Hegel the consummate Neoplatonist 11c

11.3.3 Hegel’s ‘Trinity’ – symbolism and allegory within a Neoplatonic metaphor

Hegel’s philosophy is not Christian. Nor is his treatment of the Trinity consistent with Christian Neoplatonism – with Christian belief deeply influenced by Neoplatonism, as was that of the cardinal Cusanus.1 His philosophy does establish him as the consummate Neoplatonist.2

Hegel believed that the doctrine of the Trinity is the basis of Christianity and it is held in academia, as Hegel wished it to be known, that this Christian Trinity is reflected in his tripartite division and ordering of (his) philosophy – Logic, Philosophy of Nature and Philosophy of Mind.3

Given the significance of the concept ‘Trinity’ to Hegel it is necessary for me to first discuss this in some detail.

Hegel’s ‘Trinity’ and the three primary divisions that underlie the entirety of his philosophy reflect not the Christian Trinity but the first triad in Proclus’ second hypostasis Intellect – Being, Life and Intelligence, thus making the relations and processes of the Christian Trinity and Hegel’s tripartite division of philosophy metaphors for the relations and processes of Neoplatonism.

In Hegel’s use of the Trinity God, Son and Spirit symbolise the key aspects of Neoplatonic process – unity, emanation and return (Hegel wrote about this in multiple ways – from unity to ‘diremption’ to ‘reconciliation’; from universality to particularity to individuality; from self-identity to self-differentiation to self-return).

The Christian myth based on the Trinity is also an allegory – God, Son and Spirit function as characters for aspects of the soul in its spiritual origin, struggles and development, further anchoring Neoplatonism in this world and in Hegel’s ‘reason-world’ of consciousness.

At every point, the Christian myth both disguises and reinforces Hegel’s Neoplatonism through enrichment by its prose poetic effect. His conflation of the first and third hypostases into his adaptation of the Proclean triad in the second (following a similar use Cusanus made of Proclus’ triad in De docta ignorantia), together with the influence of Eckhart and Böhme adds to and intensifies the same philosophical and creative effect.4

11.3.4 The Christian Trinity and Neoplatonism

In his lectures on the philosophy of religion Hegel said

the Trinity may have entered Christian doctrine from the Alexandrian school, or from the Neoplatonists. …that doctrine is the fundamental characteristic of the Christian religion.5

The editor added that F.A.G.Tholuck, with whom Hegel corresponded

was convinced…that the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is closely linked with Neoplatonism.6

In his commentary on Prop. 176 (‘All the intellectual Forms are both implicit each in other and severally existent’) in Proclus’ The Elements of Theology Dodds wrote of the Neoplatonic unity-in-distinction – Hegel’s mystical ‘reason-world’

A perfect system of knowledge would be a perfect type of organic unity: each part would involve, and be involved in the existence of every other part, yet without any blurring of the articulations which keep each part distinct and unique. In the content of a well-ordered human mind we may see an approximation to such a (unity-in-distinction)…The most elaborate discussion of the concept of (unity-in-distinction) is to be found in the Parmenides commentary, 751. 15ff. From Pr. it was taken over by the Christian Neoplatonists, who made use of it to explain the doctrine of the Trinity (e.g. ps.-Dion…Nic. Cusan. de docta ignorantia 38. 24 Hoffmann-Klibansky).7

In the section Dodds referred to in Book I of De docta ignorantia Cusanus, using the figure of a triangle as a metaphor, seeks to clarify the Trinity’s triune unity-in-distinction

Furthermore, you can be helped to understand the foregoing if you ascend from a quantitative triangle to a non-quantitative triangle. Clearly, every quantitative triangle has three angles equal to two right angles. And so, the larger the one angle is, the smaller are the other two. Now, any one angle can be increased almost but (in accordance with our first premise) not completely up to the size of two right angles. Nevertheless, let us hypothesise that it is increased completely up to the size of two right angles while the triangle remains [nonetheless a triangle]. In that case, it will be obvious that the triangle has one angle which is three angles and that the three angles are one.8

11.3.5 Proclus’ triad: Being, Life and Intelligence

Chlup noted that the late Neoplatonists in antiquity tended to think in triads and thought that being must come before the thinking subject. Proclus exemplified both these in his philosophy – the former with a degree of obsession echoed by Hegel and the latter in his ‘inner’ triad within the second hypostasis which, I will argue, is the source of the basic structure of Hegel’s philosophy.

