Volume 51, Issue 1, March 2011
Forgiveness, Freedom, and Human Finitude in Hegel’s The Spirit of Christianity and Its Fate
The purpose of this essay is to consider the significance that Hegel grants to religious love and, with it, forgiveness in his early The Spirit of Christianity and Its Fate. Although Hegel characterizes religious love in this writing as a unity that transcends reason, his association of such love with forgiveness nevertheless sheds light on an important aspect of human finitude. In this, Hegel may be seen to identify forgiveness as a form of freedom elicited by limits that we encounter in practical life. The author suggests that Hegel’s approach to forgiveness, which makes use not only of themes expressed by Jesus in the Gospel but also Greek tragedy, comprises an attractive alternative to some current views.