Hegel shows a distinct development of thought in his essays on Christianity, and the two pieces can be distinguished by the way that thought develops from one to the other. In the earlier essay we see Hegel making use of the Kantian method of philosophical analysis as he tries to dismantle what he sees as the prevailing unfounded interpretations of the teachings of Jesus. In effect, he is attempting to be a mediator between his own deep conviction of the truth of those teachings and his own recognition of the validity of the Kantian method of inquiry. Hegel in this first essay tries to review the history of Christianity and to make distinct the elements which truly belong to Jesus's teaching and those elements which were added at a later date. He makes clear at the outset that his intention is not to produce an article of personal faith but is rather to probe the universal concern of each and every "true" religion, the issue of human morality:
I remark here. . . that the aim and essence of all true religion. . . is human morality, and that all the more detailed doctrines of Christianity, all mans of propagating them (meaning his own essays and investigations into Christianity). . . have their worth and their sanctity appraised according to their close or distant connection with that aim (human morality).
Hegel uses the term "the positive element i