Historico-Critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Mytholo

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: Historico-Critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Myt

Postby admin » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:36 am

Lecture Three

LXXXI Literally “can a language,” meaning “be able to speak a language.”

LXXXII Baron Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibnitz, 1646-1716, German rationalist philosopher and mathematician. He conceived of the universe as a hierarchy of independent units or monads, synchronized by pre-established harmony. He also devised a system of calculus, independently of Newton, and had an admirable distrust of atoms (why should they be the same just because they are small?):

Two drops of water or milk looked at under the microscope will be found to be discernible. This is an argument against atoms, which, like the void, are opposed to the principles of a true metaphysic.


The translation is by Mary Morris. Vincent Icke provides what may be the answer: electrons, he writes, are so small that they are by nature indistinguishable. In other words, there is a limit to normal “smallness.”

LXXXIII “It appears to be the daughter of philosophy.” I have not yet found where Leibnitz says this.

LXXXIV I don't find that such a use of gender differences to express opposites exists in English. So when Schelling says “all languages” it is a good thing he puts an “if” in front of the clause. He would certainly have been aware of this (and one cannot really say that English is not a real language). Rémusat, in the work referred to on page 134, says that in English, as in many other languages, gender is perceived from the nature of the objects. It may still be true that every act of naming is a personification (an assignment of a fixed character), and it may also be true that some spiritual quality is absent from English if it lacks these distinctions of gender. And refer to my note to page 28 about Bacon and the assignment of names and sexes.

LXXXV In German, durchzuwirken, Schelling's special use, meaning “to act (or have an effect) by way of (or through).” Literally it does mean “work through,” but it is normally only used as a term in weaving, meaning “interleave.”

LXXXVI Sic, which would imply that the poetical and the scientific aspects are one, at least in this context.

LXXXVII Clairvoyance. Some time before this was written, presumably, Schelling jotted down the following, on the back of a sketch for the continuation of his dialogue Clara:

1. Reality of the spirit-world (of the past)
2. Complete humanity of spirits.
3. Multitudinousness. Its representations.
I. Clairvoyance in general
II. In particular, what it consists in
a) Opposite to science; everything immediate, nothing indirect; perhaps something about the gradation of the sciences among themselves. Everything in immediate feeling.
b) Without struggle—the long rest; also no more sin.
c) No memory of things as absent. No past.
d) Inwardness of community from the previous section.
III. Whether the state of clairvoyance also applicable to damnation and whether no intermediate state between redemption and unredeemedness?
IV. Concerning the Where?


I am not sure whether he would wish to have this resurrected, considering that he did not, as far as I know, write much about the subject anywhere else, so it should not be taken very seriously. There is a sentence in the Stuttgart Private Lectures of 1810 [I 7, 448]:

Now that-which-produces, or the bond, if it is in unity with the product, is indeed nothing other than the inner life and weaving, the gentle muted flame of life, which burns in every being, even in the being apparently without life (clairvoyants see it): but in contrast to and in contradiction with that-which-is-produced it is consuming fire.


LXXXVIII I offer two passages from Epicurus's Letter to Herodotus. (Refer to one of my notes to page 27 for a remark about their reliability.) This, about the transient images, is from section 46, translated by Cyril Bailey:

Moreover, there are images like in shape to the solid bodies, far surpassing perceptible things in their subtlety of texture. For it is not impossible that such emanations should be formed in that which surrounds the objects, nor that there should be opportunities for the formation of such hollow and thin frames, nor that there should be effluences which preserve the respective position and order which they had before in the solid bodies: these images we call idols.

Next, nothing among perceptible things contradicts the belief that the images have unsurpassable fineness of texture. And for this reason they have also unsurpassable speed of motion, since the movement of all their atoms is uniform, and besides nothing or very few things hinder their emission by collisions, whereas a body composed of many or infinite atoms is at once hindered by collisions. Besides this [nothing contradicts the belief] that the creation of the idols takes place as quick [sic] as thought.


And this, from section 51, is about the images in dreams:

Now falsehood and error always lie in the addition of opinion with regard to [what is waiting] to be confirmed or not contradicted, and then is not confirmed [or is contradicted]. For the similarity between the things which exist, which we call real, and the images received as a likeness of things and produced either in sleep or through some other acts of apprehension on the part of the mind or the other instruments of judgement, could never be, unless there were some effluences of this nature actually brought into contact with our senses.


LXXXIX Published in 1818, this work, like all Hermann's dissertations, seems, with its thirty-six pages, very short. The title means “Dissertation on the Origins of Greek History.” It may be found in volume two of his collection Opuscula of 1827, at page 195.

XC Æschylus (c525‒c456 B.C.) depicted, in his play Prometheus Bound, the wanderings of Io, pursued by a gadfly.

XCI Wolf in his Prolegomena to Homer, already cited, does no more than make suggestions, as follows:

But what if the conjecture of some scholars is probable—that these and the other poems of those times were not consigned to writing, but were first made by poets in their memories and made public in song, then made more widely available by the singing of the rhapsodes, whose peculiar art it was to learn them? And if, because of this, many changes were necessarily made in them, by accident or design, before they were fixed, so to speak, in written form? And if for this very reason, as soon as they began to be written out, they had many differences, and soon acquired new ones from the rash conjectures of those who rivaled one another in their efforts to polish them up, and to correct them by the best laws of the art of poetry and their own usage? And if, finally, it can be shown by probable arguments and reasons that this entire connected series of the two continuous poems is owed less to the genius of him to whom we have normally attributed it, than to the zeal of a more polite age and the collective efforts of many, and that therefore the very songs from which the Iliad and Odyssey were assembled do not all have one common author? If, I say, one must accept a view different from the common one about all these things—what, then, will it mean to restore these poems to their original lustre and genuine beauty?


XCII In the original this “out of or within” is in oder unter (in or within). Over the following pages the expression aus oder unter (out of or within) appears four times. This latter makes sense, but I cannot make sense of “in or within.” I have therefore assumed that an early editor had a pass at it, changed his mind the second time he met the phrase, but forgot to remove the change he had made to the first occurrence. (The only distinction which might possibly be made by in oder unter is that referred to at the end of this paragraph, between the invention of individuals within (unter) the society and the instinctlike process. But I do not think this is likely as it would have been brought out more clearly.)

XCIII In English the quotation from page 44 reads: “They know no religion, nor cult, nor allegiance, nor laws, nor obligations, nor rewards, nor punishments.” The emphasis is Schelling's, and as he quotes it the word for “punishments” is spelt in the modern way, “châtiments.” The passage comes from Azara's tenth chapter, entitled “Of the Wild Indians.” I quote his complete sentence:

For the rest, they cultivate no land at all; they do no labour; they are ignorant of the art of sewing and of making fabrics; they know no religion, nor cult, nor allegiance, nor laws, nor obligations, nor rewards, nor punishments, nor musical instruments, nor dances; but they often become intoxicated.


Next the passage on Azara's pages 90-91, still in chapter ten, about the Guanás (as he usually spells their name) of Paraguay:

They, no more, know consideration, nor rewards, nor punishments, nor binding laws, nor religion. But since they consort with Spaniards a great deal, and these last speak to them about Christianity, and rewards, and the punishments to come, their most common reply, when they are questioned about this, is to say that there is a principle or a material and corporeal thing which is situated one knows not where, and which rewards the good and punishes the bad; but which always rewards the Guanás, because it is impossible for them to be bad, nor for them to do evil. As I say, the small number of these savages who express themselves thus have taken the basis of these ideas from the Spaniards, because there is not one single Guaná who worships the divinity or who recognizes him, either outwardly or inwardly. Thus it is the interested parties who themselves resolve their differences, and as a last resort they come to terms by means of blows with their fists. They also appear to converse with each other somewhat more, and even, although rarely, to meet together to chat.


The passage about the Lenguas from page 151 of the same chapter means “They recognize no cult, nor divinity, nor laws, nor chiefs, nor submission to authority, and they are in every way free.” Again the emphasis is Schelling's, and in the original Azara's sentence continues as follows:

. . . in every way free; but among themselves they make use of a singular formula of civility, when they see someone again after an absence of some length of time. This is what it amounts to: the two Indians shed a few tears before they address a single word to each other; to act in any other way would be an insult, or at least proof that the visit is not welcome.


On Azara's page 113, writing of the Mbayás, or the mbayás, as in fact he spells the name, he says:

They do not, as one might think, have a chief, neither in war nor during times of peace; because their government is reduced to assemblies where the caciques, the old men and the best trusted Indians carry the votes of the others. With each expedition, they content themselves with bearing away a single prize. Were this not so, there would today no longer be a Spaniard in Paraguay, nor a Portuguese in Cuiabá.


Azara's page 43 about the caciques, who are, by the way, not assigned to the Indians from outside, but chosen from among them by outsiders, reads:

I have not seen this inequality of riches in clothing and adornment among other Indian nations at all. They too have chiefs or caciques who, without having the right to give orders, to punish, nor to demand anything, are nevertheless highly regarded by the others who normally adopt all their suggestions, because they believe that they have more talent, finesse, and strength. Every chief lives in a different district, with those of his band (horde); but they come together when it is a matter of making war, or when the common interest demands it. For the rest, they cultivate . . .


And it runs on into the first sentence quoted in this note. Finally Azara's page 16, about the Charruas:

It is the parties themselves who resolve their particular differences: if they do not reach agreement, they assault each other with blows of their fists, until one of the two turns his back and leaves the other, without speaking about the matter again. In these duels, weapons are never used; and I have never heard tell of anyone being killed. Blood, however, is often spilled, because they hit each other on the nose, and sometimes they even break a tooth.
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Re: Historico-Critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Myt

Postby admin » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:37 am

Part 1 of 2

Lecture Four

XCIV Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, baron de l'Eaulne, 1727-81. French statesman and economist. He is said to have founded the political economy of the nineteenth century. The publication of the Encyclopedia was begun in 1751 under the editorship of Diderot and D'Alembert, and continued into thirty-five volumes over twenty-nine years. Turgot contributed five lengthy articles which would in themselves make up a good-sized volume. Their subjects were “etymology” (also relevant to the present work), “existence,” “expansibility” (the first recorded use of this word in French), “fairs,” and “foundations” (in the financial sense). This was in 1755 and 1756. The appearance of the article on “existence,” especially, was a real literary and philosophical event. His readers were struck by the precision and clarity of the style, the originality and depth of the ideas . . . Schelling's friend Victor Cousin (see note to page 33) greatly admired it. It was reprinted in Turgot's collected works of 1913, and has three sections: 1) a short definition. 2) on the concept of existence. 3) on the proofs of the existence of external beings. Turgot begins with sensations (including the “sixth sense,” inner experience), and explains how, through comparison (using memory and extension) of the differences in this tableau, we arrive at the concepts of presence and absence of objects, and subsequently, by way of the consciousness of one's self as an object, at the concept of existence. The article does not contain any reference to gods, but near the beginning of the third section there is the following passage:

All men who have not raised their concept of existence beyond the degree of abstraction by which we transpose this concept of objects immediately sensed to the objects which are only indicated by their effects and are extended to distances beyond the scope of our senses, confuse in their judgements these two orders of things. They believe they see, they believe they touch, bodies; and as far as the idea that they form of the existence of invisible bodies is concerned, their imagination depicts these clad in the same sensible qualities, since it is the name which they give to their own sensations, and they do not hesitate to attribute these qualities in a like manner to all beings. These men, when they perceive an object where it is not, believe that false and deceptive images have taken the place of this object, and they do not realize that it is only their judgement which is false. It should be admitted that the correspondence between the order of sensations and the order of things is such, in the case of the majority of the objects by which we are surrounded and which make on us the impressions which are most vivid and most relevant to our needs, that the common experience of life does not furnish us with any remedy against this false judgement, and that thus it becomes in some way natural and involuntary. One should not be surprised, then, that the majority of men cannot imagine that it is necessary to prove the existence of the body.


XCV Part of the first line of a poem (or of part of a poem) attributed to Petronius and given the number 3 in the Loeb edition of his works. The line is quoted by Fulgentius and the thought was reproduced by Chaucher. Petronius (a Roman), whom Tacitus describes as a “professor of voluptuousness,” died in 66 AD, and is best known for his prose romance Satyricon, which has survived in fragments. (Of this work Michæl Heseltine writes, perversely in my opinion, “His book is befouled with obscenity, and, like obscenity itself, is ceasing by degrees to be part of a gentleman's education.”) The first few lines of the poem, together with a translation by this same Heseltine, are:

Primus in orbe deos fecit timor, ardua cælo
fulmina cum caderent discussaque moenia flammis
atque ictus flagraret Athos;

It was fear first created gods in the world, when the lightning fell from high heaven, and the ramparts of the world were rent with flame, and Athos was smitten and blazed.


XCVI 1751-1826. German man of letters, an enlightened and ardent Lutheran, notable for his renderings of Greek and Roman authors and for the intense feeling for Nature displayed in his hexametrical idylls. His most enduring contribution to German letters is his translation of Homer (Odyssey 1781, Iliad 1793). All this sounds very different from the man described by Schelling on pages 70-71 and 226, and in my note to page 152 about Stolberg.

XCVII Horace's Ars Poetica (The Art of Poetry), lines 391-3. In the Loeb edition there are the following differences: 1. Silvestris, not Sylvestres. 2. deorum, not Deorum. 3. tigris, not tigres. The translation by H. Rushton Fairclough reads:

While men still roamed the woods, Orpheus, the holy prophet of the gods, made them shrink from bloodshed and brutal living; hence the fable that he tamed tigers and ravening lions.


XCVIII Robert Wood, c1717-71, English traveller and politician. His Essay on the Original Genius and Writings of Homer was first published in 1769, and an expanded edition, “with a Comparative View of the Ancient and Present State of the Troade,” in 1775. A German translation, presumably the one which Schelling mentions, appeared in 1773, and was thus of the first English edition. It was followed in Germany in 1778 by a summary description of the differences between the first and second English editions. This summary was written by C. F. Michælis, the translator of the first edition. Schelling must be citing Heyne, as there is nothing exactly corresponding to these words in Wood. The nearest is the following passage, from the section (in the 1775 edition) on “Homer's Manners”:

Of the several proofs which might be alleged in favour of Homer's knowledge of different countries, his lively delineations of national character must have furnished the strongest and most pleasing to those, who lived near his time; whilst the original features of those peculiarities were enough discernible to bear a comparison, with what we find of them in his writings: where, what he has left of this kind, is marked with too much precision, and supported throughout with too much consistence, to allow us to think that he had acquired his knowledge of mankind at home.

But while the eastern traveller finds the vestiges of those characterizing circumstances, which once distinguished the inhabitants of particular tracts, either totally obliterated, or at least too faint to be traced with any tolerable degree of certainty; he will discover a general resemblance between the ancient and present manners of those countries, so striking, that we cannot without injustice to our subject pass it over unnoticed. For perhaps nothing has tended so much to injure the reputation of that extraordinary genius in the judgement of the present age, as his representation of customs and manners so very different from our own.


Wood, who is very enthusiastic about Homer, goes on, in this large and interesting work, to relate his own impressions of Greece, Egypt, and Arabia.

XCIX A legendary Irish warrior and bard of the third century A.D. (James Macpherson, 1736‒96, published spurious “translations” which aroused great interest for a time.)

C This passage comes from Homer's Odyssey, book IX, lines 3 to 8 and 11. Odysseus, the man of many resources, is speaking to King Alcinous. Schelling quotes it in a German verse version, which I have translated. He gives no indication that lines 9 and 10 are absent. I do not know whose German version it is, but I can say that it is not that of J. H. Voss. It may be interesting to compare a typical English translation (including lines 9 and 10), by A. T. Murray in the Loeb edition:

. . . verily it is a good thing, to listen to a minstrel such as this man is, like unto the gods in voice. For myself I declare that there is no greater fulfilment of delight than when joy possesses a whole people, and banqueters in the halls listen to a minstrel as they sit in order due, and by them tables are laden with bread and meat, and the cup-bearer draws wine from the bowl and bears it round and pours it into the cups. This seems to my mind the fairest thing there is.


Another English translation (by E. V. Rieu) has “banqueters in the hall” (singular). Voss has “guests in the houses.” Were it not for the lines which Schelling omits, one might be tempted to consider his, with “dwellings,” the better version (one visualizes an open space lined by rude huts), but the business with the cup-bearer calls it into question again.

CI Not exactly a translator, I think. Refer to my note to page 40. Walckenaer's remarks appear on page 3 of Azara's book, and are appended to the words aucune religion (“no religion”) which end the first quotation reproduced in Schelling's footnote on page 73. Walckenaer says:

It is possible that they might have no idols of any kind; but it is very difficult to believe that they are not subject to the influence of certain superstitious ideas of a more or less rational or irrational kind. Unless one has a perfect knowledge of the customs and the language of a people, it is most difficult to determine precisely what their religious ideas are. We have a very striking example of that in the absurdities recited by Tacitus and the other Roman authors about the religion, the dogmas, and the ceremonies of the Jews; nonetheless the Jews' cult was public, they spoke the language of the Romans, lived in their midst, and constituted a civilized and enlightened people. The savages of America have nothing in common, neither in language nor in customs, with the civilized Europeans who communicate with them. Even if their numerous languages could be understood, is it credible that it would be possible for them to define with exactitude the small number of ideas which various causes had generated in them, and which are almost all, or perhaps all, necessarily absurd and incoherent. How many educated and civilized nations would find themselves as embarrassed in this respect as these savages!


CII His De Legibus (On Laws) has been preserved only in part; it is a dialogue in the style of Plato, written probably in 52 B.C. The subject of the first book is law and justice in general. Here is the passage at I 8, 24, translated by Clinton Walker Keyes:

For while the other elements of which man consists were derived from what is mortal, and are therefore fragile and perishable, the soul was generated in us by God. Hence we are justified in saying that there is a blood relationship between ourselves and the celestial beings; or we may call it a common ancestry or origin. Therefore among all the varieties of living beings, there is no creature except man which has any knowledge of God, and among men themselves there is no race either so highly civilized or so savage as not to know that it must believe in a god, even if it does not know in what sort of god it ought to believe. Thus it is clear that man recognizes God because, in a way, he remembers— recognizes—the source from which he sprang.


In 45 B.C. he wrote the Tusculan Disputations, and the subject of the first book is the fear of death. In the translation by J. E. King, the passage at I 13, 30 reads:

Furthermore, as this seems to be advanced as the surest basis for our belief in the existence of gods, that there is no race so uncivilized, no one in the world, we are told, so barbarous that his mind has no inkling of a belief in gods:—true it is that many men have wrong notions about the gods, for this is usually the result of a corrupt nature; nevertheless all men think that a divine power and divine nature exist, and that is not the result of human conference or convention [convention (συνθήκη) as opposed to nature (φύσις)], it is not belief established by regulation or by statute, but in every inquiry the unanimity of the races of the world must be regarded as a law of nature.


Later the same year, in his Nature of the Gods, he appears to have become more ready to consider the opposite view, as is shown by the argument put in the mouth of Cotta in that work (I 62, translation by Horace McGregor):

You say that it is a sufficient proof of the existence of the gods that men of all races and of all nations believe in them. But such an argument is both false and frivolous. In the first place, how do you know the opinions of all mankind? I would think that there must be many wild and primitive peoples who have no idea of the gods at all. And what about the atheist Diagoras . . .


CIII This will be William Robertson, 1721‒93, the Scottish Presbyterian minister and historian. His works made wide use of the concept of “balance of power.” They are now considered to be inaccurate but written in a fine style (although I am not sure that such a combination is possible). He certainly never travelled there—like Kant he stayed put and gained his knowledge from books—but his History of America, published in two volumes in 1777 (and in a German version in the same year, translated by J. F. Schiller), captivated the literary world through its vivid descriptions and philosophical disquisitions on aboriginal society. Keats, who read it with enthusiasm, owed it the suggestion of his famous simile of “Cortez and his men.” The whole of chapter seven in book four of the History is about the religious ideas and institutions of the American tribes. Here is the passage about the tribes without religion:

When the intellectual powers are just beginning to unfold, and their first feeble exertions are directed towards a few objects of primary necessity and use; when the faculties of the mind are so limited as not to have formed abstract or general ideas; when language is so barren as to be destitute of names to distinguish anything that is not perceived by some of the senses; it is preposterous to expect that man should be capable of tracing with accuracy the relation between cause and effect; or to suppose that he should rise from the contemplation of the one to the knowledge of the other, and form just conceptions of a Deity, as the Creator and Governor of the universe. The idea of creation is so familiar wherever the mind is enlarged by science, and illuminated with revelation, that we seldom reflect how profound and abstruse this idea is, or consider what progress man must have made in observation and research, before he could arrive at any knowledge of this elementary principle in religion. Accordingly, several tribes have been discovered in America, which have no idea whatever of a Supreme Being, and no rites of religious worship. Inattentive to that magnificent spectacle of beauty and order presented to their view, unaccustomed to reflect either upon what they themselves are, or to inquire who is the author of their existence, men, in their savage state, pass their days like the animals round them, without knowledge or veneration of any superior power. Some rude tribes have not in their language any name for the Deity, nor have the most accurate observers been able to discover any practice or institution which seemed to imply that they recognised his authority, or were solicitous to obtain his favour. [Here there is a footnote, in which Robertson gives seventeen references. ] It is, however, only among men in the most uncultivated state of nature, and while their intellectual faculties are so feeble and limited as hardly to elevate them above the irrational creation, that we discover this total insensibility to the impressions of any invisible power.


CIV Baron Friedrich Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt, 1769 ‒1859, German natural scientist, explorer, geographer, and cosmographer. He made a vast number of important discoveries, including thousands of new species and genera, in South and Central America, between 1799 and 1804. Neither his travels, nor the fact that he slept for only three or four hours a night, seem to have done him any harm, and in fact in all his portraits he looks ten years younger than his actual age. He climbed to a height of 18,893 feet on Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador, a height which remained a world record for thirty-six years. His Ideen zu einer Physiognomik der Gewächse (Outlines of a Physiognomy of Growth) compared all forms of life and their relations to physical conditions. His major work was the thirty-volume Voyage de Humboldt et Bonpland (1805‒34), published in France, where he was based between 1808 and 1827. It comprises seven books with separate titles, and deals with the material he collected on his travels. In Kosmos (five volumes, 1845-62), his idea was to convey not only a comprehensive description of the physical universe, but also an imaginative conception of it (to quote a French biography). The manuscript, with many autograph additions, disappeared in America after being auctioned. He has been called “the modern Aristotle,” and he never got married. He is said to have been sarcastic and very noisy. There is a curious book about him by Douglas Botting, which says that “he was warm and impulsive in his relationships, especially with those who were young, good-looking and in need of help.” The reason I mention this book is that it says that Humboldt's main reason for lecturing in Berlin in 1827‒28 was to attempt to correct the “baleful influence of the so-called nature philosophers. The principal exponents of this singularly cracked school of thought were Hegel and Schelling.” A number of strange examples are listed. On the same page it is stated that “the main perpetrator of this pretentious nonsense was Schelling, who was then established as Professor of Philosophy at Berlin.” This is as untrue and crack-brained as the examples. What can be behind it? The violent refusal to exercise imagination or sympathy is based on fear, I think, more than on a lack of ability. Wyndham Lewis has been treated in the same way. Humboldt “ignored the conventional proprieties” in his relationships with men, and in extreme old age he made over his home to his valet.

CV There are, once again, many differences in Schelling's free transcription of this short passage. The emphasis is his. I have retained the first clause of Schelling's version, but for the rest I have used the original French text. Azara begins by saying that none of these peoples are cannibals. Then he continues with:

On a écrit aussi qu'ils se servaient de flèches empoisonées, ce qui est une autre fausseté positive. Les ecclésiastiques y en ont ajouté une autre, en disant que ces peuples avaient une religion.


This means “It has been stated, again, that they make use of poisoned arrows, which is a further outright falsehood.” (But I have seen it on the television, surely.) “The clergy have added another to those, in saying that these peoples had a religion.” Schelling's other differences are: 1. y ont ajouté instead of y en ont ajouté, 2. ce peuple avait (this people had) instead of ces peuples avaient (these peoples had), 3. commas added after Persuadés and l'instant, 4. sur leurs pipes (on their pipes) instead of sur les pipes (on the pipes), 5. Indiens with a capital, 6. brulèrent instead of brûlèrent, 7. aujourd'hui encore instead of encore aujourd'hui, 8. a comma, instead of a semicolon, after figures, 9. pour amusement instead of par amusement, 10. réligion instead of religion (the second time only). As it appears now, the whole passage reads:

The clergy have added another outright falsehood to those, in saying that these peoples had a religion. Convinced that it was impossible for men to live without a religion, be it good or bad, and seeing some figures drawn or carved on the pipes, bows, cudgels, and pottery of the Indians, they immediately concluded that these were their idols, and burnt them. To this day these tribes use the same figures; but they only do it for their amusement, since they have no religion of any kind.


In regard to the second quoted passage, Azara's spelling is les payaguás. Again I have replaced Schelling's free transcription with the original French. The emphasis is Schelling's. The differences in his version are: 1. comma after feu instead of semicolon, 2. no commas after D'autres and tempête, 3. semicolon after en l'air instead of full stop, 4. ils en font instead of Azara's Il en font— here I suspect that Azara has a misprint and it should be Ils, 5. comma after croire, 6. colon instead of semicolon after adoraient, 7. comma after est, 8. ni culte ni adoration (neither cult nor worship) instead of ni adoration ni culte (neither worship nor cult), 9. no comma after monde, 10. réligion instead of religion. The meaning is:

When their huts or shanties are blown down by the storm or the wind, they take hold of a few logs from their fire; and they run a certain distance into the wind, threatening it with their burning logs. Others, so as to frighten the storm, make as if to give powerful blows with their fists against the air. Sometimes they do the same when they catch sight of the new moon; but this, they say, is only in order to signify their joy: which has led certain people to believe that they were worshipping it; but in actual fact they render neither worship nor cult to anything at all, and they have no religion of any kind.


CVI God. This word is introduced without any definition or explanation, and is the first indication in this work that Schelling might be “religious.”

