The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston Stewar

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: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

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Part 8 of 8

150. See, for example, the Apokalypse of Baruch (lxxii.), a famous Jewish work belonging to the end of the first century after Christ: "The men of all nations shall be subject to Israel, but those who have ruled over you shall be destroyed with the sword " (quoted from Stanton, The Jewish and the Christian Messiah, p. 316). We see how merely national this supposed creator of Heaven and earth has remained. Montefiore also admits this when he writes, "Jehovah had certainly gradually come to be the one God of the world, but this God remained still Jehovah. Though he had become the absolute ruler of the universe, he did not cease to be the God of Israel" (p. 422). Robertson Smith. one of the first authorities of the day in these questions, interprets Isaiah ii. as a prophecy that Jehovah will gradually make himself God of all humanity through the acknowledgment of his virtues as a ruler. Hence we find even in the most sublime phases of the Semitic conception of religion, even where God is spoken of, the predominance of the purely historical, flagrantly anthropomorphic, unconditionally materialistic standpoint.

151. Burckhardt, who lived for years in Arabia, testifies that the mono tony of the desert life and the lack of all occupation lie like an unbearable burden upon the mind and finally quite paralyse it (Beduinen und Wahaby, p. 286).

152. Noten zum Westostlichen Divan (Israel in the Desert).

153. There were more, but the others can be classified under the six great systems.

154. The Sutra's des Vedanta. (Deussens' translation). Who does not here think of the great remark of Goethe: "Animated inquiry into cause does great harm!" (see pp. 230 and 267). Carlyle in his essay on Diderot well remarks, "Every religious faith, which goes back to origins, is fruitless, inefficient and impossible."

155. Richard Garbe: Die Samkhya-Philosophie, p. 121.

156. See p. 400. Spinoza, too, who in each of his thoughts is so thorough a. Jew and anti-Aryan, writes. "Fidei scopus nihil est praeter obedientium et pietatem" (Tract. theol.-pol., chap. xiv.); that religion can be a creative element of life is a conception which remained quite incomprehensible to this brain.

157. Max Muller: Indien in seiner weltgeschichtlichen Bedeutung (1884) p. 68.

158. Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft (1869), pp. 77, 55.

159. Cf. Schroeder: Pythagoras und die Inder, chap. iii.

160. Cf. Harnack: Dogmengeschichte (Grundriss, 2nd ed.), p. 63 f.

161. In the Syrian translation of the oldest text it runs thus, "Everyone who has the power," so that there is no doubt about the meaning. (See Adalbert Merx' translation of the palimpsest, 1897.)

162. Rettung der Juden, 1872. (I quote from Graetz: Volks. Gesch, iii. 578).

163. Langues sematiques, p. 11.

164. Renan: Langues sematiques, p. 7.

165. Even to-day one comes upon fresh graves of this kind in the depths of the woods. Without convulsion or struggle these holy men pass from time into eternity, so that when one sees their corpses one might think that the hand of love had put their limbs aright and closed their eyes. (According to oral communications and sketches from nature.) One can see how living and unchanged, because springing from an inner soil that always remains the same, old Aryan religion even to-day is, from Max Muller's life-history of a holy man of Brahman family who died as recently as 1886, Ramakrishna, his Life and Sayings, 1898.

166. Oldenberg (Religion des Veda) testifies that the gods of the Aryan Indians, in contrast to others, were bright, true, friendly forms, without malice, cruelty and perfidy (pp. 30, 92, 302, &c.).

167. Oldenberg, Religion des Veda: "The details of sacrifice appealed to the Hindoos as representing analogous facts in the universe which were united to them by a mystical tie." We find proofs of this on every page of the Satapatha- Brahmana, that remarkable code of sacrificial ceremonies.

168. Cankara: Vedaniasutra's II. 1, 14 (also for the following quotation).

169. Zoroaster gives powerful expression to the Indo-European view in contrast to the Semitic in the following passage: "Secular justice, you miser! you form the whole religion of evil spirits and are the destruction of the religion of God" (Dinkard VII. 4. 14).

170. Robertson Smith (The Prophets of Israel) lays great stress on this (p. 28); see also Wellhausen: Prolegomena.

171. For details see Wellhausen and Robertson Smith (e.g., The Prophets of Israel, pp. 63, 96).

172. The borders of Judah and Judea (to which since David's time Benjamin also belonged) have changed very much in the course of time: the whole southern part was joined to Idumea after the exile; on the other hand, the district was, later, extended somewhat towards the north into the former Ephraimite territory by the annexations of Judas Maccabaeus.

