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Music And Religion: Reflections On Cultural Secularization

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Chapter Summary

Hegels Kunstreligion signifies that art is the religion. In Hegel the process of spiritualization correlates with a progressive devaluation of arts essential religious purpose. Thus, rather counter-intuitively, secularization and spiritualization go together. Wagner provides an interesting twist on Hegels equation of spiritualization and secularization. Instead of seeing Renaissance and Reformation as the necessary conditions of arts emancipation from the shackles of religion, Wagner reverses direction to argue in good Hegelian fashion that secularization initiated not the higher development but the progressive decline of the artswith the one saving exception of music. Secularization, as opposed to desacralization, does not necessarily entail rejection of the defining criterion of religious belief: the division of the world into two separate realms, the sacred and the profane, such that entry into the realm of the sacred is to be understood as the passage to a new world.

Keywords: cultural secularization; desacralization; G.W. Hegel; music; R. Wagner; religion; religious belief; spiritualization



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