Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Von

Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Von one of the four (Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel) great speculative philosophers of modern Germany, was born at Leonberg, near Stuttgart, in 1775. His father, though but a rural clergyman, was an eminent scholar in Oriental and Rabbinical literature. Young Schelling showed early indications of his great powers. At fifteen he entered the University of Tübingen, intending to make theology his profession. Here he formed an intimate friendship with the student (afterwards rival) Hegel who was five years his senior, as also with the unfortunate poet Hölderin. Lessing, Herder, and Kant were the admired heroes of these young geniuses. Also they were enthusiastically stirred by the new political ideas of the outbreaking French Revolution.

Writings. — Schelling's first attempt at authorship was his essay for his master's degree in his eighteenth year, Antiquissimi de Prima Malorum Origine Philosophematis explicandi Gen. iii Tentamen Criticum (1792). A year later he published a paper, Ueber Mythen (on the myths and sagas of antiquity), which shows how deeply the religious ideas of the ancients were already occupying the young scholar. The year 1794, in which Fichte began his philosophical fame at Jena, was a turning point in the history of Schelling. Fichte's Wissenschaftslehre at once set into ferment the kindred speculative powers of Schelling, who, from thenceforth for two decades, sent forth a rapid succession of works which have assured him a place among the great speculatists of the race. Adopting Fichte's idealism, he spiritedly defended it in the following papers: Ueber die Möglichkeit einer Form der Philosophie (1794): — Vom Ich als Princip der Philosophie (1795): — Philosophische Briefe über Dogmatismus und Kriticismus (1795): — Neue Deduktion des Naturrechts (1795): — Allgemeine Uebersicht der neuesten philosophischen Literatur (1795). These papers show a gradual advance towards independence of thought and towards the chief features of the author's subsequent peculiar positions. In 1796 Schelling went to Leipsic and gave special attention to the study of physics. Here he began to meditate that peculiar Philosophy of Nature which took so striking a form when he began to lecture at Jena in 1798. At first he taught side by side with Fichte; and when Fichte went to Berlin, in 1799, he remained the chief philosophical star at Jena. Hardly could there be conceived a more favorable place for the young philosopher than Jena at this time was. It was the philosophical focus of Germany. Reinhold had there expounded Kant; Goethe's spirit hovered over the place; Schiller, Humboldt, and the Schlegels were closely related to the university. Circumstances combined to invest philosophy here with an atmosphere of poetry. Schelling's Philosophy of Nature, which was partly a creature and partly a creator of this atmosphere, was therefore very enthusiastically received. It was presented in a variety of writings: Ideen zu einer Philosophie der Natur (1797): — Von der Weltseele (1798): — System der Naturphilosophie (1799). While elaborating these works, Schelling also subjected the Fichtean philosophy of the Ego to a further development, positing the Ego as an antithesis to Nature (see his Systen des transcendentalen Idealismus [1800]). But, unable to rest in this dualism, he attempted to conciliate the antithesis in a higher unity in his Identitätssystem (1801). This thought is the inspiration of a fresh series of works: Bruno, oder über das göttliche und das weltliche Princip der )Dige (1802): — Vorlesungen fiber die Methode des akademischen Studiums (1803) — Philosophie und Religion (1804): — Darlegung des wahren Verhältnisses der Naturphilosophie zur verbesserten Fichte'-schen Lehre (1806). How great was the influence of Schelling in this period is vividly depicted in the pages of such men as Steffens, Schubert, and Schlosser. In 1803 Schelling was called by the Bavarian government to the University of Würzburg; here he wrought in the same spirit as at Jena. On account of political changes he left this post after two years, and retired to Munich, where, in 1807, he was made secretary of the Academy of Sciences.

This is a transition period in the philosophy of Schelling. His greater originality and independence lie in his Jena period. He now begins to drift towards syncretism and a mystical theosophy. It is an effort to escape from pantheism towards Christianity, or rather to find a system which shall express the truth of both. The works which give expression to this tendency — they appear less frequently than previously — are: Das Verhältniss der bildenden Künste zur Natur (1807): — Das Wesen der menschlichen Freiheit (1809): the harsh work against Jacobi, Denkmal der Schrift von den göttlichen Dingen (1812); and essays in the Allgem. Zeitschrift (Munich, 1813).

After the year 1815 there begins an almost uninterrupted silence of nearly forty years in Schelling's life. In 1820 he lectured for a brief period at Erlangen. In 1826 he was made professor of philosophy at the new University of Munich. His lectures here formed an epoch in the life of many rising young men. In 1841 he accepted a call to Berlin. The lectures here delivered formed a strong antithesis to the dominant Hegelianism, and are the best expression of his later system. His last years were devoted to editing his later form of doctrine for the press. Death overtook him in Aug. 1854, while seeking relief at the baths of Ragaz, in Switzerland, at the age of seventy-nine. Soon after his death (1856) the publication of his collective works was begun by his son (a clergyman), K.F.A. Schelling. They embrace a first division of ten volumes and a second of four volumes (Stuttgart and Augsburg, 1856 sq.).

Philosophy. — The philosophy of Schelling does not present a definite, self-consistent unity. It was in an almost constant state of self-modification. But it presents two pretty definite, crystallizing climax points his early pantheistic idealism and his later Christian theosophy. Between these climax points lies his long period of almost total retirement from public life. As a whole, however, the growth of his thoughts may be distributed under the following five phases:

(1.) Schelling as a disciple of Fichte. (2.) His philosophy of nature and his transcendental idealism. (3.) His system of identity. (4.) His transition period. (5.) His theosophic approach to Christianity.

(1.) Schelling began his thought system by absorbing and championing the reigning philosophy of the day — to wit, the system of Kant as modified by Fichte. By Fichte the idealism of Kant was emphasized into exclusive validity. According to Fichte, there is no other reality than the absolute activity of the Ego. It is true, this activity of the Ego is conditioned by an object — the Not-me. But this Not-me cannot be derived from any reality exterior to the Ego; that is, from any thing per se. On the contrary, the Not-me, the external world of thought and observation, is really an unconscious creation of the Ego, which the Ego then subsequently raises to an object of conscious contemplation. But which is the absolute reality with Fichte, the Ego as unconscious or as conscious? If as unconscious, then God, the All, is unconscious; and the empirical consciousness of man is delusive and unreal, and is destined to vanish into unconsciousness. If as conscious, then God, the supreme reality, has no existence save in the transitional flux of vanishing, finite Egos: he is in eternal process of becoming and of passing away. Between these two consequences Fichte's system constantly oscillated, tending at the one pole to self-annihilation, and at the other to self-deification. The latter tendency prevailed more in his earlier, and the former in his later, life. It was as an enthusiast for this rigid idealism of Fichte that Schelling made his philosophical debut. With Fichte he denied self-consciousness and personality to the absolute being; and he insisted that for the idea of a divine revelation there can be no place, save in the mythological phraseology of the populace. The history of religions he regarded as only a "progressive, symbolical manifestation of the ideas of the absolute reason." The philosophies and religions of the ancient world present in an imperfect and, as it were, unconscious form that which modern thought has developed in full consciousness of its own processes. Perhaps the chief feature in which Schelling differed from Fichte from the very outset was that he found a deeper significance in the different forms of religion than Fichte had done.

(2.) Schelling's second phase (1796-1800) sprang from his growing conviction that a mere subjective idealism could not do justice to the empirical objective world by which we are net on every hand. He did not mean by this to give up the results of his idealism; he only meant to reach the same results upon another path — to rediscover the reason of the subject in the objective reason of the world of nature. Thereby he introduced a new stadium into his philosophy: constructive or creative knowledge was put into the place of the previous critical knowledge. As previously the Ego had concentrated itself absolutely upon itself, so now this Ego, the subject, was to expand itself over the universe and find the laws of its own intuitions there reflected. Out of subjective idealism sprang, thus, an objective idealism. From the standpoint of this idealism the moral element loses its importance, and speculative knowledge is the one thing important. The intention of Schelling in his Philosophy of Nature was simply to complement the idealism of Fichte; but in reality it grew into a direct antithesis to it. With Fichte, nature was merely a means for the development of the subject. With Schelling, it was a manifestation — form of the absolute Ego, and had essence and significance in itself. Nature was spirit visible; spirit was nature invisible. This conception seemed strikingly new and important. It was hailed with very great enthusiasm. Nature was to Schelling a perpetual movement of self-balancing force. By the varied interaction of attraction and repulsion are produced the infinitely varied forms of organic life. Matter is balanced force. Nature, when rising above the antithesis of attraction and repulsion, becomes light. Light is, as it were, the soul, the thought of nature. Under the influence of light, matter evolves itself dynamically in the phenomena of magnetism, electricity, chemistry. The antithesis of crude matter and light is harmonized in the higher stage of organic life. Here light inheres in the objects; it is their vitality, their light. Matter becomes here a mere incident of the vitalizing principle. The stages of the dynamic process constitute the great divisions of organic life. The preponderance of objectivity or of subjectivity determines the characteristics of the three great kingdoms of organic nature — the vegetable, the animal, and the human or moral. Matter is the background upon which these three kingdoms stand out as higher stages of evolved being. Through it they stand related and are united into a unitary cosmos.

In his Philosophy of Nature Schelling thus traces the objective world in its ascent from the crudest objective stage to the highest subjective; that is, from matter to moral freedom (so far as the latter exists). But, not content with this, he now reverses the process. He starts from the highest point reached by natural philosophy — to wit, self-conscious man — and reconstructs the whole system of philosophy from a subjective standpoint. In this — his Transcendental Idealism — he traces, accordingly, the objective as rising from the subjective. He divides his subject matter here into the theoretical, the practical, and (that which unites the two) the artistic. In the theoretical part Schelling considers the various stadia of knowledge in their relation to the various stadia of matter. Matter is extinct mind. The acts and phases of self-consciousness are rediscoverable in the forces of nature and in the stages of their development. All the forces of the world are ultimately reducible to powers of ideal representation. Organization is necessary; for intelligence must view itself in its productive, successive transition from cause to effect. This it cannot do without making that succession permanent or representing it as at rest; and succession represented as at rest is organization. Intelligence is a never- ending effort at self-organization. Among the successive stages of organization there must be one which the subject is forced to regard as identical with himself. It is only through the fact that there are other intelligences than myself that the world is made objective to me. It is only through commerce with other individuals that I can come to the consciousness of my freedom. The intercommunication of rational individuals through the medium of the objective world is the condition of freedom. But whether all free beings shall, or shall not, confine their action within such limits as leave free play to the freedom of each other is not left to chance. but is safeguarded by the higher law of justice. Justice rules in the interests of freedom with all the inviolability of a law of nature. All attempts to supplant the reign of absolute justice by an arbitrary, artificial statute code have ever proved futile and abortive. The guarantee of a good constitution in each state must lie, in the last resort, in the subordination of all states to the common law of absolute righteousness. The gradual approach towards a realization of righteousness is the substance of history. History, as a whole, is a progressive realization and manifestation of the Absolute. It is only through history as a whole that the full proof of God's existence can become manifest. All single intelligences may be regarded as integrant parts of (God or the moral order of the world. This divine order will fully exist as soon as individual intelligences establish it. Towards this consummation history is constantly advancing in consequence of a preestablished harmony between the objective necessary and the subjective free. This harmony is conceivable only on the supposition of the existence of a higher element, superior to both, as being the ground of the identity of the absolutely subjective and the absolutely objective, the conscious and the unconscious, whose original separation took place simply in order to the phenomenal manifestation of free action. If the phenomenal manifestation of freedom is necessarily unending, then history itself is a never completed revelation of the Absolute, which disrupts itself, in view of this manifestation, into the conscious and the unconscious; but which is, in the inaccessible light in which it dwells, the eternal identity of both and the eternal ground of their harmony. To this higher element of identity no predicates can be given. Hence it cannot be an object of knowledge, but only of practical postulation — that is, of faith or religion. If we turn our attention exclusively to the orderliness of the objective world, we fall into a system of fatalism. If, on the contrary, we regard only the subjective, we land in irreligion or anarchy. But if we rise to the thought of that higher identity of both we attain to a system of providence — that is, of religion in the true sense of the word. It is true, Schelling leaves here untouched the very pertinent question how this higher Absolute to which no predicates can be assigned can be described as provident. How he would have met the question we leave undecided.

