Hegel’s God: A Counterfeit Double?


Hegel is widely regarded as one of the major thinkers of the modern era, if not the entire tradition of philosophy. Hegel, like many philosophers, took seriously traditional philosophical perplexities about God, but unlike many modern philosophers he claimed to take the specific characteristic of Christianity into account in his philosophizing. This book presents a new examination, interpretation and critical engagement with Hegel’s philosophy of religion, and with his concept of God in particular. William Desmond explores the distinctive stresses of Hegel’s approach to God, the influence it has exerted, and the fundamental problems that his approach exhibits.


‘Through decades of careful and creative scholarship, Desmond has earned the right to talk back to Hegel and bid him adieu. In calling Hegel’s God an idol and in supporting this claim by pointing to what gets left out in the Aufhebung of religion in this philosophy, he gives us an important and illuminating reading of the philosophical theology that is the heart of Hegel’s thought.’

⁠—Merold Westphal, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Fordham University, USA

‘Hegel’s God represents a major critical engagement with the religious thought of Hegel by one of the most expansive and penetrating philosophers of our time. Showing knowledge of the entire span of Hegel’s writings, subtlety in interpretation, lucidity, economy and elegance in writing, and real appreciation of how and why Hegel adapted and corrected the Christian view of God and his relation to the world, humanity, and history, this book in the end refuses to baptize Hegel. A beautifully realized and mature reading of Hegel, Hegel’s God is at the same time a probing and constructive text in the philosophy of religion.’

⁠—Cyril O’Regan, Huisking Professor in Theology, University of Notre Dame, USA

‘… Desmond’s critique is new and important as it comes from one who has immersed himself in Hegel for over a quarter of a century, and whose own thinking about systematic metaphysics has been influenced by Hegel’s dialectic.’

⁠—Amos Yong, Bethel College

‘Desmond’s Hegel’s God will thus serve us well as a frame of reference for discussions about what God might be. And this, as Hegel scholars know, is a very good thing…’

⁠—Review of Metaphysics


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