Chapter

Christianity and the Concept of Religion

Peter C. Hodgson

in Hegel and Christian Theology

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199273614
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602443 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199273618.003.0004
Christianity and the Concept of Religion

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Hegel in his lectures first sets forth a philosophical definition of the concept of religion, then traces the development of the concept in the various determinate religions of humanity, and finally finds the consummation of the concept in the Christian religion. The concept of religion can be approached both empirically and phenomenologically. When the latter takes on speculative form it grasps religion as the self-consciousness of absolute spirit mediated in and through finite consciousness: religion is both a divine and a human action. This truth appears partially in the historical religions and completely in Christianity, which is described by Hegel as the consummate or absolute religion, the revelatory and revealed religion, and the religion of truth, freedom, and reconciliation. The chapter examines Hegel’s speculative redescription of the Christian metanarrative and asks whether his claims on behalf of this religion are excessive, heterodox, and/or heretical.

Keywords: concept; concept of religion; empiricism; phenomenology; speculation; Christianity; consummation; absolute; revelation

Chapter.  10849 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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