Monday 11 July 2005

Hegel and Theology

Hegel’s thought has profoundly influenced modern theology. This influence is often only implicit, but several theologians have sought to bring Hegel explicitly into the contemporary theological discussion. The most stimulating studies of this kind include:

Hans Küng, The Incarnation of God: An Introduction to Hegel's Theological Thought as Prolegomena to a Future Christology, trans. J. R. Stephenson (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1987); xv, 601 pp. This profound and wide-ranging exploration of Hegel’s theological thought focuses especially on Hegel’s vision of the historicity of God’s being. You can also find a crisp summary of the book's argument in Hans Küng, Does God Exist? An Answer for Today, trans. Edward Quinn (Garden City: Doubleday, 1980), pp. 127-188.

Eberhard Jüngel, God as the Mystery of the World: On the Foundation of the Theology of the Crucified One in the Dispute between Theism and Atheism, trans. Darrell L. Guder (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983); vxi, 414 pp. This brilliant work on the doctrine of God includes a detailed analysis of Hegel’s concept of the “death of God”, and of the significance of this concept for theological reflection.

Peter C. Hodgson, God in History: Shapes of Freedom (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1989); 287 pp. This work offers a creative response to postmodern thought through a deep engagement with Hegel’s trinitarian and historical conception of God’s being. Hodgson is a leading authority on Hegel, and has been an editor and translator of Hegel's Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion.

And for a thorough exposition of Hegel’s theological thought, we now have Hodgson’s important new work: Peter C. Hodgson, Hegel and Christian Theology: A Reading of the Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005); 318 pp.

1 Comment:

Shane said...

I'm not sure Hegel is helpful at all to a Christian theologian. But then again, I'm a medievalist and don't tend to think any philosopher born after 1450 is helpful for Christian theology.

For a thorough, sensitive treatement of Hegel's theology, see William Desmond's, Hegel's God: A Counterfeit Double published in the last year or two by Ashgate.

shane wilkins

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