Proclus set out this triad in On the Theology of Plato and in Prop. 101 in The Elements of Theology

All things which participate intelligence are preceded by the unparticipated Intelligence, those which participate life by Life, and those which participate being by Being; and of these three unparticipated principles Being is prior to Life and Life to Intelligence.9

He argued

For in the first place, because in each order of existence unparticipated terms precede the participated, there must be Intelligence prior to things intelligent, Life prior to living things, and Being prior to things which are. …Being will stand foremost; for it is present to all things which have life and intelligence (since whatever lives and shares in intellection necessarily exists)…Life has the second place; for whatever shares in intelligence shares in life…The third principle is Intelligence; for whatever is in any measure capable of knowledge both lives and exists. …Being stands foremost, next to it Life, and then Intelligence.10

Triads are very common in On the Theology of Plato and it is extremely difficult if not impossible to fully understand how Proclus positioned them and the function he accorded them all. It seems that for him the same triad Being/Life/Intelligence is also subordinate within the third hypostasis, Soul, but I think its initial existence in his second hypostasis was of the most interest to Hegel because that second hypostasis is the site of his ‘reason-world.’

Dodds stated that Proclus insisted the Being/Life/Intelligence triad is not comprised of hypostases like the primary hypostases but are three aspects of a single reality, each implying the others as cause or consequent11 and as successive stages in the unfolding from the One – each predominates at a certain stage of the development, without excluding the others. Being becomes Life by procession, which becomes Intelligence by reversion.

While procession is creative, reversion is dependent on will – this is consistent with Plotinus (The Enneads III.2-3 and VI.8, ’On Free Will and the Will of the One’).

Dodds writes that the triad is mirrored in each of its terms12 and that

The motives governing this development seem to have been (a) the recognition that reality is logically prior to thought, since the thinker, in order to think, must first exist; (b) the desire to arrange causes in an ontological order corresponding to their degree of universality; (c) the post-Plotinian theory that all intelligibles have a triadic structure, mirroring at every level the fundamental triad.13

This relationship between the parts within a triadic structure, with the dialectical potential now available – something Hegel thought was lacking in the relations between the hypostases14 – was of most interest to him. He summarised this in his Science of Logic 

Everything is a syllogism, a universal that through particularity is united with individuality; but it is certainly not a whole consisting of three propositions.15

The same obsessive triadic structuring of his philosophy has been noted by many commentators.16 Helmig and Steel wrote of Proclus’ philosophy

(This) triadic structure must be understood as expressing an intrinsic and essential relation between successive levels of being. The intimate relation between Being, Life, and Intellect is the origin of the basic structure uniting all causes to their effects, namely the relation of immanence, procession and reversion…This triad has been called the “triad of triads,” the underlying principle of all triadic structures17

11.3.6 Hegel on Proclus’ triad

Hegel acknowledged that Proclus elaborated in detail and specificity on Plotinus’ philosophy and he expressed superlative praise for his trinity18

What is most definite and most excellent in Proclus is the more precise definition of the idea in its three forms, the trinity. He…calls these three ‘gods’. …he considers the three abstract determinations in turn, each on its own account as a totality of the triunity…he grasps each of the three determinations of the absolute in turn as totality, and by doing so he obtains a real trinity. We must look upon this as an advance, as an outlook that is perfectly correct.19

Hegel then wrote

As for the definition of the triad, its three moments are the One, the Infinite, and the Limit. These are the abstract moments presented in his ‘Platonic Theology’20

As I have argued previously, Hegel’s conflation of the hypostases of Plotinus and Proclus when discussing their philosophies indicated how he himself expressed his Neoplatonism, for both philosophical and poetic effect, by conflating and concentrating the hypostases – into the primary triad in Proclus’ second hypostasis – Intellect.

