Friedrich von Hügel

Baron of the Holy Roman Empire

Essays and Addresses on the Philosophy of Religion

Due to ill health, von Hügel was unable to give his lectures. The published version of his intended addresses examines the inter-connectedness of finite aspects of human existence and the existence of God. He analyses this tension from the perspective of several historical philosophers and theologians, considering epistemology, ethics, and institutional religion. Intended for a religious audience, his lectures do not attempt to prove God’s existence, but reveal the link between belief in God and patterns of the mind.


Friedrich von Hügel was born 5 May 1852 in Florence, Italy. One of the most influential Catholic thinkers of his day, von Hügel was a writer and Christian apologist. The son of a diplomat, he was tutored by many influential figures. In 1870, he suffered from typhus, leading to impaired hearing and eventual deafness. Following a crisis of faith, he was mentored by Dutch Dominican Raymond Hocking in Vienna. In 1897, von Hügel began a lifelong friendship with Jesuit George Tyrrell. In 1904, he co-founded the London Society for the Study of Religion.

Naturalised a British citizen in 1914, von Hügel was awarded honorary degrees from St Andrews and Oxford. During the attack on the modernist theological movement, which deviated from orthodox Catholicism, he was never named and escaped excommunication. His international relationships with scholars made him an influential link between colleagues across several disciplines. Notable works include The Mystical Element of Religion (1908), Eternal Life (1912), The German Soul (1916), Friedrich von Hügel (1928), Some Notes on the Petrine Claims (1930), and The Reality God and Religion and Agnosticism (1931).

Published/Archival Resources