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Socrates and the JewsHellenism and Hebraism from Moses Mendelssohn to Sigmund Freud$
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Miriam Leonard

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226472478

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226472492.001.0001

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Noah and Noesis:

Noah and Noesis:

Greeks, Jews and the Hegelian Dialectic

(p.65) 2 Noah and Noesis:
Socrates and the Jews
University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores how Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's early theological writings deal with the question of reason through a dialogue with Immanuel Kant and Moses Mendelssohn. Hegel's most sustained analysis of the essence of Judaism can be found in the so-called Berne and Frankfurt essays, which he wrote in the 1790s. Writing against the backdrop of the French Revolution, Hegel investigates the moral and political identities of Judaism and Christianity by placing an opposition between Greeks and Jews. This Greek/Jew antithesis is central to the origin of Hegelian dialectics that ultimately find their expression in his 1798–1799 essay “The Spirit of Christianity and Its Fate” in a comparison between Greek and Jewish tragedy. The chapter also explores Hegel's early preoccupation with tragedy and compares it to Friedrich Nietzsche's own discussion of Greeks and Jews in the Birth of Tragedy. Finally, it shows how the genealogy of Greeks, Jews, and Christians emerges as an important consideration in Hegel's conceptualization of the philosophy of history.

Keywords:   Hegel, reason, Judaism, Immanuel Kant, Moses Mendelssohn, Christianity, Greeks, Jews, Hegelian dialectics, tragedy

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