Hegel’s Account of Christianity and Religious Alienation

European Journal for Philosophy of Religion (forthcoming)
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Abstract

In his Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, Hegel argues that the development of the religions of the world leads up to Christianity, which is the one true religion. One key element which separates Christianity from the other religions, for Hegel, concerns the issue of alienation. He claims that the previous religions all contain some form of alienation, which can be found in their conceptions of the divine. I wish to examine Hegel’s view that Christianity alone overcomes religious alienation. What is it that makes Christianity so special in this regard? This is a particularly important issue given that the question of alienation is so central in the post-Hegelian thinkers such as Feuerbach, Bauer, and Marx, who all insist that, far from overcoming alienation, Christianity is guilty of causing it. I argue that this issue provides new insight into the old criticism of Hegel as a thinker of abstraction.

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