Bruno Bauer’s Geschichte der Politik, Kultur und Aufklärung des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts (1843- 45), almost forgotten today, was perhaps his best historical work, whose aim is to dig out the Christian theological roots of modern atheism in Germany. "Radical" Enlightenment and Left Hegelianism are shown in their continuity through the discovery of Bauer’s neglected spiritual ancestors. A different eighteenth-century prelude to his own materialistic philosophy was proposed in the same years also by Karl Marx, Bauer’s former friend and then antagonist, as Mario Dal Pra elucidates in his La dialettica in Marx (1965). A comparison between Bauer’s and Marx’s respective surveys of the Enlightenment promises to enhance our understanding of the possible contribution offered by philosophers to the historical study of their discipline.
Keywords: Bruno Bauer, Enlightenment, Hegelianism, theology, Karl Marx, Mario Dal Pra