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A History of Philosophy in Epitome by Schwegler

A work subsequently written by Schelling


as an individual, he is a person

wholly conceivable from the circumstances of the age in which he appeared. Since God is eternally outside of all time, it is inconceivable that he should have assumed a human nature at any definite moment of time. The temporal form of Christianity, the exoteric Christianity does not correspond to its idea, and has its perfection yet to be hoped for. A chief hindrance to the perfection of Christianity, was, and is the so-called Bible, which, moreover, is far inferior to other religious writings, in a genuine religious content. The future must bring a new birth of the esoteric Christianity, or a new and higher form of religion, in which philosophy, religion and poesy shall melt together in unity.--This latter remark contains already an intimation of the "_Philosophy of Revelation_," a work subsequently written by Schelling, and which exhibited many of the principles current in the age of the apostle John. In the work we are now considering, there are also many other points which correspond to this later standpoint of Schelling. Thus he places at the summit of history a kind of golden age. It is inconceivable, he says, that man as he now appears, should have raised himself through himself from instinct to consciousness, from animality to rationality. Another human race, must, therefore, have preceded the present, which the old saga have immortalized under the form of gods and heroes. The first origin of religion and culture is only conceivable through the instruction of higher natures.
I hold the condition of culture as the first condition of the human race, and considere the first foundation of states, sciences, religion and arts as cotemporary, or rather as one thing: so that all these were not truly separate, but in the completest interpenetration, as it will be again in the final consummation. Schelling is no more than consistent when he accordingly apprehends the symbols of mythology which we meet with at the beginning of history, as disclosures of the highest wisdom. There is here also a step towards his subsequent "_Philosophy of Mythology_."

The mystical element revealed in these expressions of Schelling gained continually a greater prominence with him. Its growth was partly connected with his fruitless search after an absolute method, and a fitting form in which he might have satisfactorily expressed his philosophic intuitions. All noble mysticism rests on the incapacity of adequately expressing an infinite content in the form of a conception. So Schelling, after he had been restlessly tossed about in every method, soon gave up also his method of construction, and abandoned himself wholly to the unlimited current of his fancy. But though this was partly the cause of his mysticism, it is also true that his philosophical standpoint was gradually undergoing a change. From the speculative science of nature, he was gradually passing over more and more into the philosophy of mind, by which the determination of the absolute in his conception became changed. While he had previously determined the absolute as the indifference of the ideal and the real, he now gives a preponderance to the ideal over the real, and makes ideality the fundamental determination of the absolute. The first is the ideal; secondly, the ideal determines itself in itself to the real, and the real as such is the third. The earlier harmony of mind and matter is dissolved: matter appears now as the negative of mind. Since Schelling in this way distinguishes the universe from the absolute as its counterpart, we see that he leaves decidedly the basis of Spinozism on which he had previously stood, and places himself on a new standpoint.


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