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  • Print publication year: 2015
  • Online publication date: June 2015

17 - Jewish readings of the Bible

from Part II - New Modes of Study of the Bible


It is widely assumed that Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was an idealist, indeed, the pre-eminent philosopher of idealism. Hegel insisted, however, that idealism is not to be understood as the antithesis of realism; rather, it overreaches and embraces realism. Hegel's distinction between representation (Vorstellung) and concept (Begrif) and his way of connecting them, has played a fateful role in the history of idealist interpretations of the Bible. Hegel knew that ultimately only faith can see that God is present in Christ. The two principal disciples of Hegel in biblical studies were David Friedrich Strauss and Ferdinand Christian Baur. Strauss severed Hegel's mediation of the real and the ideal, Vorstellung and Begrif, whereas Baur re-established it on a critical basis. The chapter focuses on Christology because it is what connects the three thinkers in their interpretations of the Bible. As far as Jesus' divinity is concerned, Baur interpreted it in Hegelian fashion, but with an interesting variation.

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