Thursday, June 17, 2010

Feuerbach revisited

Some years ago I compiled an essential bibliography of works by and about Ludwig Feuerbach in English. Little of the material listed is (or was) readily available online. (Most likely Google Books did not exist or was not as extensively developed back then, so you might want to check there now.) I've just had occasion to check for more material online, albeit not in a systematic fashion. So let's begin with an overview of Feuerbach.

Feuerbach, Ludwig - Introduction (eNotes)

Unfortunately, much Feuerbach commentary derives from theologians. So to know one's enemy, here are a couple of examples:

Anthony J. Godzieba, "Feuerbach and the Interpretation of Religion"[review of Van Harvey]. Theological Studies.

B. A. Gerrish, "Feuerbach’s Religious Illusion" [review of Van Harvey].

I've also had occasion to take a look at Feuerbach's Lectures on the Essence of Religion, a copious volume only a little of which is available online. Here is a quote, though, not hitherto found online as of this writing:
"My doctrine or view can therefore be summed up in two words: nature and man. The being which in my thinking man presupposes, the being which is the cause or ground of man, to which he owes his origin and existence, is not God‑-a mystical, indeterminate, ambiguous word-‑but nature, a clear sensuous, unambiguous word and thing. And the being in whom nature becomes personal, conscious, and rational is man. To my mind, unconscious nature is the eternal, uncreated being, the first being-‑first, that is, in time but not in rank, physically but not morally; man with his consciousness is for me second in time, but in rank the first."

-- Ludwig Feuerbach, Lectures on the Essence of Religion, translated by Ralph Manheim (New York: Harper & Row, 1967), 3rd lecture, p. 21.
Next time I get to reading Feuerbach, I'm going to keep an eye out for what he says about the evolution of religion. The Young Hegelians took off from the liberalization of Protestantism, which may have skewed their notions, but the logic of what all of them have to say about the logic of religion and its relation to society is worthy of attention.

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