Guest Lecture “Hegel's Concept of Religion and its Hermeneutical Function” by Maurizio Pagano, November 25th, 2015

In the course of the research seminar “Hegels Wissenschaft der Logik: Die Lehre vom Wesen. Die Erscheinung” Maurizio Pagano, Professor for Philosophy of Communication at the University Piemonte Orientale in Vercelli and leading Hegel expert in Italy, provided the participants of the seminar and the graduate and doctoral students of the department an insight into the development of Hegel's concept of religion. He elucidated the transformation of Hegel's understanding of religion by means of an analysis of his four lectures on philosophy of religion, especially by reference to the changing relation between the two aspects of the explanation of the truth of religious experience and the logical description of its properties. In doing so, Hegel intended to reject the dominant theological position of his time which reduced religion to a solely subjective experience and thus excluded knowledge of God and the retention of objective contents of faith. On the other hand he also intended on dialectically sublate (aufheben) the often posited opposition between God and human consciousness and thus also between the finite and the infinite. He sees this accomplished in the “achieved religion” of Christianity, in which the finite and the infinite are conciliated in the incarnation of the Logos as well as his Crucifixion and his Resurrection. As Spirit God is thus not an otherworldly object anymore, but an endless subjectivity present and effectual in the individual subjects. This way the subject knows itself to be an aspect of the universal Spirit, in so far as in its ethical actions and in philosophy, which it considers to be the contemplation of the divine life of the Spirit and thus the peak of worship, it elevates itself beyond the egotistical aspects of its individual particularity without negating its own singularity in doing so.