Kierkegaard contra Hegel on the'Absolute Paradox'

Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain 59:54-66 (2009)
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In the Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion Hegel propounds three inter-related theses: (1) The radical continuity of religion and philosophy. (2) The view that philosophy renders in conceptual form the essence of what Christianity consists in and thus transcends the merely subjective vantage-point of faith. (3) Philosophy alone shows Christianity to be rational and necessary. Kierkegaard’s pseudonym, Johannes Climacus, attacks all three of these theses in Conculding Unscientific Postscript, and he introduces the category of the ‘absolute paradox’ (the Christian Incarnation) in order to do so. It is consequently a mistake to think, as Jon Stewart (2003) does, that Climacus has no quarrel with Hegel himself, but only with the Danish neo-Hegelians such as Heiberg and Martensen. For as the present paper will show, Climacus and Hegel in fact have diametrically opposed conceptions of Christianity and so could not fail to be at loggerheads with each other



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Genia Schönbaumsfeld
University of Southampton

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