Journal Article

The Principle of Protestantism: On Hegel's (Mis)Reading of Schleiermacher's <i>Speeches</i>

Kipton E. Jensen

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 71, issue 2, pages 405-422
Published in print June 2003 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online June 2003 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jaar/71.2.405
The Principle of Protestantism: On Hegel's (Mis)Reading of Schleiermacher's Speeches

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The initial and, for G. W. F. Hegel, decisive clash in the Schleiermacher–Hegel conflict occurred in 1802, when, in the process of mounting a more general critique of the reflective philosophy of subjectivity (Faith and Knowledge), Hegel refers to Friedrich Schleiermacher's On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers as but a slight variation on the philosophy of Friedrich Jacobi; and because Jacobi's philosophical standpoint is maligned, Schleiermacher is guilty by association. The Schleiermacher–Jacobi association is illustrative of Hegel's Jena period theory of philosophical criticism. Although Hegel might have misread Schleiermacher in other ways, he may well have been correct in this: For Schleiermacher, not unlike Kant, Fichte, and especially Jacobi, “what is truly Absolute is an absolute Beyond in faith and in feeling; for cognitive Reason it is nothing.” Before he arrived in Berlin, long before Marx's quip to the contrary, Hegel not only wanted to understand his contemporaries; he wanted also to change them.

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Subjects: Religious Studies

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