Proclus appended that triad from the One, which forms no part of it.21 Consistent with Plotinus who set out the relationship between the One, Intellectual-Principle and Being, the primary element in Proclus’ triad is Being, not the One. The One generates Intellectual-Principle, the function of which is to create and which

by its intellective act establishes Being, which in turn, as the object of intellection, becomes the cause of intellection and of existence to the Intellectual-Principle…now while these two are coalescents, having their existence in common, and are never apart, still the unity they form is two-sided; there is Intellectual-Principle as against Being, the intellectual agent as against the object of intellection; we consider the intellective act and we have the Intellectual-Principle; we think of the object of that act and we have Being.22

In On the Theology of Plato Proclus referred to the elements or gods of his triad as bound (meaning Being), infinite and (as Hegel correctly noted) ‘mixed’

Such therefore, is the first triad of intelligibles, according to Socrates in the Philebus, viz. bound, infinite, and that which is mixed from these. And of these, bound indeed is a God proceeding to the intelligible summit, from the imparticipable and first God, (my italics) measuring and defining all things, and giving subsistence to every paternal, connective, and undefiled genus of Gods.23

Each element of this triad is comprised of a further triad of the same elements, which is another way of saying that each element mirrors the other two in its functioning. As Hegel wrote

the whole is the process of these three totalities positing themselves identically in one another. To this extent Proclus is much more definite and has gone much further than did Plotinus, and we can say that in this regard his work contains what is most highly developed and most excellent in the Neoplatonists.24

Hegel continued

Defined more specifically and concretely, the One is substance; the Infinite is life as such, and the Limit is nous or understanding. For what is concrete, for the unity of opposites, Proclus follows Plato by using the expression ‘the mixed’; but this is an unsatisfactory expression.25

To repeat, Hegel is indicatively and importantly incorrect with regard to the place and function of the One here – it has no part in this triad. For Plotinus and Proclus, the One is not substance, is not Mind, is not Being, does not think, does not create and is not many. All of these which Hegel attributed to their philosophies he applied in his philosophical and prose poetic conflation of them – as well as taking the same position as Plotinus and Proclus on the One, denying that it can be known.26

This primary triad – Being, Life and Intelligence (nous) – as with the hypostases, is also the site of emanation and return. As Dodds wrote, Being becomes Life by procession which becomes Intelligence by reversion.

Hegel wrote of this triad

Thus the limit goes forth from the One…the point to which all essentially reverts…just as this is presented in Plotinus too. …The second moment is then the going-forth, the progression. Subsisting is what is first…it is at the same time the going-forward or the Infinite, and so, when concretely defined, it is life. Life contains within itself the subsisting, or ousia. It is itself the entire totality in the form of the Infinite or the indeterminate, so that it is a manifold. But it also contains within itself the Limit or the reversion whereby it is perpetually made conformable to the principle, to ousia, and brings an intellectual circle to completion. …The third substance is thinking as such…It has as its object what is posited in the form of the Infinite, namely, life. This intellectual multiplicity that life is it contains within itself. Life is a moment of this third substance, but, at the same time, thinking is what leads the intellectual world back to the substance; it is what posits the unity of the circle of life with the first or absolute unity.27

This triad of triunities is the source of Hegel’s tripartite division of his philosophy in his Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences in Outline (1830) into the Logic, Philosophy of Nature and Philosophy of Spirit. As he wrote

All of this is just one idea – the abiding, the progressing, and the returning. Each of them is totality on its own account, but the last is the totality that brings everything back into itself. These three triunities make known in a mystical fashion the absolute cause of all things, the first substance. In its proper sense ‘mystical’ means ‘speculative’. The mystical or speculative [task] consists in comprehending as a unity these distinctions that are defined as totalities, as gods.28

11.3.7 Hegel’s Neoplatonic Trinity

In his editorial introduction to volume III of Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion (which Hegel delivered four times between 1821 and 1831), Hodgson noted that Hegel had structured his ‘philosophical redescription’29 of the Christian religion in two triads, one within the other. Where the outer triad is one of analysis applied to the previously addressed determinate or finite religions, the inner triad sets out the representation of the Christian God – the idea of God in and for itself (the immanent Trinity), the idea in diremption (the creation of the world) and the appearance of the idea in finite spirit (which includes estrangement, redemption and reconciliation).