CVII David Hume, 1711-76, Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian. The Natural History of Religion was first published in English in 1757. These words of Hume are quoted by Schelling in German in the body of his text, and he quotes the French equivalent in a footnote, as follows, together with a commendation of the French translation:

A bien considérer la chose, cette pretendue Religion n'est en effet qu'un Athéism superstitieux, les objêts du culte qu'elle établit, n'ont pas le moindre rapport avec l'idée que nous nous formons de la Divinité. Histoire naturelle de la Religion p. 25. This and the following passages are quoted from the (good) French translation.


The French translation was made by Johann Bernard Merian, a Swiss philosopher (1723‒1807), who was professor of philosophy in Berlin from 1748 to 1797. It was published in Amsterdam in 1759, with a preface by Jean Henri Samuel Formey (1711‒97, Prussian man of letters of French origin) and a “critical and philosophical examination” of it. A second edition of this translation was published in London in 1764. I am not aware of an instance where Schelling quotes something in English, but his English cannot have been too bad judging from his description of Coleridge's involved piece on pages 196. All Schelling's page references to the French version of The Natural History of Religion, in his own footnotes, have been changed so as to refer to the 1976 Oxford University Press edition. Hume's chief claim to fame is that he became extremely fat and got stuck in a bog, whence he was winched by a woman who made him first recite the Lord's Prayer.

CVIII Hume's original passage is as follows:

For my part, I can scarce allow the principles even of Marcus Aurelius, Plutarch, and some other Stoics and Academics, tho' infinitely more refined than the pagan superstition, to be worthy of the honourable denomination of theism. For if the mythology of the heathens resemble the antient European system of spiritual beings, excluding God and angels, and leaving only fairies and sprights; the creed of these philosophers may justly be said to exclude a deity, and to leave only angels and fairies.


CIX My note about “at least not real poetry” on page 19 should explain this too.

CX Inborn conception of God.

CXI Actually someone, presumably Schelling's posthumous publishers and not the man himself, got these two footnotes the wrong way round, and they have remained thus in all subsequent editions. Constantin François de Volney, Compte de Chasseboeuf, 1757‒1820, French traveller, “philosophical writer” and politician, was the author of Les Ruines, ou Méditation sur les révolutions des empires (Ruins, or Reflections on the Revolutions of Empires), published in 1791. A German translation was published in 1792. I have corrected the order of the notes in the text. Volney saw religion as the main hindrance to the realization of the rule of reason. He writes in a congenial manner, and as a man who knows his subject or his enemy. The following passage, for example, is set in the mouth of an orator speaking “in the name of those who had made the origin and genealogy of religious ideas their peculiar study":

These gods, for example, who act such singular parts in every system, are no other than the physical powers of nature, the elements, the winds, the meteors, the stars, all which have been personified by the necessary mechanism of language, and the manner in which objects are conceived by the understanding. Their life, their manners, their actions, are only the operation of the same powers, and the whole of their pretended history no more than a description of their various phænomena, traced by the first naturalist that observed them, but taken in a contrary sense by the vulgar who did not understand it, or by succeeding generations who forgot it. In a word, all the theological dogmas respecting the origin of the world, the nature of God, the revelation of his laws, the manifestation of his person, are but recitals of astronomical facts, figurative and emblematical narratives of the motion and influence of heavenly bodies. The very idea itself of the Divinity, which is at present so obscure, abstract, and metaphysical, was, in its origin, merely a composite of the powers of the material universe, considered sometimes analytically, as they appear in their agents and their phænomena, and sometimes synthetically, as forming one whole and exhibiting an harmonious relation in all its parts. Thus the name God has been bestowed sometimes upon the wind, the fire, the water, and the elements; sometimes upon the sun, the stars, the planets, and their influences; sometimes upon the universe at large and the matter of which the world is composed; sometimes upon abstract and metaphysical properties, such as space, duration, motion, and intelligence; but in every instance the idea of a deity has not flowed from the miraculous revelation of an invisible world, but has been the natural result of human reflection, has followed the progress and undergone the changes of the successive improvement of intellect, and has had for its subject the visible universe and its different agents.

It is then in vain that nations refer the origin of their religion to heavenly inspiration; it is in vain that they pretend to describe a supernatural state of things as first in the order of events: the original barbarous state of mankind, attested by their own monuments, belies all their assertions. These assertions are still more victoriously refuted by considering this great principle, that man receives no ideas but through the medium of his senses: for from hence it appears that every system which ascribes human wisdom to any other source than experience and sensation, includes in it a usteron proteron, and represents the last results of understanding as earliest in the order of time.


And from the following page, “on the origin of the idea of God.” The “obscure goal in Nature” Schelling mentions is, if present in Volney's thought, very obscure indeed:

Man, originally savage, must have learned from repeated trials, the use of his organs. Successive generations must have invented and refined upon the means of subsistence; and the understanding, at liberty to disengage itself from the wants of nature, must have risen to the complicated art of comparing ideas, digesting reasonings, and seizing upon abstract similitudes.

It was not till after having surmounted those obstacles, and run a long career in the night of history, that man, reflecting on his state, began to perceive his subjection to forces superior to his own and independent of his will. The sun gave him light and warmth; fire burned, thunder terrified, the winds buffeted, water overwhelmed him; all the various natural existences acted upon him in a manner not to be resisted. For a long time an automaton, he remained passive, without inquiring into the cause of this action; but the very moment he was desirous of accounting to himself for it, astonishment seized his mind; and passing from the surprise of a first thought to the reverie of curiosity, he formed a chain of reasoning.

At first, considering only the action of the elements upon him, he inferred, relatively to himself, an idea of weakness, of subjection, and relatively to them, an idea of power, of domination; and this idea was the primitive and fundamental type of all his conceptions of the Divinity.


About the sun specifically (the speaker is the same):

“That, being put to death by the wicked, he would gloriously rise again, ascend from hell into heaven, where he would reign for ever.”

By these expressions was described the life of the same sun, who, terminating his career at the winter solstice, when Typhon and the rebellious angels exercised their sway, seemed to be put to death by them; but shortly after revived and rose again in the firmament, where he still remains.

These traditions went still farther, specifying his astrological and mysterious names, maintaining that he was called sometimes Chris or Conservator [here there is a very long footnote about Vishnu, Jupiter, Plato, logos, and light; but the derivations described therein are not those accepted today]; and hence the Hindu god, Chrisen or Christna; and the Christian Christos, the son of Mary. That at other times he was called Yes, by the union of three letters, which, according to their numerical value, form the number 608, one of the solar periods. And behold, O Europeans, the name which, with a Latin termination, has become your Yes-us or Jesus; the ancient and cabalistical name given to young Bacchus, the clandestine son of the virgin, Minerva, who, in the whole history of his life, and even in his death, calls to mind the history of the God of the Christians, that is the star of day, of which they are both of them emblems.
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Re: Historico-Critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Myt

Postby admin » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:37 am

Part 2 of 2

The work concludes with the injunction to a group of “legislators”:

Investigate the laws which nature, for our direction, has implanted in our breasts, and form thence an authentic and immutable code. Nor let this code be calculated for one family, or one nation only, but for the whole without exception. . . . Show us the line that separates the world of chimeras from that of realities, and teach us, after so many religions of error and delusion, the religion of evidence and truth.


In fact (in truth) what is lacking, as Schelling implies, and probably all that is lacking, is a philosophical sense, the sense of mystery or wonder mentioned on page 219. It is evident that this sense is not the same as interest. In the case of the various Indian and Greek religions, for instance, Volney dismisses mystery as a “mere veil.” And the astonishment in my second excerpt is not the same either. I have quoted at such length from Volney because Schelling may not have been correct in thinking him to have presupposed a religious instinct.

CXII Charles François Dupuis, 1742‒1809, French scholar, philosopher, and revolutionary polititian. His eagerly awaited Origine de tous les Cultes, ou Religion Universelle (Origin of all Cults, or Universal Religion) was published in 1794 in three volumes, and in 1795 in seven volumes plus an atlas. In this enormous work he tried to link all religions to astrology. Oddly enough he is very little remembered in the France of today. Here are seven passages translated from his preface:

I shall not mention the revealed religions at all, because no such religions exist, and no such religions can exist. All are the daughters of curiosity, ignorance, partiality, and imposture. The Gods, for me, are children of men; and I, like Hesiod, hold that the Earth gave birth to Heaven.

For me, the first and most universal religion is found to be that one which is the first in the order of our ideas, and the most natural to man. There the empire of the senses precedes the constructs of reflection; and there it may be seen that the notions derived from the sensual order existed for many more centuries and among many more men than the metaphysical abstractions imagined subsequently. Man, for me, begins where others would have him end, and ends where he is vulgarly considered to begin.

We are all born to be sensible of the impression of the truth; and education, which degrades us, delivers us all to imposture. If we dare to think for ourselves, we shall be the true children of Nature.


I have proved . . . that it is to the universe and to its parts that men, primitively and most generally, attributed the idea of the Divinity. . . . This truth, already seen by others, led me to a second, which would seem to have escaped them, although it was, however, a necessary consequence of the first; it is that the primary means of explanation, and that which may be most generally applied, would be to link the ancient fictions about the Divinity to the play of natural causes. The Gods being Nature herself, the history of the Gods is thus that of Nature; and just as she has no events but her phenomena, the events of the Gods are thus the phenomena of Nature turned into allegories. This conclusion, which would seem to me incontestable, led me naturally to the principles of the true system of explanation, which, despite its difficulties, is nonetheless the only one which it would be possible to accept, in accordance with the nature of the ancient world Religion itself, which remains that of the modern world. For almost nothing has changed.

I have set man in the presence of Nature . . . and I have let pass before his eyes the various tableaux which the Universe presents in its most marked divisions, and in the play of its principal forces. The first spectacle which I have presented to him is that of Light and the Shades, which stand in an eternal contrast; that of the succession of days and nights, . . . the progressive movement of the Sun from low to high, and from high to low, whence results the variation in warmth, in the length of the days, and the changing temperatures of the air; the succession of the rising and setting of the fixed stars, which mark the different points of the course of the Sun, while the varying forms, which the Earth assumes, mark here below the same epochs of the annual movement of the Sun . . .

I apply my method first of all to the great Poems whose debris makes up the confused mass of the Egyptian and Greek Mythology. Principal among these are the Poem of the travails of Hercules, of Theseus, of Jason; the journeys or voyages of Bacchus, of Osiris, and of Isis, which are all solar or lunar Poems, of which the Sun or the Moon are the heroes, and of which Heaven is the theatre. Next I seek to recognize the Sun again in other forms and under other names, such as those of Ammon, Pan, Apis, Omphis, Mnevis, Mithra, Thor; in general, in all the borrowed forms, whether those of the Ram, of the Goat, of the Ox. I seek it again in more elegant guise, clothed with all the graces of youth, under the names of Apollo, of Adonis, of Horus, of Atys; then dilapidated by time, it shows the beard of old-age, under the names of Serapis, of Esculapius, of Pluto, and then it becomes entwined with the the mysterious Serpent, which brings the Winters. I also examine the origin of the cult of Animals, of Plants, and of other sacred Symbols, and that of the hieroglyphic Writing.

[A later section], devoted entirely to the examination of the religious system of the Christians . . . contains the explanation of the sacred Fable of the introduction of evil into the world by the famous Serpent of the Hesperides, which seduced Eve, and which made necessary the advent of an Atoner, who could regenerate Nature. This Fable is found in the second chapter of the Hebraic Cosmogony, known under the name of Genesis. [Then it] treats of the Atoner, of his birth, of his death, and of his resurrection; and it offers us the ensemble of all the qualities which are common to him and Mitra, Adonis, Horus, Atys, Osiris, etc., and finally, it is proved according to the available evidence that this Atoner, designated by the name of Christ by the Christians, is nothing but the Sun, or the Divinity worshipped by all Nations, in so many forms and under so many different names.


CXIII Schelling's word is Potenz; this is primarily derived from the Latin potentia, meaning “power,” “ability,” or “potential.” In Schelling's usage it always refers to a possibility. Since this concept is much misunderstood, it is worthwhile quoting here the following passage from the Philosophy of Mythology, pages [II 2, 113-116]. He begins by referring to the principles of the “theogonic process,” but continues to say something about potences in general:

We have called these causes or principles “potences,” because they actually behave as such—in the divine ante-concept as the possibilities of existence still in the future, separate from God—in the actual process (after they themselves have been put into effect) as potences of the divine, godlike existence, which is to be brought forth through them. People have been inclined to critize the expression “potences,” particularly that of a first, second, and third potence, as something which has been taken over from mathematics into philosophy. But this criticism rests on pure ignorance and lack of knowledge of the matter. “Potence” (δύνα μις ) [dynamis] is an expression at least as intrinsic to philosophy as to mathematics.—“Potence” means that which can exist, τὸ ἐνδεχόμενον εἶναι as Aristotle calls it. Now we have seen that that which can exist, by which we understand specifically: 1) that which can immediately exist, 2) that which must exist, and 3) that which should exist—that all of these that can exist are accordingly potences, just different orders of that which can exist, while that which is specifically named thus is—that which can immediately exist, that which must exist is only indirectly that which can exist, but that which should exist is the doubly indirect, and thus the third order of that which can exist. No other meaning is intended if we speak of an A of the first, an A of the second, and an A of the third potence—no other meaning is intended but that here that which can exist actually appears in a progressive heightening and on different levels. But what certainly makes this doctrine incomprehensible or unacceptable to many, is the following. Most people understand only what is concrete or palpable, that which, as individual bodies, individual plants, and so on, appears to their senses. [Compare Socrates in my note to page 219. ] Now those pure causes are not something palpable, but may only be grasped and comprehended with the pure understanding. Apart from what is manifest and palpable, many find in themselves nothing further than a stock of abstract concepts, which have no claim to an existence apart from ourselves, concepts like: existence, becoming, quantity, quality, substantiality, causality, and so on, indeed a philosopher of recent times [presumably Hegel] even believed he could base the whole of philosophy on a system of these abstract concepts—where, moreover, he even also assumed as its method a successive ascent from concept to concept, a successive heightening, an advance from the most empty concept to the most full. This contrivance of a method ill-applied and hence not even understood, came to grief, though, and foundered ignominiously, as soon as this philosophy was obliged to go forward to actual existence, in the first place to Nature.

The potences of which we speak are neither something palpable nor are they mere abstractions (abstract concepts); they are real, effective, and to that extent actual forces, they lie between what is concrete and the purely abstract concepts to the extent that they are, no less than these latter, only in a higher sense, true universalia, which are however at the same time actualities, not non-actualities like abstract concepts. But this very region of the true, that is to say real, universalia is inaccessible to very many people. Crass empiricists speak as if in Nature there were nothing but the concrete and palpable, they do not see for example that gravity, light, sound, heat, electricity, magnetism, that these are not palpable things, but true universalia, and still less do they remark that just these universal potences of Nature are alone that which is of value to science, and that with which intelligence and scientific research deal. To these universals in Nature (gravity, light), our potences, no longer to be grasped but with the understanding, and in this sense purely intelligible, are related as the universalissima, and the opportunity will no doubt also be found in the present work to demonstrate or at least to point to the fact that those universalia are only derived from these universalissima. I might take the opportunity to note here, what is more, that those ἀρχαί [archai], potences, or principles are capable just as much of a strict and purely rational derivation, as are they of being derived as they were here, in accordance with the particular nature of the subject, from a standpoint where God is already presupposed.


There will be a more detailed discussion of the potences in my translation of and notes to the Philosophy of Mythology itself. There is also an interesting and accurate section about them, pointing out their religious significance, in McCarthy's Quest for a Philosophical Jesus (pages 194‒ 196). At the time Schelling wrote the above passage, Potenz, in everyday German, meant “capacity for action or for work,” or “inherent power.” It had three specific meanings: 1) a mathematical power (two to the power of three equals eight). 2) in mechanics, a simple element of a machine, like a lever. 3) in medicine, the power of generation, a sense said to have been introduced by John Brown. Additionally there were two derived verbs, which Schelling sometimes uses: potenzieren (potentiate) and depotenzieren (depotentiate). These relate to a heightening or diminuishing of the vital functions; stimulants are potentiating (sthenic) and narcotics depotentiating (asthenic). It is very likely that Schelling had in mind the medical use of the word as well as the mathematical. But the prime source was Aristotle, who had, though, a different view from Schelling about the relationship between what is “potential” and what is “actual.” In his Metaphysics there is a great deal about potence; the whole of Book Nine deals with it, and it is mentioned in many other places. I quote part of his definition, and four other passages relating it to actuality (translated by W. D. Ross, who uses the word “potency”). Please bear in mind that Aristotle was misled and misleading about many matters:

“Potency” [δύναμις (dynamis: also power, faculty)] means (1) a source [α ρχ ή (arche: beginning, principle, rule, province)] of movement [κίνησις (kinesis)] or change [μεταβολή (metabole)], which is in another thing than the thing moved or in the same thing qua other, e.g. the art of building is a potency which is not in the thing built, while the art of healing, which is a potency, might be in the man healed, but not in him qua healed. “Potency” then means the source, in general, of change or movement in another thing or in the same thing qua other, and also the source of a thing's being moved by another thing or by itself qua other. (Book V, 1019a.)

The word “actuality” [ἐνέργεια (energeia: activity, actualization, actuality, actus)], which we connect with “complete reality” [ἐντελέχεια (entelecheia: the actuality resulting from ἐνέργεια, actualization)], has, strictly speaking, been extended from movements to other things; for actuality in the strict sense is identified with movement. And so people do not assign movement to non-existent things, though they do assign some other predicates. (Book IX, 1047a.)

We have distinguished the various senses of “prior” [τὸ πρότερον (to proteron: the prior, former)], and it is clear that actuality is prior to potency. And I mean by potency not only that definite kind which is said to be a principle of change in another thing or in the thing itself regarded as other, but in general every principle of movement or of rest. For nature [φύσις (physis: nature, thing, entity)] also is in the same genus as potency; for it is a principle [αρχή (arche: same as “source” above )] of movement—not, however, in something else but in the thing itself qua itself. To all such potency, then, actuality is prior both in formula [λ όγ ος (logos: sentence, discourse, story, reason, ration, rule, rational principle, definition)] and in substance [οὐσία (ousia: being, substance, essence)]; and in time it is prior in one sense, and in another not. (Book IX, 1049b.)

Actuality is also prior to potency in substantiality; . . . because everything that comes to be moves towards a principle, i.e. an end [τέλος (telos: completion—that sort of end)]. For that for the sake of which a thing is, is its principle, and the becoming is for the sake of the end; and the actuality is the end, and it is for the sake of this that the potency is acquired. (Book IX, 1050a.)

Obviously the potentially existing relations are discovered by being reduced to actuality (the reason being that thinking is the actuality of thought [Hugh Tredennick's translation is: “The reason for this is that the actualization (ἐνέργε ια —energeia again) is an act of thinking (ν όησις—noesis)”]); so that potency is discovered from actuality (and therefore it is by an act of construction [ποιοῠντες (poiountes) from ποιέω (poieo: make, do—see note to page 15)] that people acquire the knowledge), though the single actuality is later in generation than the corresponding potency. (Book IX, 1051a.)


CXIV “Some nations have been discovered, who entertained no sentiments of Religion, if travellers and historians may be credited; and no two nations, and scarce any two men, have ever agreed precisely in the same sentiments.”—The Natural History of Religion, p. 25.

CXV This carries on directly from the passage above: “It would appear, therefore, that this preconception springs not from an original instinct or primary impression of nature, such as gives rise to self-love, affection betwixt the sexes, love of progeny, gratitude, resentment; since every instinct of this kind has been found absolutely universal in all nations and ages, and has always a precise, determinate object, which it inflexibly pursues.”

CXVI “The universal propensity to believe in invisible, intelligent power, if not an original instinct, being at least a general attendant of human nature, may be considered as a kind of mark or stamp, which the divine workman has set upon his work . . .”

CXVII Schelling's whole paragraph is recognizable as a translation from page 27 of Hume's book. The translation is a little less exact (if such an expression may be permitted) than that of subsequent quotations from Hume, but not to the extent that anything would be gained by giving a back-translation. So I have transcribed Hume's words and provided the quotation marks.

CXVIII Again, the whole passage from the beginning of the paragraph to this point is, in Schelling's text, despite the absence of quotation marks, an exact German translation from Hume's book, here of a paragraph on pages 28 and 29. I have transcribed the passage from Hume, and added the quotation marks, whose absence from the original, if rather surprising, is not at all the same case as with Coleridge (refer to the note for page 196), and is probably an effect of the posthumous editing. The emphasis is Schelling's.

CXIX Hume regularly uses this phrase without the article.

CXX Once again Schelling's text is a German translation of Hume's, and I have supplied Hume's original words and the quotation marks.

CXXI In German: In der Offenbarung ist es aber nicht bloss Gott überhaupt, es ist der bestimmte Gott, der Gott der es ist, der wahre Gott, welcher sich offenbart, und er offenbart sich auch als den wahren. This is explained in more detail in the Philosophy of Mythology, page [II 2, 70]:

Theism is that concept in which god in general (θεός) is established, not the specific god (ὁ θεός), the god which there is.


In a long footnote Schelling points out that this last phrase corresponds to the Greek ὁ ὢν θεός . See also page [II 2, 41].

CXXII Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, 1729-1781, German dramatist and critic. In the light of his works on the theory of art and poetry, it can be said that really he laid the foundation for modern German literature. His Erziehung des Menschengeschlechts, chiefly significant for the philosophy of history, was first published in 1780. That this was only a year before his death means that Schelling's remark in the footnote on page 84 is perhaps not quite apt as it stands. The part which Schelling quotes has a few differences in the original: 1. Lessing has mit einem Begriffe (with a concept), not mit dem Begriff (with the concept); 2. von einem einigen Gotte (of a united god), not von einem einzigen Gott (of a single god); 3. in mehrere Ermesslichere (into several, more mensurable, parts), not in mehrere Ermessliche (into several mensurable parts); 4. Lessing has no comma after Ermesslichere, and Schelling has one after Ermessliche; 5. ein Merkzeichen (a distinctive mark), not ein besonderes Merkmal (a particular feature); 6. Schelling's semicolon before “thus arose” is a full stop and new paragraph (number seven) in Lessing. I have translated Schelling's version rather than the original, which would begin: “Even if the first man was at once equipped with a concept of a united god.” By the way, the first paragraph of the work says “That which education is in the case of an individual person, is revelation in the case of the whole human race,” and a lot of what follows bears on the current work.

As far as the letter quoted in the footnote is concerned, it may be found in volume twelve of the 1857 edition of Lessing's works, and this differs from Schelling only in that the word doch follows Plane, not und (and Schelling has Plan). The emphasis is Schelling's. The letter, to Karl G. Lessing, was sent on the 25th of February, 1780.

CXXIII German Vielgötterei. Refer to my note to page 121 for a description of how the meaning of this word, in Schelling's usage, differs from that of “polytheism.”

CXXIV Gerhard Johannes Voss or Vossius, 1577‒1649, Dutch Reformation theologian, and prolific writer of textbooks on Greek and Latin grammar, rhetoric, poetry, and history. He was born in Heidelberg but his family moved to Leiden before his first birthday. He was a man of immense learning, described as a polyhistor in the true sense of the word. The same reference goes on to say that his fame due to his literary activity grew from year to year, and flocks of youths desirous of learning streamed into his school, so as to avail themselves of his deep and comprehensive erudition. He went to England in 1629 where someone (some sources say King Charles, others archbishop Laud) gave him a canonry at Canterbury, mainly for financial reasons it seems, as he went back to Holland very soon but had the income sent to him there. The full title of this work was De Theologia Gentili et Physiologia Christiana, sive de Origine et Progressu Idololatriæ (concerning foreign theology and Christian natural science, or concerning the origin and advance of idolatry); it was first published in two volumes in 1641 (and again with posthumous additions, which Bochart could not have seen, in 1668). It is a vast repertoire which treats of many diverse forms of pagan theogony; no total system emerges from such a great accumulation of material, but it served as a starting point for almost all subsequent researchers. The spelling of the last word is sometimes idolatriæ and sometimes idololatriæ; neither is found in the Oxford Latin Dictionary, and only the latter appears in A Glossary of Later Latin.

CXXV 1599‒1667, French Reformation theologian and Hebraist. His principal work treats of the geography of the bible; the work of his which remains most significant today is a study of its ethnology and zoology.

CXXVI Pierre-Daniel Huet, 1630‒1721, French philologist, Catholic theologian, and philosopher, who was appointed Bishop of Avranches in 1689. He defended belief in revelation against Descartes. His Demonstratio Evangelica (authentication of the Christian church) was published in 1679.

CXXVII Views rejected in the past.

CXXVIII Jean-Sylvain Bailly, 1736‒93, French scholar and politician. He played an important part in the initial stage of the French revolution, and was executed as a result. His Histoire de l'astronomie ancienne depuis son origine jusqu'à l'etablissement de l'ecole d'Alexandrie (History of ancient astronomy from its origin up to the establishment of the School of Alexandria) was first published in 1775. His Lettres sur l'origine des sciences et sur celle des peuples de l'Asie, adressées à M. de Voltaire par M. Bailly et précédées de quelques lettres de M. de Voltaire à l'auteur (Letters concerning the origin of the sciences and of the peoples of Asia, addressed to Voltaire by Bailly, and preceded by a number of letters from Voltaire to the author), came out in London and Paris in 1777. The following is from the History of Ancient Astronomy:

All these philosophical ideas invented and disseminated in the Orient are the products of a cultivated nation, which must have been older than the Indians, Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Chinese: it was the original source of all the famous periods of natural astrology and of all the philosophically conceived astronomical rules, which its offspring infected with that plague of foolish astromancy. This Asiatic error was not only one of the most ancient which was ever thought up in the world, but it was also common to the whole of Asia, and it has to be regarded, as well, as a proof of that common origin of all sciences and of the existence of that great nation which inhabited the world before all others known to us. For would it ever be possible that such a philosophical error as is astromancy could have been thought up in such a uniform way among different nations? Certainly there are truths which have been discovered at the same time by different philosophers: but certainly not elaborate hypotheses or even crude errors. So the reason why more recent nations had the same ideas about the influence of the stars on the hearts of men, was because originally they had jointly inherited the foundations of these ideas from a single nation.


CXXIX This passage, also referred to in Lecture One, is translated in my note to page 23.

