Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Sigla

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pp. ix-xii

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Preface

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pp. xiii-xxviii

Marcion was a second-century Christian heretic. He sharply distinguished Yahweh, the God of the Hebrew scriptures, a vengeful, tribal demiurge, from the loving, universal God of Jesus. Of course, in order to refashion Christianity along these lines he had to either ignore or delete from his canon the judgment parables of Jesus and Paul’s teaching about the wrath of God. Pick and choose.

Freud rather tendentiously equates theistic religion with a kind of Marcionite theology. Like dreams, religion is about wish fulfillment. So, “We shall tell ourselves that it would be very nice if there were a God who created the...

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1. Executive and Legislative Autonomy

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pp. 1-22

Abraham Lincoln concluded his famous Cooper Union speech in 1860 with these words: “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.”1 Five years and much tragedy later, he concluded his Second Inaugural Address with similar but importantly different words: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in....”2 On the “crucial difference” between “our duty...

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2. Spinoza’s Theology

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pp. 23-37

Kant first develops his notion of autonomy in a political sense as a plea for freedom to publish without censorship.1 But in “What Is Enlightenment?” there are already overtones of a more far-reaching claim, and, as we have seen, Kant expands his concept of autonomy considerably in the context of his moral philosophy. But the most extensive and systematic development of his theory of autonomy occurs in his philosophy of religion, most particularly in Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason or Religion Within the Limits of Reason...

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3. Spinoza’s Hermeneutics

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pp. 38-57

When we turn to the Theological-Political Treatise we find the theological part, primarily the theory and practice of interpreting the Bible, sandwiched between political bookends. At the heart of the theological argument is a plea for the autonomy of philosophy from theology, and, indeed, the hegemony of the former over the latter, relocating religion within the limits of reason alone. At the heart of the political part is a plea for the autonomy of the state from religion (religious authorities), and, indeed, the hegemony over the...

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4. Kant’s Theology

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pp. 58-83

K ant developed his concept of autonomy first in a political context, as a plea for freedom of the press; then in the context of his moral philosophy, in both its executive and legislative dimensions; and finally, in his philosophy of religion, his contribution to the Enlightenment project in philosophy of religion that I call “religion within the limits of reason alone,”1 borrowing the title of his “fourth Critique.”

He makes a double claim about the relation of religion to morality. First, a moral agent “is in need neither of the idea of another being above him in...

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5. Kant’s Hermeneutics I

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pp. 84-99

It was suggested in the last chapter that two decisive marks of a personal God are agency and speech. Both are affirmed by mere Christianity; neither by Spinoza. So far we have seen Kant to be a deist of restricted divine agency, thereby separating himself from Spinoza and (as we shall see) from Hegel by affirming God as an agent and not merely a cause, and also separating himself from Abrahamic monotheism (Jewish, Christian, or Muslim) by virtue of the restrictions. In this chapter, we look further into his account of divine agency,...

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6. Kant’s Hermeneutics II

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pp. 100-123

Kant’s hermeneutics can be summarized in terms of five theses: hegemony, means/end, dispensability, recollection, and harmony. Utterly fundamental is the hegemony thesis, the claim that the pure, that is the a priori and presuppositionless religion of practical reason is the norm or criterion for interpreting biblical texts and ecclesiastical traditions governing both beliefs and practices, doctrine and devotion—the whole of “revealed” or “learned” religion. Thus “ECCLESIASTICAL FAITH HAS THE PURE...

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7. Hegel’s Theology I

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pp. 124-147

Hegel’s theology begins its development in a series of drafts and fragments from his student and tutor years at Tübingen, Berne, and Frankfurt. They are dated from 1793 to 1800 and thus precede his philosophical appointment at Jena in 1801. Many of these were first published in 1907 by Nohl in Hegel’s theologische Jugendschriften. Most of them are translated by T. M. Knox in G. W. F. Hegel, Early Theological Writings, bearing the titles given them by Nohl.1 They lay the theological foundations for Hegel’s mature thought that is...

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8. Hegel’s Theology II

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pp. 148-166

The usual story is that Hegel is the culmination of German Idealism, drawing on and revising the work of Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and a few others. There is much truth in this approach.1 But it is also true that Hegel tells us “thought must begin by placing itself at the standpoint of Spinozism; to be a follower of Spinoza is the essential commencement of all Philosophy...when a man begins to philosophize, the soul must commence by bathing in this ether of the One Substance” (HP/S, III, 257; emphasis added)....

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9. Hegel’s Hermeneutics

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pp. 167-188

Let us see where we are with regard to Hegel’s theology and hermeneutical theory. We have seen him turn away from the theism of a personal God, a Creator, Lawgiver, and Redeemer of a world distinct from God, a world separated and united by creation, separated by the fall, and reunited in redemption. As Luther puts it, commenting on Psalm 51, “That gigantic mountain of divine wrath that so separates God and David, he crosses by trust in mercy and joins himself to God.”1

Although Hegel claims to be a Lutheran,2 he finds such a theology to embody an opposition (Entgegensetzung and Entzweiung) that...

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10. The Inevitability of Heteronomy

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pp. 189-210

In its original, modern mode, religion within the limits of reason alone regularly presents itself as the voice of a single, universally operative reason. The actual, substantial differences among various versions of this project undermine this claim and show human reason to speak with a variety of quite particular voices, each one relative to the paradigm that it presupposes. In the absence of any evidently universal reason, even the criteria for choosing among alternatives appear to be more nearly internal to the different theologies than...

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11. Heteronomy as Freedom

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pp. 211-230

So far, the argument against the autonomy project or, more specifically, the religion-within-the-limits-of-reason-alone project has proceeded in two stages, unequal in length. First, a crucial premise of the enterprise has shown itself to be unsustainable. It is the assumption that human reason is universal, part of the standard equipment of human nature. As such, it is presumed to be objective, neutral, presuppositionless, the only source of reliable knowledge. As such, it is “nonsectarian” by contrast with the plurality of “religions of the...

Index

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pp. 231-242

About the Author

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pp. 243-244