The Religion of Beauty
Under the heading “The Religion of Beauty” Hegel treats the polytheism of ancient Greece. The Greek religion shares with Judaism the idea that the divine is a self-conscious entity, and thus both represent religions of spirit. However, for Judaism, God was an object of thought and not of sense, and for this reason there were no images or representations of Jehovah. By contrast, it is, according to Hegel, one of the fundamental aspects of the Greek gods that they are represented in art. The analysis in Chapter 9 focuses on Hegel’s interpretation of how the Olympian gods arose out of an earlier generation of nature gods. This account is reflected in Greek mythology itself in the depiction of the war of the gods given in Hesiod. For Hegel, this represents clear evidence that the conception of the divine starts with natural deities and moves to gods of spirit.
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