Populism and the Late Schelling on Mythology, Ideology, and Revelation

Sean McGrath

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Revelation according to Schelling is not the possession of any institutional
form of Christianity; it is not even bound to faith or confession. Rather,
revelation disseminates itself freely and universally throughout history. It
now inextricably permeates modernity. Schelling’s Philosophy of
Revelation does not look backwards to an event in the first century of the
common era, it looks forward to the genuine singularity, the moment when
humanity will become adequate to the divine subjectivity which lives in it,
that is, the penultimate eschaton proclaimed by Paul and the author or the
Book of Revelation, the age of righteousness prior to the general
resurrection.1 By bringing mythological consciousness to an end and
drawing real limits to rationalism (idealism), revelation first establishes a
free relation of the human being to the divine. At the same time, revelation
liberates philosophy and culture from religion and inaugurates secular
consciousness. History, according to the late Schelling, which he
undeniably reads Eurocentrically, is moving toward this third age of
revelation (after Catholicism and Protestantism), in which all of humanity
will pass over into absolute or true monotheism (Trinitarianism). With the
universalization of the revelation, the free and philosophical appropriation
of its content (what Schelling somewhat misleadingly calls “philosophical
religion”), all historical forms of religion will be overcome, including, it
should be added, all historical forms of institutional Christianity. The
complete secularization of the world will be achieved, and the sundered human community unified, without expense of historical or cultural diversity.

 


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