CXXX Sir William Jones, 1746‒94, English Oriental scholar. Regarded in his own time as a prodigy of learning, he was the first English scholar to master Sanscrit. He had an amiable nature, and his sympathy with Orientals and their manner of thought was especially noteworthy. This sounds good, but in fact he was an unpleasant moralist and bowdlerizer. In early life he wrote on the history of Persia and its language, and published many poems, both his own and translations from Persian originals; later he wrote a lot about law. He went to India in 1783, and in 1784 founded the Bengal Asiatic Society. He contributed eleven discourses to that society's organ, Asiatic Researches, of which the second, which appeared in 1785, is entitled “On the Gods of Greece, Italy, and India,” and another from 1787 “On the Chronology of the Hindus.” Most of these works consist of detailed analyses of mythological correspondences. It would be interesting to find out how Schelling got to know Jones' writings on India. (Goethe, in a letter from 1811, had already expressed admiration for him, but only in respect of his version of the Gita Govinda.) Probably it was from a German translation of some of the essays from the Bengal Asiatic Society, published in four volumes in 1795‒7. The following excerpt, from the “Gods of Greece, Italy, and India,” may give an idea of his “spirit”:

In drawing a parallel between the Gods of the Indian and European Heathens, from whatever source they were derived, I shall remember, that nothing is less favorable to inquiries after truth than a systematical spirit, and shall call to mind the saying of a Hindoo writer, “that whoever obstinately adheres to any set of opinions, may bring himself to believe that the freshest sandalwood is a flame of fire.”


It depends what you mean by “system,” does it not? Another excerpt, from the beginning of that essay, shows the scope of the correspondences he observes:

We cannot justly conclude, by arguments preceding the proof of facts, that one idolatrous people must have borrowed their deities, rites, and tenets from another; since Gods of all shapes and dimensions may be framed by the boundless powers of imagination, or by the frauds and follies of men, in countries never connected; but when features of resemblance, too strong to have been accidental, are observable in different systems of polytheism, without fancy or prejudice to color them, and improve the likeness, we can scarce help believing, that some connection has immemorially subsisted between the several nations who have adopted them. It is my design, in this Essay, to point out such a resemblance between the popular worship of the old Greeks and Italians and that of the Hindus. Nor can there be room to doubt of a great similarity between their strange religions and that of Egypt, China, Persia, Phrygia, Phoenicia, Syria; to which, perhaps, we may safely add, some of the southern kingdoms, and even islands of America: while the Gothic system, which prevailed in the northern regions of Europe, was not merely similar to those of Greece and Italy, but almost the same, in another dress, with an embroidery of images apparently Asiatick. From all this, if it be satisfactorily proved, we may infer a general union or affinity between the most distinguished inhabitants of the primitive world, at the time when they deviated, as they did too early deviate, from the rational adoration of the only true GOD.


CXXXI Georg Friedrich Creuzer, 1771‒ 1858, German philologist and founder of the science of comparative mythology. Volumes 1 to 3 of this work appeared in a first edition in 1810‒12; and a second edition of six volumes (of which the fifth and sixth were written by J. Mone), plus an atlas, appeared in 1819‒23 (Creuzer's part 1819‒21). The third edition in four volumes dates from 1830‒ 43. The abstract mentioned, made by Georg Heinrich Moser, was published in 1822. The meaning of the title of the French version is “Religions of Antiquity, a work translated from the German of Dr. F. Creuzer, recast in part, completed, and expanded.” The translator was Joseph-Daniel Guigniaut, 1794‒1876, French Hellenist and archæologist. (His major work was “The Religions of Antiquity” in ten volumes, 1825‒51.) Creuzer himself called this translation “masterly.”

CXXXII The main point of this is the loss of tempo, for the discords could not arise simply from the mechanical nature of the performance. In my own experience (with music full of feeling) the best possible performance is precisely a mechanical one. This presupposes that what is in the music is capable of being accurately notated. I do not believe in the myth of the necessity of any expression added by a performer, beyond what is decided by the composer. So Schelling's “mechanicalism” does not include any way of coordinating the tempi of the different parts.

CXXXIII In German: sich in eine Vielheit endlicher Gestalten einbildet. The verb einbildet can mean, in other contexts, “imagines.”

CXXXIV Compare the following, from Jones' essay On the Gods of Greece, Italy, and India:

I am convinced that a connection subsisted between the old idolatrous nations of Egypt, India, Greece, and Italy, long before they emigrated to their several settlements, and consequently before the birth of Moses.


And about the age of the Vedas, the following, from the same work:

That the Védas were actually written before the flood, I shall never believe; nor can we infer, from the preceding story [of the Vedas being stolen by a demon and recovered for Satyavrata after the flood], that the learned Hindus believe it; for the allegorical slumber of Brahma, and the theft of the sacred books, mean only, in simpler language, that the human race was become corrupt; but that the Védas are very ancient, and far older than other Sanscrit compositions, I will venture to affirm from my own examination of them, and a comparison of their style with that of the Purans and the Dherma Sastra.


He returns to the subject in the essay On the Chronology of the Hindus. Having quoted an Indian equivalent of the creation, he continues by summarizing part of the eighth book of the “Bhayawata”:

Vishnu appeared to him [Satyavata] in the shape of a small fish, and, after several augmentations of bulk in different waters, was placed by Satyavata in the ocean, where he thus addressed his amazed votary: “In seven days all creatures, who have offended me, shall be destroyed by a deluge, but thou shalt be secured in a capacious vessel miraculously formed: take therefore all kinds of medicinal herbs and esculent grain for food, and, together with the seven holy men, your respective wives, and pairs of all animals, enter the arc without fear; then shalt thou know God face to face, and all thy questions shall be answered.” Saying this, he disappeared; and after seven days, the ocean “began to overflow the coasts, and the earth to be flooded by constant showers, when Satyavata, meditating on the Deity, saw a large vessel moving on the waters: he entered it, having in all respects conformed to the instructions of Vishnu; who, in the form of a vast fish, suffered the vessel to be tied with a great sea-serpent, as with a cable, to his measureless horn. When the deluge had ceased, Vishnu slew the demon, and recovered the Vedas, instructed Satyavata in divine knowledge, and appointed him the seventh Menu by the name of Vaivaswata.” Let us compare the two Indian accounts of the Creation and the Deluge with those delivered by Moses. It is not made in question in this tract, whether the first chapters of Genesis are to be understood in a literal, or merely in an allegorical sense; the only points before us are, whether the creation described by the first Menu, which the Brahmans called that of the Lotos, be not the same with that recorded in our Scripture; and whether the story of the seventh Menu be not one and the same with that of Noah. I propose the questions, but affirm nothing; leaving others to settle their opinions, whether Adam be derived from adim, which in Sanscrit means the first; or Menu from Nuh, the true name of the patriarch; whether the sacrifice, at which God is believed to have descended, alludes to the offering of Abel; and, on the whole, whether the two Menus can mean any other persons than the great progenitor, and the restorer of our species.


He says he affirms nothing, but in an addendum to this essay, printed at the end of the volume, he has forgotten this, and does affirm the chronology above, specifically mentioning the Vedas and the Flood. The variations in the spelling of “Hindus” and “Satyavata” above are in the original. Vincent A. Smith, in The Oxford History of India (1957), thinks that the oldest of the Vedic sources are from the sixth century B.C. Raimundo Panikkar, in his anthology The Vedic Experience (1977), says “their age has been a matter of dispute. The most probable dates lie between 1500 and 1200 B.C. for the oldest parts, and down to 600 B.C. for the later.” The date of the, or any, Flood is not known, but it may be a memory of the world-wide effects of a volcanic eruption in 1626 B.C. Some say a cloudburst in the Armenian mountains flooded the Tigris and Euphrates in 3200 B.C., and there are many other theories.

CXXXV The German word is Heidenthum, with the same derivation (referring to the inhabitants of heaths or open country). It would also be possible to translate it as “paganism,” and I have done so in lectures nine and ten. On page 105 there is a discussion of the meaning of the Hebrew and Greek words for which “heathenism” is commonly used as a translation.
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Re: Historico-Critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Myt

Postby admin » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:40 am

Lecture Five

CXXXVI There is an odd and detailed echo of this association of the Arabs and the sea in Hegel's lectures on the Philosophy of History.

CXXXVII Horace, Odes Book I, Ode III, To Virgil Setting out for Greece, lines 21‒4:

nequiquam deus abscidit
prudens Oceano dissociabili
terras, si tamen impiæ
non tangenda rates transiliunt vada.


My version is translated from Schelling's German. In the translation of C. E. Bennett (Loeb edition), it reads:

Vain was the purpose of the god in severing the lands by the estranging main, if in spite of him our impious ships dash across the depths he meant should not be touched.


CXXXVIII The actual spritual and moral differences may not have been those of which Schelling was thinking. “Dying out” would not be the correct way to put it. But that he may have been aware of what did go on is suggested by “not even if they are killed” on page 115. Note that at the time Schelling was writing, New South Wales was larger in area than it is today, and it is probable that there (in distinction to Van Diemen's Land) a proportion of the aboriginal population survived, despite the activities of the settlers. Their way of life would have been changed, that is certainly true.

CXXXIX I have added this “not,” because without it the sentence does not quite make sense, even in German.

CXL Carsten Niebuhr, 1733‒1815, Danish explorer (the Germans say he was German, and they do have a point, as he was born near Hannover). In the capacity of geographer or mathematician, he joined an expedition to the Near East (Egypt, Arabia, and Syria) in 1761, and in fact went as far as India. The sole survivor, he returned in 1767, having travelled through Mesopotamia, Iran, and Asia Minor. He described his journey and its scientific discoveries in two books, the first, Beschreibung von Arabien (Description of Arabia), published in 1772, and another, entitled Reisebeschreibung nach Arabien und andern umliegenden Ländern (Description of a journey to Arabia and other neighbouring countries), in three volumes (four parts), in 1774, 1778, and 1837. The following passage appears on pages 449-50 of volume one of this second book, in the section describing his voyage from Mecca to Bombay:

In my opinion, it is still unproven that the Abyssinians are descended from the Arabs; for the genuine Abyssinians are dark, and I was assured that the progeny of the Arabs who settled on the western side of the Arabian Gulf, and did not mingle with Abyssinian women, have remained white just like all Arabs. At the same time scholars have wished to maintain that the hot climate is the reason why the progeny of the Portuguese who settled on the western coast of Africa are wholly black. I myself saw many so-called Portuguese in India, who were black; but if the hot climate is supposed to be the reason for that, why then are the Brahmans, the Banyans, and other nations, who make no proselytes, and do not mix with strangers at all, entirely white, although they have lived since time immemorial in just as hot a climate as the black nations in Africa and on the Malabar Coast?


I cannot find in the same book any reference to the nomadic tribe near Jerusalem which Schelling mentions on page 154; which is not to say they are not there, but since the section on Jerusalem which I examined is in the 1837 volume three, it is most likely they are in his first book, not at present available to me. Another possibility is that Schelling is mixing them up with a tribe in the vicinity of Mecca, not Jerusalem, who are known to have claimed in the nineteenth century to be the descendants of the Rechabites. But in fact there are a large number of such claims, in various places, and all thought to be spurious.

CXLI The reference is to the March 1825 number of the Journal Asiatique, containing a review of the Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, volume one, part one, of 1824, and in particular of the Essay on the Bhills, by Major-General Sir John Malcolm, contained in this latter. The review was written by Eugène Burnouf (1801-52), the celebrated French orientalist, who rediscovered the meaning of the Zend. He discusses whether the caste system originated in conquest and slavery, or was imposed by the priesthood on a population naturally susceptible to religion. At this point there is a footnote, which reads in translation:

In favour of the first of these hypotheses, we could cite reasons of some moment, and up to a certain point facts. It is known that, besides the word jâti , which means “class,” the Indian castes bear the name varna, or “colour.” If the castes are distinguished by colour, what cause other than conquest could have been capable of bringing the one together with the other, and imposing the same political system on races of diverse origin?


CXLII Herodotus in this passage (which is also mentioned on page 111) is writing about the Colchians (inhabitants of Colchis on the Black Sea south of the Caucasus). In the translation by Sélincourt and Burn it reads:

It is undoubtedly a fact that the Colchians are of Egyptian descent. I noticed this myself before I heard anyone else mention it, and when it occurred to me I asked some questions both in Colchis and in Egypt, and found that the Colchians remembered the Egyptians more distinctly than the Egyptians remembered them. The Egyptians did, however, say that they thought the original Colchians were men from Sesostris' army. My own idea on the subject was based first on the fact that they have black skins and woolly hair (not that that amounts to much, as other nations have the same), and secondly, and more especially, on the fact that the Colchians, the Egyptians, and the Ethiopians are the only races which from ancient times have practised circumcision.


CXLIII In view of the footnote earlier about phlogiston and the beer bottle, I suspected that this too was a joke. In fact Dr. Friedrich Schnurrer lived from 1784 to 1833, to the age, that is, of forty-eight or forty-nine. He published a number of works about diseases and their history, for example “Nosology or the Theory of Changes in Diseases in the Various Regions of the Earth, in relation to Physical Geography and the Natural History of Mankind” (1813). Schelling had something to say about a similar subject on pages 96-7. Schnurrer's last work was about cholera, and he claimed it was not contagious, but I cannot find out whether he, like Hegel two years earlier, died of it. His pa was Christian Friedrich von Schnurrer (1742-1822), head of the theological faculty (and later chancellor) of the university at Tübingen. Schelling was accepted as a student there in 1790, at the interesting age of fifteen and a half, and at that time Friedrich Schnurrer would have been a child of six. Schnurrer père was Schelling's principal lecturer and teacher. He avoided any discussion of the dogmatic content of the bible, but liked to lecture (sometimes in Latin) on philology and textual criticism.

CXLIV Eusebius, 265-340 A.D., bishop of Cæsarea in Palestine, and author of a Chronicle in Greek containing an epitome of universal history and chronological tables, the foundation of much of our knowledge of the dates of events in Greek and Roman history up to 325. See also the note to page 166 about Sanchuniathon. Abydenos was a Greek writer whose works included a history of the Chaldean empire, fragments of which work are found in Eusebius and others. There is considerable uncertainty about when he lived but some say it was the second or third century A.D. He should not, apparently, be confused with another Abydenos who was a pupil of Aristotle. The passage Schelling is referring to will be the following:

At that point, becoming insolent, they claimed they were the strongest and tallest of men, to such an extent that they also spurned the gods, and considered them of no importance. They now began to erect an extremely high tower, which they called “Babylon”; indeed they brought it forward very nearly to the celestial abode of the gods, and then it came to pass that the workers were interrupted by the gods, and these ruined that foolish contrivance, and Babylon made its name by having been thrown down to the earth. In truth, until that time they had been of one tongue and the same language; and the the gods impregnated them, formerly of one accord, with a manifold confusion of mingled languages. What is more, from that time on Cronus and Titan began a contention among themselves.


The second reference here is to Plato's Statesman. One young lad, the stranger from Elaia, is interviewing another, Socrates the younger. There is an interesting passage in 272A leading up to this (translation by Harold N. Fowler):

Under his care [that of God himself] there were no states, nor did men possess wives or children; for they all came to life again out of the earth, with no recollection of their former lives.


Then 272B, to which Schelling refers:

That, Socrates, was the life of men in the reign of Cronus; but the life of the present age, which is said to be the age of Zeus, you know by your own experience.


I suppose the point is that in the state in which men existed in the reign of Cronus neither language nor a society was called for. Both these passages are spoken by the stranger.

CXLV The normal translation of the word Ereignis, as “event” or “occurrence,” doesn't seem to be what Schelling has in mind here. In one sense everything has a cause (but he doesn't seem to take it that way, or even has a different view of the world); in another sense only unexpected things have causes. I have not been able to find any special meaning or use assigned to the word in Schelling's other works. Note that it must refer back, in fact, to the “mere natural events” and “external events” on pages 95 and 96. The word is used in its normal sense of “occurrence” in the discussion of Goethe's remarks about the hypothesis of geological elevation, for example, on page 22 (“accidental and unconnected occurrences”). There is another interesting use on page 182, in reference to the transition from the absolutely prehistoric to the relatively prehistoric. Similarly the “succession of real events” on page 229, and the “events of a different kind” on page 234. Another word Schelling uses is Begebenheit; it literally means “historical circumstance,” or “(datum about) what happened,” but I have decided to translate that as “event” too (for example on page 234), rather than “fact,” which I have only used for it on page 235 (“the succession of events and facts themselves”) where Schelling uses the two words together.

CXLVI The German has “it,” not “the account,” but even given the fact that it is a feminine “it” it is rather a strained reference.

CXLVII The way the forces interact so as to generate the consciousness of time is another (compare page 14) intimation of modern physics—rather like a spiritual “big bang,” but more convincing.

CXLVIII In Schelling's text the word for “nations” is of course Völker, which I have normally translated as “societies.” The verse in question, in the AV, reads:

Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord's hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.


In the NIV, it reads:

Babylon was a gold cup in the LORD'S hand; she made the whole earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; therefore they have now gone mad.


CXLIX This philosophy of symbols was later used by the Symbolist poets. The fate of the name differs from that of Babel itself. In essence a symbol is an association with other symbols, whose significance derives from the store of associations they have accumulated, however old they are. (The reality is in the relation.) These associations, not strict or literal, are only possible once a strict and literal meaning has been defined; the dividing line, though, is necessarily uncertain and inconstant, as strict literality is an as yet unachievable ideal. Obscurity is kept beyond a well-defined pale, and has always been admitted through symbols. Compare Olympiodorus on the purpose of images, quoted in my note to page 33. Kant, in his Anthropology from a Practical Point of View (1798), writing of the faculty of signification, says:

Forms (Gestalten) of things (contemplations), to the extent that they only serve as means of representation by way of concepts, are symbols, and knowledge gained through these is called “symbolic” or “figurative” (speciosa) knowledge.—Characters do not amount to symbols: for they can also be merely indirect signs, which mean nothing in themselves, but lead to concepts only through association with contemplations and through these; hence symbolic knowledge must be opposed not to intuitive, but to discursive, in which last the sign (character) accompanies the concept only as guardian (custos), so as to reproduce it when required. Symbolic knowledge is thus opposed not to intuitive (knowledge through sensory contemplation), but to intellectual (knowledge through concepts). Symbols are merely means of understanding, but only indirectly through an analogy with certain contemplations, to which the concept of the understanding can be applied, so as to obtain meaning for the understanding through the portrayal of an object.

He who is obliged always to express himself symbolically, has as yet little concept of understanding, and that which is so often admired in the lively exposition which savages (sometimes even the purported sages among a still crude society) evince in their speeches, is nothing but poverty of concepts and hence also of words to express them; for example when the American native says “We want to bury the hatchet,” that means the same as “We want to make peace,” and in fact the old songs from Homer to Ossian, or of an Orpheus up to the prophets, owe the splendour of their diction merely to the lack of means of expressing their concepts.

To maintain (with Swedenborg) that the actual phenomena of the world, present to the senses, are mere symbols of an intelligible world hidden in the background, is an excess of enthusiasm. But in the portrayals of the concepts (called “ideas”) belonging to morality (which constitutes the essence of all religion), and consequently belonging to pure reason, to distinguish the symbolic from the intellectual (divine service of religion), the integument, indeed for a certain period useful and necessary, from the thing itself, is enlightenment: because otherwise an ideal (of pure practical reason) is confused with an idol and the final goal is missed.
—It is undeniable that all societies on the earth began with this confusion, and that, if it is a matter of what their teachers themselves actually had in their minds while writing their holy scriptures, one would have to interpret them then not symbolically, but literally: because it would be dishonest to distort their words. But if it is a matter not merely of the truthfulness of the teacher, but also and indeed essentially of the truth of the doctrine, then one can and ought to expound the latter, treating it as a mere symbolic way of expression, by accompanying these practical ideas with additional ceremony and customs: because otherwise the intellectual sense, which constitutes the final goal, would be lost.


That is too straightforward and not very imaginative. I don't like the “mere,” applied to Swedenborg, at all. Coleridge (following Schelling) said “all symbols, of necessity, involve an apparent contradiction.” Schelling, in the eighth of his 1803 Lectures On the Method of Academic Study, the one On The Historical Construction of Christianity [I 5, 293], said:

A religion which lives like poetry in the genre, has as little need of a historical foundation as does the ever-open Nature. Where the divine does not live in permanent forms, but passes in fleeting appearances, it needs a means of holding onto these and of perpetuating them through tradition. Apart from the genuine mysteries of religion there is necessarily a mythology, which is its exoteric side, and which is based on religion, just as the religion of the first kind was, on the contrary, based on mythology.

The ideas of a religion directed towards contemplation of the infinite in the finite must primarily be expressed in existence, while the ideas of the opposite kind of religion, in which all symbolism belongs only to the subject, can become objective only through practice. In this kind of religion, the original symbol of all contemplation of God is history, but this is infinite, immense, and it must therefore be represented by an appearance which is at the same time infinite and yet limited, an appearance which is not itself in turn real, like the state, but ideal, and which portrays the unity of everything in the spirit as immediate presence which in its separateness is individual. This symbolic contemplation is the Church, as living work of art.

Just as the action which gives external expression to the unity of the infinite and finite can be termed “symbolic,” the same activity, as internal, is mystical, and mysticism in general is a subjective symbolism.


Mallarmé (unreliably translated by Susie [sic] Saunders) said:

The contemplation of objects, the image which takes wing from the dreams they stir up, these are the song: those Parnassians take the objects in their entirety and show them: in that way they lack any mystery; they take back from the spirits which they create the delightful joy of belief. To name an object is to suppress three quarters of the pleasure of the poem which is made to be understood little by little; to suggest it—that is the dream. It is the perfect usage of this mystery which constitutes the symbol: to evoke an object by degrees to show a state of soul, or, inversely, to take an object and separate a state of soul from it by a series of deciphering.


Tzvetan Todorov, in Symbolism and Interpretation (translated by Catherine Porter), says:

A text or a discourse becomes symbolic at the point when, through an effort of interpretation, we discover in it an indirect meaning. Schelling wrote: “The charm of Homeric poetry and of all mythology rests, to tell the truth, on the fact that they also contain allegorical signification as a possibility—one could also allegorize everything.” One could, and that possibility is essential. But we do not do so, for all that; in principle, we require that the text itself indicate to us its symbolic nature, that it possess a series of observable and undeniable properties through which it leads us on to that peculiar form of reading which is “interpretation.” We begin with the answer, with the interpretive reaction, but we go back to the question, which is posed by the symbolic nature of the text itself.


CL Ge. 11:9; the emphasis is Schelling's. The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary gives the derivation of “Babel” as: “Hebrew Babhel, deriving in turn from Akkadian Bab ili, a translation of Sumerian ka-dingir-ra, literally: gate of God.” If we compare this with the large OED, some confusion is already encountered, as according to the latter ili is plural: “Associated in Genesis with the idea of 'confusion,' but not referable to any known Semitic root; according to Prof. Sayce, for Assyrian babilu gate of God, or bab-ili gate of the gods, the Assyrian rendering of the Accadian Ca-dimira (See Trans. Soc. Bibl. Archæology I, 298, 309).” The same dictionary says of “babble” that something similar appears in many languages, for example Dutch, Low German, German, Danish, Icelandic, French, and goes on: “In some of these languages probably adopted from others; in none can its history be carried far back. No direct connexion with Babel.” It does not mention the Latin balbus. Adrian Room, in A Dictionary of True Etymologies, repeats most of this, and adds “the translators of the Bible, as can be seen, related the name 'Babel' to balal, 'to confuse,' perhaps as a deliberate pun, perhaps out of ignorance.” As far as “barbarous” is concerned, the OED says that it probably had a primary reference to speech, comparable with the Latin balbus, “stammering.” It suggests a development of the sense in Greek to “foreign,” “non-Hellenic,” “outlandish,” “rude,” “brutal”; and in Latin to “not Latin or Greek,” “outside the Roman empire,” “uncivilized,” “non-Christian,” “heathen.” The derivation of “Babel” as “gate of God” is essentially the one Schelling disputes.

CLI From Ovid's Tristia (Sad Things), 5. 10. 37. (The Loeb edition has qui not quia, and intellegor not intelligor.) At the age of fifty, Publius Ovidius Naso (43B.C.‒c17A.D.) was suddenly ordered to leave Rome; he complained that he was the only erotic poet ever to have been punished for his compositions (but it may only have been a pretext). He was exiled to Tomis on the Black Sea coast (now Constantza in Romania). Latin was seldom heard there; the chief languages were Getic (which Ovid later learnt) and Sarmatian. The translation of this line, and the one before it, by Arthur Leslie Wheeler reads:

They hold intercourse in the tongue they share; I must make myself understood by gestures. Here it is I that am a barbarian, understood by nobody.


The references in Schelling's footnote are to: Martin Luther, c1483-1546, a turbulent and refractory Germanic priest, who prepared, with some colleagues, a translation of the bible; the Old Testament was published in 1534. The German word he used is undeutsch, which can mean both “un-German” and “unintelligible.” The AV reads:

Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.


The NIV has it:

If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me.


By the way there are a couple of minor differences in the Greek in the text of “Mill”: the first βάρβαρος is followed by a colon, and it has ἐμοὶ not ἐμὸι .

The Latin adjective disertus means dexterous or skilled in speaking or writing, skilfully expressed, clear-sounding, or distinct. Cicero contrasts it with “barbarus” in his early oration, dating from 70 B.C., known as the Second Speech against Gaius Verres. The reference is 2, 3, 9, 23. Verres was a rapacious governor of Sicily, whom Cicero had been retained to prosecute. The passage describes Quintus Apronius, one of Verres' so-called tithe-collectors. In the translation by L. H. G. Greenwood:

You are aware of Verres' foul and wicked character: conceive, if you can, a man who can match him in every branch of unspeakable indulgence in every kind of vileness: that man will be the famous Apronius, who proclaims himself by his life, nay, by his very shape and countenance, a vast devouring human morass, replete with all manner of villainies and abominations. It is he who was Verres' righthand man in his debaucheries, in his sacrilegious robberies, in his filthy carouses: and to such sympathy and affection does similarity of character give rise that Apronius, whom all others regarded as an uncouth savage [inhumanus ac barbarus], appeared to Verres an agreeable and cultivated [commodus ac disertus] person. Everyone else loathed him and shunned the sight of him: Verres could not live without him. Others could not drink in the same room with him: Verres would drink out of the same cup with him, and the disgusting smell of the man's breath and body, which we are told not even animals could endure, to him, and to him alone, seemed sweet and pleasant. Apronius sat next his chair of office, shared the privacy of his chamber, and was the master spirit of his festive gatherings— notably when, with the governor's young son present, he proceeded to dance stark naked before the company.


