Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Barth on Hegel: An Unfinished Collection of Quotes


"Why did Hegel not become for the Protestant world something similar to what Thomas Aquinas was for Roman Catholicism?" (370)

"Is it not in Hegel that the man who is free from all the ties of tradition and from all conflict with tradition, who rejoices equally in reason and in history ... has for the first time achieved complete, clear, and certain self-awareness?" (371)

"In turning away from Hegel the age acknowledged that, having reached the summit of its desires and achievements, it was dissatisfied with itsef, that this was after all not what it had intended." (374)

"It was only in the course of centuries that Thomas Aquinas acquired the position at present accorded him in the Roman Catholic world. It may be that the dawn of the true age of Hegel is still something that will take place in the future." (376)

I. Hegel's Philosophy of Self-Confidence

"It was in him to ridicule the demand for a theory of knowledge by saying there was as much in it as the demand of the Gascon who did not want to go into the water before he could swin. The interests of the theory of knowledge, he said, were best served in the act of a truly rational knowledge." (379)

"Hegel's direct, independent linking-up with the Enlightenment was done in this way: the confidence in the right and power of rational thought was naive, untested and therefore unsecured, stuck fast in half-truths and open to all kinds of counter-blows. Hegel called this confidence in the right and power of rational thought to self-awareness, worked out and defended its deepest truth vis-a-vis its own weaknesses as vis-a-vis its attackers, and in so doing exalted it from the level of a one-sided view of the world to a comprehensive world principle." (380)

"And this makes for the peculiar momentum of Hegel's philosophy of self-confidence; it does not allow itelf to be surpassed in cold-blooded rationalizing by any worldling, nor in any depth of feeling by the most pious. It is Titanism to the highest degree and at the same time to the highest degree humility. The self-confidence it proclaims and to which it summons is at once and as such confidence in God." (381)

All quotes taken from Karl Barth, Protestant Theology in the Nineteenth Century (Eerdmans, 2002).