The transcendental idealism of Schelling had grown under his hands into a complete system of philosophy. It was therefore not only coordinate with his philosophy of nature, but also superordinate. But with this twofold presentation of his system from the two poles of the finite (Nature and the Ego) Schelling was not satisfied. He now felt that what he had found as the goal of his highest previous effort — to wit, the principle of absolute identity — should be laid as the beginning at the foundation. This brings us to the third stage of his philosophizing.

(3.) The epoch of his System of Identity. In this system everything is derived from the absolute reason, taken in the sense of the absolute identity of subject and object. The highest law of this principle is its identity with itself (A = A). It is absolutely infinite and one. Whatever is, is this absolute itself. Single finite things exist only in reflection. As this absolute identity is everything, it is at the same time the totality of everything. It is not the source or the cause of everything, but it is itself everything. In his conception of this absolute identity, Schelling seems to involve himself in a shadow of self contradiction. He makes it, on the one hand, an absolute indifference; as such it is purely negative, and hence cannot be made the basis of a positive universe. On the other hand, he makes it the identify of everything — that is, he makes it the most positive of all things. In this absolute identity, Schelling distinguishes essence and form. In respect to form. it is an infinite self knowing; it can know itself, however, only as subject and object. But as this subject and object spring from identity, their only difference must be quantitative, not qualitative; that is, the absolute identity can differentiate and posit itself under a preponderance of the subjective or of the objective, but not under a form from which one of the elements is entirely absent. Any equation that can be contrasted with A = A must be simply equivalent to A = B. The whole conception may therefore be expressed under the form of an unending magnetic line with one indifference point and two poles, at the one of which A preponderates, and at the other B, thus:


At every point in this line all three elements are present. Every single object is therefore one of the forms of the essence of the absolute, and in each of these forms the absolute identity is entire, seeing that it is per se indivisible. The preponderance of the objective or real is nature. The first relative totality in nature is matter; and the ideal antithesis of matter is light; and from the combination of matter and light springs organic life. But it is only in an infinite self knowing that the absolute identity is actu real, and hence only in the sphere of the subjective and ideal. This sphere Schelling identifies with the true, the good (religion), and the beautiful (art). The absolute identity is therefore the essence of nature simply in that it is the ground of its actual existence. Everything is nature which falls outside of absolute being. This differentiation of essence as, on the one hand, the actuality of things, and as, on the other, simply the ground of their actuality, was justly regarded by Schelling as one of the most important connecting links between his earlier and his later system.

The filling up of the outlines of his system of identity Schelling left incomplete; he gave chiefly the objective phase. Of the subjective or spiritual phase we have only fragmentary sketches. As filled out in his oral lectures, this phase contained the germs of his later and more theistic system. Religion is presented, not as a product of development from a state of barbarism, but as a product of instruction from higher beings. But Christianity is regarded as inferior to the great religions of the Orient; and yet Schelling insists, as against illuminism and the subjective moralism of Kant, on the necessity of the chief theological ideas of the Bible. His thoughts are these: As the universe differentiates itself, as real and ideal, into nature and history, so history itself is likewise divided. The Oriental and pagan world is the nature side of history; Christianity, on the contrary, is the ideal or moral side. The pagan religions are religions of nature; the gods are but forces of nature; the infinite is subordinated to the finite; hence the multitudinousness of deities. But in Christianity the finite is subordinated to the one infinite; hence the unity of the divine nature; In Christianity mythology can only rise from deterioration and popular ignorance. In paganism mythology is primitive, and religion can rise only from an intellectual advance beyond the primitive elements. The stream of history rises through three stages. The stage of nature came to its climax in the religion and poesy of the Greeks: it was a time of unconscious identity with nature, and nature was regarded as a manifestation of eternal necessity. The period of catastrophe, or of conflict between natural necessity and moral freedom was the tragic age of the decline of ancient civilization. The period of harmonization, or of providence, was inaugurated by Christianity. (This division corresponds in part with the one made in the author's Transcendental Idealism.) It is only in Christ that God becomes truly objective. But this is an eternal process, and the incarnation is not a merely temporal, empirical act; Christ offers up in his own person the finite, and thereby renders possible the coming of the Spirit as the light of the new world; this spirit brings, conducts, the finite back to God. From philosophic speculation Schelling looked for the new birth of essential, or esoteric, Christianity, and the proclamation of the absolute Gospel.