173. Even in the Old Testament in the later time there is a clear distinction between Judah and Israel: "Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel" (Zechariah xi. 14; see, too, I Sam. xviii.. 16); frequently Israel (that is, the ten tribes besides Judah and Benjamin) is simply called "the house of Joseph" in contrast to the "house of Judah" (thus Zechariah x. 6).

174. Renan says: "Il faut considerer Moise presque comme un Egyptien" (Israel, i. 220); his name is said to be of Egyptian and not Hebrew origin (p. 160). So too Kuenen: National Religions and Universal Religions, 1882, p. 315. According to Egyptian tradition he is a renegade priest from Heliopolis, called Osarsyph (see Maspero: Histoire ancienne ii. 449). To-day, as a reaction from former exaggerations, it is fashionable to deny every Egyptian influence on the Israelite cult; this question can only be settled by specialists, particularly in so far as it affects ceremonial, priestly dress, &c.; but we who are not scholars must be struck by the fact that the cardinal virtues of the Egyptian -- chastity, pity, justice, humility (see Chantepie de la Saussaye: Religionsgeschichte i. 305) -- which do not at all agree with those of the Canaanites, are the very virtues to which the Mosaic law attaches most importance.

175. Wellhausen: Die Komposition des Hexateuchs, 2nd ed. pp. 320, 355.

176. The Prophets of Israel, p. 192. Here in a clear manner we have a summary of what the same scholar and others have elsewhere proved in detail.

177. Goethe: Zwo wichtige, bisher unerorterte biblische Fragen, zum ersten Mal grundlich beantwortet. Erste Frage: Was stund auf den Tafeln des Bundes? [Two important new unerorterte biblical questions answered first normal training. First question: What stood on the tables of the covenant?]

178. See Schechter's Appendix to Montefiore: Religion of the Ancient Hebrews, p. 557.

179. See especially Renan: Israel ii. 282 f.

180. See especially Graetz: Geschichte der Juden i. 113; also Maspero, Histoire ancienne ii. 784.

181. Many modern authorities too (e.g., Cheyne) have since proved that the famous passage "The Lord will roar from Zion" (Amos i. 2) is a late Jewish interpolation.

182. It was only with the help of the Syrians that the Maccabees obtained the chief power, and the princes too who sprang from them and belonged to the Hasmonian house have only acquired now and then an appearance of independence amid the confusion which preceded the supremacy of Rome.

183. See p. 145. note.

184. See Isaiah, chap. xxxvii., particularly the verses 33-37.

185. Cf. Cheyne: Introduction to the Book of Isaiah, p. 231 f. It is interesting to learn from Assyrian accounts that Jerusalem was defended by an army of Arabian mercenaries; Judah had been distinguished from time immemorial for its lack of military capacity.

186. 2 Kings xxii.

187. R. Smith: Prophets of Israel, p. 438. In Deuteronomy the foundation of real Judaism is laid. It forms the central point of the New Testament in its present form: "and that is the standpoint from which we can and must push our inquiries backwards and forwards if we are to have any prospect of rightly understanding the rest," said Reuss many years ago in his fundamental Geschichte des Alten Testaments, § 286.

188. Chapter xxviii. (which is certainly postexilic) contains the blessings, "and thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day," and then the curses, more than a hundred in number, containing all the horrors which a sickly imagination can picture to itself, "for God will rejoice over you to destroy you."

189. With regard to the incalculably great influence of Babylon upon all Jewish thought from the first one finds the fullest information in Eberhard Schrader's book, Die Keilinschriften und das Alte Testament, 3rd ed., revised by Zimmern and Winckler, 1903; a short summary is found in Winckler's Die politische Entwickelung Babylonien und Assyriens, p. 17 f.

190. Splendidly described in chap. xii. of Duhm's Theologie der Propheten. Eduard Meyer says in the Entstehung des Judentums, p. 219, "Ezekiel was manifestly quite an honest nature, but narrow-minded, and moreover he had grown up in the narrow views of the priesthood, not to be named in the same breath with the great figures, with whom he, by the donning of a very threadbare prophet's mantle, ventured to put himself side by side."

