Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Heterodox Hegel

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Heterodox Hegel

Article excerpt

The Heterodox Hegel, by Cyril O'Regan. Albany: State University Press of New York, 1994 xv. + 515 pp. $74.50 (cloth), $24.95 (paper).

O'Regan has written an original and valuable book dealing with issues at the center of Hegel's thought. The work is awesome in its scope, detail, and attention to nuance in both Hegel's writings and in the extensive body of commentary provoked by the complexity of Hegel's thought. Even the most sympathetic reader can be forgiven, however, for wishing now and then that the treasure freight have been made available without all the rigors of the treasure hunt! The author makes it clear from the outset that only the uninitiated or the willful interpreter of Hegel will try to blllnt his insistence that the all-encompassing aim of his philosophy was to articulate the content of Christianity, the revealed religion, in terms of the Begriff the form of thought most adequate for expressing philosophical truth. The only remaining question, then, is, What version or versions of Christianity did Hegel adopt? This book offers the most carefully argued answer to that basic question known to me.

In approaching his difficult task, O'Regan is wise, I believe, in joining hands with Gadamer in seeking a mode of interpretation which is an approximation to the complexity, of Hegelian thought while avoiding, on one side, the "humility of skepticism" which is, in the end, not enlightening and on the other, the "arrogance of self-assured reading" which is, in the end, not convincing. This way of approach works very well because it leaves the author free to make critical judgments based on his remarkable command of the material while the reader is also free to assess these adjustments on the basis of the evidence presented. O'Regan faces thorny issues without flinching and he is even up to correcting Hegel-as he does when Hegel makes the same mistake made by so many in connection -with Schleiermacher's Gefuhl (p. 35). According to O'Regan, instead of acknowledging the ontological sort of apprehension implied in Schleiermiacher's use of the term, Hegel reduced it to the ontie status of a "passion. …

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