The First German Philosopher
This book investigates Hegel's interpretation of the mystical philosophy of Jakob Böhme (1575-1624), considered in the context of the reception of Böhme in the 18th and 19th centuries, and of Hegel's own understanding of mysticism as a philosophical approach. The three sections of this book present: the historical background of Hegel's encounter with Böhme's writings; the development of two different conceptions of mysticism in Hegel's work; and finally Hegel's approach to Böhme's philosophy, discussing in detail the references to Böhme both in published writings and manuscripts. According to Hegel, Böhme is 'the first German philosopher'. The reason for placing Böhme at the very beginning of German philosophy is that Hegel considers him to be a profound thinker, despite his rudimentary education. Hegel's fascination with Böhme mainly concerns the mystic's understanding of the symbiotic relation between God and his opposite, the Devil: he considers this to be the true speculative core of Böhme's thought. By interpreting Böhme, Hegel intends to free the speculative content of his thought from the limitations of the inadequate, barbarous form in which the mystic expressed it, and also to liberate Böhme from the prejudices surrounding his writings, placing him firmly in the territory of philosophy and detaching him from the obscurity of esotericism. Combining historical reconstructions and philosophical argumentation, this book guides the reader through an important phase in German philosophy, and ultimately into an inquiry about the relationship between mysticism and philosophy itself. Cecilia Muratori obtained a PhD in philosophy from the universities of Jena and Urbino in 2009 ('double degree'). She was then awarded a four-year postdoctoral fellowship from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, where she worked on a project on the difference between man and the animals in Renaissance philosophy. In particularly she has explored the ethical consequences of this difference, with regard to the philosophical debate on vegetarianism. In 2013-2014 she is Ahmanson Fellow at the Harvard Center for Renaissance Studies I Tatti: her project deals with discourses on vegetarianism and on cannibalism in the Renaissance, and on their paradoxical connections. In 2008 she won first prize in the essay competition of the Schopenhauer-Gesellschaft; and in 2013 she won the prize of the Jacob-Böhme-Institut in Görlitz for an essay on Hegel and Böhme. Among her publications: J. Böhme, Aurora nascente (chapters 1-7), translated and with an introduction by C. Muratori (Milan: Mimesis 2008); Ethical Perspectives on Animals in the Renaissance and Early Modern Period, ed. by C. Muratori and B. Dohm (Micrologus' Library, 58); The Animal Soul and the Human Mind: Renaissance Debates, ed. by C. Muratori, (Bruniana & Campanelliana, Series Studi, 15).
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