Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit

  • by Gary Dorrien
  • Narrated by Robert King Ross
  • 35 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

What role, if any, did Immanuel Kant and post–Kantian idealists such as Hegel play in shaping modern theology?
In Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit , noted theologian Gary Dorrien argues that Kantian and post–Kantian idealism were instrumental in the foundation and development of modern Christian theology. In this thought–provoking new work, Dorrien contends that while pre–Kantian rationalism offered a critique of religion's authority, it held no theory about the creative powers of mind, nor about the spiritual ground and unifying reality of freedom. As Kant provided both of these, he can be considered the originator of modern religious thought. Dorrien reveals how the post–Kantian idealists also played an important role, by fashioning other forms of liberal religious thought through alternative solutions to the Kantian problems of subjectivity and dualism.
Dorrien carefully dissects Kant's three critiques of reason and his moral conception of religion, and analyses the alternatives to Kant offered by Schleiermacher, Schelling, Hegel, and others. Dorrien goes on to provide a substantial account of the development of liberal theology in Britain , and the thought of Paul Tillich and Karl Barth, showing how these, as well as the dominant traditions of German liberal theology, and even the powerful critiques of liberal religious idealism proffered by Kierkegaard and the left–Hegelian school, were rooted in Kantian or post–Kantian idealism. Presenting these notoriously difficult arguments in a wonderfully lucid and accessible manner, Dorrien solidifies his reputation as a pre–eminent social ethicist. Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit offers deeply illuminating insights into the impact of 19 th –century philosophical idealism on contemporary religious thought.
Gary Dorrien is the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and Professor of Religion at Columbia University. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including the highly–acclaimed trilogy The Making of Liberal Theology (2001, 2003, 2006), and Social Ethics in the Making: Interpreting an American Tradition (Wiley–Blackwell, 2008, 2010).

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What the Critics Say

“Graduate students and philosophy of religion students will find this book indispensable. Summing Up: Essential. All libraries supporting graduate programs in theology and religion.” (Choice)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Masterful Insight into Modern Theology

The book is amazing. Dorrien takes the reader on a journey through the development of modern liberal theology full of illuminating detail in the development of ideas, biographical information on the lives, relationships, and conflicts of the theologians and philosophers involved, and description of the social context surrounding the development of this great tradition. His mastery of the material and nuanced interpretation are evident throughout. Again and again his treatments of individual theologians are superb small-scale intellectual biographies. I found his treatments of Schleiermacher, Coleridge, Strauss, Kierkegaard, and Barth especially fascinating, though others were jewels as well.

With so wide-ranging a book, focusing on both German and British traditions in the 19th and 20th centuries, there will certainly be debates and disagreements, but one could hardly ask for a better guide through this material than Dorrien has become.

I am really grateful to Audible Ltd. for bringing a book of this quality into the realm of audiobooks. I would have put off the reading of so formidable a volume, but I started listening to it, and its content captured me. It was a truly interesting journey.

The great incongruity in the experience, however, was with the reader. This is a book with the names of two German philosophers in the title! How could a reader be chosen for it who has no idea how to pronounce German (or French or Latin for that matter)? The reader has a beautiful, sonorous voice and reads smoothly and quickly. But so many names are mispronounced! And this book is full of German names. He even mispronounces "Mozart." Hasn't he even seen "Amadeus"? When he reads titles, it becomes a sport trying to figure out the German behind the garble.I especially loved the hilarious sounding "jar-bucker."

His reading of English is also very careless. He drops syllables from many longer words and often supplies the "not quite right" word into the text. He reads dialect for dialectic, cavalry for Calvary, aspirations for aspersions, revalant for relevant, "vow-shaved" for vouchsafed, and on and on and on. The simple word "piety" and related words such as pietism must occur well over a thousand times in this book. It would take only a moment to look up the pronunciation in any dictionary. But using a variety of mispronunciations, the reader mangles the words every single time they occur.

This is a long book and the reading is a persistent distraction to concentrating on its great content. It's like the great suffering one must go through to reach a worthwhile goal.
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- Thomas

Terrible narration

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The narration; it is bad.


What aspect of Robert King Ross’s performance would you have changed?

Above all I'd ask that the pronunciation throughout the book be consistent. Next, I'd ask that he use the standard pronunciations for the names of philosophers and the technical philosophical terms.

For example, in the first hour and a half Leibniz gets both "Lieb-nis", "Leeeb-nis" and "Lib-nis."


Any additional comments?

Why wasn't this kind of thing checked?

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- Simon

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-23-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios