Mysticism and Materialism in the Wake of German Idealism
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This book argues that the rediscovery of mystical theology in nineteenth-century Germany not only helped inspire idealism and romanticism, but also planted the seeds of their overcoming by way of critical materialism. Thanks in part to the Neoplatonic turn in the works of J. G. Fichte, as well as the enthusiasm of mining engineer Franz X. von Baader, mystical themes gained a critical currency, and mystical texts returned to circulation. This reawakening of the mystical tradition influenced romantic and idealist thinkers such as Novalis and Hegel, and also shaped later critical interventions by Marx, Benjamin, and Bataille. Rather than rehearsing well-known connections to Swedenborg or Böhme, this study goes back further to the works of Meister Eckhart, Nicholas of Cusa, Catherine of Siena, and Angela of Foligno. The book offers a new perspective on the reception of mystical self-interrogation in nineteenth-century German thought and will appeal to scholars of philosophy, history, theology, and religious studies.
Table of Contents
1 The Spark and the Counterfeit: Kant, Fichte, and the Transcendental Critique of Mysticism
2 In the Vein of Eckhart: Franz Xaver von Baader’s Mining of Medieval Mysticism
3 Now the Bridge Stands Glittering: Apophasis, Kenosis, and Temporality in Novalis’ Mystical Politics
4 The Eye With Which I See: All-Seeing Eyes in Hegel, Eckhart, and Nicholas of Cusa
5 Social Grace: Eckhart, Catherine of Siena, and Marx on Appropriation
6 A Dramatic Loss of Self: Bataille’s Mystical Praxis
W. Ezekiel Goggin is a researcher specialising in post-Kantian philosophy of religion. He has published work in the Hegel Bulletin, Claremont Studies in the Philosophy of Religion, and The Journal of Cultural and Religious Theory. He was a fellow of the Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion and an inaugural fellow of the Humanities and Social Change International Foundation’s Center at the University of California Santa Barbara.
Sean Hannan is an Associate Professor in the Humanities Department at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He is the author of On Time, Change, History, and Conversion (2020). He has also written articles published in Augustinian Studies, Political Theology, Medieval Mystical Theology, and the Journal of Early Christian Studies. He has co-edited the volume Augustine and Time (2021) and is co-editing a forthcoming volume, Mystical Theology and Platonism in the Time of Cusanus.