Connected with these views is Schelling's next speculative work, Philosophy and Religion (1804). It is a self defense against Eschenmayer. In it religion is presented as the "conciliation of the finite with God;" but the finite is regarded as per se fallen. "God is not the positively creative cause of the finite; the finite cannot directly spring of the absolute, and it sustains to the absolute no direct relation." The finite is regarded simply as not real, as delusive. The general background of this work is an idealistic mysticism, derived in part from Plato and Plotinus, but also much resembling the transmigration systems of the Orient; it fails to do justice to the ideas of morality and freedom.

(4.) With this work on Philosophy and Religion Schelling begins his transition to a more positive Christianity. All of his works subsequent to his System of Identity bear a more or less mystical coloring and become less and less rigidly systematic in form; at first the mysticism resembles that of the Eleusinian mysteries and of Neo-Platonism; subsequently it approaches Christianity on the footsteps of Böhrae. But this appropriation of mystical views was entirely independent on the part of Schelling; he seems to have been forced into them by a growing feeling of incomplete satisfaction with his previous views. And it is to be regretted that he did not openly concede the erroneousness of his earlier system or systems, but constantly represented his later system as simply complementive of his previous ones.

But his change of view is very radical. It came to definite expression for the first time in 1809, in his discussion of the nature of human freedom. Here is to be found in embryo the very essence of his final system. Schelling gives up monism. Monism cannot solve the riddle of good and evil, and gives no play to creatural freedom. Idealism must be complemented by realism. Idealism is the soul of philosophy; realism is its vital body; it is only from the union of the two that a vital whole can result. A few of Schelling's positions here are these: As nothing exists before or outside of God, so he has the ground of his existence within himself. This ground of his existence is not God per se, but it is a nature in God; this nature is inseparable from God, but yet it is distinguishable; it is not actually, but only logically, antecedent to God. It is only from this nature in God that the diversity and multiplicity of finite things is explicable. In order that these things be other than God, it must be that they have the ground of their existence in something which is not God; that is, in that in God which is not God himself. The further development of these thoughts brings us to

(5.) Schelling's Later System. The thoughts here met with are unquestionably among the most brilliant and suggestive that are anywhere to be found in the field of the philosophy of religion. At the threshold of this system we meet with an examination of the implications of creatural freedom. Among the fruitful conclusions here reached is this, that purely rational, logical thought is incapable of leading us to a knowledge of reality. This conclusion leads to a distribution of philosophy into negative and positive. By this distinction, Schelling comes into sharp antithesis to Hegel, who endeavored to comprehend the real by the processes of mere abstract thought. In the view of Schelling, this is impossible. Pure thought, pure reason, cannot a priori comprehend the existence of the objective world of reality. What a thing is and that it is (quid sit et quod sit) are clearly to be distinguished. The what, the essence of a thing, may be expressed in thought, in ideas. But the knowledge that it exists is / given by something outside of thought — to wit, its existence itself. This knowledge comes to us from experience, and not from reason. Existence cannot, therefore, be demonstrated; it can only be experienced. It is only through this knowledge from experience that thought reaches to true knowledge. A negative or ideal philosophy has to do only with the possible. It is only a positive philosophy that can rise to contact with the real and with that which springs from the real — to wit, freedom and free action. But as the whole of the results of freedom is not yet complete, a positive philosophy cannot be presented in as rounded a systematic form as is possible with the negative. The highest attainment of negative philosophy is to show how the highest principle is in idea. The connecting link which leads over from the negative to the positive form of philosophy is the conviction, forced upon us by experience, that God must be more than mere idea — that is, that he is real. As negative philosophy is the a priorism of the empirical, so positive philosophy is the empiricism of the a prioristic — that is, it is philosophical empiricism.

