The Reception of Böhme’s Philosophy Around 1800
This chapter reconstructs the full historical context of Hegel’s encounter with Böhme’s writings, essential to understanding the originality of Hegel’s approach. For eighteenth- and nineteenth-century readers, including Hegel, any encounter with Böhme’s writings was inevitably inflected by a series of preexisting codifications concerning the figure of the mystical cobbler. The widespread, if implicit, consensus was that Böhme’s mysticism bore an affinity both to pietism and to experiments with animal magnetism. This chapter provides a preliminary sketch of the reasons for Hegel’s interest in Böhme, arguing that the originality of Hegel’s interpretation can be appreciated by contrasting it with other readings of Böhme, especially those of Schelling and others in the ‘Jena circle’.