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The Serpent Was the Most Hegelian of Beasts

Besides this one, there are indeed many other beautiful and noteworthy narratives in the Bible which would be worthy their attention, as, for example, just at the beginning, there is the story of the forbidden tree in Paradise and of the serpent, that little adjunct professor who lectured on Hegelian philosophy six thousand years before Hegel’s birth. This blue-stocking without feet demonstrated very ingeniously how the absolute consists in the identity of being and knowing, how man becomes God through cognition, or, what is the same thing, how the God in man thereby attains self- consciousness. This formula is not so clear as the original words: When ye eat of the tree of knowledge ye shall be as God! Mother Eve understood only one thing in the whole demonstration, that the fruit was forbidden, and because it was forbidden, the good woman ate of it. But she had scarcely eaten the enticing apple when she lost her innocence, her naive ingenuousness, and discovered that she was much too naked for a person of her position, the ancestress of so many future emperors and kings, and she desired a dress. (Heinrich Heine)

One thought on “The Serpent Was the Most Hegelian of Beasts

  1. “This blue-stocking without feet demonstrated very ingeniously how the absolute consists in the identity of being and knowing [true: God’s understanding is his essence], how man becomes God through cognition [true: man’s ultimate end is understanding God], or, what is the same thing [false; not the same thing: man cannot become God ‘from below’ – eating the apple or in any way through his natural powers; divinization is God’s gift to man; the first two truths do not entail pantheism.], how the God in man thereby attains self-consciousness.”

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