Hodgson wrote that what this offered, rather than a trinitarian structure

is a philosophical triad, (my italics) drawn from the three branches of philosophy – the logical idea, nature, and (finite) spirit and recapitulated in Hegel’s depiction of “the revealed religion” in #567-570 of the Encyclopaedia. It has the peculiar result that the “Son”…occupies the third moment of the triad rather than the second. (my italics) The third trinitarian moment, the “Spirit,” becomes a kind of appendage, treated under Sec. C of the outer triad, “Community, Cultus.”30

He added that for Hegel to give an adequate account of the Christian idea of God he needed to substantially modify this from a syllogism comprised of universal, particular and individual to the kingdoms of Father, Son and Spirit, which he did in later lectures.

Yet Hegel saw his entire system in terms of universal, particular and individual, where the logical Idea is the principle of universality, nature the principle of particularity and finite Spirit the principle of singularity. Hodgson wrote

Each of these, in turn, mediates between the other two; together they constitute the structure of Hegel’s entire philosophical system.31

In his The Elements of Theology, Proclus not only named the elements of his triad – Being, Life and Intelligence and set out their sequence – there must be Being to create Life and there must be Life for there to be Intelligence, he argued that in that sequence of emanation and return, each element ‘mirrors’ the other two in its functioning. As stated above, Dodds argued that Life is the product of procession and Intelligence of reversion.

The processes of emanation, mediation and return between the elements in Hegel’s Trinity replicate the processes of emanation, mediation and return between the elements of Proclus’ inner triad – Proclus’ Being is replicated in Hegel’s God/Being/Mind, his Life is replicated in Hegel’s nature and his Intelligence, as the unity of the other two, is replicated in Hegel’s finite Spirit, which finds completion in a perspectival cultus.32

Hegel’s philosophical Trinity is encapsulated in the three books of his Encyclopaedia. Organised in that order, these books embody the process of Neoplatonic emanation and return – from God as a dialectical process in the Logic to Section III in the Philosophy of Spirit which deals with Absolute Spirit (Art, Religion and finally Philosophy), concluding with

The eternal Idea, in full fruition of its essence, eternally sets itself to work, engenders and enjoys itself as absolute Mind.33

It is, to state it again, a testament to the power of ideology and the attractions of careerism, particularly in a subject the practice and history of which is so intertwined with religion, that the fundamentals of Christianity should be confused with those of a pagan philosophy. The Christian God requires no ‘diremption’ in order to be ‘fully realised’ and to achieve a self-knowledge he already has through his engagement with humanity – he is perfect and omniscient. Hegel not only questioned this,34 he denied it. We read in the Philosophy of Nature

God, as an abstraction, is not the true God, but only as the living process of positing His Other, the world, which, comprehended in its divine form is His Son; and it is only in unity with His Other, in Spirit, that God is Subject.35

Of God’s ‘diremption’ into the world, Hodgson correctly wrote ‘Here Hegel’s affinity with Neoplatonism and German mysticism is evident.’36 Magee wrote

Notoriously, Hegel employs Neoplatonic emanation imagery to describe the transition from Logic to Philosophy of Nature, saying that the Idea “freely releases itself.” This sort of approach is to be found in Eckhart as well.37

For the Christian, nature is not ‘the son of God.’38 There is no mystical equation between Christ and the world in the following

For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its saviour39

It is no surprise that Cusanus is readily recognised as a Christian Neoplatonist while Hegel, with his prominent position in both patriarchal capitalist ideology and Western supremacism (‘the man-master of Reason’), not at all so, yet the religious belief of Cusanus was consistent with Christianity where Hegel’s philosophical belief was not.