The Plato extract is from his Theætetus or Theaitetos. The Loeb edition has βατταρίζων, with a note saying that other manuscripts have βαρβαρίζων. The passage begins with the story of the Thracian maidservant who jeered at Thales when he was looking up to watch the stars and tumbled into a well. She thought Thales a fool for being so eager to know what went on in the sky that he could not see what lay at his feet. Socrates claims that all philosophers are impractical in this way. On the other hand, a man of the world is incompetent in the philosophical sphere; in the translation of H. N. Fowler, with the words Schelling quotes italicized (Socrates is addressing Theodoros, who is said to have a large following as might be expected from his skill as a geometer):

. . . when that man of small and sharp and pettifogging mind is compelled in his turn to give an account of all these things, then the tables are turned; dizzied by the new experience of hanging at such a height, he gazes downward from the air in dismay and perplexity; he stammers and becomes ridiculous, not in the eyes of Thracian girls or other uneducated persons, for they have no perception of it, but in those of all men who have been brought up as free men, not as slaves.


CLII Strabo, c63B.C. ‒ c23A.D., Greek geographer and historian, noted for his Geographica (Geography). This has survived almost in full, and consists of seventeen books, probably written around 7 B.C. His principal work was a History in forty-seven books, now lost, to which the Geography probably formed an appendix.

CLIII The AV renders the word as “subvert”:

. . . we [the apostles writing letters to the Gentiles] have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment . . .


CLIV There are three differences in the Loeb edition: 1. no comma after ἔθνος . 2. Έλληνας not Ελλη νας. 3. μετέμαθε not μετέμαθεν. In the translation by A. D. Godley (italicized so as to show it in context) the passage reads:

. . . if (I say) we may judge by these, the Pelasgians spoke a language which was not Greek. If then all the Pelasgian stock so spoke, then the Attic nation, being of Pelasgian blood, must have changed its language too at the time when it became part of the Hellenes.


In the translation by Sélincourt and Burn the same passage (to the extent that it is still recognizable) reads:

Granted, then, that these are a fair sample of the Pelasgian race, one may conclude that the Athenians, being themselves Pelasgian, changed their language when they were absorbed into the Greek family of nations.


CLV Friedrich Heinrich Wilhelm Gesenius, 1786-1842, was a German theologian and orientalist, and the first to apply modern scientific lexicography to the Old Testament, with reference to other Semitic languages and Semitic epigraphy. The Halle encyclopedia (Halle'schen Encyclopädie) sounds large but it was difficult to track down because this is a kind of sobriquet; actually it was published in Leipzig. It is the Allgemeiner Encyklopädie der Wissenschaften und Künste (Allinclusive Encyclopædia of the Sciences and Arts), a tremendous and still informative work in 167 volumes published between 1818 and 1879. It is unfortunately incomplete (unlike the French Larousse); the 167 volumes only run from A to P. The editors were J. S. Ersch and J. G. Gruber, and because they, like Gesenius himself, were professors in Halle it was called the Halle encyclopedia. Here is a very small part of Gesenius's article on “Babylon”; he is writing of the author of the story in Genesis:

So he portrays the differentiation of language as a misfortune which was imposed by the wrathful deity because men misused their united forces in undertakings unpleasing to God. To that extent the miracle of Pentecost forms a parallel and a contrast: for in this the differentiation of language, as a hindrance to the spread of Christianity, is removed through the direct intervention of the deity. That the Greeks had the same view of the reasons for the differentiation of language, may be seen from the myth in Plato (Statesman 272), which Philo already compared with the biblical one, and according to which men and animals in the Golden Age spoke one language, and all nations lived in a condition of unrestricted intercourse, but Zeus divided language when men, full of presumption, demanded immortality and eternal youth from the gods.


Schelling's lectures, thirty-seven in all, on the Philosophy of Revelation, are intimately related to those on the philosophy of mythology. In the form in which they were posthumously published they are the product of the period between 1842 and 1853, although they too were begun much earlier. The passage about Ahriman is found on page [II 3, 524], where Schelling is discussing the hope, contained in all religions, even the pagan mysteries, of a better time to come:

The golden age of concord, which was considered as the beginning, was also in turn to be the end of the human race. A feature of the Persian doctrine, mentioned by Plutarch (de Isid. et Osir., c. 47), one of many examples, shows how profoundly the fate of the separation into societies and languages was felt, when it says that a time will come when Ahriman will be completely driven out and will vanish, that then the earth will become undifferentiated and level, and one life and one form of government will unite men who are blissful and of one language: ἕνα βίον καὶ μίαν πολιτείαν ἀνθρώπον μακαρίων καὶ ὁμογλώσσων ἁπάντων γενέσθαι. As is well known, something similar is said of the Messiah in the New Testament: “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; the rough shall be made smooth, and the crooked shall be made bad, that is to say straight” [compare Lu. 3:5], and John the Baptist repeats this same thing in his speech to the Jewish people. The mountains in general probably only represent divisive obstacles, but more important is the εἴς βίος, with the μία πολιτεία and especially the ὁμογλωσσία, the same language for all men, which is anticipated after Ahriman has been rendered wholly ineffective and has vanished. The ἑτερογλωσσία too is regarded as an effect of the principle which disunites everything, of Ahriman. I have no need to remark on how necessary, as it were, at the beginning of the history of Christianity as it enters the world, is the miracle of Pentecost, the gift of language which, however else one may regard it, did have the effect that among men in communities which spoke differently and were divided by languages, each believed he heard the same speech in his language.


CLVI The German word is Vorrathskammer, which in itself is more like “larder,” “storeroom,” “holding-station,” or at best “repository.” None of these works in English, but my “antechamber” does not have the reference to provisions, stock, or storage. The meaning seems to be that up to that point the chosen people had, like the others still left in the larder, been occupying their time with consumption (whether conspicuous or not) and perhaps even with other pleasures of the flesh (but eroticism, as Plato knew, is much more spiritual than often thought), and were only now turning to the life of the spirit. Seriously, though, think of it, if you can, as a repository or holding-station for societies. Schelling describes the situation on page 131. Curiously, there is an echo of this in Jaan Puhvel's slangy language in his 1987 book Comparative Mythology (a book in which Schelling's contribution is highly praised):

We note a general westward and southward movement of Celts, Germans, and Slavs, but from precisely what prehistoric holding tanks were they unleashed at half-millennium intervals?


CLVII instar omnium means “the image (or likeness) of all.”

CLVIII That seems for drinking and is not. Potile is an adjective used of something that pertains to drinking, for example a drinking-vessel; potabile is an adjective used of something that may be drunk, something drinkable or potable, that is.

CLIX In the translation by Sélincourt and Burn, Herodotus actually says the gods' names came from Egypt, so he is being more specific than Schelling when the latter says he says “barbarians.” Refer also to my note about the Egyptian priests on page 25. Herodotus, writing of the phallic procession in the worship of Dionysus (in book two section 49), goes on:

The names of nearly all the gods came to Greece from Egypt. I know from the inquiries I have made that they came from abroad, and it seems most likely that it was from Egypt, for the names of all the gods have been known in Egypt from the beginning of time, with the exception (as I have already said) of Poseidon and the Dioscuri—and also of Hera, Hestia, Themis, the Graces, and the Nereids. I have the authority of the Egyptians themselves for this. I think that the gods of whom they profess no knowledge were named by the Pelasgians—with the exception of Poseidon, of whom they learned from the Libyans; for the Libyans are the only people who have always known Poseidon's name, and always worshipped him. Heroes have no place in the religion of Egypt.

These practices, then, and others which I will speak of later, were borrowed by the Greeks from Egypt. This is not the case, however, with the Greek custom of making images of Hermes with the phallus erect; it was the Athenians who took this from the Pelasgians, and from the Athenians the custom spread to the rest of Greece. For just at the time when the Athenians were assuming Hellenic nationality, the Pelasgians joined them, and thus first came to be regarded as Greeks. Anyone will know what I mean if he is familiar with the mysteries of the Cabiri—rites which the men of Samothrace learned from the Pelasgians, who lived in that island before they moved to Attica, and communicated the mysteries to the Athenians. This will show that the Athenians were the first Greeks to make statues of Hermes with the erect phallus, and that they learned the practice from the Pelasgians—who explained it by a certain religious doctrine, the nature of which is made clear in the Samothracian mysteries.


CLX In German: Stammeseinheit. Stamm means both “descent” and “tribe,” so this same word is used on page 94 in relation to tribes, where it could possibly be translated simply as “tribal unity.”

CLXI The Larousse dictionary agrees that it came from the Arab meskin, but says that it passed through the Italian meschino, not Spanish. Its first use in French was in 1611 and its meaning is “petty,” “shabby,” or “niggardly.”

CLXII The AV translates it slightly differently:

When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Isræl.


The NIV is essentially the same as the AV.

The passage from the Statesman has some differences in the Loeb edition: 1. κυκλήσεως instead of κυκλώσεως. 2. ἦρχεν instead of ῆχεν. 3. θεὸς instead of θεός . 4. ὣς instead of ὡς . 5. δ᾽ αὖ instead of νῠν, but with ̀νῠν noted as a variant. 6. no comma after θεῶν. The passage is part of the story of the world beginning to revolve in the opposite direction, so that the dead come back from the grave, and the old grow young, turn into babies, and disappear. The youth known as the stranger from Elaia is addressing another youth, Socrates the younger. Schelling refers to the same speech on pages 102 and 175. In Harold N. Fowler's translation (with Schelling's emphasis) it reads:

For then, in the beginning, God ruled and supervised the whole revolution, and so again, in the same way, all the parts of the universe were divided by regions among gods who ruled them . . .


CLXIII This passage from Herodotus may be found in my note to page 99.

CLXIV Schelling here, as in many other places, uses a Romance word, stupiden in this case, and although I have usually been able to transcribe them directly, it is not possible here because of the tone, really, of this popular word more than because of a difference in meaning. His use of the word here was probably intended to be related to the stupor on page 193 (refer to my note to that page).

CLXV Another possible reading here is: “an extinction of all unity would be the extinction of the language itself, but thereby of every human quality . . .”

CLXVI In German, letzte Elemente. Another possible rendering might be “fundamental” elements.

CLXVII “They normally speak a great deal from the throat and nose, and in fact for the most part it is impossible for us to use our alphabet to express their words or their sounds.” Schelling's text differs from the original in the following ways: 1. Ils (they) instead of Les indiens; 2. he omits twenty-four words between ordinairement and the second beaucoup; 3. comma after nez instead of colon; 4. comma omitted after même. Azara's original sentence reads:

The Indians normally speak a great deal more quietly than we others; they do not attract attention by their facial expressions; in order to pronounce, they scarcely move their lips, and speak a great deal from the throat and nose: and in fact for the most part it is impossible for us to use our alphabet to express their words or their sounds: thus it is very difficult to learn such languages, or even to come to know a single one of them well enough to be able to speak it.


On page 14, Azara says of the “charrúas” (he repeats himself a lot):

They know neither games, nor dances, nor songs, nor musical instruments, nor companionship (societiés) nor idle conversations. Their manner is so serious that it is impossible to discover their passions from it. Their laugh amounts to no more than a gentle partial opening of the corners of the mouth, without ever bursting out. They never have a gruff or loud voice, and they always speak very softly, without crying aloud, not even to wail when they are killed. This is taken so far that, when they have business with someone who is ten paces ahead of them, they do not call out to him, preferring to walk up and join him. They do not worship any divinity, and have no religion; and as a consequence they are in a state which is more backward than that of the first savage man described by some scholars, since to him they assign a religion. Among them is seen neither action nor word which has any connection at all with respect and politeness. Nor do they have laws, nor binding customs, nor rewards, nor punishments, nor chief to command them.


Page 57 is rather a contrast. Azara says of the “guaraný nations”:

Their language is very different from all the others; but it is the same for all the branches of this nation; so that in speaking it one can then travel throughout Brazil, enter Paraguay, go afterwards down to Buenos Ayres and come back up to Peru as far as the canton of the Chiriguans. This language amounts to the most widespread of the savage idioms of America. It lacks, though, a multitude of expressions: in the case of the names of numerals, it is of use only as far as four, without being capable of expressing the numbers five and six, and its pronunciation is nasal and guttural.


CLXVIII Lucian of Syria lived from 115 to about 200 A.D. After a great deal of travelling, he settled, when he was about forty, in Athens, and began writing philosophical dialogues. But before long he renounced this activity and invented a new form of literature, the satirical dialogue. It was not Hegel, but he, who, in his piece The Way to Write History, said that the only true proposition in his history was that it should contain nothing true. Schelling's quotation is from Lucian's Goddess of Syria (not a dialogue). The Loeb edition lacks the four commas, and has εἵσασθαι not ἴσασθαι. Because Lucian mimicked an Ionian dialect, the translator, A. M. Harmon, has seen fit to render the whole work in the style of the English translation of Sir John Mandeville's Travels, and his version of this passage is:

Of alle peples whereof wee knowen, Egyptyens weren firste, as men seyn, for to taken conceyte of Goddes, and to stablisschen holy places . . . And thei firste knewen holy names and maden holy tales.


CLXIX Ge. 11:4. The emphasis is Schelling's. There are two differences between Schelling's version and the Authorized, which reads as follows:

Let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.


The minor difference is the city instead of the bulwark, and the important difference is that Schelling has the tower built not so much, perhaps, so as to reach heaven, but so that the builders can make the name for themselves. The NIV reads:

Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.


Here it is not clear whether it is the city (which incidentally has a tower), or the tower itself, or the fact that it reaches to heaven, which allows them to make the name for themselves. (My feeling is that it was a bulwark, not a city, and the tower was a necessary aspect of it, and that they could not have made a name for themselves unless it reached to the heavens.)

CLXX This dissertation may be found in Schelling's collected works, pages [I 9, 336 -352]. An editor has added a note stating that the dissertation was printed in the third annual report of the Royal Bavarian Academy of Sciences, not the second as Schelling claims. I don't yet know which is correct. The title is in fact the subject which Schelling describes here: Ueber das Alter kyklopischer Bauwerke in Griechenland (on the Antiquity of Cyclopean Constructions in Greece). He wrote the dissertation as a rebuttal of the “atomistic rather than organic” view of an unnamed pupil of J. H. Voss that the Cyclopean constructions were entirely post-Homeric and completely unknown to the Homeric era. (Refer to the note below about Megara.) Schelling maintains that they are older than Hesiod and Homer, even though the latter mentions them only by implication. (Of course they both mention the Cyclopes themselves.) The argument and terminology are consistent with those of the present work, as may be seen from the following short extract (page [I 9, 341]):

Now if, for the Hellenic mind, the genuinely historical era begins only with Zeus, then even from this side it will not appear unfounded if I state that the Cyclopes are a personification of the prehistoric time which still projects into the historical, a prehistoric time which in fact Homer sees everywhere still at a small remove from himself. Now after the significance of the Cyclopes themselves has thus been established as that of a relatively prehistoric race, it could certainly no longer be in doubt that in the thoughts of the Hellenes Cyclopean structures too were considered to be prehistoric, and are indeed stipulated to be such as belonged in the transition to the historical era. This transition is mythologically the transition from Cronus to Zeus, and historically the transition from what is pre-Hellenic to what is genuinely Hellenic.


CLXXI Megara is a town in East central Greece, near the base of the Isthmus of Corinth overlooking Salamis; an ancient Dorian trading city, originally known as Nisa, it founded many colonies in the seventh and eighth centuries B.C. There are ancient walls nearby, probably those of Minoa. Nauplia, now Navplion, is an ancient Peloponnese port, and two and a half miles to the north, at Tiryns, there are ancient fortifications and two halls known as megara (singular megaron). These fortifications at Tiryns, and at other cities of the Argolid, are the ones often ascribed to the Cyclopes, and date from around 1400 B.C. (which was long before Homer and Hesiod). Homer has the phrase “wall-girt Tiryns.” Schelling's parentheses would seem to indicate that Napoli di Malvasia (the Naples of Malvasia) is another name for Nauplia, but in fact Malvasìa comes from the name of the little Greek city of Monembasia (now Monemvasia), known as Napoli di Malvasìa to the Venetians, who took it in 1464. The wine known as Malvasìa was shipped from here (although produced in Tinos and other Ægean islands). Adjoining, there are the partly subterranean ruins of Epidauros Limera. The town was called “Malmsey” by early English writers. It is in a magnificent setting, much further down the east coast of the Pelopennese than Nauplia. For this reason Schelling's parentheses should be a comma or an “and,” but I allow them to stand in the interest of authenticity: adherence to the false. Just to confuse matters further, there is, even further south and around the end of the peninsula, another small town, called “Neapolis.”
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Re: Historico-Critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Myt

Postby admin » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:41 am

Lecture Six

CLXXII Simultaneous = gleichzeitige (at an equivalent time); equivalent = gleiche.

CLXXIII The two expressions I am translating are Göttervielheit (literally god-muchness) and Vielgötterei (much-goddery). According to all the German dictionaries Vielgötterei is simply an alternative native version of Polytheismus (polytheism), but as may be seen from this passage Schelling is using it in a special sense, more narrow than Polytheismus. For while he does indeed state that only successive polytheism is true polytheism, he continues to prefix the adjective “successive” to Polytheismus when he is equating it to Vielgötterei. I have therefore, without exception, translated Polytheismus as “polytheism,” and Vielgötterei as “multitheism.” Just as with Vielgötterei , the usual sense of “multitheism” (described by the OED as obsolete) is exactly the same as “polytheism.” Only in this book is it used in Schelling's special sense.

CLXXIV This passage, in all published editions, reads: “so ist gerade das Successive in der Mythologie das, worin das Wirkliche, das wirklich Geschichtliche, also auch das Wirkliche, die Wahrheit derselben überhaupt liegt.” This would mean: “then it is precisely the successive aspect of mythology in which lies what is actual, what is actually historical in it, thus also what is actual, the truth of it in general.” Since I could not make sense of this as it stands, I have taken the liberty of substituting “das Wahre” for the second “das Wirkliche,” so that it reads “what is true” instead of “what is actual.”

CLXXV In German, Jedes Element, das kein anderes ausser sich hat, von dem es bestimmt wird, bleibt immer and nothwendig sich selbst gleich. In other words, the definition of “outside” is “that which effects a change or redefinition.” Compare the discussion of man's existence “apart from himself” on page 189, and that of the potence set apart from itself in the extract from the Philosophy of Mythology which I have quoted in the note to page 180.

CLXXVI Schelling's word in German is Ethnogonie, with an “o”, which I presume means the same; it is not found in any German dictionary I have consulted, even Grimm's (the largest). There is a modern German word Ethnogenese which means “ethnogeny.”

CLXXVII Not without divine will or inspiration.

CLXXVIII Compare the following passage from The Ages of the World, [I 8, 323], written around 1813; the translation is based on that of Frederick Bolman, with some changes:

It is striking that in the whole of nature each particular, individual life begins by rotation about its own axis, therefore evidently from a state of inner antagonism. In the largest as in the smallest thing, in the wheel of planets as in the partly rotary motions of that world which is discernible only to the assisted eye, which Linné, with presentiment, calls the chaos of the animal kingdom, circular movement is seen as the first form of separate individual life, just as if everything that closes itself off in itself and thus apart from the whole, had thereby immediately to become victim to inner contradiction. At least it would already be evident from this remark that the powers of circular movement belong to the oldest potences, active in the first creation itself, but are not, as is the prevailing opinion now, powers added only to what has come to be, added externally and fortuitously.

Now in so far as the existence of such individual rotary wholes rests solely on the elevation and inspiriting of the negating power, to that extent those wholes are to be regarded as works of a truly elevating, creating power, transferring [things] from that which does not exist to that which does, and thus as the first creatures.

If that inspiriting of the negating power could abate in them, then they would immediately sink back into universal being. That inspiriting is therefore for them an elevation to selfhood, and the inspirited power is henceforth the root of their singularity, since they have in that their own ground (their own B or egoistic principle), independent of the universal ground of nature.

But even now, raised to selfhood (to existence-in-themselves), they are still held by the attracting power. But, precisely because they are now egoistic, and such as to have their own point of rest (centre of gravity) in themselves, they strive by virtue of this very selfhood to avoid the pressure of the attracting power, and to grow away from it through withdrawing on all sides from its centre. It is only here, then, that there comes into being the highest value of the turgor of the whole, since each individual tries to evade the common centre and eccentrically seeks its own centre of gravity or point of rest.


In the matter of the power of free movement, compare the following, from the System of Transcendental Idealism [I 3, 570]:

That which is to be contemplated as exerting an effect on what is real, must itself appear to be real. Hence I cannot contemplate myself as exerting an effect directly on the object, but only through the intermediary of matter, which, though, since I am acting, I must contemplate as identical with myself. Matter, as direct organ of free activity directed externally, is organic body, which must, therefore, appear to be capable of free and seemingly voluntary movements.


Having quoted that, with its “appear” and “seemingly,” I must, although it is really quite another story, include a little bit more context; from the same work, page [I 3, 580]:

Now if we once again summarize the whole course of the investigation hitherto, first of all we tried to explain the precondition of normal consciousness, which, standing on the lowest level of abstraction, distinguishes the object on which an effect is exerted from that which effects or acts itself; out of which the question thus arose of how the object could be determined by that which was acting on it. We replied that the object acted upon and the action itself are one, namely both are only a contemplation. Through this we established that we had in the will only one thing determined, namely that which was contemplating, which is at the same time that which is acting. This objective element which is acting, and the external world, thus do not originally exist independently of each other, and that which was introduced in the one, was precisely thereby also introduced in the other.


CLXXIX These possibilities of shapes or forms again foreshadow quantum theory. Compare the following, from chapter seven of Paul Davies' Other Worlds (and it is best for all concerned if I let it stand, at this stage, without further comment):

According to quantum physics the state of the microscopic system must be described by a superposition of waves, each wave representing a definite value of some quality, such as position, momentum, spin or polarization of a particle. It is vital to remember that the superposition does not represent a set of alternatives—an either/or choice—but a genuinely overlapping combination of possible realities. The actual reality is determined only when the measurement of these qualities is effected. Here, however, is the rub. If the measuring device is also made of atoms, it too must be described by a wave which is made up of a superposition of all its alternative states. For example, our Geiger counter is in a superposition of states A and B (undeflected and deflected pointer) which, it must be repeated, does not mean either it is deflected or it is undeflected, but in some strange, schizophrenic way, both. Each represents an alternative reality generated by the decay of the nucleus, but these realities not only co-exist, they overlap and interfere with each other by the wave interference phenomenon.


CLXXX This word (letzten) could also mean “last.” The paragraph calls to mind the embryo, the development of which is said to pass through remarkably similar stages in all five classes of vertebrates.

CLXXXI It is strange that Schelling doesn't actually state the meanings of these names. According to the NIV, Japeth sounds like the Hebrew for “extend,” but no meaning is given for Shem and Ham. Japeth is also identified with the Greek god Iapetus. The Encyclopedia Judaica says that the meaning of Shem is uncertain, but that possibly it is a Hebrew word meaning “fame,” or “name.” The Akkadian sumu, which is the same word, means not only “name” but also “son.” As for Ham, no meaning of his name is suggested there. In Psalms 105:23 and 106:22 it is identified, by a play on words, with Kemi, “black,” a name given to Egypt. There is some confusion between him and Caanan. Ham's son Cush was black-skinned as a result of Ham having had sexual intercourse in the ark. Ham (or Caanan) castrated Noah after coming across him drunk and naked. He then stole the garments God had made for Adam and Eve and gave them to Cush, who passed them on to his son Nimrod. It is quite possible that Schelling is referring to Book 10 Chapter 7 of Herder's “Outlines of the Philosophy of the History of Mankind” (see my note to page 229). Herder states that the meanings of the names are as follows: Japhet—widespread; “Sem”—tribes who remained superior to others; Cham—heat.

CLXXXII Schelling's word for “in material” is materiell, “materially,” contrasted to formell, “formally.”

CLXXXIII German Eingötterei. This word is absent from the largest modern German dictionaries (even from Grimm), and where it does appear in a smaller dictionary it is simply described as Monotheismus (which leads us to conclude that someone has lost a cause). But I am almost certain that it has the same meaning as “monolatry,” that is to say, that many gods may be believed in, but only one is worshipped. This is contrasted with “monotheism,” which is worship of the one and only god. Where Schelling, in this passage, has Eingötterei, Zweigötterei, and Vielgötterei (one-goddery, two-goddery, and much-goddery), I have monolatry, worship of two gods, and multitheism; but note that in respect of this last, Schelling no longer seems to want to point out the successive element, but just to state the equivalence of the German and the Romance words.

CLXXXIV Jean Pierre Abel Rémusat, 1788-1832, French Sinologist. He had a remarkable interest in and aptitude for learning Oriental languages, and in this regard was largely self-educated. He became the first professor of Chinese and Tartar at the Collège de France, and founded, in 1822, the Société Asiatique. The Fundgruben des Orients form a collection in six “volumes” (bound as four), containing contributions by various authors writing in German, French, English, Italian, Latin, Persian, etc., published in Vienna in 1813-14. Rémusat's Latin dissertation “On the Monosyllabic Character Commonly Attributed to the Chinese Language” was first published in this book. It was later translated into French, and in that form may be found in the second volume of his Mélanges Asiatiques (“Asiatic Miscellanies,” Paris 1826, pages 47-61). One of the curious things about Rémusat is that although his erudition is quite genuine there is no record of his ever having travelled abroad—one wonders how he acquired and practised his spoken languages.

