The introduction frames the project in relation to three clusters of issues: the conceptualization of religion in the modern West, the role of religion in politics, and recent, non-traditionalist interpretations of Hegel’s idealism. Lively recent scholarship has drawn attention to the impact and the Protestant background of modern Western concepts of religion, yet they have paid little attention to contestations among Protestants over the concept of religion. The history of the conceptualization of religion has also had tremendous consequences for debates over religion and the public sphere. In the recent work of scholars from John Rawls to Jeffrey Stout as well as in broader public discourse, these latter debates continue to rage. These issues provide the context for taking up Hegel’s philosophy of religion in relation to recent scholarship on Hegel that rejects more traditional interpretations of his project as a kind of cosmic monism.
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