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Shapes of FreedomHegel's Philosophy of World History in Theological Perspective$
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Peter C. Hodgson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199654956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654956.001.0001

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The Course of World History: Shapes of Freedom

The Course of World History: Shapes of Freedom

(p.89) 4 The Course of World History: Shapes of Freedom
Shapes of Freedom

Peter C. Hodgson

Oxford University Press

Spirit’s self-actualization begins with the paternalistic, static realm of China, progresses through the stages of fanciful imagination in the cultural traditions of India, the vast but flawed political organization of the Persian Empire, and comes to Egypt, where it struggles mightily but unsuccessfully to break free from its bondage to nature. The Oriental world of despotism is superseded in the West by a birth of freedom, namely the democracy and individual self-consciousness of the Greeks. The ensuing harsh dominion of the Roman world gives rise to its antithesis in the Christian revelation of the authentic divine and human freedom, which calls for its consummation in the free political institutions emerging in the medieval and modern European world. Hegel’s narrative is assessed and modified in the final section of the chapter.

Keywords:   China, Christianity, Egypt, Europe, Greece, India, Persia, Rome, world history

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