CLXXXV First of all, both aspirated consonants (as p in po-quan shipwreck) and doubled consonants (as z in cun-zai exist) are, he says, divided by an e mute, and in the case of vowels the effect is even more striking, when words terminate in diphthongs (as shuo speak), triphthongs (as huai bad), or nasal sounds (as shang above). (In all these examples I use modern spelling.) Words (here I use his French notation) like y-a-o, t-cha-o, p-hi-e-ou, ts-hi-a-o, however quickly they are pronounced, are still, he claims, composed of several syllables, in a strict sense. Then he says that all the above may be a bit puerile; every character has a pronunciation consisting of a very short word, often complex, but monosyllabic in the vulgar sense. Often, though, the Chinese characters are combined to express names and simple ideas; such expressions are composed of characters, just as French words are composed of syllables. An example is fang-fu (represent, be alike), composed of two characters which have no distinct independent meaning (although fu is used as an abbreviation of the name of the Buddha), and in which the two characters can be replaced in six different ways by others with the same sound without altering the sense of the combination. He gives five more examples of the same kind. There follows the passage on page 53 about barbarism, which I think Schelling got wrong:

Almost universally the Chinese language is seen as being entirely devoid of grammatical rules. On the basis of this poverty, some have inferred the antiquity of the language, others the barbarity of the nation which speaks it: erroneous conclusions from an assuredly false principle, since the most ancient languages have the most complicated grammar, while the languages of certain primitive peoples, such as the Lapps, teem with rules and difficulties. Additionally, there is nothing more false than the common view that Chinese lacks a grammatical system: the relationships between words, the tenses, persons, are distinguished, to the extent that is necessary, by articles, pronouns, inflections, and verbal prefixes, just as in other languages, and especially by the relative placement of the different parts of the phrase; and although the same terms often serve to represent nouns, adjectives, and verbs, one always distinguishes the parts of the discourse with an ease sufficient to ensure that one is never embarrassed while reading.


Following this, he gives a not very impressive “declension” of Chinese nouns in six cases, using auxiliary particles, but accepts that both here and in the case of verbs the root does not vary. The most common type of combination, where each element possesses a meaning, and the combination possesses a new meaning (like “thoroughfare” in English) he mentions only briefly. Then he gives an example of a third type of polysyllabic word, where essentially meaningless particles are added to another word, for example niu-ren woman, and ge-ge elder brother, mainly so as to distinguish the meaning from other words of a similar sound; demonstrating that in fact the Chinese shun monosyllables. On page 58 we read:

A knowledge of the meaning which each character, taken in isolation, can have in a sentence, is of little help if one does not add the knowledge of the values it acquires as an element in a polysyllabic term; so that a vocabulary of 40,000 words which are only explained by the specific meanings of the monosyllabic radicals, will be, for the purposes of students, greatly inferior to a dictionary of three or four thousand characters where pains have been taken to make known the new acceptations which the characters can take on when combined in twos or threes.


That is a good piece of advice which even to this day has not been heeded. Rémusat then prints a passage in Chinese next to its translation into Latin, showing that the number of polysyllabic words is about the same. Finally he remarks that “certain systematic philologists” wished to construct systems without having sufficiently examined the facts on which they are basing them. All this is correct, and as far as the compound words are concerned has been confirmed to me by a Chinese of the present day, who pointed out that some combinations of syllables are familiar and accepted as words, whereas others are inadmissable or meaningless. Whether or not there is a history of “meaning” (defined as) adhering to single characters (as opposed to to words) I had better leave to a native speaker. I have the impression that Schelling did not read this piece very carefully. An interesting recent book which describes the situation in greater detail is The Chinese Language, Fact and Fantasy by John DeFrancis, published in 1984. One chapter of this is entitled “the monosyllabic myth,” and the argument therein follows broadly the same lines as that of Rémusat.

CLXXXVI Valentin Ernst Löscher, 1673-1749, German Protestant theologian. He was among the last significant representatives of Lutheran orthodoxy, and opposed Pietism, Christian Wolff, etc. He wrote on many subjects and composed a number of hymns. De causis linguæ Ebrææ (On the
Origins of the Hebrew Language), in three volumes, was first published in 1706.

CLXXXVII This means to be fond of, or be well pleased with.

CLXXXVIII There is one clear error here, which is that the passage is on page eleven (xi), not, as Schelling has it, page two (presumably 11 was confused with ii somewhere). I have corrected this. Schelling omitted some of Creuzer‟s words, which point out that he is upholding his proposition in friendly opposition to Hermann and a von Ouwaroff who attempted to mediate. And Es ist die Grundlehre (there exists the fundamental doctrine) is quite different from Schelling‟s Er ist die Grundlage (it is the foundation). Also anfänglichen reinen (initial pure) not anfänglich reineren (initially purer); Erkenntniss und Verehrung, not the other way around; and zu dem not zum. The emphasis is all Schelling‟s. I have translated Schelling‟s version, but here is a translation of the original:

But I stand by my principal proposition through all its implications in opposition to the man [Hermann], and the mediator has also spoken for it. There exists the fundamental doctrine of an initial pure knowledge and worship of one God, to which religion all that come later are related as are fitful and faded rays to the full outpouring of the sun‟s light.


In regard to Pallas, Alan White, in his book Schelling, An Introduction to the System of Freedom (page 80), says that Schelling predicted the existence and the orbit of this asteroid, the second largest.

CLXXXIX Schelling‟s contrast is simply between the two words einseitig (meaning “one-sided”) and allseitig (meaning “universal,” but literally “all-sided”). In the translation I have put “all-sided or universal” for allseitig because only thus could I retain the contrast with the one-sided. Without this, the sentence could be translated as “For a judgement is passed in every case only on the relativelytrue and the one-sided which is taken as universal.”

CXC The vital, and, as this phrase implies, inevitable, association between understanding and pleasure. (What is satisfied, in the pleasure, would be a sense of importance. And as everyone knows, a certain amount of preparatory effort or education, unpleasant in itself but not in the anticipation, is always required before the advent of the pleasure.)

CXCI This Latin word simply means “act” or “action.” In Schelling‟s text it is usually printed in Roman letters to indicate that it is Latin; ocasionally, though, it is treated as a normal German word, and there I have rendered it as “act.”
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Re: Historico-Critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Myt

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Lecture Seven

CXCII The two verses read as follows in the AV:

And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.

And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.


CXCIII Latin “in an undistinguished way,” “unclearly.”

CXCIV This accords with my own philosophy: the name is redefined each time it is applied, taking into account all the predicates for that object, all the predicates which we bring to a point, relating them together, in memory. (To achieve this bringing to a point or relating, we relinquish everything fixed and take a blind leap, and our faith (or is it still knowledge?—knowledge of the absence of knowledge?) that the new state or knowledge will be achieved relies on a sense of importance. This in turn is more æsthetic than anything else.)

CXCV In the AV:

But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Isræl, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.


CXCVI This too is important in my philosophy of definition. The name is generated by the need. That is the reason we don‟t know everything at once, but have a history.

CXCVII In the AV “This is the book of the generations of Adam.” The NIV has “This is the written account of Adam‟s line.”

CXCVIII The emphasis is Schelling‟s. He also omits a phrase; the AV reads: “. . . and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth.” The NIV has “. . . he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.”

CXCIX Ge. 6:4. AV:

There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.


The NIV doesn‟t say “giants,” but “Nephilim,” with no further explanation (thus no mention of the giants):

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterwards—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.


According to the Encyclopædia Judaica, the Nephilim were a race of giants said to have dwelt in pre- Isrælite Canaan, and were either fallen angels or their children.

CC The AV says “put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Isræl.” Similarly the NIV. Despite a superficial difference between this and what Schelling says, the underlying meaning probably amounts to the same.

CCI The AV says “For when I shall have brought them into the land.” The NIV “When I have brought them into the land.”

CCII Here the AV has “and provoke me and break my covenant.” The NIV “rejecting me and breaking my covenant.”

CCIII As always, I am translating Schelling‟s version. The AV in fact itself uses the word “imagination”:

. . . for I know their imagination which they go about, even now, before I have brought them into the land which I sware.


The NIV, less imaginatively, has:

I know what they are disposed to do, even before I bring them into the land I promised them on oath.


CCIV Here the AV says “and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts.” The NIV, interestingly, says “and understands every motive behind the thoughts.” The emphasis is Schelling‟s.

CCV The AV:

O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Isræl, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee.


The NIV:

O LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Isræl, keep this desire in the hearts of your people for ever, and keep their hearts loyal to you.


CCVI Johann David Michælis, 1717-91, German theologian and orientalist. He was the first to use oriental languages as the basis of a comparative study of the Old Testament; not only that, he was also, posthumously, one of Schelling‟s fathers-in-law. (Schelling married the woman in question in 1803, after dalliance with her daughter. In 1809 she died, and Schelling wrote Clara oder über den Zusammenhang der Natur mit der Geisterwelt (Clara, or concerning the relationship between Nature and the spirit-world), a fragment full of speculation about immortality. Then he remarried (definitely in 1812, as is shown by his correspondence with Cotta, although some references say 1810), and fathered three male children—all of whom, in the opinion of Platen, were as extraordinary as Schelling himself—together with three female.) There are five volumes of Commentationes listed by Michælis; I do not know which volume contains the commentary on Ge. 6:2.

CCVII Ge. 6:9. In Luther‟s German “without change” is “ohne Wandel.” The AV has “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” The NIV has something completely different again: “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.”

CCVIII In the AV:

And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.


CCIX Schelling says Resultat, which really does mean “result” in German, but “outcome” seems to me to fit better here.

CCX My text says: “Sieht man, welche Gottheiten diese mit der vertilgenden Fluth in Verbindung bringt, so sind es durchaus spätere Gottheiten.” As the verb bringt (brings) is definitely singular, this can only mean “If one looks at which deities this account associates with the devastating Flood, then it is invariably later deities.” As seems clear from the following sentences, though, the subject is the traditions of other societies, not the Mosaic account. So I have taken the liberty of substituting jede (each one) for diese (this).

CCXI This is not the ancient town at Pamukkale in Phrygia (in the western part of present-day Turkey), but another which bore that name in Syria, on the high road from Antioch to Mesopotamia, at the town now called Manbij. Hierapolis, “the sacred city,” was an ephemeral Greek appellation; in ancient times the Syrians called the place Mabbog and Bambuki (Bambyce). Derceto was known under several other names, including “Astarte” and “Atargatis .” Lucian‟s detailed account is in his Goddess of Syria, c. 10 ff. In A. M. Harmon‟s translation, still in fourteenth-century style, the part about this hole (c. 12-13) goes:

But of that that sewede [followed the Flood], men of the Holy Cytee tellen a tale that is worthy of gret merveylle, how that in here londe opnede a huge hole and resceyvede alle the water; and whan this happed, Deucalioun leet maken awteres [altars] and leet byltden over the hole a temple halowed to Iuno. I saughe the hole, that is benethe the temple, a right lityl oon. If whilom it was gret and now is become suche as it is, I wot neer, but that I saughe is smal.


The temple had two enormous phalli, one on each side of the door; and the eunuch priests offered the worshippers services of a kind other than strictly religious. In 1068 the city was captured by the emperor Romanus Diogenes, resisting the Turks. In 1861 (Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography) there were still the scattered ruins of an acropolis and two temples. But according to the modern Guide Bleu, nothing now remains of the ancient town, the temple, or the maw, save the fortifications that surrounded them.

CCXII Ernst Friedrich Karl Rosenmüller, 1768-1835, German orientalist and theologian. To an extensive erudition he added an indefatigable energy. He contributed much to the exegesis of the Old Testament. The full title of this book, published in six volumes between 1817 and 1820, reads: Das alte und neue Morgenland, oder Erlaüterr. d. heil. Schrift aus d. natürl. Beschaffenheit, den Sagen, Sitten u. Gebraüchen d. Morgenlandes mit eingeschalteter Uebersetzung von Sam. Burders morgenländ. Sitten u. Will. Ward‟s Erlaüterr. d. heil. Schrift aus d. Sitten u. Gebraüchen d. Hindus (“The Ancient and Modern East, or Interpretations of the holy Bible through the natural qualities, legends, customs and traditions of the East, with the addition of a translation of Samuel Burder‟s Oriental Customs and William Ward‟s Illustration of the Sacred Scriptures through the Customs and Traditions of the Hindus ”). This title is curious, by the way, because Samuel Burder‟s (1773 - 1837) book, published in 1802, is called “Oriental Customs: or, An Illustration of the Sacred Scriptures,” whereas William Ward‟s (1769-1823), published in Serampore in 1811, is called “Account of the writings, religion, and manners of the Hindoos, including translations from their principal works.” On the face of it, the bit about the illustration has been transposed from one work to the other.

Friedrich Leopold, Reichsgraf zu Stolberg-Stolberg, 1750-1819, was a German man of letters. The German title of the interesting work cited is Geschichte der Religion Jesu Christi, and it was published in fifteen volumes from 1806 to 1818. In early life he passionately supported free ideals, but was later converted to Catholicism, which led to a break with his friend J. H. Voss (see my note to page 69), who sharply attacked him in an essay called “How did Fritz Stolberg become an Unfree Person?” The following is the passage on page 394 to which Schelling refers:

The Chinese, like almost all societies, possess the tradition of the long life of the men of the primal time. And the same for the fall of the angel and the flood.

One of their holy books, the I Ching, says of the dragon: “he groans over his pride.” And: “Pride blinded him, when he wanted to rise into the heavens and he fell down into the bosom of the Earth.” [Punctuation sic. ]

The Brahmims have the same conception of Mahasur [Mahesasura], the chief of the evil spirits.

It is known that the Chinese have no true letters, but signs, the number of which reaches 80,000. The sign for a tower means go away, depart, a son who leaves his father. How that points, does it not, to the tower of Babel!


This looks like wishful thinking; I have examined the I Ching, and find no reference to pride either in its very compressed original statements or in the various commentaries. Nor does either of the two common characters for “tower” have the additional meanings mentioned, although “three towers” can mean “vagina.”

CCXIII Actually the first two references I looked up said that Oannes emerged “from the Persian Gulf” and “from the sea.” Compare the two rather odd references to the Euphrates later in this lecture (pages 157 and 166).

CCXIV Johann Gottfried Eichhorn, 1752-1827, German Protestant theologian, introduced the concept of “myth” into biblical research. He was the editor of the Repertorium für biblische und morgenländische litteratur (“Repertory of Biblical and Eastern Literature”), published in eighteen parts from 1777 to 1786. (This was immediately followed by a further ten volumes of the “Universal Library of Biblical Literature.”)

CCXV In this passage, and in all others where the word “tents” occurs (taken from the AV), Schelling has Hütte, “huts.” I think it is much more likely to have been tents in which they lived.

CCXVI The AV says “wives,” not “fathers”:

Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he hath charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, nor our daughters.


The NIV also says “wives.” In fact even Luther says “wives” (Weiber), so Schelling or his editors made a slip.

CCXVII There is an edition (Loeb) of Diodorus in twelve volumes, the last of which contains an extensive index, but these Katatharen (Schelling‟s word in German) are not listed in it, nor are they listed in a German edition edited by Dindorf, nor in a Latin edition, nor even in the very extensive indexes of the Heyne edition. (There is a Greek verb καταθαρρέω meaning “behave boldly against.”)

CCXVIII das Menschengeschlecht kann nicht an den ersten Gott gebunden bleiben, der nicht der falsche, aber doch auch nicht der schlechthin wahre—der Gott in seiner Wahrheit ist, von dem es also befreit werden muss, um zur Anbetung Gottes in seiner Wahrheit zu gelangen. This is not well expressed, and a second reading would be: “not God in his truth, that is, from whom (from God in his truth) they must therefore be liberated.” It doesn‟t fit the meaning as I read it, but may be worth noting.

CCXIX Here, and in all subsequent occurences, Schelling‟s word is Abrahamiden, which could I suppose be translated as “Abrahamites,” but in English that is not very common, and not quite the same.

CCXX For Gesenius, please refer to my note to page 109. His Geschichte der hebräischen Sprache und Schrift. Eine philologisch-historische Einleitung in die Sprachlehren und Wörterbücher der hebräischen Sprache (History of the Hebrew Language and Script. A philological-historical Introduction to the Primers and Dictionaries of this Language) was published in 1815. Actually it is page nine on which the passage about the contrast with the nations begins. I have translated part of this, and also a further passage, which does indeed appear on page eleven, but states two different points (Dorus and Ion, and coming across the Euphrates) to which Schelling refers later in his paragraph:

On the distinction between the names “Hebrew” and “Isrælite,” the following is at once apparent: a) in the writings of the Hebrews themselves this name is used principally only in contrast to other nations of different descent, for example Egyptians and Philistines, or when a non-Hebrew is given a speaking part. b) the foreign writers, Greeks and Romans, seem to know only this name and that of the “Jews,” but have no knowledge of the name “Isrælites.”

The biblical table of nations (Ge. 10:24-5, 11:14-15) traces the origin of the name [“Hebrew”] back to a progenitor called “Heber,” and “the children of Heber” (10:21), poetically “Heber” (Nu. 24:24), stands for “Hebrews,” which would accordingly be a patronymicum of “Heber.” Simply the spirit of that whole table of nations, in which everywhere the names of nations, cities, and lands are personified, is enough to lead us to take that Eber [sic] not as a historical person, but a mythical one, whose name was only derived from the name of the nation, just as was indubitably the case with Ion, Dorus, and Æolus.

How capriciously the asiatics proceeded here is shown by the example of the Arabs, who, when they repeated that genealogy, substituted, in place of “Heber,” a “hud” or “ghud,” which name they abbreviated from “yehud,” “hudd,” coll. the Jews.

What the true origin of the name might be is naturally more difficult to say, but it may probably be assumed to be established that it is in origin an appellativum. By far the most probable derivation is from “Heber” meaning “the land on the other side,” namely on the other side of the Euphrates, and accordingly “Hebrew” means “on the other side,” a name which the Canaanites very aptly gave to the immigrating horde of Abraham, or which they could already have used of them earlier.


CCXXI This looks odd, because it is not related to anything earlier in the lecture. In fact it refers to Gesenius, mentioned in the footnote (see above). It also anticipates the next sentence, which discusses the meaning of the corresponding verb. The other references to the Euphrates in this lecture are on page 152 (not relevant), on page 153 in the curious case of Oannes (refer to my note there), and in the quotation from Joshua on page 166.

CCXXII In the German this is Die Verheissungen . . . erhält, “the promises . . . achieves.” The singular verb is probably an error of transcription introduced in the original edition, and never subsequently corrected.

CCXXIII Luther‟s word, used by Schelling, is fromm. This can also mean “god-fearing,” “pious,” “meek,” “gentle.” The AV does not use any of these, but calls him “a plain man, dwelling in tents.” The NIV says “Esau became a skilful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents.”

CCXXIV Edward Gibbon, 1737-94, English historian. His History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (in six volumes, 1776-88) was controversial in its historical criticism of Christianity. Amongst a good deal else in his tenth chapter he says:

The hasty army of [Suevi ] volunteers gradually coalesced into a great and permanent nation, and, as it was composed from so many different tribes, assumed the name of Alemanni, or Allmen, to denote at once their various lineage and their common bravery.


Caracalla was a nickname for the emperor Aurelius Antoninus, who lived from 188 to 217 A.D., and reigned from 196 to 217. The Alemanni were named for the first time in 213, and defeated by Caracalla in that year in what is now West Germany. CCXXV Jakob Ludwig Karl Grimm, 1785-1863, German philologist and folklorist. Hard upon the Fairy Tales (written in collaboration with his brother Wilhelm Karl) he wrote a German Grammar (1819- 37), in which he formulated the law that bears his name, stating the rules for correspondences between consonants in different Indo-European languages. In 1835 he published a book called German Mythology, and he wrote a good number of shorter pieces about the same subject. The brothers began work on a German dictionary in 1854, and it was completed in 1971 in thirty-three volumes. (Unlike the OED, it is now available in a paperback edition.)

CCXXVI In the original this reads “then either the Alemanni.” I cannot construe this “either,” so I have left it out. The “or” which follows the dash almost certainly relates to the “whether” near the beginning of the sentence. The “either” (entweder) could have been inserted by a transcriber who did not look far enough back when he came across the “or.”

CCXXVII Ammianus Marcellinus, born at Antioch about 330 A.D. This is from his History, written in Rome around 390 and covering the period from 353-378. Latin was not his native tongue. The passage is translated by John C. Rolfe:

Hearing therefore that Strasburg, Brumath, Saverne, Seltz, Worms, and Mayence were in the hands of the savages [the “Alammannic horde” ], who were living on their lands (for the towns themselves they avoid as if they were tombs surrounded by nets), he [Julianus Cæsar] first of all seized Brumath, but while he was still approaching it a band of Germans met him and offered battle.


This is a single-minded and frightening book.

CCXXVIII In German, besondert oder abgesondert.

CCXXIX This is rather like Newtonian (rather than contemporary) theories of gravity, which Schelling describes as having an “immaterial principle,” “metaphysical foundations,” in the 1799 Erster Entwurf eines Systems der Naturphilosophie (Initial Outline of a System of Nature-Philosophy), [I 3, 100]:

The operation of the attractive force at a distance can indeed diminuish infinitely, but never wholly disappear. Its operation extends thus to every part of matter throughout the entire universe into the infinite.

The universal operation of the attractive force, which that force exerts on every particle of matter into the infinite, is gravitation, and the action of the attractive force in a specific direction is called “weight.”


Schelling doesn‟t wholly refute this, but his own gravity is more complicated, like this from the Stuttgart Private Lectures, [I 7, 447]:

Gravity, which compels and binds everything. Gravity in Nature, the night, the dark principle, eternally fleeing before the light, but through this its flight, giving support and continued existence to the creations of light. (Were there not something wholly opposed to light and thought, something which nothing grasps, then there would be no creation at all, everything would be dissolved in pure thoughts.)


This truth, that understanding is possible only in the context of the whole, is referred to several times later in the work (particularly in the rather cantankerous footnote on page 174), and throughout lectures nine and ten.

CCXXX Now my small Latin dictionary just says “intricately” for this, and even the large Oxford Latin Dictionary only says “in a complicated or confused manner,” but I do not believe this is Schelling‟s meaning. There is a corresponding verb implico which means “infold” as well as “entangle,” and I believe the first is what he is getting at. Compare my note at the end of page 17, about Schelling‟s term Einwicklung, “enfoldment.” (It is just possible that the German tradition interprets Latin in a way different from that in which the English does.)

CCXXXI Again (compare the note to page 147 above), this philosophy of receptivity and need may explain why we do not know everything at once, and why history advances at the slow and even boring rate it does. It might also give us some information about the future.



CCXXXII Schelling says “gods,” but the AV says “when God caused me to wander from my father‟s house.” The NIV translators had the same impression: “And when God had me wander from my father‟s household.” This is an important difference, but there is something in Schelling‟s suggestion about the idolatry gaining popularity which uncharacteristically does not ring true. (Of course he makes allowance for this sort of thing in his first parenthesis on page 252.)

CCXXXIII A plural of magnitude, which designates a single but large thing. Gottlob Christian Storr, 1746- 1805, was a German Protestant theologian; an advocate of a biblical-apologetic supernaturalism, according to Meyer‟s Lexikon. When Schelling began his specialized theological studies in 1792, he attended Storr‟s lectures. The Observationes ad analogiam et syntaxin hebraicam pertinentes (Observations on Hebrew Grammar and Syntax) were published in 1779. draco sed grandis means “a serpent and what is more a large one”; altitudo, sed grandis means “high, but large.”

CCXXXIV Was stupefied, was thunderstruck.

CCXXXV Knowledge requires or means naming of distinctions . This is very clearly stated here, and implied (through its use) in many other parts of this work. I see these distinctions as new ones, new definitions.

CCXXXVI sic.

CCXXXVII Because of the ambiguity of the reference of the relative pronoun, there is another possible reading: “. . . the ground must remain for the manifestation of the first god, in which ground alone . . .”

CCXXXVIII Somewhat obscure, this passage in German reads: “die Zeit, in der sie sich findet, so wie sie sich findet, die ihr nicht geworden . . . ist.” Perhaps it could be put “the time in which they exist in the way that (or as) they exist, the time which did not come to be for them.” A third reading would be “the time in which they exist in the way that those exist who did not come to be for them.” But my interpretation would seem to be borne out by a slightly different version on page 182. For a further remark about olam see page 235.

CCXXXIX Luther‟s German is die das älteste Volk gewesen sind. The AV says simply “it is an ancient nation”; the italized is indicates a word which was not in the original Greek. The NIV says “an ancient and enduring nation,” without a verb.

CCXL Ge. 6:4. See my note to page 149.

CCXLI The AV says “Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time.” The NIV puts it “Long ago your forefathers . . . lived beyond the River and worshipped other gods,” but it adds a note stating that the river was the Euphrates.

CCXLII Der unvordenkliche Gott, in German. Literally “un-fore-thinkable,” this word is usually translated as “immemorial” and refers to something “before which nothing can be thought.” It is also used on page 245. I have included this note because Vincent McCarthy, in his Quest for a Philosophical Jesus, pages 174 and 189, takes unvordenkliche to mean, when applied to revelation, “unthinkable in advance of its occurrence.”

CCXLIII This is not quite what the AV says:

Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: And I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell.


The NIV says:

Put your hand under my thigh. I want you to swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living.


Schelling‟s “for him” does not make it clear that the wife is intended for Abraham‟s son. Luther actually says:

. . . and swear to me by the lord the God of the heaven and of the earth that you will take no wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I am living.


Incidentally, the translators of both the AV and the NIV have not dared to give a true translation: “put your hand under my thigh” is a euphemism, intentionally misleading, and a correct rendering of this “phallic oath” would be “please take hold of my penis.” It is a remarkable and insidiously pernicious force which prevents them from rendering it thus after such a length of time. Perhaps, after almost two millenia, that force is finally being defeated.

CCXLIV What the AV in fact says (see above) may on the face of it refer to two or even three gods, although it is admittedly not intended that way.

