« PoprzedniaDalej »
out of fashion. On all sides there was a general revulsion to the Clearing-up. The reaction of Scottish philosophy against Hume ran out, and Hume has been continued in Hamilton, Mansel, Spencer, Bain, Lewes, and Mill. Natural science under Darwin, Huxley, Tyndall, and others in England; Comte and his school in France ; Helmholtz, Buechner, Haeckel, and others in Germany have gone back to D’Holbach's materialism, “What we know by our senses alone has reality," and to Laplace's atheism, “ Nature has no need of the hypothesis of a God.” In morals the same negative movement is carried on by Grote, Mill, Lecky, and Buckle ; and in religion by Baur, Feuerbach, Strauss, Renan, Colenso, and Matthew Arnold. The foregoing names are taken at random as having a certain prominence, but the spirit of the Clearingup saturates modern writers of all classes; we noted at the outset its distinct expression in Macaulay.
THE HISTORICAL CONSTRUCTION OF CHRIS
(TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN OF F. W. J. VON SCHELLING; BEING THE
EIGHTH LECTURE “ON THE METHOD OF UNIVERSITY STUDY" (AKADEMISCHEN
BY ELLA S. MORGAN.
The real sciences, in general, can be separated or particularized from the absolute or ideal sciences only by the historical element in them. But Theology, besides this general relation to history, has still another, which is altogether peculiar to it, and belongs specially to the nature of theology.
Since it, as the true center of the objective realization of philosophy, deals chiefly in speculative ideas, it is also the highest synthesis of philosophical and historical knowing ; and to demonstrate this is the chief object of the following remarks.
I base the historical relation of Theology not alone upon this: that the first origin of all religion, as of every other knowledge and culture, is conceivable only as derived from the instruction of superior personages — hence all religion in its first form was tradition ; for, as regards the other current modes of explanation, some of which make the first idea of God or gods arise from fear, gratitude, or some other emotion, while others make them originate through a crafty invention of the first law-givers. However, it may be that the former conceive the idea of God only as a psychological phenomenon, and the latter neither explain how it ever occurred to any one to make himself the law-giver of a people, nor how he came to use religion, in particular, as a means of exciting fear without having already received the idea from some other source. Foremost among the multitude of false, senseless attempts of modern times are the so-called histories of mankind, which take their conceptions of the primitive condition of the race from descriptions compiled by travelers of the rude traits of barbarous nations, which, consequently, play a distinguished part in such histories. There is no condition of barbarism which has not come from the ruins of a former civilization. It is reserved to the future efforts of history to show how even those peoples, who live in a condition of barbarism, are peoples torn from their relation with the rest of the world by revolutions, and are partly remnants of nations, who, deprived of communication and the means of culture already attained, have fallen back into their present state. I consider the civilized condition undoubtedly the first condition of the human race, and the first establishment of states, science, religion, and the arts as simultaneous, or, rather, as one and the same; so that they were not really separated, but were in most perfect interpenetration, as they will be again in the final perfection of the race.
Neither is the historical relation of theology alone dependent on the fact that the particular forms of Christianity, in which religion exists with us, can only be known historically.
The absolute relation of theology is that in Christianity the world is looked upon as history, as the realm of morals, and that this general intuition constitutes its fundamental character. "This is seen most completely in contrast with the religion of ancient Greece. If I do not mention the older religions, especially the Indian, it is because, in this relation, it forms no contrast — without, however, in my opinion, being in unity with it. The necessary limits of the present investigation do not allow a complete exposition of this view, hence we shall only mention or allude to it incidentally. The mythology of the Greeks was a perfect world of symbols of ideas, which can be perceived realistically only as gods. Pure limitation on the one side, and undivided absoluteness on the other, is the determining law of each particular divinity, as well as of the world of gods as a whole. The infinite was seen only in the finite, and in this manner even subordinated to the finite. The gods were creatures of a higher nature, abiding, unchangeable shapes. Very different is the condition of a religion which is concerned immediately with the infinite itself, in which the finite is not conceived as symbol of the infinite, and at the same time for its own sake, but is conceived only as an allegory of the infinite, and in perfect subordination to it. The whole, in which the ideas of such a religion become objective, is necessarily itself an infinite, not a world finished and limited on all sides; the shapes are not abiding, but transitory; not eternal beings of nature, but historic forms in which the divine nature is only revealed transitorily, and whose fleeting appearance can only be held fast by faith, but can never become transformed into an absolute presence.
Where the infinite itself can become finite, there it can also become many; there polytheism is possible. Where the infinite is only expressed in the finite, it remains necessarily one, and no polytheism is possible except a co-existence of divine forms. Polytheism arises from a synthesis of absoluteness with limitation, so that in the same neither absoluteness, according to form, nor limitation is canceled. In a religion like Christianity this cannot be taken from nature, for it does not conceive the finite as symbol of the infinite, and with independent significance. Consequently, Christianity can be taken only from what falls in time — that is, from history; and, hence, Christianity is, in the highest sense and in its innermost
spirit, historical. Every particular moment of time is a revelation of a particular side of God, in each of which He is absolute: that which the Greek religion had as co-existent, Christianity has as a succession, although the time for the separation of the manifestations, and with it of receiving definite shape, is not yet come.
It has been already pointed out that nature and history are related as the real and ideal unities; and in the same way the Greek and the Christian religions are related — in the latter of which the divine principle has ceased to reveal itself in nature, and is recognized only in history. Nature is, in general, the sphere of potentiality of things, in which, by virtue of the reflection of the infinite into the finite, things, as symbols of ideas, have also a life independent of their significance. Hence God, in nature, becomes exoteric — the ideal appears through another than itself, through a being; but only in so far as this being is taken for the essence, the symbol independent of the idea, is the divine truly exoteric, but according to the idea it is esoteric. In the ideal world — hence in history particularly — the divine unveils itself and is the open mystery of the divine kingdom.
As in the sensuous images of nature, the intellectual world of Greek poetry lay as if imprisoned in a bud, obscure in its object and inarticulate in subject.
Christianity, on the contrary, is the revealed mystery, and is in its nature esoteric, as heathenism is in its nature exoteric.
Hence the whole relation of Nature and the ideal world had to be changed, and, as Nature, was revealed in Heathenism, while the ideal world, in Christianity, was withdrawn to the realm of mystery ; and, in proportion as the ideal world became revealed, Nature recedes and becomes a secret. To the Greeks, Nature was in itself divine, for even their gods were not beyond or above Nature. To the modern world, Nature was a secret, for it did not comprehend Nature in and for itself, but only as the visible image of the unseen and spiritual world. The most active phenomena of Nature — as for instance, those of electricity and of bodies in a state of chemical change — were scarcely known to the ancients, or at least excited none of the enthusiasm with which they are regarded in the modern world. The highest religious feeling, expressed in Christian mysticism, holds the secret of Nature and the incarnation of God for one and the same.
In the system of transcendental idealism I have already shown that we must accept three periods of history, that of Nature, of Fate, and of Providence. These three ideas express the same identity, but in different ways. Fate is also providence, as recognized in the world of real things; so also providence is fate, but seen in ideal things. The eternal necessity reveals itself in Time in identity with it as Nature, where the conflict between the infinite and the finite still remains concealed in the common germ of the finite. This was the case in the most flourishing time of Greek religion and poetry. With the revolt from Nature the eternal necessity was manifested in fate, thus entering on the real conflict with Freedom. This was the close of the ancient world, whose history, therefore, may be considered, on the whole, as the tragic period. The modern world begins with a universal “ Fall of Man,” a revolt of man from Nature. This identification with Nature is not sin so long as it is unconscious of the contrary; it may rather be called “the Golden Age.” Consciousness of it destroys innocence, and, hence, immediately demands reconciliation and voluntary submission, in which Freedom comes out of the battle both conqueror and conquered. This conscious reconciliation — which takes the place of unconscious identity with Nature and of the conflict with Fate, and restores unity on a higher plane— is expressed in the idea of Providence. Hence Christianity, in history, introduces this period of Providence as the prevailing mode of viewing the world — a mode which looks upon the world as history and as ruled by Providence..
This is the great historical tendency of Christianity; this is the reason that the science of religion, in Christianity, is inseparable from history — is, indeed, one and the same with it. This synthesis with history, without which Theology itself cannot even be conceived, presupposes, on the other hand, the higher Christian view of history.
XII – 14