|Original title||Die Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der bloßen Vernunft|
|Subject||Philosophy of religion|
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Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason (German: Die Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der bloßen Vernunft) is a 1793 book by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. Although its purpose and original intent has become a matter of some dispute, the book's immense and lasting influence on the history of theology and the philosophy of religion is indisputable. It consists of four parts, called "Pieces" (Stücke), originally written as a series of four journal articles. He strongly criticises ritual, superstition and a church hierarchy in this work.
The First Piece originally appeared as a Berlinische Monatsschrift article (April 1792). Kant's attempt to publish the Second Piece in the same journal met with opposition from the king's censor. Kant then arranged to have all four pieces published as a book, routing it through the philosophy department at University of Jena to avoid the need for theological censorship. Kant was reprimanded for this action of insubordination. When he nevertheless published a second edition in 1794, the censor was so irate that he arranged for a royal order that required Kant never to publish or even speak publicly about religion.
The book's title is based on a metaphor Kant introduces in the Prefaces and uses throughout the book, whereby rational religion is depicted as a naked ("bare") body while historical religions are regarded as "clothing" that are not appropriate "vehicles" for conveying religious truths to the populace. The earliest translation treats this metaphor too literally: using "naked" ignores the fact that Kant's "bloßen" can also mean "mere". The most recent translation solves this problem by using the English "bare", which also has both meanings.