The Return of the Initiate

The Owl of Minerva 22 (2):191-208 (1991)
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Abstract

The question of the import and role of Christian allusions in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit has received much historical attention, and this continues into the present. Often juxtaposed in this interpretive issue are two questions: Does Hegel think that “the ontological project was first a Greek event from which Christianity would have developed an outer graft”? Or is it more accurate to say that, “for Hegel at least, no ontology is possible before the Gospel or outside it”? In the latter case, Hegel might well place the Greeks precisely where Dante had - in the First Circle of Hell. Those who would make Hegel first a philosopher in the Socratic line tend to emphasize his early work. Those who would make Hegel first a Christian tend to emphasize the later work. This question is too broad to find adequate discussion in the present essay.

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Randall E. Auxier
Southern Illinois University - Carbondale

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