The former believed God to be perfect and made that aspect of his belief central to his philosophy40 he believed that God sent Christ into an imperfect world41 to be the Saviour of those who followed him, not for his Father’s self-knowledge and self-completion and yet, as with Plotinus’ appreciation for the beauty of the world,42 Cusanus also believed that the earth is a ‘noble star,’ quite distinct from Paul’s belief that it was groaning with pain.

Hegel employed the Christian Trinity and myth to poetically enrich his philosophy, to disguise his Neoplatonism (one of many philosophers who have done this) to present it as something new and to protect his career – he wrote of a dirempted, vital Spirit that is

estranged from itself; in Nature, Spirit lets itself go, a Bacchic god unrestrained and unmindful of itself43

The organisational structure of Hegel’s Trinity, reflected in the three books of his Encyclopaedia, is the same as that of the three books of Cusanus’ De docta ignorantia – the first book of which is concerned with God, the second with his creation the universe and the third, as Hodgson noted of Hegel’s philosophical triad in his lectures on the philosophy of religion, with Jesus, and the, again, culmination in a perspectival church of the Spirit.44 The Trinitarian expositions of Hegel and Cusanus both follow the Neoplatonic order and process of emanation and return in Proclus’ triad Being/Life/Intelligence, Hegel’s account being much more developed dialectically than the other two.45

11.3.8 The Trinity is a metaphor that points to a truth beyond itself

Redding wrote

for Hegel, religion is superseded by philosophy and…philosophy expresses adequately in terms of concepts what religion expresses less adequately in terms of images or pictures. (When he) talks of “God” or when he uses any other part of the vocabulary of religion (we must understand him as speaking) ‘metaphorically’. Religious discourse is for Hegel a façon de parler which is not meant to be taken literally.46

Redding presents an accepted view – that Hegel’s use of the religious imagery of the Christian myth is figurative and that the content of this finds full expression in Hegel’s conceptual language. Magee made the same point – that Hegel’s Trinity is

a figurative way of speaking about the three moments of the Absolute: Logic (or the account of the Absolute Idea), nature and Spirit.47

The Christian myth and the Christian Trinity are not only metaphors for Hegelian conceptualisation, but just as they ‘point beyond themselves to the truth that they do not literally express,’48 so, likewise do Hegel’s concepts, dialectics and the primary divisions of his philosophy – Logic, Nature and Spirit which he found in Proclus’ ‘trinity’ Being, Life and Intelligence. They point to the philosophical truth of Neoplatonism, to the the unity of subject and object, of subjects and objects, of philosophical souls finding their true selves – in a Neoplatonic community.



