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Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition Paperback – June 19, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0801474507 ISBN-10: 0801474507 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 2nd edition (June 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801474507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801474507
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #786,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is an excellent book. It performs a significant service by its uninhibited exposure of Hegel's dark side."—Michael Inwood, Trinity College, Oxford, International Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 42, No. 3, September 2002

"The organization of the text is first class, the reading of Hegel's texts sensitive and perspicacious, and the writing poised, even elegant. This would be a fine book for a scholar at any stage of his or her career. For a first book it is absolutely exceptional. . . . As a tracing of the influence of non-standard discourses on Hegel, and as a tracking of their effective presence in Hegel's texts from all periods of Hegel's literary production, Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition is now the indispensable text."—Cyril O'Regan, University of Notre Dame, Owl of Minerva, Vol. 34, No. 2, Spring/Summer 2003

"This first book-length study of Hegel and Hermeticism builds on both Continental and Anglo-American Hegal scholarship, contributes new perspectives on the gnostic and mystical aspects of Hegel's thought, and is eminently readable! Left- and right-wing Hegelians and theologians may have to revise their estimation of Hegel, if Magee's interpretation withstands critical scrutiny."—Amos Yong, Bethel College. Religious Studies Review, Vol. 28, No. 4, October 2002

"Because Hegel claimed to have attained wisdom rather than to be seeking it, Magee cannot count him as a philosopher. . . He draws evidence from both his work and his life."—Reference and Research Book News, November 2001

"Magee's splendid book marshals all the available evidence for the Hermetic background and interests of Hegel. This is no small achievement. It involves mastering a side of intellectual history that is frequently referenced but rarely comprehended and an exhaustive account of its application to the formidable philosophical apparatus of Hegel. The result deserves to become the standard reference work for this dimension, not only of Hegel but also of the entire idealist context."—Review of Metaphysics

"I hail this book as an important event in Hegelian studies, especially since it addresses issues that have been neglected or dealt with superficially. Now we have a cogent scholarly work that will serve as the point of reference for many years to come."—Antoine Faivre, Directeur d'Etudes l'Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Sciences Religieuses, Sorbonne)

"Thankfully, there are still some writers today who remember that if one tries to discern what a long-dead author's work means for us without first trying to take the author on his own terms, then one runs the risk of reading into the work the prejudices of the present. Glenn Alexander Magee has written a wonderful book; wonderful because it is the subtext for all the major Hegel literature since the 1930s."—Tom Darby, Carleton University

"Glenn Alexander Magee has added a crucial dimension to our understanding of Hegel by showing in abundant detail the deep and life-long influences of hermeticism, alchemy, the Kabbala, and various forms of theosophy on Hegel's metaphysics. . . . Magee gives us a Hegel that Hegel would have recognized on the spot, and we are much in his debt for his doing so."—Robert S. Corrington, Drew University

From the Back Cover

"Magee's splendid book marshals all the available evidence for the Hermetic background and interests of Hegel. This is no small achievement. It involves mastering a side of intellectual history that is frequently referenced but rarely comprehended and an exhaustive account of its application to the formidable philosophical apparatus of Hegel. The result deserves to become the standard reference work for this dimension, not only of Hegel but also of the entire idealist context."--Review of Metaphysics

"The organization of the text is first class, the reading of Hegel's texts sensitive and perspicacious, and the writing poised, even elegant. This would be a fine book for a scholar at any stage of his or her career. For a first book it is absolutely exceptional."--Owl of Minerva

"This excellent book performs a significant service by its uninhibited exposure of Hegel's dark side."--International Philosophical Quarterly

"I hail this book as an important event in Hegelian studies, especially since it addresses issues that have been neglected or dealt with superficially. Now we have a cogent scholarly work that will serve as the point of reference for many years to come."--Antoine Faivre, Professor Emeritus, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Sciences Religieuses, Sorbonne

"This first book-length study of Hegel and Hermeticism builds on both Continental and Anglo-American Hegel scholarship, contributes new perspectives on the gnostic and mystical aspects of Hegel's thought, and is eminently readable!"--Religious Studies Review


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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It is one of the best books I have read these last years, congratulations to the author!
Santiago Herrera
Very well documented text, with good historical snapshots of this side of Reformation history, made to disappear from most philosophic treatments of Hegelian subjects.
John C. Landon
Magee gives us a Hegel that Hegel would have recognized on the spot, and we are much in his debt for his doing so.
Robert S. Corrington