CCXLV A mysterious Phoenician, who is supposed to have written the mythical history of his country. Philo of Byblos (64-141 A.D.) claimed to have translated this work into Greek, and fragments of this translation of the Phoenician History are found in the first book of Eusebius‟s (see note to page 102) De Preparatione Evangelica (On that which Paved the Way for Christianity). Discoveries in Syria of documents from around the fourteenth century B.C. have proved that Sanchuniathon existed. The most widely held view is that he lived before the Trojan War, in the fourteenth or thirteenth century B.C. Others say the seventh century, and Robert Graves, writing in 1963, says he was born in Berytus (now Beirut) in the fourth to third century B.C. In the Philosophy of Mythology [II 2, 312] Schelling says that it is clear from the fragments in Eusebius that either Sanchuniathon himself, or his “interpreter” (probably not a literal translator), endeavoured to give all the Phoenician mythological ideas a euhemeristic form, to present the gods and their activities as ordinary historical human beings and events. The mythological facts would thus have been corrupted, but the fragments are mostly of such a nature as shows that they cannot be regarded merely as literary efforts, says Schelling. “This name” refers to El Elioun (in German El Eljon), not Melchizedek. The Right Reverend R. Cumberland, DD, did a translation of these fragments, posthumously published in London in 1721, and it too has very much the appearance of an “interpretation” in the sense above. (Cumberland‟s “desire was to make every body easy, and to do ‟em good.” But this desire, much the same as Cudworth‟s, but expressed on a smaller canvas, by no means extended to “Popery and Idolatry,” unless his “good” was their “bad” (definition again). He considered these fragments to be the oldest account of the “original of Idolatry.”) In his notes to the dissertation On the Samothracian Deities , Schelling says (on page [I 8, 398]):

So after Sanchuniathon has spoken of the Corybantes and Cabiri, he continues: “At the time of these there was born a certain Elioun [spelt „Eljun‟ here] with the name of „the highest‟.” . . . Elioun is the real name of the highest god in Genesis 14:18, whose priest is that Melchizedek, emerging miraculously out of the obscurity of primæval time; it is the name of the god who possesses “heaven and earth,” thus of the lord of the universe, of the demiurge. If one may apply here too the remark made pre-eminently by Creuzer, to the effect that the priest represents the god and also probably bears his name, then Melchizedek is the name of the highest god himself . . .


Compare this with Eusebius, De Preparatione Evangelica, Book I, 10, 14-15, quoting Sanchuniathon through Philo:

It is in the epoch of these that there appeared a certain Elioun (἖λιοῦμ) called Hypsistos, and a woman called Beyrouth (Βηρούθ), who lived in the region of Byblos. Of their union was born Epigeios Autochthon, who was later called Uranus, and whose name, because of his extreme beauty, was borrowed to designate also the element above us. Of the parents I have indicated, a sister was born for him, who was called Ge, and because of her beauty, the sea was subsequently called by the same name. Their father Hypsistos was deified after he perished in an encounter with wild beasts, and his children offered libations and sacrifices to him.


CCXLVI This verse is quoted earlier, in my note to page 152 about Luther.

CCXLVII An example of the “laggard principle.” This states that even though a discovery may have been made at a certain time, the most significant negative influences on world history are exercised by people to whom, for whatever reason, this discovery has not yet been conveyed. It is the difference between Lancaster and Lancaster Gate. And look at the Empress of China, at the end of the nineteenth century (but in this case she may have been “right”—the definition of the word depends on subsequent history and the history yet to come).—All this is an argument for translation and dissemination.

CCXLVIII The AV says “And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.” And the NIV: “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them,” together with a note that the Hebrew for LORD sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for “I am,” and with a possible alternative reading “and by my name the LORD did I not let myself be known to them.”

CCXLIX These two quotations certainly sound biblical, but there is nothing exactly corresponding to them in the English versions. The nearest to the first is Isa. 45:5, “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me.” Schelling‟s German is closer to Luther‟s version of this passage, but still not exactly the same. Schelling, quoting from memory probably, says “ich bin der Herr, und ist kein andrer ausser mir ,” while Luther has it “ich bin der Herr und ist keiner mehr ,” meaning (literally) “I am the Lord and there is no one more.”

CCL This is ambiguous in the original; it could be also interpreted as “even this is a wholly mythological way.”

CCLI In German Ich werde seyn der ich seyn werde. It would be less literal to translate this line of Luther as “I shall be that I shall be.” The AV has a significant difference, in that the future tense is lacking:

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Isræl, I AM hath sent me unto you.


The NIV has:

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Isrælites: 'I AM has sent me to you'.”


This last bit strikes me as rather ridiculous, although it might have been “the I am” meaning “I, the one who is.” The NIV adds an alternative reading: “I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE,” which agrees in tense with Schelling‟s (Luther‟s) version. What Schelling means in this sentence about the name being translated from the third person to the first is that “the one who shall be” is changed to “I, the one who shall be.” (Would it be too simple-minded to suggest that the god said “I am „the one who shall be‟”?) T. S. Gregory, in his introduction to Spinoza‟s Ethics, takes “I AM THAT I AM” to mean that God exists from the necessity of his own nature, and is his own cause. Vico, in De Antiquissima Italorum Sapientia, says that God is saying that each and every thing is not in comparison with him. There is a long and important passage about this divine statement in the Philosophy of Mythology itself, pages [II 32-34], where Schelling interprets it in terms of his philosophy of existence, necessity, and freedom; here are two excerpts:

That which shall be, is admittedly for that very reason not yet existing, it is, however, not nothing, and so that itself which exists, considered purely as such, is admittedly not yet something existing, but for that very reason not nothing; for it is in fact that which shall be. “God is that itself which exists” means, according to what has just been said, the same as: God in and for himself, regarded in his pure essence, is merely that which shall be; and here I again call your attention to how, in the most ancient document in which the true god is mentioned, this god gives himself the name “I shall be”; and here it is very natural that the very same god who, when he speaks in the first person, thus of himself, calls himself Æjæh, that is to say “I shall be,” that this god, when it is a question of him in the third person, when another speaks of him, is called Jahwo or Jiwæh, in short, “he shall be” . . .

This [“I shall be the I shall be”] may be translated as “the I wish to be”—I am not that which necessarily exists (in this sense), but am Lord of existence. You will see from this how, simply from the fact that God is stated to be that itself which exists, he is also at once characterized as spirit; for spirit is precisely that which can either exist or not, can either express itself or not, which is not obliged to express itself, like the body (which has no choice about filling its space and is obliged to fill it), while I for example, as spirit, am entirely free to express myself or not, to express myself in one way or another, to express one thing and not something else. You will also see, for that very reason, how a philosophy which goes back to that itself which exists and starts out from that, how this philosophy leads immediately, and simply of its own nature, to a system of freedom, and has freed itself from the necessity which weighs down like an evil spirit on all systems which remain with mere existence and do not raise themselves to that itself which exists, however much they may go on about movement . To go beyond existence, and even to gain a free relationship to it, this is the true endeavour of philosophy. That itself which exists is simply of its own nature also that which is free from existence and in respect to existence, and that itself which exists is all that is important for us. In existence there resides nothing, existence is in every case only an accessory, something being added to that which is.


On a lighter note, possibly, there is extant a scrap in Schelling‟s hand (published in 1989 with his Einleitung in die Philosophie (“Introduction to Philosophy”)), as follows:

Ich bin der ich war.
Ich bin der ich sein werde.
Ich war der ich sein werde.
Ich werde sein der ich bin

(I am the I was.
I am the I shall be.
I was the I shall be.
I shall be the I am)


CCLII In German Jacob is pronounced “Yacob.”

CCLIII Diodorus Siculus lived around 40 B.C., and wrote in Greek a history of the world from mythical times up to Julius Cæsar‟s conquest of Gaul. It is an uncritical compilation from the works of earlier writers. Of the forty books of which it consisted, only fifteen now survive. He is one of the important sources of our knowledge of mythology and its supposed origins. The passage Schelling is referring to comes from Book I, 94, 2. In the Loeb edition the word is written as Ἰαὼ. Speaking of the lawgivers who arose in Egypt and established strange customs, Diodorus says (in the translation of C. H. Oldfather):

Thus it is recorded that among the Arians Zathraustes [Zarathustra] claimed that the Good Spirit gave him his laws, among the people known as the Getæ who represent themselves to be immortal Zalmoxis asserted the same of their common goddess Hestia, and among the Jews Moyses referred his laws to the god who is invoked as Iao. They all did this either because they believed that a conception which would help humanity was marvellous and wholly divine, or because they held that the common crowd would be more likely to obey the laws if their gaze were directed towards the majesty and power of those to whom their laws were ascribed.


Of “Iao,” the translator adds a note saying that “this pronunciation seems to reflect a Hebrew form Yahu; cf. Psalms 68.4: His name is Jah.”

Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius lived in the early fifth century A.D., and was foreign to Italy, possibly African. His Saturnalia are a medley taken from writers, Greek and Latin, of all ages, together with a detailed description of the works of Virgil. There is a rather nice little book called Macrobius or, Philosophy, Science and Letters in the Year 400, by Thomas Whittaker (Cambridge 1923). On page 24 he says of the Saturnalia that “in an oracle of Apollo Clarius [thus named because it was at Claros, near Colophon in Lydia south of Izmir in western Turkey ], the same god, Liber [Dionysus], is called Ἰαώ, interpreted generally as the highest god, and specifically as the autumnal sun.” The passage is in Book One Chapter 18 of the Saturnalia. Macrobius, comparing Apollo, Dionysus, Liber Pater, and the sun, writes (in the translation by Percival Vaughan Davies):

In the line: “The sun, which men also call by name Dionysus,” Orpheus manifestly declares that Liber is the sun, and the meaning here is certainly quite clear; but the following line from the same poet [the mythical Orpheus, to whom these Orphic verses were attributed] is more difficult: “One Zeus, one Hades, one Sun, one Dionysus.”

The warrant for this last line rests on an Oracle of Apollo of Claros, wherein yet another name is given to the sun; which is called, within the space of the same sacred verses [no comma sic] by several names, including that of Iao. For when Apollo of Claros was asked who among the gods was to be regarded as the god called Iao, he replied:

“Those who have learned the mysteries should hide the unsearchable secrets, but, if the understanding is small and the mind weak, then ponder this: that Iao is the supreme god of all gods; in winter, Hades; at spring‟s beginning, Zeus; the Sun in summer; and in autumn, the splendid Iao.”

For the meaning of this oracle and for the explanation, of the deity and his name, which identifies Iao with Liber Pater and the sun, our authority is Cornelius Labeo in his book entitled On the Oracle of Apollo of Claros.


The three letters or sounds of Iao have been used, in a similar way to those in the Buddhist AUM, as a formula which concentrates the power of the mind. See for example Crowley‟s Magick in Theory and Practice, where there is a whole chapter about Iao.

CCLIV In Schelling‟s German, as printed, the “I have gotten the man the Jehovah” has two accusatives: ich habe den Mann den Jehovah, with no comma. In Luther‟s Old Testament there is a comma: Und Adam erkannte sein Weib Heva, und sie ward schwanger, und gebar den Cain, und sprach: Ich habe den Mann, den Herrn (And Adam knew his wife Eve, and she became pregnant, and bore Cain, and said: I have the man, the Lord). In the AV “I have gotten a man from the LORD.” In the NIV “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man,” with two notes saying that “Cain” sounds like the Hebrew for brought forth or acquired, and that the passage may read “I have acquired a man.” (It seems that Luther may have made a mistake.)

CCLV In the AV this is rendered “even apparently”:

With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?


The NIV puts it “With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles.”

CCLVI Here the AV does have “face to face”: “And there arose not a prophet since in Isræl like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,” whereas Schelling does not. The NIV has “Since then, no prophet has risen in Isræl like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face . . .” Each of the three versions has a different tense.
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Re: Historico-Critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Myt

Postby admin » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:43 am

Lecture Eight

CCLVII German gleichartig, “of the same kind.” Schelling uses this interchangably with homogen. “Homogeneous” means “of uniform nature or character throughout,” but there is a rarer English word, “homogenous,” which means “having a corresponding biological structure or quality due to common descent.” Although this too carries some of Schelling‟s meaning, it is something of a technical term in biology, so I have always used “homogeneous.”

CCLVIII In the Loeb edition of Plato‟s Statesman, sections 271E and 272A, there are three differences: 1. ἔνεμεν instead of εὔεμεν, 2. no comma after αὐτοὺς, 3. there are a number of words between ἐπιστατῶν and νέμοντος which Schelling has omitted. The passage is another part of the account of the world in a reverse revolution (refer to the notes for pages 102 and 111), another excerpt from the same speech of the lad known as the stranger from Elaia to Socrates the younger. In context, in the translation by Fowler, and emphasizing the parts Schelling uses, it reads:

But the reason for the story of the spontaneous life of mankind is as follows: God himself was their shepherd, watching over them, just as man, being an animal of different and more divine nature than the rest, now tends the lower species of animals. And under his care there were no states, nor did men possess wives or children; for they all came to life again out of the earth, with no recollection of their former lives.


CCLIX Jn. 4:22.

CCLX “God is best known in not knowing Him.” From De Ordine, written circa 387, by Augustine (354-430), Latin writer, rather philosophical theologian, Christian bishop and saint, who came from what is now Algeria.

CCLXI This demand or commandment may be what I call a “sense of importance” under another aspect.

CCLXII Compare the AV, Deu. 6:5. “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Another way I understand these wholes or alls is that there is an imperative to be sincere (and to consider everything which might have some bearing on everything one thinks or does). But any humility that implies is not of the kind which says “I am not able.”

CCLXIII Ge. 49:18. The AV has the perfect tense: “I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.” The NIV agrees with Schelling: “I look for your deliverance, O LORD.”

CCLXIV In German, zu dem Ersten des Menschengeschlechtes . This could perhaps mean the best thing in the human race.

CCLXV It repays what is due. Compare another use of the word obnoxium in the following profound passage from the second lecture of the Philosophy of Mythology proper, on page [II 2, 37]:

Now, however, it is easy to see that the potence which has become existent in such a way, through direct elevation ex potentia in actum, would be potence no longer, and thus no longer will either, but that which now exists without will and in this sense necessarily; it is the potence set apart from itself, away from itself, which has ceased to be, beyond existence, that which exists: it is indeed, that is, now too that which exists, but in the sense opposite to that in which we called it that itself which exists. There, that is, we thought of it as that which is free of existence, that which is still beyond existence, but here it is that which is encumbered with and seized by existence, that which to that extent is below existence (existentiæ obnoxium); it is no longer subject of existence as it was before, but that which exists still merely objectively (just as has always been said and as Fichte already said of the substance of Spinoza, that it is mere object, that is to say that which exists blindly and necessarily)—it is, certainly, that which exists, but taking this word in the sense of the Greek ἐξίσταμαι, from which the Latin existo evidently derives. That which now exists is an ἖ξιστάμενον , something which exists besides itself, no longer in possession of itself, insensible, and necessary in this sense, blindly that is, which has ceased to be the source, within existence, of existence, and becomes blind will-less substance, thus the direct opposite of God, the true un-God, which Spinoza indeed calls causa sui (its own cause), but which in fact has ceased to be causa (cause) and is no longer any more than substance.


CCLXVI In the original text Schelling has der Mensch . . . sie, or “man . . . they,” for which I have substituted “he.”

CCLXVII Compare the similar passage on page 165 and my note there.

CCLXVIII Natural History of Religion, page 26. Schelling has abbreviated the original sentence, which may be seen at the beginning of the final paragraph of the following note. Additionally, Hume‟s word is “polytheism” but since Schelling‟s German version says Vielgötterei I have used “multitheism”; refer to my note to page 121. Schelling is translating the French Polythéisme; I do not think it worthwhile to reproduce his French version of this entire footnote (see below) but the corresponding sentence reads: “Autant que nous pouvons suivre le fil de l‟histoire, nous trouvons livré le Genre humain au Polytheisme, et pourrions-nous croire que dans les temps les plus reculés, avant la découverte des arts et des sciences, les principes du pur Théisme eussent prévalus?” Polytheisme is a misprint for Polythéisme which does appear correctly elsewhere in this footnote.

CCLXIX Schelling quotes Hume in French throughout this footnote. Apart from the previous note, all that is worth reproducing of this is the French version of Hume‟s “no marks, no symptoms,” which is “on n‟y aperçoit plus la moindre trace ,” meaning “one no longer sees there the least trace,” and it is after these words that Schelling has inserted his question mark.

CCLXX I have coined a word to correspond to Schelling‟s coinage of übergeschichtlicher. (Frederick Bolman, in his translation of Die Weltalter , the Ages of the World, used the same word, I now see.)

CCLXXI actu means “through an act.” natura sua means “through (or of) his (or its) own nature.”

CCLXXII In fact it can even be said that we cannot really ask a question to which the answer is not known. One can only reconcile this with page 10 (“If I could take it as truth then I would not have asked how I should take it”) by pointing out that they are different sorts, or rather levels, of question. (I think that the primary level is the one where the answer to a question is stated in the subject of the question.) Compare page 121: “This is the mystery, here lies the problem, but for that very reason the solution too.” Compare also Todorov, quoted in my note to page 106, in respect of symbols: “We begin with the answer, but we go back to the question.”

CCLXXIII This double subject (“man . . . he”) is in the original.

CCLXXIV “Stand still and think” (in other words, concentrate on a single thing or movement of thought) is an admirable exhortation, but Schelling does not envisage thought in this absence of movement.

CCLXXV German er ist ihm ewig, weil mit seiner Natur geworden. I suppose this could mean “it has come to be eternally for him, because it came to be with his nature.” But I think it is unlikely. (One could simply say “it is eternal for him.”)

CCLXXVI In German, nicht von Bewusstseyn des wahren Gottes als solchem (d.h. nicht förmlichem). The “such” refers to the consciousness, not the truth.

CCLXXVII That “knowing gives a free relationship” is is a “reason” for being not only scientific (in the sense of understanding or theorizing about what is or will be around us) but creative, a reason for trying to become conscious of everything of which it is possible to become conscious, and by becoming conscious of it incorporating it as distanced past into a future thus even freer.

CCLXXVIII The word used in both the AV and the NIV is “salvation” (verse 22), but Schelling‟s word (Befreiung) definitely means “liberation.” The Greek σωτηρία normally means “deliverance” or “preservation” but does mean “salvation,” however, only in the New Testament. The passage is referred to again on page 249 in lecture ten. Here are verses 22 to 24 in the AV:

Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.


And in the NIV:

You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.


CCLXXIX This word, important in this context, is Bestimmung in German. It can be translated as “determination,” “qualification,” “characterization,” “specification,” “formulation,” “definition,” or “modification.” I was tempted to use this last, but it does not convey the sense in the German of a determination. What is meant is an alteration in consciousness which gives it a more specific character. The word “alteration” in this passage is the same in German, Alteration (one of Schelling‟s Romance words). In French this means a change for the worse.

CCLXXX Θεόπληκτος [theoplectos] appears in Liddell and Scott as θεόπληκτος and means “stricken of a god” (literally god-struck, since ληκτος [plectos] means “struck,” “beaten”). Θεοβλαβὴς [theoblabes] appears in that dictionary as θεοβλάβής and also means “stricken of a god,” or “infatuated” (affected by a madness sent by the gods); βλάβη [blabe] means “harm,” “damage,” or “mischief.”

CCLXXXI Stunned and as if thunderstruck. In Virgil‟s eighth Eclogue, stupefactæ means “captivated” or “bemused.” Latin stupor means “numbness” as well as a stunned condition.

CCLXXXII In German this clause reads: ob die mythologischen Vorstellungen überhaupt gemeint, nämlich ob sie Gegenstand eines Meinens, d.h. eines freien Fürwahrhaltens, gewesen.

CCLXXXIII Refer to page 77.

CCLXXXIV Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1772-1834, English poet, critic, and unsystematic philosopher. The essay may be found in the Literary Remains, volume II, London 1836, on pages 323-359. It is entitled On the Prometheus of Æschylus . Following the title there is the description: “An Essay, preparatory to a series of disquisitions respecting the Egyptian, in connection with the sacerdotal, theology, and in contrast with the mysteries of ancient Greece. Read at the Royal Society of Literature, May 18, 1825.” Coleridge mentions a number of subjects which appear in the present work: for instance South American Indians, Abraham, Abilmelech, Egypt, Mosaic monotheism, Io, Elohim, the derivation of the name “Rhea,” and Providence. I offer five excerpts from the essay. The first, from page 335, illustrates the meaning Coleridge assigns to “myth” and “philosopheme”:

Long before the entire separation of metaphysics from poetry, that is, while yet poesy, in all its several species of verse, music, statuary, &c. continued mythic;—while yet poetry remained the union of the sensuous and the philosophic mind;—the efficient presence of the latter in the synthesis of the two, had manifested itself in the sublime mythus περὶ γενέσεως τοῠ νοῠ ἐν ἀνθρωποῐς concerning the genesis, or birth of the νοῠς or reason in man. This the most venerable, and perhaps the most ancient, of Græcian mythi , is a philosopheme, the very same in subject matter with the earliest record of the Hebrews, but most characteristically different in tone and conception;—for the patriarchal religion, as the antithesis of pantheism, was necessarily personal; and the doctrines of a faith, the first ground of which and the primary enunciation, is the eternal I AM, must be in part historic and must assume the historic form. Hence the Hebrew record is a narrative, and the first instance of the fact is given as the origin of the fact.


Next, how he relates this to tautegory (from page 336)—note that his contrived Greek adjective tautegorikos is not in Liddell and Scott‟s Greek dictionary:

In the Greek we see already the dawn of approaching manhood. The substance, the stuff, is philosophy; the form only is poetry. The Prometheus is a philosophema ταυτηγορικὸν [tautegorikon],—the tree of knowledge of good and evil,—an allegory, a προπαίδευμα [“propædeuma,” something for preliminary instruction], though the noblest and the most pregnant of its kind.


Next a passage showing his understanding of German philosophy (pages 343-4):

Now according to the Greek philosopheme or mythus, in these [idea and law], or in this identity, there arose a war, schism, or division, that is, a polarization into thesis and antithesis. In consequence of this schism in the τὸ θεῐον, the thesis becomes nomos, or law, and the antithesis becomes idea, but so that the nomos is nomos, because, and only because, the idea is idea: the nomos is not idea, only because the idea has not become nomos. And this not must be heedfully borne in mind through the whole interpretation of this most profound and pregnant philosopheme. The nomos is essentially idea, but existentially it is idea substans, that is, id quod stat substans [compare the note to page 50], understanding sensu generalissimo. The idea, which now is no longer idea, has substantiated itself, become real as opposed to idea, and is henceforward, therefore, substans in substantiato. The first product of its energy is the thing itself: ipsa se posuit et jam facta est ens positum. Still, however, its productive energy is not exhausted in this product, but overflows, or is effluent, as the specific forces, properties, faculties, of the product. It reappears, in short, in the body, as the function of the body. As a sufficient illustration, though it cannot be offered as a perfect instance, take the following.

In the world we see every where evidences of a unity, which the component parts are so far from explaining, that they necessarily presuppose it as the cause and condition of their existing as those parts, or even of their existing at all. This antecedent unity, or cause and principle of each union, it has since the time of Bacon and Kepler, been customary to call a law.


Now from pages 346-7 his only use of the expression “subject-object”:

On the other hand, idea is so far co-essential with nomos, that by its co-existence—(not confluence)— with the nomos ἐν νομιζομένοις (with the organismus and its faculties and functions in the man,) it becomes itself a nomos. But, observe, a nomos autonomos, or containing its law in itself likewise;—even as the nomos produces for its highest product the understanding, so the idea, in its opposition and, of course, its correspondence to the nomos, begets in itself an analgon to product; and this is selfconsciousness. But as the product can never become idea, so neither can the idea (if it is to remain idea) become or generate a distinct product. This analgon of product is to be itself; but were it indeed and substantially a product, it would cease to be self. It would be an object for a subject, not (as it is and must be) an object that is its own subject, and vice versa; a conception which, if the uncombining and infusile genius of our language allowed it, might be expressed by the term subject-object. Now, idea, taken in indissoluble connection with this analgon of product is mind, that which knows itself, and the existence of which may be inferred, but cannot appear or become a phenomen.


Finally, his use of “tautegory” in reference to myths and symbols on page 352:

And here [in the spirit in the history of Christendom as a relic of paganism], too, see the full appropriateness of this part of the mythus, in which symbol fades away into allegory, but yet in reference to the working cause, as grounded in humanity, and always existing either actually or potentially, and thus never ceases wholly to be a symbol or tautegory.


As far as the plagiarism is concerned, there is an article by James Frederick Ferrier in Blackwood‟s Magazine, volume 47, March 1840, pages 287-299. This goes into great detail and precisely specifies many passages from Schelling (and others) which Coleridge reproduces. “Nineteen full pages, copied almost verbatim from the works of the German philosopher.” It shows convincingly, I think:

. . . that one of the most distinguished English authors of the nineteenth century, at the mature age of forty-five, succeeded in founding by far the greater part of his metaphysical reputation—which was very considerable—upon verbatim plagiarisms from works written and published by a German youth, when little more than twenty years of age!


(In the same number there is a long article about the war in China and a very early mention of Hong Kong, before the ill-omened treaty.) The article also points out that a poem, even, To a Cataract, is copied from Der Felsenstrom, written by Friedrich Leopold von Stolberg (see the note to page 152). Ferrier suggests some extenuating circumstances: “we mean his moral and intellectual conformation, originally very peculiar, and further modified by the effects of immoderate opium-taking.” On the other hand, as Schelling says, he did not mind this. This would be confirmed, were it necessary, in a letter from Arthur Hugh Clough to the Reverend T. Burbidge (written in 1845 and published in Clough‟s Poems and Prose of 1869) which says:

Jowett [Benjamin, aged twenty-seven, the future translator of Plato, in the year he began to lecture on him] comes hither, having been Stanley‟s companion in Germany. They saw Schelling, who spoke to them of Coleridge with high praise, saying that it was an utter shame to talk of his having plagiarised from him, Schelling.


Let me add that, despite his having been accused of obscenity in the first part of his unfinished narrative poem Christabel , what I find most distasteful in Coleridge is that in his attitude to Anacreon and Virgil he was a rather sanctimonious prude.

suum cuique means “to everyone that which is his,” or “to each his own.”

Schelling does in fact use the word “philosopheme” on several occasions elsewhere in these lectures, for example on page 87. I had thought of translating it as “philosophical statement,” rather than using such an unfamiliar word, but this discussion may indicate that there is a little more to it than that, something akin to “definition” or at least “axiom.”