1. ‘popular forms of Christianity in the German states had long had a deep-running Neoplatonic pantheistic-tending stream which had found expression in heterodox thinkers like Meister Eckhart (1260-1328) and Jacob Bohme (1575-1624) who had often been associated with the heresies of “free thinkers” as well as with populist social movements. This, as we have seen in the case of Schiller, had especially been the case in the German region in which the 3 seminarians (Hegel, Schelling and Hölderlin) were born and educated, the Duchy of Wurttemberg. Moreover, at the time, this movement seemed to be undergoing a revival. In the 1780s Bohme had been taken up by the Catholic philosopher Franz von Baader, and in the 1790s Plotinus himself was being read under the urging of Novalis, who had stressed the proximity of Plotinus’ views to those of Kant and Fichte (Beierwaltes 2004: 87-88). …Kant’s already idiosyncratic Christian-Neoplatonic (“Augustinian”) interpretation of Plato’ etc. Redding, Continental Idealism: Leibniz to Nietzsche, op. cit., 126, 127
2. ‘His repeated profession of allegiance to the Lutheran faith ought not to be taken as a brief of Trinitarian orthodoxy.’ from the Foreword by Louis Dupré, in Cyril O’Regan, The Heterodox Hegel, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1994, x; from the SUNY Press blurb for this book: ‘(Hegel) made no secret of his filiation with the esoteric strands of Christian mysticism and this was clearly the way he was understood by F. C. Bauer, as well as Feuerbach, Engels, Marx and many of his immediate successors. It has always struck me as a major lacuna in Hegel scholarship that such a study had not appeared. Now it has been filled in considerable measure.’ David Walsh, The Catholic University of America
3. ‘It is no coincidence that the three parts of the Encyclopaedia – Logic, Philosophy of Nature, and Philosophy of Spirit – correspond to the structure of the trinity’ Redding, ‘Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion,’ op. cit., 10; ‘Interestingly, Hegel draws a parallel between the three parts of his system – Logic, Nature, Spirit – and the three persons of the Christian Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.’ Magee, The Hegel Dictionary, op. cit., 227-228; ‘(For Hegel the primary triad is Logic-Nature-Spirit) which in turn is patterned after the Christian Trinity.’ Magee, Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition, op. cit., 178; ‘Finally, and most extravagantly, Hegel sometimes draws an analogy between the three sections of his system, Logik, Naturphilosophie and Geistesphilosophie as analogous to the doctrine of the Trinity.’ Plant, Hegel, An Introduction, op. cit., 134
4. ‘(The idea of the Trinity) properly belongs to church history. The main features are as follows: First, the Father, the One, is the abstract element that is expressed as the abyss, the depth (i.e., precisely what is still empty), the inexpressible, the inconceivable, that which is beyond all concepts…it is the negative of the concept, and its conceptual character is to be this negative’ Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, op. cit., vol. III, 288
5. Ibid., vol. I,157
6. Ibid.
7. Proclus, The Elements of Theology, op, cit., 291-292
8. Nicholas of Cusa, De docta ignorantia (‘On Learned Ignorance’), op. cit., I,38,23
9. Proclus, The Elements of Theology, op, cit., 91
10. Ibid.
11. Prop. 103. All things are in all things, but in each according to its proper nature: for in Being there is life and intelligence; in Life, being and intelligence; in Intelligence, being and life; but each of these exists upon one level intellectually, upon another vitally, and on the third existentially. Ibid., 93
12. Cf. the net of Indra
13. Dodds in Proclus, The Elements of Theology, op, cit., 252-253
14. ‘In the work of the Neoplatonists we saw the idea in its universality. But they did not show that three-in-oneness or trinity is what is true – and one must become conscious that this alone is what is true. …A dialectical mode comes into play too, since the antitheses, which are taken as absolute, are brought back to their unity.’ Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy 1825-6, op. cit., vol. III, 17
15. Hegel, Hegel’s Science of Logic, op. cit., 669
16. ‘In Spirit, the fundamental form of necessity is the triad.’ Hegel, Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature, op. cit., 19; Inwood wrote of Hegel’s triads ‘a Hegelian triad, like the Neoplatonic triad, is a return journey, and, as in Proclus, the triadic scheme reappears at successive levels.’ Inwood, A Hegel Dictionary, op. cit., 297; ‘A numerology pervades Hegel’s system, in particular a fascination with Proclean triads’, ‘(In Hegel’s philosophy) each major subdivision of each science is a triad of enneads, “nines” (meaning that each science is an ennead of enneads). …(Hegel’s) system is a triad of triads of triads of triads of triads.’ Magee, Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition, op. cit., 122, 101 
17. Christoph Helmig, Carlos Steel, ‘Proclus,’ Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/proclus/