Positive philosophy can assume a starting-point almost anywhere — thus: "I will that which is higher than substance, to wit, the Lord of all being." From this initial assumption it then proceeds deductively, and the experience which results reacts as verification of the assumed starting point. The world is here the posterius; the unconditioned prius is God. And the whole drama of human history is an accumulative proof that this

posterius is from this prius. It is only in the sphere of positive philosophy that we reach the field of religion — that is, of a real (not merely ideal) relation of man to God. The transition from a negative to a positive philosophy is like that from the law to the Gospel. For a purely rational science, the idea of an objective religion does not exist. Religion originates practically through a longing and desire of the spirit, which cannot be satisfied with the merely ideal God of speculation. This longing is not an expression of the practical reason, as Kant would have it, but rather of the individual personality. It is not the generic, but the specific, that leads to God; for it is not the generic element of man (the reason), but the specific (the personality), that calls for happiness. The individual, as personality, calls for a person who is outside of and above the world — a Heart with which it may commune. The object and content of positive philosophy are furnished by revelation. But revelation is not philosophy, even as a ledge of rocks is not geology; it becomes philosophy only when thought digests and constructs it. Revelation is as essential to religious knowledge as the crust of the earth is to geological knowledge; hence the absolute defect of rationalism; reason is not competent to judge as to what revelation should be, but only to construct the revelation which is.

Having speculatively reached the ideal of the Absolute Being, and being forced by the heart to assume that this Being is objectively real, the philosopher is now ready for the predicate of this highest reality. This Being would not be perfect if he had not the liberty of positing himself outside of himself; but this is a liberty, and not a necessity. God is, before the world, master of the world; that is, he is able to posit it or not to posit it. The world is therefore a consequence, not of the divine nature, but of the divine will. But God does not posit himself into the world. God does not become real in consequence of creation; and yet he would not be real without the power of creation. Monotheism is true, but not in the sense of theism. Theism admits God as a personality, but this personality is an empty undifferentiated infinity, and has within itself no potentiality, no basis for a world outside of God. God is per se a plurality of potencies, and he is the totality of these potencies. And the great error of pantheism is not that it holds that there is no being outside of God, and that all existence is God's existence, "for all hearts cheerfully and joyously concede this;" but it consists in assigning to God a necessary and involuntary identity with whatsoever is. It is only from this idea of monotheism as distinguished from theism and pantheism that a transition to the truth of the trinity is possible. The entire God — that is, God as the totality of the divine potencies — is the Creator, the Father; and he is Father only in that he confronts the possibility of what is to be; and his fatherhood is fully realized only with the full actualization of creation. In the act of creation the absolute personality evolves its own self existing essence out of itself. This act of creation is a generating, and the divine essence so evolved is the Son. A second evolution constitutes the Spirit. The fatherly potency furnishes the material of creatural objects; the Son their form; the Spirit their perfection.

Revelation in the Old Test. lingers under the forms of mythology. In the New Test. these forms are entirely dispensed with. The focus of the new religion is the person of Christ, not as teacher or legislator, but as content. The person of Christ is both historical and prehistorical; as prehistorical he presided over pre-Christian history; as historical he laid aside his glory and identified himself with man in order to raise human nature into communion with God. Christ resumed the glory which he had laid aside only gradually and by moral process. This process began at his baptism. It is only on the complete victory of Christ over death that he could send the Spirit as comforter.