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Glenn Magee's HEGEL AND THE HERMETIC TRADITION begins with the audacious assertion that "Hegel is not a philosopher"--and then proves it. Hegel is not a philosopher because he does not claim to pursue wisdom, he claims to actually be wise--and he claims that in becoming wise, he has brought God's own quest for self-knowledge and self-actualization to fruition. This, Magee argues, places Hegel in the "Hermetic" tradition that runs from the CORPUS HERMETICUM of Greco-Roman Egypt through alchemy and Kabbalism to modern Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, and other occultist strands of thought. Magee offers three kinds of evidence for his claim. First, he shows that Hegel adopts the essential Hermetic teaching that God attains self-knowledge through the Hermetic initiate's knowledge of him. Second, he shows that Hegel read and was influenced by Hermetic thinkers, particularly Jakob Boehme, throughout his intellectual development and mature philosophical career. Third, he shows that Hegel was interested in such loosely Hermetic topics as alchemy and paranormal phenomena. The book begins with a survey of the Hermetic tradition, with special reference to the German tradition and Hegel's intellectual milieu. Then Magee devotes a chapter to Hegel's early writings, a chapter to his PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT and one chapter each to Hegel's discussions of Logic, Nature, and Spirit. The evidence presented is overwhelming. The scholarship is magisterial. And the book is beautifully written. Indeed, it is the best-written book on Hegel I have ever read. Beyond that, Magee's thesis is revolutionary in its implications. If he is right--and I am convinced that he is--then all contemporary accounts of the nature and development of Hegel's thought are inadequate at best.Read more ›
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Robert S. Corrington on December 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Professor Magee has added a crucial dimension to our understanding of Hegel by showing in abundant detail the deep and life-long influences of hermeticism, alchemy, the Kabbala, and various forms of theosophy (the ancient wisdom) on Hegel's metaphysics. He quickly dispatches the absurd idea that Hegel was primarily a hermeneute and that he was not 'really' interested in hard-core metaphysics, and he further distances Hegel from the postmodern displacement that would reduce him to a negative genealogist of finite self-consciousness (e.g., in Julia Kristeva's reading of "negativity" in Hegelian consciousness via the later Freud). Combining close historical studies with internal categorial analysis, Magee exhibits the power of Swabian mysticism and its correlary, local pietism on such Hegelian ideas as: 1) the self-return of the absolute from its own concentration and condensation in the realms of finite reciprocity, 2) the reconstructed Aristotelian idea that all selves contain potentia of the fullness of absolute Geist in a mirroring relationship, and 3) the doctrine of dynamic internal relations that permeate the manifest cosmos. The "Phenomenology of Spirit," so often seen as a detached "we" consciousness of the regathering of shapes of self-consciousness (gestalten des Selbstbewusstsein), is thought theosophically as an initiation ritual in which the individual self shatters its provincial illusions and prepares to become a true Adept on the edges of absolute knowing (das absolute Wissen).Read more ›
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By John C. Landon on January 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This beguiling work opens with the statement, "Hegel is not a philosopher". As we go further we see this is to mean that Hegel is expressing the perspective of Absolute Knowledge, in the echoes of the Hermetic tradition. This book is a bit of a tour de force, although perhaps unsettling to those who inherit the Hegel reshaped in the nineteenth century by the Young Hegelians and others, indeed by the reticent stance of Hegel himself whose interest in Bohme and Eckhart, and early contacts with Rosicrucianism, the Masons, and study of a host of occult and theosophical subjects, tends to be factored out of his biographies. This component of Hegel's philosophic odyssey might never meet the approval of an age of science, yet the context is important to an understanding of Hegel's sources and development, and also on the grounds that much that is obscure clarifies at once if seen in this light. In fact this analysis hits the spot. Too much logical bandwidth is wasted on a sort of logical positivist recoil at the glyphic Hegel. Seen in this light, he is another man entirely and can be taken on his own terms, and with a proper caution that the seeker with a mystic triangle argument stands in ghostly shadows near the dialectician hoping to explicate a law of history (read Left Hegelian, Marxist). It is important to know what you were up to!
Very well documented text, with good historical snapshots of this side of Reformation history, made to disappear from most philosophic treatments of Hegelian subjects.
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