Zeke Goggin: “The Idea of Sacrifice in Hegel’s 1793 ‘Volksreligion’ Fragment”

Wednesday February 17th, 4:30pm Swift Hall 106


This paper will focus specifically on some fragments which Hegel began while studying at the Stift in Tübingen and likely completed during a visit home to Stuttgart.  The question of sacrifice arises at the height of a characteristically dialectical difficulty which the young Hegel has not yet developed a logic to conceptualize.  The treatment of sacrifice here indicates certain persistent themes in Hegel’s thought which are sometimes taken to be wholly attributable to the interventions of Hölderlin and Schelling, but which in the context of the Volksreligion Fragment appear some three years prior to the the former, and almost a decade prior to the latter.

The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to maintaining itself as a fully accessible and inclusive workshop.  Please contact Workshop Coordinator Anil Mundra (amundra@uchicago.edu) in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

Anil Mundra on Naturalness and Normativity in Religious Studies

Anil Mundra (University of Chicago):

“The Natural, The Normative, and the Study of Religion”

Wednesday, October 28th, 4:30pm: Swift 200

The religious studies academy routinely opposes descriptive or historical to prescriptive or constructive methodologies—witness the categories of the AAR’s book awards, and the committees of the University of Chicago’s Divinity School. Such a bifurcation reflects an ambivalence about the nature of religion: some of us are to conceive of religion as naturally or historically determined, such that it is subject to an explanatory analysis; others must view it as a free activity, such that it is susceptible to injunctive intervention. The dilemma, in short, is whether the academic study of religion is to be normatively evaluative or not. Integrating the insights of thinkers from Hegel to Donald Davidson, I will argue that normativity is an ineliminable (even if often implicit or invisible) element of humanistic description; and that, insofar as religious studies claims to study human agents it inevitably has humanistic dimensions. These dimensions depend on the ability of scholars to recognize the equal humanity of those that they study, which proceeds not only from an imperative to fairness, but more rigorously from the admission that both scholars and their subjects are at once historically conditioned and free.