Schelling closes his philosophy of revelation with a glance at the history of the Church. He distinguishes here a prehistorical, a historical, and a post- historical Church. The latter will not appear in the present eon. The condition of the prehistorical is that of a merely subjective (negative) unity; that of the historical is a state of division as preparatory to its transition to a state of free, positive unity. The historical stage of the Church begins at the point where Christianity attains to domination in the Roman empire. Here it had to face, under a new form, all the might of the once defeated Evil Spirit. In giving itself an outer constitution, the Church appeared at first as a mere realistic, material, formal unity; as such it was of a merely authoritative legal character, and the more rigidly this legal character developed itself, so much the more was the ideal (spiritual) character driven into the background. But at the Reformation the ideal element came to open revolt with the realistic, and it then inaugurated a new phase of Church history. Both Christ and the apostles place the advance of the Church in a growth in knowledge; and the character of this new phase is, and will be, that mankind recognize more and more the supreme fact that Christianity is the highest stadium of human science. The three conditions of the Church are typified in the three apostles — Peter, Paul, and John.

Peter has the violent, aggressive nature that characterizes every beginning; Paul is steady and constructive; John has the gentle repose of maturity. The true Church is neither of the three, but the synthesis of all; its foundation was laid by Peter; its body was edified by Paul; its content was breathed into it by John. Even as God consists not simply of one person, so the Church is not embodied simply in one apostle. Peter is rather the apostle of the Father: he sees most deeply into the past. Paul is really the apostle of the Son: he is full of light. John is the mouth piece of the Spirit: he has the deep "words" of spiritual truth and warmth.

As a whole, no system of modern philosophy has more fully allied itself with Christianity than that of Schelling; he, of all the great speculatists, has alone treated this religion as "real history." To Schelling Christianity is a higher, a supernatural stream of history flowing upon the bosom of the ocean of cosmic history. He treats this history, not atomistically, but genetically. This genetic method of theologizing has become the prevalent characteristic of modern theology. Schleiermacher, Nitzsch, Rothe, Lange, Martensen, have all practiced it. Its general trait is an earnest endeavor to coordinate the parts into the whole, and to grasp the whole as a vital unity; and its stimulative relation to contemporary theological thought is an evident result of this its chief trait; and that in its details it may frequently be erroneous, or that many of its speculations are over presumptuous, does not destroy its value as a whole.

Few thinkers have had more enthusiastic disciples than Schelling. G.M. Klein espoused his system of identity. J.J. Wagner defended the earlier Schelling against the so-called later. G.A.F. Ast applied his method to the study of Plato. T.A. Rixner became a fruitful student of the history of philosophy. L. Oken applied Schelling's thoughts to an elaborate philosophy of nature; Nees von Esenbeck applied them to the physiology of plants; B.H. Blasche, to pedagogics and religious philosophy; J.P.V. Troxler, to the science of cognition. A.K.A. Eschenmayer received here his fundamental inspiration. J. Görres adapted Schelling to Roman Catholic tendencies. G.H. Von Schubert reflected him in a popular Christian mysticism. K.F. Burdach made large use of his philosophy of nature. K.G. Carus represented him in psychology and craniology; H.C. Oersted, in physics; K.W.F. Solger, in aesthetics; H. Steffens, in general religious philosophy; J.E. Von Berger, in the philosophy of law. F. Von Baader developed and remolded Schelling's later views into a very rich and elaborate system of Christian theosophy. K.C.F. Krause applied Schelling's views to general literature and freemasonry. F.G. Stahl was largely influenced by the later Schelling in his philosophy of law and in his discussion of the relations of Church and State. Coleridge received much inspiration from the early Schelling, and through Coleridge this influence went over into the pantheistic traits of Wordsworth. Agassiz was inspired by Schelling's views of nature. And many of the brilliant hypotheses which have played so large a role in modern physics — such as the metamorphosis of plants, the homologies of the skeleton, the origin of species — are really found in germ in the early works of Schelling.

On Schelling, consult Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 13, 503-551; Ueberweg, Hist. of Philosophy, vol. 2; Hagenbach, Hist. of Doctrine; Hurst, Hist. of Rationalism; Bowen, Modern Philosophy; and all works on modern German speculation. (J.P.L.)

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