Das Absolute in der Geschichte: Philosophie und Theologie der Geschichte in der Spatphilosophie Schellings [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 22 (3):572-573 (1969)
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Even though the last decade has seen more original and significant work on Fichte, the flow of studies on his rival and "successor," Schelling, seems to continue uninterrupted. Beyond so many short and often quite modest writings, Kasper's huge book is towering, and not only because of its size. Kasper, like Horst Fuhrmans to whom he seems to be the most indebted and who is not in Schelling studies, is a Roman Catholic theologian who commands an immense and impressive knowledge of the history of theological speculation from the Greek Fathers to the nineteenth century school of Tübingen. Like most major studies on Schelling, the present one must struggle its way through the evolution of the many phases of his thought before getting down to the more systematic investigation. Such an endeavor must express a "preference" for one of those phases, and, as is usually the case today, the greatest appreciation is directed towards the Spätphilosophie. The core and kernel of the book is the beautiful and highly concentrated exposition on "God as the ground and the Lord of history" where historicity itself receives its ontological deduction from the premisses of theism. The book concludes with the concrete modalities of the divine mediation of history through the great issues of the fall, mythology, and revelation. For more than a decade Walter Schulz's interpretation of Schelling's late philosophy has seemed to overshadow, and to dismiss, all more Weltanschauung-orientated research. It has long been time for a study focusing on Schelling, the philosopher of Christianity, which is what Schelling considered himself to be for the last forty-five years of his life.--M. J. V.



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