Das Denken ist auch Gottesdienst 1


I am doing a workshop tomorrow for a local, annual event called Faith4Thought. My topic is

Beyond Making the Grade – Christian Brady
What do you take away from a college course – what gives it lasting significance or value? In a culture that claims to offer innumerable shortcuts to the easy A, what habits will help you maintain your integrity as you focus on lasting goals

When I was in college we had a faculty member come to our IV meeting and he shared the quote cited in the subject line, which was not attributed then, but I now know is attributed to Hegel. Now when this was presented to us back in the late 80’s the faculty member interpreted the quote in a very positive manner, suggesting that you do not have to be in an “official” capacity doing church work to still be serving and worshipping God. I thought I would riff off this quote for my talk, but I was surprised to find the context to suggest a different interpretation.

“Das Denken ist auch Gottesdienst,” as Hegel said to his housekeeper. “The universal Power,” he says, “is within you. It has not to come and so be present with you; it is you that have turned away from it. It is there all the time; you are not far from it, but you have turned your face the other way.”1

This is a very different reading than the one presented to us all those years ago. This is where I am asking for help. The above is the fullest citation of this story that I can find and yet the author does not cite his source. In fact, I cannot find any citation for the source, rather the story is simply repeated. Does anyone know the actual source or is this simply apocryphal (albeit in keeping with Hegel)?


  1. Philosophy, Vol. 10, No. 38 (Apr., 1935), pp. 144-153, Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of Royal Institute of Philosophyhttp://www.jstor.org/stable/3746734 []

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