Notes on Hegel’s Ladder

The Owl of Minerva 33 (1):97-105 (2001)
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Abstract

I want in these brief Notes to offer some critical observations on a text I admire very much. It appeared only after I had finally finished writing a work of my own, entitled Dialectic and Gospel in the Development of Hegel’s Thinking. This work focuses on Hegel’s assessments, interpretations, and transformations in Phenomenology of Spirit and writings that preceded it, of the basic religious narrative, from creation to last judgment, that Christian writers have avowed but variously interpreted since New Testament times. So I will be discussing Hegel’s Ladder from a point of view formed in my long labors on that work, and with its focus in mind. I will be brief and as clear as I am able to be, painting with a broad brush without documentation, because my views have been documented in some detail in my book. Judging, in fact, from the fair-minded review of the book by Daniel Shannon that appeared in the Spring 2001 issue of the Owl, I may have been so detailed as to have lost the forest in the trees: all the more reason to keep things uncluttered here, so as to join a few issues. Not included in issues I consider worth discussing, however, are such questions as whether Hegel was a Christian, or a Christian apologist, or an atheist, or whether any sort of Christian might be eligible for Professor Harris’s Republic of the Learned.

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