There seem to be quite a few different versions of Hegel's Lectures on the History of Philosophy floating around. What gives?
Background on "Lectures on X"
Nearly every "Hegel's lectures on X" faces two issues. First, Hegel lectured on most topics multiple times in versions that were minutely distinct. Second, most of the "lectures on X" are cribbed from a combination of his students notes and his comments.
For the History of Philosophy, both Hegel and his students thought these were vitally important lectures, and he lectured in Jena, Heidelberg, and Berlin several times on it.
19th Century Issues
For "Lectures on the History of Philosophy," there is a problem in the German scholarship that is echoed in the English scholarship. As such, there have been two complete translations of things called Hegel's "Lectures on the History of Philosophy."
One of the first people involved was Karl Ludwig Michelet. From 1833-1836, He compiled a version of Hegel's "Lectures on the History of Philosophy" and published it by meshing together many different sets of lecture notes (meaning from different times Hegel had lectured over the years) and student notes (from students who had heard different versions). This work got a bad reputation as cobbled together and hard to read.
Michelet responded by smoothing it out even more in a revised edition from 1840-1844. The second edition of Michelet is in some respects worse than the first because it blends and changes things even more to make a smooth single coherent document.
Both versions suffer from issues which make it hard to detangle Michelet's editing from originals. While this doesn't meet the standards of contemporary text work, this sort of thing was quite common historically.
A second muddling complication is that Hegel authorized Eduard Gans (1837) and Karl Regel (1840) to lecture from his 1822/23 and 1830/31 editions (from the "Einleitung" to Hoffmeister's translation).
E.S. Haldane translated Michelet's second edition in 1896 or so. You can buy a published version from the University of Nebraska press with an introduction by Frederick Beiser or download it for free from a variety of sources.
20th Century Issues
In 1917-1918, Georg Lasson produced a critical edition that separated out lectures from 1822/23, 1824/25, 1826/27, 1828/29 und 1830/31. This provides four different lecture versions.
This enabled Hoffmeister tried to build a better German edition that of the lecture based in part on a handwritten set of notes from Hegel dated November 8, 1830 (but many other sources used by Michelet were by this time lost) [from Hoffmeister's "Einleitung"). The version split the text Hegel had and the amendments Lasson made using different type faces (italics and straight text respectively). Hoffmeister claimed that Michelet both (a) tried to produce a scholarly critical edition and that he (b) failed to produce one.
21st Century Issues
Around the same time, German scholarship started working on a new critical edition of Hegel's lectures. This was published as G. W. F. Hegel: Vorlesungen über die Geschichte der Philosophie by Felix Meiner Verlag (1994) edited by Pierre Gamiron and Walter Jaeschke. This versionprovides the 1825-1826 lecture as its template and also supplies alternate introductions from different years.
In 2009, Robert F. Brown did a translation of the most recent German scholarship that works primarily from the Berlin lectures for Oxford University Press.
- Quentin Lauer
- Brown's translation and introduction