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Religion, Philosophy, and Reason at the Crux of Modernity




Despite his great importance, the Anglophone world has been very slow to appreciate Jacobi.  Now, with Alexander Hampton’s excellent anthology, we can say that it has finally got up to speed.  This volume contains first-rate articles by some fifteen specialists on every aspect of Jacobi’s thought; it is indispensable for every student of Jacobi and German idealism.  

Frederick C. Beiser, Professor of Philosophy, Syracuse University. 

Jacobi held a position of unparalleled importance in the so-called ‘golden age’ of late eighteenth and early nineteenth century intellectual history. Yet despite this, his work has always posed a range of interpretative challenges that continue to hinder his reception to this day. Because of the range and style of his thought and its expression, disciplinary and interdisciplinary boundaries have limited the scope for a comprehensive presentation of his work and its legacy. The colloquium and publication which are the end of this project intends to evaluate Jacobi’s pivotal place in this period. This includes his role in bringing about the close of the Aufklärung through his critique of reason, his central part in shaping the reception of Kant’s critical philosophy and the subsequent development of German idealism, his effect on the development of Romanticism and religion through his emphasis on feeling, and his role in shaping the emergence of existentialism. The outcome of the colloquium will be the publication of an authoritative volume that will bring together major scholars on Jacobi and his period to produce an updated, authoritative resource for one of the most important but underappreciated figures in both German and European intellectual history.


Use discount code FHJEE2022 for 20% off at Cambridge

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Introduction / Jacobi: At the Crux of Modernity – Alexander J. B. Hampton 


Part 1. The Critique of Reason: Debates on Rationalism, Empiricism, and Skepticism 

1. Jacobi and Philosophy: Rationalism and Skepticism – Benjamin Crowe 

2. Jacobi and Spinoza – Birgit Sandkaulen 

3. Jacobi on the Nature of Mind and Intuitive Certainty – Brady Bowman 

4. Jacobi and Kant: Freedom, Reason, Faith – James J. DiCenso 


Part 2. Faith and Revelation: Debates on Theism, Atheism, and Nihilism 


5. Theism and Christianity: Jacobi’s Argument and Dilemma – Ariberto Acerbi 

6. The Jacobi–Schelling Debate – Sean J. McGrath 

7. Jacobi’s Response to Religious Nihilism – Peter Jonkers 

8. Jacobi and the German Protestant Tradition – Jörg Lauster 


Part 3. Jacobi and the Revival of Socraticism: The Muenster Circle and Existentialism


9. Jacobi and Hemsterhuis – Daniel Whistler 

10. Dioscuri: Hamann and Jacobi – John Betz 

11. Jacobi and Kierkegaard – Anders Moe Rasmussen 


Part 4. Jacobi’s Impact on Idealism and Romanticism 


12. Jacobi and German Idealism – Ernst-Otto Onnash 

13. Jacobi’s Philosophy of Faith in Fichte’s 1794 Wissenschaftslehre – David W. Wood 

14. Jacobi and the Romantics – Alexander J. B. Hampton 

15. Jacobi as Literary Author – George di Giovanni 


Jacobi Sources 




The year 2019 was the two hundredth anniversary since Jacobi’s death. To mark this a colloquium, supported by the DAAD, SSHRC, and McGill School of Religious Studies, was held in Montréal, Canada, on 28-29 September, 2019.  This volume is an outcome of that meeting. 

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