This and so many more reviews I’ve been posting lately originally appeared in a now long defunct livejournal.
On Art, Religion, and the History of Philosophy: Introductory Lectures (Hackett Classics)
I read a pretty big chunk of Hegel in my first undergrad philosophy class. He scared the living shit out of me. I thought I was a reasonably smart dude (and didn’t go to college until I was in my mid-twenties), but when my professor would say “and here Hegel is saying blah blah blah” I would reread the text and think “I have no fucking idea how she is getting that out of this”.
Then, in a latter philosophy class, we read this. I think it’s a good place to dip into the impenetrable German. The writing is clearer than Phenomenology and the subjects areconcrete (by Hegelian standards). Though it doesn’t deal directly with any of Hegel’s major contributions to philosophy, I think in the hands of a good philosophy teacher, it allows you to get a sense of Big H’s major themes.
If you were going to read one book by Hegel, I guess it would have to be Phenomenology of the Spirit. But I don’t know how anyone could read that outside of a school or study group session and get all the lessons from it. If you were going to study Hegel (which I still really need to do in much more detail) I’d say this would be a good place to start. It gets you inside his writings in a introductory way and paves the way for being able to read his denser work.
Recommended for the enthusiast.