This is an account of Hegel's time in Heidelberg from 1816 to 1818, drawn from Karl Rosenkranz's Life of Hegel (1844), the first biography of Hegel. It includes discussions of Hegel's essays on Jacobi and on the Wurtemberg Estates. I exclude from this the chapter on the first edition of the Encyclopadia (1817), which I have translated in a previous post.
The Move from Nuremberg to Heidelberg, Fall 1816
The remuneration at Heidelberg was 1,300 florins and amounts of various kinds of wheat. Daub noted proudly in a letter that Spinoza had been invited there, though in the end he had not come. A short essay on philosophy in the universities (SW17; Correspondance II, L284) dates from this time (Raumer is the source for this.)
Activity at Heidelberg
Yxkull was an Estonian nobleman who had fought with the Russians and was seeking scientific culture. He found from Hegel a “benevolent politeness as well as irony”. According to Yxkull, Hegel told him that:
“religion was philosophy in an anticipatory state; philosophy was religion in a completely conscious state. Both sought, only by different means, the same thing, namely to know God.” (470)
H.F.W. Hinrichs (1794-1861) held a seminar at which many people from the different faculties met together, using the Phenomenology to guide discussion. Hinrichs was a right Hegelian, according to Osmo, who taught at Breslau, used Hegel's vocabulary in commentaries on Goethe's Faust and on Schiller. He produced a critique of Schleiermacher with an introduction by Hegel. He was then studying law and attended Hegel’s lectures on the Philosophy of Right. Hegel wrote him an important letter on scientific compositions (Corr. II L357).
Participation in the Heidelberg Yearbooks
The Works of Jacobi
Hegel had already discussed Jacobi in the Critical Journal. Jacobi had recently published Divine Things and their Revelation (1811). Hegel's essay has been translated into French (Recension des Oeuvres de F H Jacobi. trans. A Doz, Paris: Vrin, 1976), but as far as I know not into English. Jacobi has also been translated into English by George di Giovanni, though not the work named above.
- misinterpretation of Spinoza
- philosophy of nature
- lack of speculative form
- adoption of an individual standpoint
- lack of objectivity of concepts
"God is not a dead God, but living; he is still more than the living God, he is spirit and eternal love." (477)
"as if the self-consciousness of God in man excluded from itself the proper self-knowledge of God." (478)
The Wurtemberg Estates
|The Crest of the Wurtemberg Estates|
The second essay Hegel contributed to the Heidelberg Annuals was on the Würtemberg Estates, but the reception here was not so pleasant. Frederick I, the first King of Wurtemberg, was seeking conformably to the Congress of Vienna to give his country a constitution. [Note: this seems to be a version of the famous Charte offered to France by Louis XVIII around the same time. - SC] Hegel noted the popularity of the old forms of government. He wrote:
"If the Princes of the new Kingdoms had wished to thoroughly deceive their peoples and to win glory for themselves, so to speak, before God and men, they would have restored the supposed old constitutions to their people..."
- right to participate in legislation
- right to vote taxes
- former assets of the church
- right to accounts of public expenditure
- personal freedom
- responsibility of civil servants
- right to emigrate
- durable powers of the Estates
The people were a part that made itself the whole, yet acted against other parts. The phrase People equivocates between the middle classes and the crowd. Hegel wrote against publicists who would exclude people from the administration of justice by means of legal fees. This in his view had brought the magistrates into disrepute and led the State to exercise authority over local appointments. Age and wealth were not sufficient to the office of elector, for they related to no particular sphere.
"in short, he believed that the Estates of Wurttemberg had done the opposite of what the French Revolution wanted, to create a state starting from reason. On the contrary, they had had a sense only for the historical aspect of things, without bothering to inquire of it whether it was reasonable or unreasonable." (484)
[This concludes my coverage of Book II of Rosenkranz's biography. The concluding Book III deals with Hegel's time in Berlin from 1818-31. - SC]