18. It is noteworthy that Hegel referred to Proclus’ triad as a trinity, with the implication of persons rather than things.
19. Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy 1825-6, op. cit., vol. II, 342
20. Ibid.
21. ‘this first triad subsisting from, and conjoined with the one,’ Proclus, On the Theology of Plato, op. cit., Bk. III, Ch. XIII and as previously quoted ‘Hence it is necessary to arrange the one prior to the one being, (my italics) and to suspend the one being from that which is one alone. For if the one and the one being were the same, and it made no difference to say one and being (since if they differed, the one would again be changed from the one being,) if therefore the one differs in no respect from the one being, all things will be one, and there will not be multitude in beings, nor will it be possible to denominate things, lest there should be two things, the thing and the name.’ Ibid., Bk. III, Ch. XX.
22. Plotinus, The Enneads (Abridged), op. cit., V.I.4
23. Proclus, On the Theology of Plato, op. cit., Bk. III, Ch. XII
24. Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy 1825-6, op. cit., vol. II, 342
25. Ibid., 343
26. Hegel’s One is clearly flexible ’Insofar as (my italics) the One is the absolute One, unknowable of itself and undisclosed, what is sheerly abstract, then it cannot be known.’ Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy 1825-6, op. cit., vol. II, 343
27. Ibid. 343-344
28. Ibid., 344
29. Hodgson in Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, op. cit., vol. III, 11
30. Ibid., 12
31. Ibid., 273
32. ‘The truth of the Trinity is most adequately grasped in purely speculative, logical categories as the dialectic of unity, differentiation, and return. It is a mystery, but a rational mystery – the mystery of reason, of thought itself.’ Hodgson in Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, op. cit., vol. III, 16
33. Hegel, Hegel’s Philosophy of Mind, op. cit., 315
34. ‘If God is all-sufficient and lacks nothing, why does He disclose Himself in a sheer Other of Himself?’ Hegel, Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature, op. cit., 14
35. Hegel, Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature, op. cit., 13. Magee wrote ‘On its own, logic (or the logos) is formal and one-dimensional. To be fully realised, the Idea must “express itself” in the world of space and time. Thus, the Logic must be supplemented by the Philosophy of Nature,’ Magee, Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition, op.cit., 190
36. Hodgson in Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, op. cit., vol. III, 17
37. Magee, ‘Hegel and Mysticism,’ op. cit., 266
38. ‘Nature is the son of God,’ Hegel, Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature, op. cit., 14
39. John 3.16, The Good News Bible, American Bible Society, New York, 1976, 127
40. ‘For, as Dionysius concludes at the end of The Mystical Theology: “above all affirmation God is the perfect and unique Cause of all things; and the excellence of Him who is unqualifiedly free from all things and is beyond all things is above the negation of all things.”,’ Nicholas of Cusa, De docta ignorantia (‘On Learned Ignorance’), op. cit., I,1,24; of Christ ‘we have in Him complete perfection…“He is the Image of the Invisible God”,’ Ibid., III,4,204
41. ‘For He is the Form of being, or the Form of every formable form. But the creation, which is not what it is able to be, does not exist in an unqualified sense of “exist.” God alone exists perfectly and completely.’ Nicholas of Cusa, De Possest (‘On Actualised-Possibility’), op. cit., 14
42. ‘And we must recognise, that even in the world of sense and part, there are things of a loveliness comparable to that of the Celestials – forms whose beauty must fill us with veneration for their creator and convince us of their origin in the divine,’ Plotinus, The Enneads (Abridged), op. cit., II.9.17
43. Hegel, Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature, op. cit., 14
44. ‘For “church” bespeaks a oneness of many [members] – each of whom has his personal truth preserved without confusion of natures or of degrees; but the more one the church is, the greater it is; hence, this church – [viz.] the church of the eternally triumphant – is maximal, since no greater union of the church is possible.’ Nicholas of Cusa, De docta ignorantia (‘On Learned Ignorance’), op. cit., III,12,261
45.On Learned Ignorance devotes its first book to God, the second to the universe and a third to the God-man, Jesus Christ. While its order mirrors the outflow from God and return to him, this book does not distinguish philosophy and theology as contemporary thinkers might, but unites them in a single overview of Neoplatonic Christian reality.’ Clyde Lee Miller, ‘Cusanus, Nicolaus [Nicolas of Cusa],’ Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cusanus/
46. Redding, Hegel’s Hermeneutics, op. cit., 133
47. Magee, The Hegel Dictionary, op. cit., 246
48. Verene, Hegel’s Recollection: A Study of Images in The Phenomenology of Spirit, op. cit., 105

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