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Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit: The Idealistic Logic of Modern Theology Hardcover – 28 Mar 2012


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Review

Nonetheless, the thoroughness of this volume and thecogency of its arguments make it an absolute must for theologystudents.   (Religious Studies Review, 27February 2014)

Dorrien′s book–which I cannot avoid callingbrilliant–will hold the same enduring place in giving an historicaljustification for his "modern theology" that Barth′s ProtestantTheology in the Nineteenth Century holds in setting the tablefor Barth′s dogmatics. Time will tell whether the future belongs toDorrien′s theology, Barth′s (in historical or repristinated form),or some other.   (Themelios, 1 August 2013)

Graduate students and philosophy of religion studentswill find this book indispensable.  Summing Up: Essential.  All libraries supporting graduate programs intheology and religion.   (Choice, 1 February2013)

Review

"I have always told students that one cannot understand moderntheology, including Barthian theology, without a firm grasp ofKant. Dorrien′s work substantiates this claim with an attention todetail that is nothing short of breathtaking. This book is abrilliant and much needed account of the influence of Immanuel Kantand the tradition of post–Kantian idealism on moderntheology."
William Stacy Johnson, Princeton Theological Seminary

"This is a brilliant and much needed book. Dorrien′s magisterialachievements to date lend his voice a special authority, but inthis book, the reader is simply compelled by the deft interplay ofnuance and overview to trust his mentorship. Dorrien hasmasterfully approached this most intimidating and yet indispensablecorpus of texts with depth and breadth of analysis, and with anextraordinarily fresh perspective."
Catherine Keller, Drew University

"Gary Dorrien is a superstar as an interpreter of modernreligious thought. This unique, fascinating, aggressivelyrevisionary book will have no competition until books appear toargue against it."
Frederick Ferré, University of Georgia

"This is an extraordinarily fine book, a delight to read, a realpage–turner, and a brilliant interpretation, all of which oneexpects of such an accomplished scholar and author as Dorrien. As atheologian and historian, Dorrien is in top form. As a theologianand philosopher, he writes with precise, analytical control overthe ideas involved, offering, among other things, the besttreatment I know of the evolving relations among Fichte, Schelling,and Hegel. No one else I know could have written this book, whichwill be the dominant treatment of its subject. Kantian Reasonand Hegelian Spirit is a magisterial interpretive history ofone of the most important theological deltas of our time."
Robert C. Neville, Boston University


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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A masterwork 30 Mar. 2013
By David Albertson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Before I write anything further, I need to quickly comment on the only other reviewer (as of this moment). Complaining about the cost of a book is not helpful. Anyone looking at this book recognizes its relative expense compared to other books. It's a bit like complaining that a Porsche is expensive.

Ironically, this book is a Porsche of theological writing. I confess that I've not completed the work, once I do I will commit more time to a full review. However, the four chapters that I have read are quite impressive.

Dorrien is perhaps the most capable theological writer of our day. He is able to summarize with both clarity and simplicity the massive ideas of complex philosophers and theologians. He tells their life story in conjunction with the development of their ideas and how they relate to other people and thinkers of the time. Nobody is a saint in his telling, but the context of their ideas is made more rich by his description. Kant, Schleiermacher, Locke, Coleridge, Hegel, Fichte, Schelling and more are laid out early on and then Dorrien creates a dialogue between all of them as he describes Idealism coming into being. He dispenses of common misconceptions, and writes with verve and genuine care for the subject. I have the feeling that Dorrien is most comfortable summarizing the thought of others, but I look forward to his concluding interpretations.

Until I finish the book, I will not comment on Dorrien's constructive work. For now, let Amazon be balanced: this book is exceptional, the masterwork of a scholar.

[Update 05.14.13]
After finishing the book, I have little more to add. Dorrien's gift is in explaining the history of people, ideas, and movements and philosophical idealism and its enormous impact on modern theology is very nicely described.

My only complaint, if it could even be such a thing, is that his final reflections lack his own constructive work. In his previous book, "The Word as True Myth" Dorrien gives a superb chapter on this topic. I was really hoping he would elaborate upon this as he reflected on idealism and its ironies. That isn't to say that his thoughts on Tillich and Barth weren't helpful or that he did no synthesis throughout, it's just not heavy with his own creative work.

That complaint has little to do with the text, however. And so I reiterate in full what I wrote earlier, the text is a scholarly masterwork on the topic.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Must Read for All Students of the History of Philosophy 6 Aug. 2014
By David Betz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent work. It's a must read for anyone who wants to fill in the gaps of the history of "modern" philosophy.

I wasn't sure what I was going to learn from the book, but I was pleasantly surprised to get very detailed biographical information and strong philosophical overviews of people like Fichte, Jacobi, Schleiermacher, etc...

My only note: if you don't understand Kant, I'd read the translator's introduction to the Critique of Pure Reason (Penguin Edition). Gary Dorrien's explanation of Kantian concepts are probably far too much for the uninitiated to handle.

In the end: this has become one of the most highlighted books in my library.
The Christianity of Modern Philosophers. 19 Jan. 2015
By Kristina - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is super dense stuff, both philosophically and historically, but tightly woven into a fine mesh that, in the end, reads as a comprehensive map of liberal theology. As a non-christian student of philosophy, this filled in some very fascinating gaps in my eduction where my college classes never made any real sense or gave any importance to the avowed Christianity of these philosophers!

I will say it was a slog for me, even in audio form (with awful pronunciation!), but that's what it takes to do this topic justice and Dorrien did just that.
Makes philosophy readable and relevant 8 Mar. 2015
By HPBandit - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent, clarified a number of concepts I have struggled to wrap my arms around.
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