Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel is one of the most influential thinkers in modern philosophy. The Hegelian dialectic—the idea that truth is attained by synthesizing an idea (thesis) and its opposite (antithesis)—continues to dominate much of Western philosophy. In the dynamic process of the Hegelian dialectic, the two opposites are neither annihilated nor subsumed into each other. Rather, they’re integrated and united to form one new concept. This concept then becomes a thesis, which then develops an antithesis, and the dialectic continues. In Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, Hegel applies this dialectic to the study of religion.
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Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) was born in Stuttgart, Germany. He received his early education at the Gymnasium Illustre in Stuttgart. He entered the seminary at the University of Tubingen in 1788, graduating with a degree in theology. After graduating, Hegel tutored the children of an aristocratic family in Berlin. He left Berlin to lecture on logic and metaphysics at the university in Jena, becoming an extraordinary professor in 1805. Displaced by Napoleon’s campaign through Prussia, Hegel took the position of editor at a newspaper in Bamberg. In 1808, Hegel left Bamberg to become headmaster of a gymnasium in Nuremberg. In 1811, he married Marie Helena Susanna von Tucher, with whom he had two sons. Hegel briefly accepted a post at the University of Heidelberg before accepting the chair of philosophy at the University of Berlin, where he remained until his death.