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Religion, Modernity, and Politics in Hegel$
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Thomas A. Lewis

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199595594

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199595594.001.0001

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Civil Religion and Social Reform

Civil Religion and Social Reform

Hegel’s Early Reflection on Religion

(p.16) 1 Civil Religion and Social Reform
Religion, Modernity, and Politics in Hegel

Thomas Lewis

Oxford University Press

The opening chapter situates Hegel's early writings on civil religion and social reform in the intellectual and political context of the late eighteenth century. Over the course of the 1790s, Hegel tries out a variety of strategies to respond to what he sees as the interrelated social and religious challenges of the day—particularly the need for social cohesion and the prospects of religion playing a role in providing it. In doing so, he moves from a Kantian ethic through a focus on unity in love. These various attempts, however, constitute — in Hegel's own mind — a series of failures. While Hegel quickly rejects each solution he proposes, the problems that he identifies — especially the problem of social cohesion in complex modern societies — continue to motivate him throughout his lifetime.

Keywords:   civil religion, social cohesion, reform, early writings, reform, love

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