Anton Ivanenko. Early fragments of Hegel on religion. Vol. 5. No. 1-2. 2020

Publication Details

Early fragments of Hegel on religion
Title in the language of publication: Ранние фрагменты Гегеля о религии
Anton Ivanenko
PhD in Philosophy, Associate Professor.
Saint Petersburg State University, Institute of Philosophy.
Address: 7/9 Universitetskaya emb., St. Petersburg 199034, Russia.
P. 95–103.
Language: Russian
Document type: Research Article (introdaction)
Acknowledgments:  The reported study was funded by RFBR, project number 20-011-00746 “A Philosophy and theology in German classical idealism: a history of interaction and interpenetration”.


This article is an introduction to the publication of a Russian translation of seven new recently published fragments from the manuscript heritage of Hegel (2014) which belong to the Frankfurt period of his life and are dedicated to the theme of religion. In the initial part of the article, the last outcomes of the study of Hegel’s manuscripts by Walter Jäschke are highlighted, which can significantly modify the perception of the views of young Hegel (before his arrival to Jena at the beginning of 1801). The second part of the article offers an overview of the evolution of views of the great idealist on religion in the period from 1793 to 1800 drawn up on the basis of four groups of his manuscript fragments on religion published by Herman Nohl (1907) and already published in Russian (1970, 1975). In the course of this evolution, Hegel passes from the interest in “folk religion” as a means of education of not only reason but also the “heart” of a person, for which the religion should become “subjective” (a group of fragments “Folk religion and Christianity”), to the interpretation of religion in the moral doctrine of Kant and that of Jesus as a preacher of truths of “practical reason” (“The Life of Jesus”). In the fragments arranged under the title “Positivity of the Christian religion”, Hegel as a whole remains in the mainstream of Kantian understanding of religion as founded on the autonomy of practical reason. The only difference from the previous group of fragments could be discovered in the first one of those represented in this group, which has been written later than others. Therein the “positivity” of religion is already interpreted as historical backwardness of one or another religion and not simply as alienation to commands of the practical reason. The last group of young Hegel’s fragments on religion (“Spirit of Christianity and Its Destiny”) is aimed at sublation of the opposition of “subjective” and “objective” in religion, heteronomy and autonomy, in love to the Christian religion. In the final part of the article, the thematic connection of newly published fragments with the previously published fragments of Hegel on religion is displayed, first of all with those compiled under the titles “Positivity of the Christian religion” and “Spirit of Christianity and Its Destiny”.


Young Hegel, W. Jäschke, manuscript heritage, religion, Jesus, Judaism, love.


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© Anton Ivanenko, 2020

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