191. Soon after this, more than four hundred years before Christ, the Hebrew language died out altogether (Paschal: Volkerkunde, 2nd ed. p. 532): its adoption once more many centuries later was artificial and with the object of separating the Jews from their hosts in Europe. In consequence we find such strange things happen, as for instance that the French citizens of "Jewish belief" can only fill their voting papers in Hebrew, an achievement of which Judas Maccabaeus would have been incapable! The absolute lack of feeling for language among the Jews to-day is explained by the fact that they are at home in no language -- for a dead language cannot receive new life by command -- and the Hebrew idiom is just as much abused by them as any other.

192. Law and religion, one should never forget, are to the Jew synonymous (see Moses Mendelssohn).

193. Cf. Wellhausen: Israel. und jud. Geschichte, p. 159. The same author writes in his Prolegomena, p. 28: "From the exile the nation did not return, but a religious sect only."

194. From the standpoint of the philosophy of history we should certainly explain this peculiar preference of the Jews for a more or less parasitic condition, by their long dependence upon Israel. It is at any rate very noteworthy that the Judeans did not wait for the Captivity (still less for the so-called scattering) to show their preference for this life. In a number of cities on the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates Israelite seals of older epochs have been found, and already at the time of Sennacherib, i.e., a hundred years before the first destruction of Jerusalem, the greatest banking house in Babylon was Jewish; this firm, "Egibi brothers," is said to have occupied in the East a position similar to that of the Rothschilds in Europe. (Cf. Sayce: Assyria, its Princes, Priests and People, p. 138.) I hope we shall hear no more of the nursery tale that the Jews "by nature" are peasants and only became usurers in spite of themselves during the Middle Ages, because they were cut off from every other occupation; if we read the prophets carefully we shall see how often they complain of usury, which serves the rich as a means of ruining the peasants; we should call to mind the famous passage in the Talmud: "Whoever has 100 Gulden in commerce can eat flesh every day and drink wine; whoever has 100 Gulden in agriculture must eat herbs and vegetables, and also dig, be wakeful and in addition make enemies.... But we are created that we may serve God; is it then not right that we should nourish ourselves without pain?" (Herder, from whom I quote the passage, adds, "Without pain certainly! but not by fraud and cunning," Adrastea v. 7). We should also read Nehemiah, chap. v., and see how, when the Jews neglected everything to build the destroyed temple again, the councillors and priests took advantage of the solemn moment to practise usury and to sweep in the "fields, vineyards, olive-groves and houses" of their poorer comrades among the people. Nothing in the Aryan Medes is so strange to the Jews as the fact that they do not "regard silver nor delight in gold" (Isaiah xiii., 17); and among the most fearful curses with which Jehovah threatens his people in case of disobedience there is one which says (Deut. xxviii): "that the Jew will no longer lend money to the stranger"! We should remember, too, that in the book of Tobias (about a hundred years before Christ) an angel is sent from Heaven to enforce the payment of the gold which is invested in the neighbouring countries at compound interest (chaps. v. and ix.). It should be mentioned in this connection that already at the time of Solomon the Jews were the horse-copers of all Syria (Sayce: Hittites, p. 13).

195. Cf. Montefiore: Ancient Hebrews, p. 315, and for the detailed analytic enumeration, Driver: Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament (1892), p. 150 (printed in Montefiore's book, p. 354).

196. The old Christians knew very well that the Old Testament was a late and revised piece of work. Thus, for example, in his answer to the twenty-first question of Heloise, Abelard refers to the Church historian Beda, who at the beginning of the eighth century wrote as follows: "Ipse Esdras, qui non solum legem, sed etiam, ut communis majorum fama est, omnem sacrae scripturae seriem, prout sibi videbatur legentibus sufficere, rescripsit ... " Thus the most modern "Biblical criticism," which is so opposed by the Protestant as well as by the Catholic orthodox theologians, has been promoted simply by the scientific confirmation of a fact which a thousand years ago was common property and to which mot even the most pious soul took exception.

197. Wellhausen: Prolegomena, p. 170. A simple exposition of the growth of the Old Testament, after the manner of Wellhausen's Israel. und jud. Geschichte, is unknown to me. The fundamental work of Eduard Reuss, Gesch, der hl. Schriften alten Testaments, is planned and written for scholars, and Zittel, Die Entstehung der Bibel in Reclam's series does not at all correspond to the title and does not satisfy even modest claims, however much interesting matter the book otherwise contains.

