. Christianity and Secular Civilization.- a. Christendom and Christian Witness.- b. The Rejection of Liberalism.- 3. Kierkegaard’s Christian Utopia.- 6. Conclusion.- 1. Religion and Atheistic Humanism in the Critique of Hegel.- 2. The Ambivalence of Hegel’s Synthesis of History and the Absolute.- Notes.

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