The starting point for modern philosophy in general and the philosophy of religion in particular belongs to Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). It is well recognized in the secondary literature that Kant’s Copernican Revolution has placed traditional (pre-critical) metaphysics and, by extension, the philosophical problem of religion – including his critique of the metaphysical doctrine of God – under such pervasive criticism that religion is now threatened up to the point of becoming nothing more than an illusion. The best example of the powerful and influent character of the Kantian criticism of religion is, perhaps, Ludwig A. Feuerbach’s (1804-1872) understanding of religion as a human projection. One is no longer able to speak of God by means either of the authority of the Scriptures or through an appeal to any kind of supernatural source. The reality of God, as such, is now at stake.
This course aims firstly at investigating, historically, the fundamental nature of Kant’s criticism both of religion and of the idea of God. Secondly, it will investigate some selected writings by the young Georg W. F. Hegel (1770-1831) and Friedrich D. E. Schleiermacher (1768-1834) as critical responses to Kant’s transcendental philosophical standpoint that have led to a consequent repositioning of the Kantian problematic on religion and the idea of God. Finally, the course will present the repercussions of this critical tradition in the contemporary – and basically German – philosophical and theological landscape and its significance for a critical reconstruction of the possibility of a meaningful discourse about God today.