198. Ideen zur Geschichte der Menschheit, P. 111. Bk. 12, Div. 3.

199. Maccabees ii. 41.

200. Ezra brought from the king in money alone £250,000! The authenticity, or at least essential authenticity, of the Persian documents quoted by Ezra has in spite of the views of Wellhausen and others finally been proved by Eduard Meyer: Die Entstehung des Judentums (1896), pp. 1-71. This settles one of the most important questions in history. Anyone who has read the little but very complete book at Meyer will understand his conclusions: "Judaism originated in the name of the Persian king and by the authority of his Empire, and thus the effects of the Empire of the Achemenides extend with great power, as almost nothing else, directly into our present age."

201. Nehemiah xiii. 27. Cf. the beginning of this chapter, p. 333.

202. Israel. u. jud. Gesch., 3rd ed. p. 173.

203. According to the Talmud, Jehovah occupies himself on Sunday with reading the Thora! (Wellhausen: Isr. Gesch., p. 297; Montefiore, p. 461).

204. See Nehemiah, chaps. viii.-x.

205. Montefiore: Religion of the Ancient Hebrews, p. 236.

206. Robertson Smith: Prophets of Israel, p. 424.

207. Geschichte der heiligen Schriften Alten Testaments, § 379.

208. Whoever wishes to form an idea of this should read, in addition to the books of Leviticus, Numbers, &c., the eleven tractates of the sacrificial ordinances (Kodaschim) in the Babylonian Island (the Haggadian portions form the fourth volume of the only reliable translation, that of Wunsche). One cannot assert that the Jews have got rid of this ritual since the destruction of Jerusalem, for they still study it, and certain things, as killing according to their rites, belong to it, for which reason an animal killed by a non-Jew is carrion to the Jew (see Treatise Chullin, fol. 13b).

209. See also xl. 7 and 1, 13.

210. It has been proved that almost all these passages are interpolations of a later time.

211. See Cheyne's Introduction to the Book of Isaiah (1895), and Duhm's Jesaia (1892), for information about the writer of chaps. xl-lv. of the Book of Isaiah, usually designated the Second Isaiah or Deutero-Isaiah, the only one who now and again reminds one of Christ and whose name the Jews, in characteristic fashion, forgot as soon as he died, though in all other cases they follow genealogy till the hundreth generation. The second Isaiah wrote during the second half of the exile, hence a century and a half later than the historical Isaiah. Cheyne is of opinion that chaps. lvi.-lxvi., which are mostly ascribed to the second Isaiah, were really written by a still later author.

212. Duhm: Die Theologie des Propheten, p. 251. Jeremiah's divination of grace disappeared immediately, never to return again; even the noblest, most talented Jews, like Jesus Sirach, teach that "whoever knows the law is virtuous"; God has created man and then "left him to his own counsel"; from this we can logically draw as conclusion the doctrine of absolute freedom of will, destitute of all divine assistance: "Before man stand life and death, he can choose what he will ... if thou wilt, thou canst keep the law" (see, for example, Ecclesiasticus xv. 12-15). The Essenes alone form an exception, for according to Josephus they taught the doctrine of predestination (Jud. Altertumer, 520); this sect, however, was never recognised but persecuted, and presumably counted few real Jews among its number; it is an ephemeral thing without influence.

213. This is still truer of such later phenomena as Jesus Sirach, who, generally speaking, are content with giving very wise, noble rules of life: one must not strive after riches, but generosity, not knowledge, but wisdom, &c. (xxix, xxxi., &c.). The only attempt (and it was owing to Greek influence) on the part of the Jewish spirit to attain to the metaphysical, had a poor ending: the so-called "preacher Solomon" has no better advice to give than that we should think of to-day and enjoy our works -- "all is vanity!"

214. It is not unimportant to note here how much more insight into the essence of religious need is shown by a Socrates, who taught that not the sacrifice and its costliness pleased the gods, but the innermost feelings of the sacrificer, though he at the same time considered the offering of the usual sacrifices as a duty (Xenophon: Memorabilia i. 3). Similarly Jesus Christ.

215. Treatise Themura, fol. 16a (Wunsche).

216. According to the testimony of a contemporary Jew, Rubens, Der alte und der neue Glaube (Zurich, 1878, p. 79), the Jew who lives according to the ordinances needs "about half the day for religion alone." God wished, says Rabbi Chanania ben Akasiah, to give Israel opportunity to do good service, therefore he imposed on it a mass of rules and observances.

