Hodgson on behalf of Hegel, the concealed priesthood in Western philosophy and the supremacist lie of Western ‘reason’ 

Francisco de Zurbarán, Saint Francis in Meditation, 1635-1639, oil on canvas, National Gallery, London

Francisco de Zurbarán, Saint Francis in Meditation, 1635-1639, oil on canvas, National Gallery, London

‘Our age is like that of the Roman Empire in its abandonment of the question of truth, its smug conviction that no cognitive knowledge of God can be had, its reduction of everything to merely historical questions, its privatism, subjectivism, and moralism, and the failure of its teachers and clergy to lead the people. It is indeed an apocalyptic time, but the world must be left largely to its own devices in solving its problems. Philosophy can resolve this discord only in a manner appropriate to itself, by zealously guarding the truth, but it must recognise that its resolution is only partial. The community of Spirit as such is not passing away, but it does seem to be passing over from the ecclesiastical priesthood to the philosophical; if so, the truth of religion will live on in the philosophical community, in which it must now seek refuge.’

From the Editorial Introduction by Peter C.Hodgson in G.W.F.Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, vol. III, The Consummate Religion, ed. Peter C. Hodgson, trans. R.F.Brown, P.C.Hodgson and J.M.Stewart, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2007, 23

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6 thoughts on “Hodgson on behalf of Hegel, the concealed priesthood in Western philosophy and the supremacist lie of Western ‘reason’ 

  1. Well, I do agree that our culture and the cultures around us are seeking out philosophy for truth. I see conflicted perspectives in the church, though. I see some leaders who sacrificially give of themselves to lead their people in the search for truth, yet also compassionately meeting tangible needs. I also sometimes see, unfortunately, the stark reality of leaders who are addicted to religion and seek to make mindless followers who seemingly are taught not to question, not to seek, but only to become mindless clones of religion. My heart aches for them all. I believe that when Christ had his harshest of words and rebukes, it was only for those that insisted on weighing others down with burdensome regulations, not because rules are bad, but because the motive for their rule making was apparently not ultimately out of love and compassion. With my children, I delight in keeping them safe and teaching them how to be wise in their choices. I enjoy nothing more than seeing them live a life of love for God, while living a life of love toward others. This means that we have certain rules and guidelines for behavior. If I became self focused and began to demand perfection in my children, then I would be failing to properly guide them into love.
    I think the crucial issue today is that too often, we see a leader, and disagree with their behavior, so we instantly associate that human behavior with whoever they represent. We assume that all others who agree with them are exactly like them. Perhaps by seeking out philosophy, we are attempting to separate ourselves from exposure to human error. Interestingly, isn’t philosophy mostly brought about by humans? 🙂

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    • Hello Gracie,
      thank you for your sincere comment. Hodgson paraphrased Hegel’s criticism not only of the ecclesiastical priesthood of his day and of the belief that God cannot be ‘cognitively’ known but, more broadly, of the loss of a true relationship with God – one that a priesthood of philosophers (with an Hegelian perspective) could heal.

      Many, as you know, have pointed to differences between the life of Christ and that of institutions built on his name.

      While philosophy is, as you process, brought about by humans, it too is built on tolerance and truthfulness, is antipathetic to both servility and the lust for power and is the acquired skill for asking the best, most disruptive questions.
      Best wishes, Phil

      Liked by 1 person

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