CCLXXXV The German reads sondern eben die Geschichte selbst ist auch die Lehre, and it would seem very easy, encouraged by the logic of the “conversely” which follows, to understand the object to precede the subject, making the meaning but doctrine is also precisely history itself. But I have let it stand in the original order, and as such it affords an instructive example of the ambiguity of the word “is,” in my mind at least.
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Re: Historico-Critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Myt

Postby admin » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:44 am

Lecture Nine

CCLXXXVI On the title page of the first edition of this work the author‟s name is spelt Karl Otfried Müller with one “t”. Later editions use, like Schelling, two. He lived from 1797 to 1840, and was a celebrated German archæologist and philologist. His prolegomena are said to emphasize the fundamental importance and necessity of the symbol in belief and cult. He had “a purity of taste, a talent for exposition, a fineness of judgement, and a variety of knowledge.” His greatest work was the Geschichte Hellenischer Stämme und Städte (History of the Hellenic Tribes and City-States), published in three volumes from 1820 to 1824. For a long time he had wished to visit the land whose literature, history, artistic productions, and thought had become so familiar to him. Finally, in 1839, he went there, and flung himself with ardour into archæological research. His zeal was his undoing because in the heat of July 1840 he was struck down by a fever and expired. A translation by John Leitch of the work from which Schelling quotes was published in London in 1844, under the title Introduction to a Scientific System of Mythology. Not all Schelling‟s references to it are in quotation marks, but the following long passage contains all of them, and shows the drift of Müller ‟s argument. It is from chapter four, entitled “Of the Sources or Origin of the Mythus itself.” (The translations differ from my own, but the passages are readily identifiable. I have not yet been able to compare Müller‟s original German.)

. . . what has been already laid down as to the nature of the mythus in general, applies to it not merely as it was handled by the poets, but holds good of it also in the shape of popular tradition; that the Actual and the Imaginary, the Real and the Ideal, already coexisted even in the original form. There are many who seem to think, on the contrary, that tradition was of an historical nature, and that all sorts of ideas and fancies were blended with it, by the ancient poets, for the purpose of embellishment. They must, then, have made use of the gods as mere machines, in order to give life and interest to their narrations; as was certainly practised at a later, and perhaps also, in many instances, at an earlier, period. But it may be very easily shown, from an examination of the mythi, that the poets were guided by the analogy of those already existing; and that, generally speaking, fact and idea, matters of faith and matters of experience, were combined in the mythus, even previously to its poetical modification. That local accuracy, from which we deduced local origin, is also observable even in its ideal constituents, particularly where reference is made to the service of the gods. We know, for example, with certainty, that the fable of HYLAS, the favourite boy of Hercules, who was stolen by the nymphs, and who the hero called for in vain through mountains and valleys, arose from a religious rite which was observed in the neighbourhood of Cios in Bithynia, where a god, who had sunk into the waters, was invoked and bewailed at the fountains amid the hills. For it cannot at all be supposed that this sacred observance had its origin in the fable, especially as the Mariandynians, an aboriginal nation in a remoter part of Asia Minor, practised precisely the same ceremony, and its religious meaning is rendered clear by analogies. Now, if the mythus, then, sprang from the rite, by whom, I ask, was it most likely to have been formed? By the inhabitants of Cios, who themselves heard the lamentations, and would surely be the first to appropriate the tales of the peasantry, and incorporate them with the Hellenic legends of Hercules? or the Lacedæmonian poet Cinæthon, who was probably the first to introduce it into poetry? I think there cannot be a doubt as to the answer. Further, the Ideal is often so closely interwoven, so inseparably connected with the Real, that the mythus must have evidently owed its first existence to their union and reciprocal fusion; and if the Ideal therein should be the work of the poet, we must immediately ascribe to him the Real also. Thirdly, a mythus is often entirely ideal, and contains no history of actual events, although it evidently sprang up in a particular spot, and was formed by the inhabitants of a single district . . .

Now, if the peculiar mixture of idea and reality, which forms the characteristic feature of mythology, belongs to the original constitution of the mythus, the question will naturally occur, How can this be reconciled with the fact just established, that it was held to be true, and became an object of faith? “This Ideal,” some one might say, “is nothing else than poetic fiction and invention, clothed in the narrative form.” But an invention of this kind cannot, without a miracle, be simultaneously made by many individuals; for it would require a peculiar coincidence of design, conception, and execution. “It was surely, therefore, the work of one person.” But how, then, did he convince all others of the reality, the substantiality of his invention? Shall we suppose him to have been an impostor, who contrived to persuade them by all sorts of deceit and illusion—perhaps by forming a confederacy with others of the same stamp with himself, who would testify to the people, that what he had devised was verifed by their observation? Or shall we imagine him to have been a more highly-gifted person, a more exalted being, than his countrymen; and that, therefore, they placed reliance on what he said: receiving from him as a sacred revelation those mythi, under which he veiled salutary truths designed for their instruction? But it cannot possibly be proved that such a caste or sect, either of cunning knaves or sublime personages, existed in ancient Greece. Many, indeed, may point at the priests; but they ought first to show that there really was a priesthood so widely separated from the laity, and so strongly contrasted with it, particularly in respect of knowledge. Besides, this artificial system of deception—whether it was clumsy or refined, selfish or philanthropic—is quite at variance with the noble simplicity of those ages, unless the impression made on our minds by the earliest productions of Greek genius be entirely illusory. We come, therefore, to the conclusion, that even a single inventor of a mythus, in the proper sense of the word, is out of the question. But whither does this reasoning lead? Evidentally to nothing else than that the idea altogether of invention—that is, of a free and deliberate treatment, by which something, known to be untrue, was clothed in the semblance of truth—must be left out of consideration, as quite inapplicable to the origin of the mythus; or, in other words, that a species of necessity led to that combination of the Real and Imaginary which is observed in the mythus; that its framers were governed by impulses which operated alike on all; that these opposite elements grew up together; and that those who were instrumental to the union, were themselves unconscious of the difference. It is this idea, of a certain necessity and unconsciousness in the formation of the ancient mythi, that we wish to impress. When that is once conceived, it will also be easy to see that the dispute, as to whether the mythus proceeded from one or from many, from the poet or from the people, even where there is otherwise room for it, does not affect the main point. For if one individual,—the relater,—in devising a mythus, only obeys the promptings which act equally on the minds of others,—the listeners,—he is merely the mouth-piece through which they all speak, the skilful exponent who first gives form and expression to what all desire to express. It is possible, however, that the idea of this necessity and unconsciousness may appear dark and even mystical to many of our archæologists: for no other reason than because this tendency to form mythi has nothing analogous in our modern modes of thinking. But ought not history to recognise even what is strange, when we are led to it by dispassionate investigation? Perhaps the subject will be rendered more clear by an example. We shall give the one already quoted from the first book of the Iliad. Let us suppose that the story of CHRYSES was a genuine mythus, a received tradition, and that the possible events contained in it—the rape of the priest‟s daughter, and the pestilence among the Greeks—were also real. In that case, it can readily be conceived, that all those who knew the facts, and had faith in Apollo‟s power to avenge and punish, would immediately and simultaneously connect them together, and would express their belief, that Apollo sent the pestilence at the prayer of his priest, with as firm a conviction as if it were a thing which they had themselves known and witnessed. Here the myth-forming activity makes but a slight step; but I have chosen this example for that very reason. Perhaps, however, it was in reality greater; for the supposition that everything in this mythus that may be fact is fact, was perfectly gratuitous. In most cases it is far more considerable, and the activity in question more complicated, as more than one circumstance influenced the origin of the mythus. Thus, to give another example, the mythus of APOLLO and MARSYAS, although by no means one of the oldest, contains two kinds of material blended together.


Note that the interpenetration of the ideal and the real was first mentioned by Schelling himself in the introduction to his early Outlines of a Philosophy of Nature.

CCLXXXVII In fact Müller‟s distinction may be one which does not really exist (except in a more subtle way than usually thought), or one which should dissolve.

CCLXXXVIII Literally “the thunderbolting legion” (I did not invent this transitive verb, but had it first from a Singaporean, in correspondence). The references I have seen do not use Schelling‟s Latin, but call it the legio fulminata. They were the twelfth Roman legion, active during the first two centuries A.D. The Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World tells us that the legend of the miraculous storm of rain which helped them in the campaign against the Quadi in 172 A.D., if it is not apocryphal, may refer to a vexillation. Larousse is more help in explaining its relationship to Christianity. It says that according to legend (related by Eusebius and others) the name was conferred by Marcus Aurelius (who ruled from 161-180) on a legion formed of Christians, who had been unexpectedly surrounded by the Quadi and were in danger of dying of thirst. In answer to their prayers a storm caused the flight of their enemy, whereupon the emperor was either converted to Christianity, or at least gave an order to stop the persecution of Christians and wrote a letter to the Senate testifying to what had happened. Mosheim, however, showed convincingly that the story was false, because 1. There never was a Roman legion composed entirely of Christians. 2. The legion had this name long before Marcus Aurelius, who in fact attributed the victory to the god Jupiter Pluvius. 3. The claims about the letter and the order do not correspond to the fact that the Christians continued to be persecuted under his rule.

CCLXXXIX Another reading would be “the myths, which arise only when a historical fact is associated with a deity.” This would mean that the philosophy relates to no myths at all, whereas my reading means that it relates to some of them.

CCXC The active subject. This use of “subject” in opposition to “object” dates only from the end of the eighteenth century; it derives from the logical term for the part of a sentence denoting that of which something is predicated, and was transposed thence to the mind as the subject in which ideas inhere. Before that the word had had the other, more fundamental meaning (from which the logical one arose) of something subject to an action, or something of an inferior status.

CCXCI This is one of the best examples of where it might be possible to translate Bewusstsein as “mind.” Then the passage would read: “seeking the idea, the seat, the subjectum agens of mythology in the human mind itself. This idea of putting the human mind itself in the place of inventors, poets, or individuals in general . . .” But I have stayed with “consciousness” because it is slightly more specific, and fits in with other references to Bewusstsein. Geist, too, has on occasion been translated as “mind” by others. But I have consistently translated it as “spirit.”

CCXCII A proverbial expression literally meaning “say why you are here,” in other words “consider the purpose of your being here,” or “justify your presence.” I find the logic of this whole sentence difficult to follow, beginning with the “good fortune.” And it is not clear whether Schelling thinks that having fought for one‟s country means that one can keep the rights to one‟s original work or the reverse. When Platen (see my note at the end of page 242) was called up for military service, Schelling advised him to get a doctor‟s certificate, and also wrote to the crown prince in a successful attempt to get the military service deferred. I think that both fighting and countries are bad things and should be abolished, but one goes through life being told that this is “Utopian.”

CCXCIII (Schelling‟s word is Sujet, which means the subject or theme of a work of art or literature.) In Goethe‟s autobiography Aus mein Leben—Dichtung und Wahrheit (“From my Life—Fact and Fiction,” published in 1811-14), the passage in question is probably the following from part two, book seven. There is, however, an earlier passage, in part one book five, about the misuse of a loveletter he wrote, and a later long one, in part four, book sixteen, which goes into much more detail about a reprint one Christian Friedrich Himburg made of his poems. The difficulty is that there is no single passage which mentions an acquaintance of his youth, the motif not really worth begrudging, and the right to one‟s own productions. Anyway I shall quote the following, as it contains two of these three points. The translation is by John Oxenford:

However Horn, who had performed the Harlequin very prettily, took it into his head to enlarge my poem to Hendel by several verses, and then to make it refer to “Medon.” He read it to us: but we could not take any pleasure in it, for we did not find the additions even ingenious: while the first poem, being written for quite a different purpose, seemed to us disfigured. Our friend, displeased with our indifference, or rather censure, may have shown it to others, who found it new and amusing. Copies were now made of it, to which the reputation of Clodius‟s “Me don” gave at once a rapid publicity. Universal disapproval was the consequence, and the originators (it was soon found out that the poem had proceeded from our clique) were severally censured . . .


CCXCIV Emphatically = nachdrücklich; reprinting = Nachdruck. In writing this passage Schelling undoubtedly had in mind the case in which he himself was involved. A “rationalist,” Heinrich Eberhard Gottlob Paulus (1761-1851), published in 1843 the pirated text of the as yet unpublished lectures on the philosophy of revelation which Schelling had given in 1841-2. Paulus added an ironic and polemical introduction and commentary. The full title of this book is “The positive philosophy of revelation, finally revealed; or, the history of the origin, literal text, assessment, and rectification, of Von Schelling‟s discoveries concerning philosophy in general, mythology and revelation of dogmatic Christianity, in the Berlin university winter term 1841-42.” It has 803 pages. It was not the first time he had done this with Schelling‟s lectures. Schelling took the old nuisance to court but was only partially successful.

CCXCV sic vos non vobis means “like this you are not your own man.” sic redit ad dominum, quod fuit ante suum means “so he returns to the lord that which existed before him.”

CCXCVI German unwillkürlichen, which is the same word that is used in the previous paragraph. In modern usage, the element of volition in the word “spontaneous” is fading, and to the extent that it is coming to mean its opposite it might even have been possible to use it here. But not just yet, I decided. Refer also to my note to page 222.

CCXCVII The original is ambiguous: “the principles establishing and constituting it itself,” where, on the face of it, “it” could refer either to consciousness or to the process. But refer to page 215, at “Consider the following.”

CCXCVIII This is an interesting “thus,” implying that the forces which bring these ideas into being are of such a nature that when they are represented as the object of those ideas they are represented as a cause of a kind which becomes the object of the representation. Note that it is not said of ideas in general.

CCXCIX In German, the words for “ideas,” “representations,” and “imagine” all have the same root: vorstellen; and the idea in that is something like “set up in front of,” specifically in the mind.

CCC With a stroke and through an act.

CCCI The passage could be interpreted as a definition, in terms of each other, of the terms “actual,” “existence,” “understand,” and “objective.”

CCCII This could also be translated “all,” which is God. This would not fit in with “God is all” a few lines later, but it might fit better with the phrase a few lines previously, if that is translated “what can exist which would not be God.” In fact it probably does not make a lot of difference, since the relationship expressed is one of identity with all.

CCCIII This is a good statement of how the truth and falsity of a statement are defined by the context.

CCCIV In these three phases time would appear to play a part; God is not, it would seem, everything at the same time. But it is not like that; they are not within time, they form time. There is a lot more about this in the Philosophy of Mythology and, of course, the Philosophy of Revelation. By the way, the original has the emphasis on “as” alone, which I think is odd, so I have also emphasized “spirit.”

CCCV There are whole schools of philosophy (English-speaking, mostly) which this remark would serve to demolish. But they have reasons other than philosophical behind their unpleasant devices.

CCCVI These are Schelling‟s own words. In “esoteric” he means a mode of communication, or a type of relationship, which requires some “initiation” or “granting.” An “exoteric” religion is suitable for, or even adapted for, the outer circle, and an “esoteric” only for the inner. There is a lot more about these terms in some of Schelling‟s earlier works, for example in the Lectures on the Method of Academic Study of 1803, pages [I 5, 293ff].

CCCVII In that it is no longer understood, it has become rigid, fixed, inflexible. Like a fixed personality or mask, there is no life or purpose or even meaning in a restatement of ideas formed earlier and not reconsidered or re-evaluated. Compare Schelling on page 3.

As far as superstition is concerned, the Collins dictionary has it deriving from Latin superstitio, dread of the supernatural, from superstare, to stand still by something (as in amazement). The OED says “The etymological meaning of the Latin superstitio is perhaps „standing over a thing in amazement or awe.‟ Other interpretations of the literal meaning (to stand upon or over) have been proposed, e.g. „excess in devotion, over-scrupulousness or over-ceremoniousness in religion‟ and „the survival of old religious habits in the midst of a new order of things‟; but such ideas are foreign to ancient Roman thought.” Cicero, in The Nature of the Gods (II, 72), says it originated from superstes, a survivor, because people prayed and sacrificed all day long so that their children might live to survive them.

CCCVIII The Roman Questions of Plutarch (Greek biographer and moral philosopher, c46-c120 A.D.), sections 276F and 277A. The emphasis is Schelling‟s. In the Loeb edition there are a number of differences: 1. πραιστίτεις not πραιστίτας , and with quotation marks around it. 2. πραιστίτεις not πραιστίτης . 3. the parentheses are absent; there is just an additional comma instead of the opening parenthesis. 4. ἔνιοι not ἔνιι. 5. no semi-colon after ἐστι. 6. no commas after φιλόσοφοι and ἐξιχνεῠσαι. 7. καὶ after χρῶνται, with a note “added by Bernardakis.” 8. ἀνθρώπους followed by a comma, not by “:”. 9. ἐρινυώδεις , not ἐριννυώδεις. 10. οἴκων followed by a semi-colon, not by “:”. 11. κυνῶν instead of νῠν. The translation by Frank Cole Babbitt is:

Why is a dog placed beside the Lares that men call by the special name of præstites, and why are the Lares themselves clad in dog-skins?

Is it because “those that stand before” are termed præstites, and, also because it is fitting that those who stand before a house should be its guardians, terrifying to strangers, but gentle and mild to the inmates, even as a dog is?

Or is the truth rather, as some Romans affirm, that, just as the philosophic school of Chrysippus think that evil spirits stalk about whom the gods use as executioners and avengers upon unholy and unjust men, even so the Lares are spirits of punishment like the Furies and supervisors of men‟s lives and houses? Wherefore they are clothed in the skins of dogs and have a dog as their attendant, in the belief that they are skilful in tracking down and following up evil-doers.


Ovid says the following, in his Fasti (Calendar), Book Five, lines 129-42 (translated by Sir James George Frazer):

The Calends of May witnessed the foundation of an altar to the Guardian Lares [præstibus Laribus— præstibus meaning “standing before” ], together with small images of the gods. Curius indeed had vowed them, but length of time destroys many things, and age prolonged wears out a stone. The reason for the epithet [præstites] applied to them is that they guard all things by their eyes. They also stand for us, and preside over the city walls, and they are present and bring us aid. But a dog, carved out of the same stone, used to stand before their feet. What was the reason for its standing with the Lar? Both guard the house: both are faithful to their master: cross-roads are dear to the god, cross-roads are dear to dogs: the Lar and Diana‟s pack give chase to thieves; and wakeful are the Lares, and wakeful too are dogs.


Janus Gruter or Gruytère, 1560-1627, researcher in ancient philology, was born in Antwerp but went to Heidelberg, where he published editions of Latin classics and, in collaboration with Joseph Scaliger, these Inscriptiones antiquæ totius orbis romani (Ancient Inscriptions of the Whole Roman World) in 1602. Jovi præstiti means “to presiding Jupiter.”

CCCIX The German word vorstehender could mean prominent instead of presiding, but refer to the previous note about præstites.

CCCX In German this is die Natur wirken, literally either “effect” Nature or (an alternative reading) “weave” Nature. “Act in combination” is zusammenwirken.

CCCXI As yet I have not been able to identify this book or the author with certainty. The most promising candidate is Ueber das Gemeine Reichs- u. Fürstl. Taxische Postwesen, gegen Pütter in Göttingen (On the Joint Postal Entity for the Empire and the Principality of Taxis, in opposition to Pütter in Göttingen) published in Leipzig in 1793. Note that the Principality of Thurn and Taxis had the responsibility for the postal service throughout Germany in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Johann Stephan Pütter himself (1725-1807) is said to have had an obsession with the rational ordering of the most unlikely subjects, and was critical of some of the German princelings, but his Empfehlung einer vernünftigen neuen Mode teutscher Aufschriften auf teutschen Briefen (Recommendation for a rational new style for German addresses on German letters), of 1775, was too early to take into account the Kantian categories (which first saw the light in 1781). It is interesting that even to this day the Germans are daft about addresses, particularly foreign ones; they are incapable of simply copying what they see, but try to conform them to their system, and the result is at least half the time simply inadequate and wrong. No doubt this is what Jones, quoted in my note to page 88, meant by a “systematical spirit.” Another example of an odd philosophy which Schelling might have mentioned is the book Philosophie Zoologique (zoological philosophy) published in 1809 by Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck, 1744-1829, the French naturalist who opposed Cuvier.

CCCXII Antoine-François de Fourcroy, 1755-1809, French chemist and statesman. He supported the antiphlogistian system of A. L. Lavoisier. His Philosophie chimique, ou Vérités fondamentales de la chimie moderne, disposées dans un nouvel ordre (Chemical philosophy, or fundamental truths of modern chemistry, arranged in a new sequence) was published in 1792. (There is a long description of it, and his reasons for thinking it a philosophy, in the first Larousse encyclopedia—volume 12, page 835, under Philosophie Chimique.) In his introduction Fourcroy says:

The particular aims of chemical philosophy are:

1. To apply the general theory of chemistry to the phenomena of nature and the operations of the arts, the cause and the effects of which fall entirely within the province of this science.

2. To make evident the relationships which exist between these phenomena, and the reciprocal influence which they exert on one another; one should consider this genre of philosophy as embracing the totality of the greatest truths which chemistry has discovered.

But, in order to conceive this totality of the greatest truths of chemistry, in order to grasp how they fit together and are connected, in order properly to understand the statements intended to describe them, especially when it is assumed that those who wish to become familiar with them are encountering chemistry for the first time, it is indispensible that they are preceded by an exposition of the first principles of the science, or of the elementary ideas on which their foundations rest.


Note that Schelling does not object to the conjunction of the concepts of philosophy and chemistry; in fact in this passage he is referring back to his early Outlines of a Philosophy of Nature, of which the seventh chapter bears the title, “Philosophy of Chemistry in General.”

CCCXIII In German this is ambiguous: die vorausgesetzte Allgemeinheit nur noch eine illusorische seyn würde. It could also be translated as “the presupposed universality would still only be an illusory one.”

CCCXIV “We don‟t want to be free.” Joseph II (1741-90) was a Holy Roman emperor from 1765 to 1790. He ruled Austria jointly with his mother, Maria Theresa, until her death in 1780.

CCCXV The German word which I have translated as “wonder” is Erstaunen. This would normally be rendered as “astonishment,” but Schelling himself explains [II 4, 12] that for him it corresponds to the Greek τὸ θαυμάζειν [to thaumazein], which does mean “wonder” or “marvel.” The following is from Plato‟s Theatetus, 155D, in the translation by John Warrington. Socrates is talking to Theatetus, a young lad of abnormal intelligence, uncommon gentleness, and exceptional virility, who has a snub nose and protruding eyes like a younger version of Socrates himself.

SOCRATES: You doubtless follow me, Theatetus; at all events I do not imagine that such puzzles are outside your experience.

THEATETUS: On the contrary, Socrates, it is extraordinary how they get me wondering whatever they can mean. Sometimes the very contemplation of them makes me feel quite dizzy.

SOCRATES: I see. Theodoros did not estimate your nature so badly after all. This sense of wonder is characteristic of a philosopher; wonder, in fact, is the very source of speculation, and he who made Iris the daughter of Thaumas was a good genealogist. Now do you begin to understand the significance of all this which follows from the doctrine we are attributing to Protagoras? Or is it not yet clear?

THEATETUS: No, not yet.

SOCRATES: Then doubtless you will be grateful if I help you to discover the truth hidden in the thought of a man—or rather, of men—so distinguished.

THEATETUS: I shall indeed be grateful, very grateful.

SOCRATES: Well, look around and see that none of the uninitiated overhears us. By the uninitiated I mean those who fancy that nothing is real except what they can grasp firmly with their hands, and who deny that actions or processes or anything invisible can share in reality.

THEATETUS: What hard, repellent folk they sound!

SOCRATES: So they are too, quite without refinement.


Iris, the sister of the Harpies, was the good-natured goddess of the rainbow and the messenger of the gods, particularly of Zeus and Hera. There is no direct connection with speculation; Plato‟s implied reference must be to the content of the messages from the gods. Nothing is known of the functions of Thaumas, her father by the Oceanid Electra. Of course his name means “wonder,” and he also bears the epithet “the monstrous.” He was the son of Pontus, the sea, and Gæa, the earth. Now Aristotle (384-322 B.C., pupil of Plato and tutor of Alexander the Great). This is from his Metaphysics I.2.982b, translated by W. D. Ross:

. . . this [the science of Wisdom] must be a science that investigates the first principles and causes; for the good, i.e. the end and aim, is one of the causes.

That it is not a science of production is clear even from the history of the earliest philosophers. For it is owing to their wonder that men both now begin and at first began to philosophize; they wondered originally at the obvious difficulties, then advanced little by little and stated difficulties about the greater matters, e.g. about the phenomena of the moon and those of the sun, and about the stars and about the genesis of the universe. And a man who is puzzled and wonders thinks himself ignorant (whence even the lover of myth is in a sense a lover of Wisdom, for the myth is composed of wonders); therefore since they philosophized in order to escape from ignorance, evidently they were pursuing science in order to know, and not for any utilitarian end.


CCCXVI German Fabellehre. Whether or not the word had long been current, the only German dictionary in which it is now to be found is Grimm‟s, and there it is simply equated with mythologia.

CCCXVII Sic—indicating that they are the same? Or perhaps a mistake in transcription. In German this phrase is “menschliche Erfindung und Willkür hat .” It is important to find out whether or not it was a mistake, because the word here translated as “volition” (Willkür ) can also mean “caprice” or “arbitrariness,” as when we make a “free” choice, as well as “spontaneity.” (By the way, it is very odd that it seems not impossible to translate its opposite, unwillkürlich, as “spontaneous”—see the note to page 206. In the present context, using “spontaneous” would point to the freedom from any necessity imposed on the will, and on page 206 it would indicate the freedom from human volition.) Personally I suspect Schelling would agree with me that invention has to have an intended aim, based on a sense of importance. It is this sense which lies at the basis of his “union of freedom and necessity.”

CCCXVIII I offer two passages from the System of Transcendental Idealism of 1800. The first, from a section near the beginning [I 3, 351] on the organ or instrument of transcendental philosophy:

Philosophy is based, then, just as much as art, on the capability of production, and the difference between them is based merely on the different direction of the productive power. For instead of the production being directed outwards, as it is in art, so as to reflect the unconscious through products, philosophical production is directed immediately inwards, so as to reflect it in intellectual contemplation.—The characteristic sense with which this kind of philosophy must be grasped is thus the æsthetic, and for that very reason the philosophy of art is the true instrument of philosophy.

There are only two ways to escape from everyday reality: poetry, which transports us into an ideal world, and philosophy, which lets the real world disappear entirely from our view.


The second passage is right at the end of the work [I 3, 631-634], and summarizes all the levels of self-consciousness:

The whole interconnection of transcendental philosophy is based only on a continual potentiation of self-contemplation, from the first, most simple, in self-consciousness, up to the highest, the æsthetic.

The following potences are the ones through which the object of philosophy passes, so as to bring forth the whole edifice of self-consciousness.