217. In his work Von den Pflichten der Kir chendiener i. 119.

218. Examples teach more than differences of opinion. In regard to the belief in God's almightiness: "Rabbi Janai was so afraid of insects that he placed four vessels with water under the feet of his bed. Once he stretched out his hand and found insects in the bed; then he said with reference to Psalm cxvi. 6: Lift the bed from the vessels, I rely on divine protection" (Terumoth viii. 3, 30a). In regard to Biblical exegesis: "Rabbi Ismael has taught" -- we find it in Leviticus xiv. 9 -- "on the seventh day he shall shave all his hair off his head and beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shall shave off"; all his hair, that is general; his head, his beard, his eyebrows, that is special, and his hair, that is again general. In the case of general, special and general the rule is that you can only render that which is like to the special, i.e., as the special is a place which embraces in itself such a collection of hairs" (Kidduschin i. 2, 9a). In regard to the law: "Rabbi Pinchas came to a place where the people complained to him that the mice devoured their grain. He accustomed the mice to listen to his call; they assembled before him and began to squeak. Do you understand, said the Rabbi to the people, what they are saying? No, was their answer. They say, in fact, that you do not give a tithe of their grain. Thereupon the people said, we are grateful to you for leading us into better paths. Since then the mice did no more damage" (Demai i. 3, 3b). In regard to knowledge of nature: "According to Rabbi Judah the thickness of the heavens amounts to a journey of fifty years, and since a man of ordinary strength can go in one day 40 miles and, till the sun breaks through the sky, 4 miles, so one can conclude that the time of the breaking through the sky amounts to the tenth part of a day. But as thick as the sky is also the earth and the abyss. The proof (!) is got from Isaiah x1. 20., Hi. xxii. 14 and Prov. viii. 27" (Berachoth i. 1, 4b). In regard to daily life: "Rabbi bar Huna did not breakfast till he had brought his child to school" (Kidduschin Div. I). That one finds many a fine saying amid the rubbish of the Talmud must, on the other hand, be emphasised, but with the addition that these sayings refer only to morals; these collections do not contain beautiful thoughts, in fact almost nothing that has any family resemblance to a thought. And the fine moral sayings, too, are often like the poems of Heine: the end spoils the beginning. An example: "A man should sow peace with his brothers and relatives and with everyone, even with the stranger upon the street" -- up to this point no minister in the pulpit could give better advice: but now the reason, that is usually the weak point with the Jews (see p. 453): "that we may be beloved in heaven and liked on earth" (Berachoth, fol. 17a). Or again, we read with pleasure, "Let a man take heed of the honour of his wife, for blessing is found in the house of a man only because of his wife" -- in truth not quite correct, but these words testify to a sentiment which we gladly hear expressed; but here again the conclusion: "Honour your wives, that you may become rich!" (Baba Mezia, fol. 59a). However it must also be mentioned that besides the beautiful moral sayings there are very ugly and abominable ones; as, for example, that a Jew cannot transgress the seventh Commandment with a non-Jewess: "For the heathen have no lawfully wedded wife, they are not really their wives" (Sanhedrin, fol. 52b and 82a). I give intentionally only one example, in order that the reader may see the tone, that suffices: ab uno disce omnes. Of course there are Rabbis who dispute this fearful doctrine; but where the Rabbis contradict each other, the Jew can choose for himself, and no casuistry can annul the fact that this contempt for the non-Jew is one of the bases of the Jewish faith; it follows logically from their insane over-estimation of themselves; they represent Jehovah as calling to them "ye are gods" (Psalms lxxxii. 6). Other interpretations, too, of the Ten Commandments show how the idea of morality was only skin-deep in the Semitic Hittites; thus the Rabbis (Sanhedrin. fol. 86a) utter the doctrine: "the words of the eighth Commandment, 'thou shalt not steal,' refer according to the script only to man-stealing"! -- and as another passage quoted by scribes of greater moral sentiment says, "thou shalt not steal" (Leviticus xix. 11), and refers expressly to the Israelites "the one from the other," so in this case, too, the simple moral command leads to an ocean of casuistry; the Talmud does not indeed teach (as far as I could find from the fragments at my disposal) that "thou mayest rob the non-Jew," but it nowhere teaches the opposite. Fearful, too, are the many precepts in the Talmud concerning the persecution and the destruction of the unorthodox Jews: how individuals are to be stoned and the people executed with the sword, and still more frightful are the descriptions of the tortures and executions which this equally dismal and spiritless book expatiates upon with pleasure; here too only one example: "The criminal is placed in dirt up to the knees; a hard cloth is then laid in a soft one and wrapped round his neck; the one witness pulls the one end towards himself and the other the other, till the prisoner opens his mouth. In the meantime the lead is heated and poured into his mouth so that it enters his vitals and burns them up" (Sanhedrin, fol. 52a). Then there are learned discussions about such things in the Talmud, thus the extremely pious Rabbi Jehuda thinks it would be advisable to open the poor man's mouth with pincers and to pour the lead down quickly, otherwise he might die of strangulation and then his soul would not be consumed with his body.

