Separation of Church and State according to Hegel

Katarzyna Guczalska

Hegel was not a proponent of supremacy of the state and its unity with the church in the sense of the theocratic state model. Th is article presents in detail Hegel’s understanding of the state-church relation, which takes the form of “unity based on diff erence”. The unity may suggest a para-religious nature of the idea (sacralisation) of the state. Due to possible misunderstandings and interpretation ambiguities, the issue is thoroughly analysed. Reconstruction of Hegel’s view on the state-church relation brings forward Hegel’s ambivalent attitude to religion. It is a permanent element of the life of state, but also leads to many faults and threats. The article provides reasons for both criticism and affi  rmation of religion and recreates Hegel’s understanding of fanaticism, Catholicism, Reformation, unity and separation (a diff erence in Hegel’s terminology) of church and state, the idea of the state and freedom. The analysis results in emergence of some elements of Hegelianism which might surprise by their actual care for the value of religious freedom, toleration and a state understood as a mediator or arbiter in religious conflicts.


Keywords: Hegel · separation of state and church · religion · fanaticism · Reformation · Protestantism · Catholicism · state · freedom

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