Abstract and Keywords
The chapter examines the historical and conceptual interrelations among several influential critiques of religion that emerged in the history of German philosophy in the nineteenth century. The chapter begins by describing factors leading to the fragmentation of the Hegelian school in the wake of the publication of D. F. Strauss’s Life of Jesus in 1835–36. The second section traces Feuerbach’s development from the idealistic pantheism of his youth to the atheistic humanism and materialism of his later works, focusing mainly on the account of religious consciousness contained in The Essence of Christianity (1841). The third section outlines the interpretation of Hegel that underlies Bruno Bauer’s atheistic philosophy of self-consciousness, and considers Bauer’s position in relation to those of Karl Marx and Max Stirner. The concluding section identifies features of Nietzsche’s cultural location, and his way of thinking about religion, that distinguish them from those of his atheistic precursors.
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