This is what one comes to with "the subjection of the feelings to the reason!"

There is not even yet a complete translation of the Talmud. Many have concluded from this that it must contain things that are fearful and dangerous to the Goyim; it is asserted that it is the Jews who hitherto frustrated every attempt at a complete translation, a suspicion by which they feel themselves greatly flattered. The historian Graetz grows angry with those of his people who "reveal the weaknesses of Judaism to the eyes of Christian readers," and mutters terrible things about certain writings of Spanish Jews, in which the "weaknesses of the Christian articles of faith and sacraments are so openly represented that one cannot venture to explain the purport wherever Christianity is the prevailing religion" (iii. 8). Now we are not so delicate and sensitive; such "revelations" are indifferent to us; if the Jews keep their literary products secret, that is their business; but tragical suspicion is out of place, it is merely a question of a feeling of shame easy to understand. (All the above quoted passages are taken from the only reliable translation, that of Dr. Wunsche, which has been revised by two Rabbis: Der jerusalemische Talmud, Zurich, 1880, and Der babylonische Talmud, Leipzig, 1886- 1889; only the quotation concerning Rabbi bar Huna is from Seligman Grunwald's collection of Talmudic sayings in the Jewish Universal-Bibliothek. Cf., further, Strack, Einleitung in den Talmud, No. 2 of the writings of the Jewish Institute in Berlin, where one will find a complete enumeration of all the fragments translated, p. 106 f. Much clearer and less pedantic is the supplement on the Talmud in the excellent little book of William Rubens, Der alte und der neue Glaube im Judentum, 1878.

219. To this day every orthodox Jew regards the Rabbinical-ordinances as divine and holds fast to the Talmudic sentence: "If the Rabbis call left right and right left, you must believe it" (see the book of the anti-Rabbinical Jew, Dr. William Rubens, p. 79). The close connection with Jesuitism (see next chapter) is here as in many other things very obvious.

220. It is known that Cabal is a Jewish word and a Jewish thing, The impulse common to all men, which in our case leads to mysticism, leads in the case of the Semite to magic. Always and everywhere the rule of blind will!

221. Pp. 229, 244 note, 419. 421 f., 440, &c.

222. Wellhausen (from Montefiore, p. 154).

223. See, for instance, chap. xxxiii.

224. Cheyne: Introduction to Isaiah (ed. 1895), pp. 27 and 53.

225. Cheyne in his Introduction to Robertson Smith: Prophets of Israel, p. xv. f.

226. Luther has "might" by mistake.

227. Wellhausen, Composition des Hexateuchs, pp. 93 and 97, proves that the passage xix. 3-9 is an interpolation of post-Deuteronomic time.

228. Isaiah, the whole of chap. xl. See, too, the postexilic Prophet Haggai, who promises to the Jews "the treasures of all Heathens: "The silver is mine, the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts" (ii. 8, 9).

229. The absurdity of the idea, that this religion is the stem of Christianity, Christianity its blossom, must be manifest to the most prejudiced.

230. The Jewish apologists reply that they obey the law, not "because it is by these means that they are to attain to empire, but because Jehovah commands it; that Jehovah gives the world to the Jews as one sacred people is done to his own honour not theirs." But this seems to me pure contemptible casuistry. A reliable author, Montefiore, says literally, "Beyond question the argument -- 'obey the law, for it will pay you' -- forms the chief and fundamental motive in Deuteronomy" (p. 531). That countless Jews are pious men who fulfil the law and lead a pure noble life, without thinking of reward, only proves that here as elsewhere morals and religion do not go together and that in the whole world there are men who are very much better than their faith. But even to-day fairly free-thinking Jews still write: "The existence of Judaism depends upon the clinging to the Messianic hope" -- the definite expectation of world empire thus still forms the soul of Judaism (cf. above, p. 334).

