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Fackenheim’s hegelian return to contingency

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Chapter Summary

In Strauss' reading, Aristotle had recognized the importance of particular historical circumstances, or of contingency, but had denied their essentiality to thought. Like Aristotle, Hegel identifies as a fundamental question the relationship between transcendence - necessary for the incursion of God or as the impetus of thought - and contingency. The most prominent aspect of Fackenheim's work on Hegel is his willingness to understand Hegel in Hegel's own terms. Fackenheim reminds us of a remark Hegel made at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The pre-philosophical religious dimension of Hegel's thought provides the context for self-making which occurs in the synthesis of philosophy and religion, and, at the same time, highlights that the Hegelian system operates only in the sphere of human achievement: there exists a realm that is permanently beyond human self-making. Fackenheim's adoption of Hegel's thought reaffirms the commitment to a life lived in openness to God's commandments.

Keywords: Aristotle; contingency; Fackenheim; God's commandments; Hegelian system



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