The act of self-conciousness in which first of all that absolutely identical element separates out, is nothing other than an act of self-contemplation in general . By way of this act, then, nothing definite can yet be established in the ego, for it is only through this act that any definiteness in general is established. In this first act that identical element becomes first of all subject and object simultaneously, that is to say it simply becomes the ego—not for itself, but certainly for philosophizing reflection.

(What the identical might be, abstracted from, and as it were before this act, cannot even be asked. For it is that which can reveal itself only through self-consciousness, and can nowhere be separated from this act.)

The second self-contemplation is the one by way of which the ego contemplates that definiteness established in the objective aspect of its activity, and this happens in sensation. In this contemplation the ego is object for itself, since in what went before it was object and subject only for the philosopher.

In the third self-contemplation the ego becomes object for itself also as sensing, that is to say that which until now has been subjective in the ego is also added to the objective aspect; everything in the ego is thus now objective, or the ego is entirely objective, and as objective, is subject and object simultaneously.

Hence nothing can remain from this phase of consiousness other than that which, after consciousness has come into being, is discovered as the absolutely-objective (the external world).—In this contemplation, which is already a potentiated one, and for that very reason productive, there is contained, apart from objective and subjective activity, which are here both objective, a third, the contemplating activity proper, or ideal activity, the same one which appears subsequently as conscious activity, but which, since it is only the third after those two, can also not separate itself from them, nor be opposed to them.—Included in this contemplation there is thus already a conscious activity, or that which is unconscious and objective is defined by way of a conscious activity, except that this is not distinguished as such.

The following contemplation will be the one by way of which the ego contemplates itself as productive. Now since, however, the ego is now merely objective, this contemplation too will be merely objective, that is to say unconscious once more. There is in this contemplation, indeed, an ideal activity, which has as its object that contemplating activity, likewise ideal and included in the previous contemplation; the contemplating activity is thus here an ideal activity of the second potence, that is to say an activity with a purpose, but unconsciously so. What remains of this contemplation in consciousness will thus appear as a product with a purpose, certainly, but not as a product produced purposively. Organisation in its full extent is such a product.

By way of these four stages the ego as intelligence has been fully developed. It is evident that up to this point Nature keeps step with the ego, and that thus without any doubt Nature lacks only the final element, through which all those contemplations achieve for it the same significance which they possess for the ego. But what this final element might be will become clear from what follows.

Were the ego to continue to be merely objective, then self-contemplation could, all the same, potentiate itself into the infinite, but in that way, though, only the series of products in Nature would be lengthened, but consciousness would never again come into being. Consciousness is possible solely through that merely objective element in the ego becoming objective for the ego itself. But the basis for that cannot lie in the ego itself. For the ego is absolutely identical with that merely objective element. The basis can therefore only lie outside the ego, which, by way of continuing limitation, is gradually reduced to intelligence, and even to the point of individuality. But apart from the individual, that is to say independently of him, there is only intelligence itself. But intelligence itself must (according to the mechanism derived), where it exists, restrict itself to individuality. The basis sought outside the individual can therefore lie only in another individual.

The absolutely objective can become an object for the ego itself only through the influence of other rational beings. But in these the intention of that influence must already have dwelt. Thus freedom is always already presupposed in Nature (Nature does not produce it), and where this freedom is not already present as first element, it cannot come into being. Here, then, it becomes clear that although Nature is up to this point completely equivalent to intelligence, and passes through the same potences together with the latter; freedom, however, if it exists (but that it exists may not be proved theoretically), must be prior to Nature (natura prior).

Hence a new hierarchy of actions which are not possible by way of Nature, but leave it behind them, begins with this point.

The absolutely objective or the regularity of contemplation becomes itself an object for the ego. But contemplation becomes an object for that which contemplates, only through willing. The objective in willing is contemplation itself, or the pure regularity of Nature; the subjective is an ideal activity directed towards that regularity in itself, and the act in which this happens is the absolute act of will.

For the ego the absolute act of will itself becomes in turn an object, in that the objective, that which in willing is directed towards something external, becomes an object for it as natural instinct, and the subjective, directed towards the regularity in itself, becomes an object for it as absolute will, that is to say as categorical imperative. But this once again is not possible without an activity which is prior to the two of them. This activity is volition, or conscious free activity.

Now if, however, this conscious free activity also, which, in action, is opposed to the objective activity, even though it is destined to become one with the latter, is contemplated in its original identity with the objective activity, and this is absolutely impossible through freedom, then there thereby at last comes into being the highest potence of self-contemplation, which, since it lies itself already beyond the conditions of consciousness, and is rather that consciousness itself which creates itself in advance, must appear, where it exists, as absolutely fortuitous, and that absolutely fortuitous quality in the highest potence of self-contemplation is that which is indicated by the idea of genius.

These are the phases in the history of self-consciousness, phases unchanging and fixed for all knowledge, and described in experience by a continuous hierarchy, which can be demonstrated in and carried through from simple matter up to organization (through which Nature, unconsciously productive, turns back into itself), and from there through reason and volition up to the highest union of freedom and necessity in art (through which Nature, consciously productive, embraces and fulfils itself).


Note that I have translated the word Anschauung as “contemplation.” It has often been translated as “intuition,” particularly in works of Kant, but I do not think this any longer conveys (if it ever did) the presence and awareness, even the visual quality, which form the chief content of the German word. But bear in mind that it means a single representation, not a succession of them. (Since the reality is in the relation, this is difficult. It depends on what exact reflection one can firmly establish in memory, what reflection of the simplest relation involved in that on which we are reflecting, in the circumstances in which one is when at last the flux has moved on to a different region and one has leisure to reflect.)

CCCXIX 1773-1824, German mercenary soldier, poet, playwright, and writer on mythology and religion. He was a theology student at first, but left the university without graduating and began an erratic life determined not by himself but by the great events of his day. There was no point of repose in his life, but he was lucky enough to have a series of benefactors. His Mythologie der Griechen (Mythology of the Greeks) was never finished, but the first part was published in 1805 (not 1803 as Schelling says) as Neue Darstellung der Mythologie der Griechen und Römer (New Presentation of the Mythology of the Greeks and Romans). It uses the same method of exposition as Heyne, but is much more speculative, something like a pantheistic metaphysics of history. It begins as follows:

In the dawn of life man stands in a passive relationship to Nature, just as, in the last stages of life, he will be in an active one. Unbeknown to him, Nature draws his living existence across into herself and that which, outside him, has become living through him, then appears to him to be higher and more powerful than he, and that in alien beings which is his own and human he necessarily judges to be divine.


(This and the following excerpt may not be particularly relevant, but I have only a few passages available to me, in a book about Kanne by Dieter Schrey, Tübingen 1969, and they will give at least a flavour.) Kanne later discovered striking correspondences between the Greek and Indian cosmogonies, and tried to construct, by comparisons between names, a mythology of primordial mankind. (This etymological method is now discredited but had some influence on Grimm.) He met Schelling on several occasions, most notably in 1805 in Würzburg, when Schelling felt “a reluctance to allow his liking to be seen.” Kanne said that Schelling‟s philosophy was “stupid, contradictory, and presumptuous,” but his later work does nevertheless display the influence of Schelling‟s 1809 Investigations of the Nature of Human Freedom. In 1814, religious experiences led Kanne to burn the manuscript of Panglossium in which he had tried to prove the original interrelationship of all languages. From time to time he became a reluctant professor. His Pantheum der Æltesten Naturphilosophie, die Religion aller Völker (Pantheon of the Earliest Nature- Philosophy, the Religion of all Peoples) was published in 1811 (again a different date from the one Schelling gives, which is 1807). Here are two connected excerpts, where he writes about the “demiurges of the spirit”:

The deeds of this Light were the Good; but where the free world-essence, not heeding the voice of the world-law, misuses his freedom in self-will and shifts from the central point, when it no longer wishes to be free as universal being, but as a particular being, then Evil arises, and Evil, like Untruth and Error, is called “Darkness.” But freedom like this, to be everything for oneself, instead of being in all things, was given to all created spirits.


But that which had been possible for them, they finally made actual, and they usurped sole governance for themselves. In this way the first sin came into the world: its possibility had been the condition of all life, but its actuality became the cause of all death. For if the spirits had not been given that power together with their existence, then God would have created nothing divine, he would have created nothing at all, and no truer statement can be made but that man has only become devil through having also been God.

CCCXX This was Wolfgang Menzel, 1798-1873, a German author and active member of a student fraternity, who published Voss und die Symbolik. Eine Betrachtung (Voss and Symbolism, a Study), which has 56 pages, in 1825. He opposed rationalists like Voss and Paulus, and also opposed Hegel‟s philosophy which he compared unfavourably with Schelling‟s. Menzel became a literary critic and literary historian, and as a German nationalist came out against the “unpolitical and destructive” Goethe. He is regarded by some as a precursor of the National Socialists.
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Re: Historico-Critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Myt

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Lecture Ten

CCCXXI Johann Gottfried Herder, 1744-1803, German philosopher, theologian, and poet; author of Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit (Outlines of the Philosophy of the History of Mankind), published in four parts between 1784 and 1791. His thought and method are said to continue to influence and direct German and European spritual history even to this day. For example, he claimed that every nation has its own specific literary art, dependent on the stage of development of its language, and this in turn depends on the stage of development of its natural and social circumstances. (Thus he was not an antinationalistic individual like myself.) He said that one and the same human species found its “actualization” in differing nations or societies, according to differences in the climate. His idea of history had to do with the organic evolution of humanity. He also contributed to Nature-philosophy and the study of the Old and New Testaments . Mythology was central to his position; he saw all myths as a creative sensuous symbolic truth, at once poetry, theology, philosophy, and energy.

When Schelling says that the idea came from the French, he indubitably has in mind the Philosophie de l‟histoire published in Geneva in 1765 by Voltaire, under the pseudonym of “the late Abbé Bazin.” (“Voltaire” was in turn the pseudonym of François Marie Arouet, 1694-1778.) But before that the idea had already been introduced by the Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico (1668- 1744) in his Principi di una scienza nuova dintorno alla natura delle nazioni (the Italian wording differs slightly in different versions, but the meaning is “Principles of a new science relating to the nature of nations”—later “common nature”), published in 1725. Vico also wrote a lot about language, primitive people, and mythology.

CCCXXII The German title of this work is Ideen zu einer Philosophie der Natur , and Schelling first published it, with the preface mentioned, in 1797, when he was twenty-one or twenty-two. The preface begins as follows:

What remains as the pure result of the philosophical investigations of our age until now, is, in brief, the following: “Theoretical philosophy up to now (under the name of „metaphysics‟) had been a mixture of wholly heterogeneous principles. One part thereof contained laws relating to the possibility of experience (universal laws of Nature), another part contained fundamental principles reaching beyond all experience (genuinely metaphysical principles).”

“It is now agreed that in theoretical philosophy only a regulative use can be made of these last. The only thing that raises us above the world of appearance is our moral nature, and laws which in the realm of ideas are of constitutive application, become precisely thereby practical laws. So that which had been until now the metaphysical element in theoretical philosophy, will in future be wholly and solely left to practical philosophy. What remains for theoretical philosophy consists of only the universal principles of possible experience, and instead of being a science which follows physics (metaphysics), it will in future be a science which precedes physics.”

But now theoretical and practical philosophy (which one can perhaps separate for educational purposes but which are in the human spirit originally and necessarily one) disintegrates into pure and applied philosophy.

Pure theoretical philosophy is concerned just with the investigation of the reality of our knowledge in general ; but applied theoretical philosophy, under the name of a philosophy of Nature, has the task of deriving from first principles a specific system of our knowledge (that is to say the system of the entirety of experience).

That which physics is for theoretical philosophy, is, for practical philosophy, history, and so, out of these two principal divisions of philosophy, arise the two principal branches of our empirical knowledge.

Hence, with a treatment of both the philosophy of Nature and the philosophy of mankind, I hope to embrace the whole of applied philosophy. Through the first, the theory of Nature should be given a scientific foundation, and through the second, the same should be given to history.


CCCXXIII The German word here translated as “overall” is überhaupt, which usually means “in general.”

CCCXXIV In German, . . . dass wir von der geschichtlichen etwas wissen, von der vorgeschichtlichen nichts wissen; letztere ist nicht eigentlich die vorgeschichtliche, sondern bloss die vorhistorische. This is an illustration of the sort of shocks to which a translator is exposed when, after rendering vorgeschichtliche as “prehistoric” for two hundred and twenty pages, he suddenly encounters this distinction between vorgeschichtliche and vorhistorische. Luckily in this case, although the distinction is not really explained here, it is explained four pages later (immediately after the little table on page 235). The English word “prehistoric” is said by the OED to have been first used as recently as 1851, and in the OED‟s “etymology” it is curiously said “so French préhistorique.” In the Shorter OED this is erroniously translated into “adopted from” the French word. In fact the Larousse and Robert dictionaries agree that préhistorique was first used in 1867. Grimm‟s German dictionary lists the date of the first use of vorgeschichtliche as 1822, and of vorhistorische as 1811.

CCCXXV Thucydides was a Greek general and historian who lived c460-c400 B.C., and was thus only about twenty-five years younger than Herodotus, whose work he mentions. His history of the Peloponnesian War, preceded by introductory chapters describing the history of the Hellenic race from earliest times, is written in a condensed literary style, but is notable for its fairness, scientific method, and for the author‟s sense of the causal connection between events. He himself described it as “a possession for all time.” Hume makes his unhelpful comment in his essay On the Populousness of Ancient Nations, published in 1752 in the second part of his Essays Moral Political, and Literary. He says:

The first page of THUCYDIDES is, in my opinion, the commencement of real history. All preceding narrations are so intermixed with fable, that philosophers ought to abandon them, in a great measure, to the embellishment of poets and orators.

With regard to remote times, the numbers of people assigned are often ridiculous, and lose all credit and authority.


CCCXXVI Hegel, it could be.

CCCXXVII What Schelling actually says is “the last era.” I suppose this is another consequence of the way he thinks; directing his view always towards the past he is going as far as he can in that direction. I feel that to retain the ambiguity would be unjustified (and perhaps less comprehensible in English than in German), thus I have changed “last” to “first.” See also the following note.

CCCXXVIII Once again, what Schelling actually says is “the last two,” thinking no doubt of their position looking back in time rather than their position in the little table.

CCCXXIX Johann Georg Justus Ballenstädt or Ballenstedt, 1756-1840, a German Lutheran pastor, author of Die Urwelt, oder Beweis v.d. Dasein u. Untergange v. mehr als einer Vor-Welt (The Primordial World, or Proof of the Existence and Destruction of More than One Earlier World), published in three parts in 1817. He tried in this and many other works to explain the biblical creation story scientifically in terms of geology and palæontology, and was one of the earliest adherents of the theory of evolution (incorporating man). In his time his views were revolutionary. He opposed Nature-philosophy and Goethe‟s idealistic morphology, but his empirical base was too narrow— Cuvier was much more influential. His works were soon forgotten, and only recently has their true worth been appreciated.

CCCXXX Georges, Baron de Cuvier, 1769-1832, French natural scientist, one of the founders of palæontology. He had a “catastrophe theory,” according to which living organisms are periodically exterminated by a worldwide catastrophe, and subsequently have to be created again. (Compare Plato in the note to page 111.) He was very cruel to animals.

CCCXXXI I have only been able to see the version on page 178 of Hermann‟s Opuscula; there are the following differences between that and Schelling‟s: 1. in quo nos senescente iam, medii instead of in quo, senescente jam, nos medii . 2. comma after ruinas. 3. no comma after perituram. The translation is: “in which, as it now grows old, we, midway between two catastrophes, eagerly pursue with foolish exertions an eternity fated subsequently to perish in new floods.”

CCCXXXII Inscrutable time.

CCCXXXIII Schelling has the names as Ellore and Mavalpuram. Ellora is in the state of Maharashtra, on the Deccan plateau, nineteen miles northwest of Aurangabad, or a hundred and fifty miles east of Bombay. There are thirty-four Buddhist, Hindu, and Jainist temples there, of which the most impressive is that to Shiva, the Kailasanath, dating from the eighth century A.D., and carved from the solid rock. Mahābalipuram (which the Germans now call Mamallapurum, and the English formerly called Mavalipuram) is in the state of Tamil Nadu on the east coast (specifically, the Coromandel Coast) near Chingleput (Chengalpattu), forty miles south of Madras. Although it is known as the “Seven Pagodas” there are five seventh-century Hindu temples there, hewn from the solid rock. Note that there is at least one place in India besides Ellora which claims the name of Ellore.

CCCXXXIV Arnold Hermann Heeren, 1760-1842, German historian. He was more interested in the history of the relationships between states than in that of Germany as a nation. He opposed the tendency of individual states to expand, and favoured the “balance of power.” He refused to take part in current affairs, saying that “the historian should live not in the present, but in the past.” The reference here is to his principal work, Ideen über die Politik, den Verkehr und den Handel der vornehmsten Völker der alten Welt (Outlines of the Politics, Communication, and Trade of the most Prominent Nations of the Ancient World), in three volumes, published from 1793 to 1796. Schelling has abbreviated the title. An English translation was published in Oxford in 1833. It may be worth reproducing the relevant passage from that version—I cannot check Schelling‟s reference, as the original German is not available to me. It occurs in volume three, entitled “Asiatic Na tions. Indians,” and on page 18 in the first chapter thereof, entitled “A critical View of the Antiquities and Literature of India.” The translator is not named. Heeren is not writing about any specific temple, but about subterranean temples in general:

The natives of many other portions of the globe have adopted similar contrivances [underground habitations]; and in proportion to the more extensive scope allowed by them to the introduction of science, so will it appear less wonderful that a people in such a situation, and not deficient in tools, should exercise their ingenuity in this way. [Here the footnote: ] Even the naked Hottentots are in the habit of sketching rude designs on the walls of their huts. But what a wide interval is there between an African kraal and a Hindu rock temple! and yet the refined artifice observable in the latter, must have previously traced the intermediate steps between the two extremes. An authentic account of the rise and progress of grotto architecture (were sufficient materials at hand), would doubtless lead to new and interesting conclusions respecting the general history of mankind. [End of footnote. ] The same kind of habitation which a man would construct for himsself, he would also appropriate to his gods.


CCCXXXV In German, nie und zu keiner Zeit. The appearance of repetition may be excused by saying that the first nie means “never” in a logical not a temporal sense. The same might be said of the je, translated “ever,” in the following sentence.

CCCXXXVI This whole system. Sic. The phrase would appear to refer back to the “sacrosact fundamental principle of the continual advance of the human race,” and not to the great preceding, or leading to, what is apprehended organically.

CCCXXXVII sine numine. Without divine will or command. Numen in the following sentence, Schelling‟s “directing entity,” is the accusative case of the same word.

CCCXXXVIII The editor of the 1856 edition adds a footnote here, saying “These lectures dating from the year 1803 are extant in full among the unpublished manuscripts.” They were first given in Jena in the winter of 1802, and repeated in 1804 and 1805 in Würzburg. They were published in 1859 in the collected works, on pages [I 5, 355-736]. (They are also available in the Beck edition in a curious split form (like many other works), part in volume three and part (including the list of contents!) in supplementary volume three.) Not only that, they have very recently become available in English (for details see the list at the end of this book). Under the title of “Philosophy of Art” there is a “General Section” and a “Particular Section.” The General Section contains three chapters:

A) Construction of Art in General
B) Construction of the Material of Art
C) Construction of the Particular in, or the Form of, Art (of the Particular Work of Art).


The second chapter of the general section, the construction of the material of art, consists of two subdivisions:

1) Derivation of Mythology as the Material of Art (pages [I 5, 388-416])
2) Antithesis between Ancient and Modern Poetry in Respect of Mythology; the Evolution of the Philosophy of Religion (pages [I 5, 417-457])


The whole argument of the first sub-division is directed towards establishing that mythology is the only possible material of art; much more emphasis is given to this point there than in the present work.

CCCXXXIX Either this implies that the higher history and the different order of things are the same entity, or it is a minor grammatical slip.

CCCXL actual entities . In German, wirkliche Wesen, which might also be translated as “real essences,” but I do not think this is consistent with Schelling‟s terminology. (This allows for contradictions and inconsistencies, but only in the proper place.)

CCCXLI I do not follow this; when I first tried to read the Iliad I was deterred by the fortuitousness of the list of warrior‟s names near the beginning (Perithous, Dryas, Cænus, Exadius, godlike Polyphemus, Theseus, Ægus, and so on). For me a work has this necessity if, considering it as a self-contained whole, every part of that whole has some reference to other parts and requires them (hence the necessity); where every part of that organic whole contributes in some way, indeed in as many ways as possible, to that whole; in the manner of Webern, of Bach in many of his works, and of any piece of literature with nothing inessential or incidental (I might be safe perhaps in suggesting The Heart of Darkness as an example). Beauty comes of this necessity; and mystery is involved, made apparent, because other considerations are tidied out of the way.

CCCXLII Karl August Georg Max, Graf von Platen-Hallermünde, 1796-1835, German poet. He made his first trip to Italy in 1824, and from 1826 lived there continuously. Following the model of classical times, he saw beauty as the highest goal. (I, and possibly Schelling, would agree.) But beauty and poetry, he thought, have no existence without love. When Schelling began to lecture in Erlangen at the end of 1820, Platen, who had already met him briefly in Munich, got to know him and his family and became a close friend. There is a lot about this in Platen‟s Journals. Schelling recommends intellectual friendship to his students, and suggests that they form small groups and discuss his ideas (Platen says). Platen describes the enthusiasm with which Schelling‟s lectures were received at that time:

Schelling‟s whole lecture is captivating, in spite of the superficial appearance of dryness. He fills the spirit with an indescribable ardour, which grows with every word. An abundance of vividness and a truly divine clarity is disseminated through his whole speech. Additionally, a boldness of expression and a definiteness of will, which arouse admiration. Of his bold way of expressing himself, just one single example from today. He spoke of the subject of philosophy and of the search for its first principle, which could only be reached through one‟s returning to a state of complete ignorance, and he quoted the Saviour‟s words: “Except ye become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Not only, he added, should one give up one‟s wife and child, as the phrase goes, so as to attain to science, one must give up absolutely everything which exists, yes—I do not hesitate to say, one must abandon God himself. When Schelling said this a deathly hush ensued, as if the whole assembly were holding their breath, until he began to speak again, and explained his meaning, so as to prevent misunderstanding, again using the biblical expression: “whosoever will save all shall lose all; but whosoever shall lose all, the same shall save all.” I was suddenly struck, in this whole exposition, by the words of Hamlet: “to be or not to be, that is the question,” and I felt as though for the first time the true understanding of them had passed through my soul.


(Despite all that, Platen admits a few days later that he finds Schelling difficult to understand.) In April 1821 Platen gave Schelling the very first copy of his first set of “Ghazel Songs,” together with a sonnet. Schelling praised them, saying that they were true oriental pearls; and was consistent in his praise and his friendship over many years. This friendship was in great contrast to the very short - lived kind granted by so many of Platen‟s younger objects of passion. In 1824 Platen dedicated his first drama, Der Gläserne Pantoffel (the Glass Slipper) to Schelling.

CCCXLIII George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron, 1788-1824. I don‟t intend to go too far into the reason Schelling says this of him. No doubt it has something to do with Goethe‟s professed very high opinion of him (perhaps Goethe was just cleverly ensuring that those with whom he, Goethe, might be compared were not in his own class), and probably refers to something in Childe Harold. It is rather off-putting that Byron should be the only writer mentioned in this context—surely many other poets, even by this time, had tried to enter that higher poetical world. Perhaps there is a study somewhere of Byron‟s attitude to the Greek mind, rather than nation, and of how his “scepticism,” political or not, influenced his poetical endeavours. A great many more writers are mentioned by name in Schelling‟s lectures on the philosophy of art. This mentioning of individuals and their work is one of the most difficult aspects of æsthetic theory to get right. Compare the second last note, in which I mention a few.

CCCXLIV Another possible reading, significantly different, would be “the religion of man, who,” that is to say, of all men, not only of those particular men who for whatever reason could not raise themselves to a higher religion.

CCCXLV German aus welchem allein, “out of which alone.” This could also be read as “out of which god alone,” but only if the god were taken to be impersonal.

CCCXLVI This is what Schelling calls him, following Luther; in the AV Paul describes himself as “the apostle of the Gentiles.”

CCCXLVII Wildfire in the sense of will-o‟-the-wisp; Wildbäder is the German word for open-air or natural baths—baths in the wild, or literally, of course, wild baths.

CCCXLVIII Familiar (bekannte), but perhaps not understood (erkannte). The root here, kennen, means “know,” and erkannte would be more commonly translated, but not in this context, as “recogized (to be true).”

CCCXLIX There are mathematicians who have played around with incomplete systems during the past fifty years. I think there is more to it than I have yet seen, as definitions (axioms) are flexible.

CCCL Jn. 14. The emphasis is Schelling‟s. He also has the present tens e in the first part: “He that sees me sees the Father,” but since the meaning is the same I have supplied the text of the AV.

CCCLI Jn. 4:23. This was previously quoted on page 190. For the text in the AV and NIV, please refer to my note to that page.

CCCLII Schelling‟s German is begriffene und verstandene which does really seem to mean little more than “comprehended and understood” or “grasped and understood.” Kant, in his lectures on logic, as written up by Gottlob Benjamin Jäsche, drew a distinction between seven degrees of cognition, of which begriffen was the seventh (corresponding to Latin comprehendere, he said, to cognize through “reason”), and verstandene the fifth (corresponding to Latin intellegere, to cognize or conceive through the understanding by means of “concepts”). It is possible that Schelling had these distinctions in mind.

CCCLIII rational religion. In German, Vernunftreligion, very literally “reason-religion.”

CCCLIV “This” may refer either to the philosophy or the observation; I am almost certain it is the observation but have left it ambiguous.

CCCLV Compare the following passage from his Advancement of Learning , Book Two, Chapter Eight, Section Five (“advised,” near the end, means “considered” or “reflected on”):

The registering of doubts hath two excellent uses: the one, that it saveth philosophy from errors and falsehoods; when that which is not fully appearing is not collected into assertion, whereby error might draw error, but reserved in doubt: the other, that the entry of doubts are as so many suckers or sponges to draw use of knowledge; insomuch as that which, if doubts had not preceded, a man should never have advised, but passed it over without note, by the suggestion and solicitation of doubts, is made to be attended and applied.
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