231. In connection with the borrowing of Zoroastric (half-understood) conceptions by the founders of Judaism, see Montefiore: Religion of the Ancient Hebrews, pp. 373, 429, 453, &c.

232. Matthew xix. 28; Luke xxii. 30. This utterance put in the mouth of Christ directly contradicts what is said in Matthew xx. 23. The clinging to the twelve tribes also, although for more than five hundred years there were only two, is genuinely Rabbinical. The Rabbis, too, expressly teach the doctrine: "The non-Jews are as such precluded from admission to a future world" (cf. Laible: Jesus Christus im Talmud, p. 53). Concerning the Messianic expectations, see chap. iii. p. 235 note.

233. If we reckon twenty-four years as a generation, which is not exaggerated considering how soon the Jews are mature, the Jew of to-day belongs on an average to the hundredth generation since the return from Babylon and the founding of Judaism. That holds of the male line of descent; an unbroken female line would be in about the one hundred and fiftieth generation.

234. Prophets of Israel, p. 365.

235. A really classical example of this so-called critical but in reality just as uncritical as inappreciative method is seen in Professor Hermann Oldenberg's Religion des Veda, where the symbolism and the mysticism of the Hindoos are represented continuously as priestly swindle!

236. Voltaire in his article Dieu et les hommes gives a detailed calculation, according to which ten million human beings fell victims to the Christian Church doctrine, but everywhere he has reduced the numbers very much, sometimes by half, so as not to be charged with exaggeration.

237. Montefiore: Religion of the Ancient Hebrews, p. 504.

238. Talmud, Treatise Maccoth, Div. 3 (according to Grunwald).

239. Montefiore, p. 530. "The huge number of ceremonial prescriptions is the high privilege of Israel," says the Talmud (Montefiore, p. 535), and in Lamentations (falsely ascribed to Jeremiah) we read: "It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope" (iii. 27, 29). For the opposite view one should read the beautiful remarks in Kant's Anthropologie, § 10 a. concerning religious obligations, in which the great thinker expresses the opinion that nothing is more difficult for a sensible man than "the commands of a bustling do- nothingness (Nichts-ihuerei), such as those which Judaism established."

240. According to the law (see Num. xv, 32-36) she must be punished with death.

241. Thence it is that one of the worst threats against the Jews, if they did not keep Jehovah's commandments, was that "they would have to do their own work, instead of getting it done by others" (Talmud, Treatise Berachoth, chap. vi,. according to Grunwald). The idea that "the sons of the alien shall be the ploughmen and the vine-dressers" is also found (as a prophecy) in Isaiah lxi. 5.

242. As Kant in his Critique of Pure Reason says (in explaining the cosmological idea of freedom): "The real morality of actions (merit and guilt) remains quite concealed from us, even in the case of our own conduct."

243. Adrastea 7, Stuck V., Abschnitt "Fortsetzung."

244. Cf. Dollinger; Akademisch Vortrage i. 8.
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Re: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

Postby admin » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:32 pm

Part 1 of 4


Mon devoir est mon Dieu supreme. [My duty is my God supreme.]
-- FREDERICK THE GREAT. (Letter to Voltaire on June 12, 1740.]


