Goethe is a remarkable German literary figure of versatile interests, talents and achievements in the ear of wars and revolutions in Europe. In English-speaking world he is even considered a German latter-day Shakespeare. Little is known except for his most famous work “Faust” and “The Sorrows of Young Werther”. Rüdiger Safranski, who has also written books on Schiller, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer and Heidegger, relying exclusively on primary sources, including his correspondence, diaries and conversations, to produce a “fresh and authentic” (The Economist) portrait. Through these materials the reader may find his mind and work in the eyes of other people including some notable figures such as Schiller or Herder, rather than Goethe’s own depiction. The author’s knowledge in philosophy, the historical background, and astonishingly insightful interpretation on Goethe’s work is a distinctive feature yet Goethe’s court gossip and personal affairs are diluted in the book. However, the lack of the original German edition is it is not friendly to a non-German readership because of obscure names and events without much annotation. David Dollenmayer, who is a college German professor and a literary translator, while elaborately translating his book and Goethe’s quotations, also received much support from the author and captured the organic nature of Goethe’s origin production. This is a comprehensive biography, enjoyable and never too long to read. It leaves the reader with lasting awe, even envy of a monumental legacy. “Goethe was more than the sum of his works, outstanding though they were; in fact, he conceived his entire life as a work of art, with a beginning, a middle and an end.” (The Economist)
A Giant German: Goethe’s life as a work of art. The Economicst. 2017. Retrieved from: https://www.economist.com/books-and-arts/2017/06/15/goethes-life-as-a-work-of-art
“[Batnitzky’s] book adds both shrewdness and humility to the search for modern Jewish identity and the claims often made about the purity of these identities.”
––Edward Ruehle, Jewish Voice and Herald
“Superb and thought-provoking.”
––Adam Kirsch, Tablet Magazine
“An excellent introduction to the key philosophers and writers who influenced modern Jewish thought.”
––Wallace Greene, Jewish Book World
“This book will no doubt serve as the authoritative secondary source on the topic for some time. Loera Batnitzky offers an eminently readable overview of a large number of complicated, even esoteric thinkers in terms that are manageable, indeed inviting, for nonspecialists and lay readers alike.”
––Mara Benjamin, H-Net Reviews
“A bold new interpretation of modern Jewish thought by one of the leading scholars in the field.”
––Micah Gottlieb, Jewish Review of Books
Hegel lectured on the proofs of the existence of God from May 4th to August 21st in 1829. He lectured for 16 weeks, one hour per week, and thus Hodgson is able to present 16 lectures to the readers in this book. Hegel was most interested in two issues, the reality status of God, and ways of knowing God. The 1829 lectures, especially Lectures 10-16, mainly touch on the cosmological proof. The first nine lectures address introductory matters such as faith and reason, the nature of the religious relationship, forms of the knowledge of God, the multiplicity of proofs, and the speculative approach. The teleological and ontological proofs remain beyond the range of this manuscript, but is fully demonstrated in the 1831 lectures two years later.
Hegel (1770-1831) was one of the most influential German philosophers worldwide. He was most influential with his articulation of idealism, also known as absolute idealism. He published four works during his lifetime: The Phenomenology of Spirit, Science of Logic, Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences, and Elements of the Philosophy of Right. Many of his lectures and other works are compiled and published posthumously.