THE entrance of the Jew into European history had, as Herder said, signified the entrance of an alien element -- alien to that which Europe had already achieved, alien to all it was still to accomplish; but it was the very reverse with the Germanic peoples. This barbarian, who would rush naked to battle, this savage, who suddenly sprang out of woods and marshes to inspire into a civilised and cultivated world the terrors of a violent conquest won by the strong hand alone, was nevertheless the lawful heir of the Hellene and the Roman, blood of their blood and spirit of their spirit. It was his own property which he, unwitting, snatched from the alien hand. But for him the sun of the Indo-European must have set. The Asiatic and African slave had by assassination wormed his way to the very throne of the Roman Empire, the Syrian mongrel had made himself master of the law, the Jew was using the library at Alexandria to adapt Hellenic philosophy to the Mosaic law, the Egyptian to embalm and bury for boundless ages the fresh bloom of natural science in the ostentatious pyramids of scientific systematisation; soon, too, the beautiful flowers of old Aryan life -- Indian thought, Indian poetry -- were to be trodden under foot by the savage bloodthirsty Mongolian, and the Bedouin, with his mad delusions bred of the desert, was to reduce to an everlasting wilderness that garden of Eden, Erania, in which for centuries all the symbolism of the world had grown; art had long since vanished; there were nothing but replicas for the rich, and for the poor the circus: accordingly, to use that expression of Schiller which I quoted at the beginning of the first chapter, there were no longer men but only creatures. It was high time for the Saviour to appear. He certainly did not enter into history in the form in which combining, constructive reason, if consulted, would have chosen for the guardian angel, the harbinger of a new day of humanity; but to-day, when a glance back over past centuries teaches us wisdom, we have only one thing to regret, that the Teuton did not destroy with more thoroughness, wherever his victorious arm penetrated, and that as a consequence of his moderation the so-called "Latinising," that is, the fusion with the chaos of peoples, once more gradually robbed wide districts of the one quickening influence of pure blood and unbroken youthful vigour, and at the same time deprived them of the rule of those who possessed the highest talents. At any rate it is only shameful indolence of thought, or disgraceful historical falsehood, that can fail to see in the entrance of the Germanic tribes into the history of the world the rescuing of agonising humanity from the clutches of the everlastingly bestial.

If I here use the word "Germanic," I do so, as I have already remarked in the introduction to this division, for the sake of simplification -- a simplification which expresses the truth, which must otherwise remain veiled. But this expression, whether taken in the wide or the narrow sense, seems somewhat elastic, perhaps inadmissible, particularly so because it was late before any people, at any rate we ourselves, became conscious of such a thing as the specifically "Germanic" character. There never has been a people that called itself "Germanic," and never -- from their first appearance on the stage of history to the present day -- have the whole of the Germanic peoples unitedly opposed themselves to the non- Germanic; on the contrary, from the beginning we find them continually at feud with one another, displaying towards no one such hostility as towards their own blood. During Christ's lifetime Inguiomer betrays his nearest relative, the great Hermann, to the Marcomanni, and thereby hinders the process of union among the northern tribes and the total destruction of the Roman; Tiberius already could recommend no safer policy to adopt with the Germans than to "leave them to their own internal quarrels"; all the great wars of the following age, with the exception of the Crusades, were wars between Germanic princes; the same thing holds in the main for the nineteenth century. But a foreigner had at once recognised the uniformity of the various tribes, and instead of the indistinguishable babel of names, Chatti, Chanki, Cheruski, Gambrivii, Suevi, Vendales, Goti, Marcomanni, Lugii, Langobardi, Sachsi, Frisii, Hermunduri, &c., he had created for the luxuriant offshoots of this strong race the uniform comprehensive term "Germanic," and that because his eye had at the first glance discerned their common stock. Tacitus, after growing tired of enumerating names, says, "the physical characteristics of all these men are the same"; this was the correct empiric basis for the second and correct judgment, "I am convinced that the various tribes of Germania, unpolluted by marriages with alien peoples, have from time immemorial been a special, unmixed people, resembling itself alone .. (Germania 4). It is peculiar how much more clearly the stranger, who is not biased by details, sees the great connection of phenomena, than the man who is directly interested in them!

But to-day it is not merely bias which prevents us from using the word "Germanic" in its geographical and racial sense with the simplicity of Tacitus: those "various Germanic stems" which he regarded as an unmixed, comparatively uniform people have, since his day, like their predecessors, the Hellenes, entered into all kinds of unions among each other, and only a portion remains "unpolluted by marriages with strange peoples"; moreover in consequence of the great migrations, they have been subjected to particular cultural influences, resulting from geographical position, climatic conditions, the standard of civilisation among the nearest neighbours, and so forth. That alone would have sufficed to break up any unity. But the state of things becomes still more confused when we supplement the teaching of political history, on the one hand by more minute, comparative researches in the department of national psychology, philosophy and the history of art, and on the other by the results of the prehistoric and anthropological investigations of the last fifty years. For then we see that we may and must give a much wider meaning to the word "Germanic" than Tacitus did, but at the same time we notice necessary limitations of which he, with the defective knowledge of his time, could not have dreamt. To understand our past and our present, we must follow the example of Tacitus, and like him, collect material and sift it, but upon the broader basis of our modern knowledge. It is only by the exact definition of a new term "Germanic" that our study of the entrance of these peoples into history acquires practical worth. It is the object of this chapter to give such a descriptive definition as briefly as may be. How far does the stem-relationship extend? Where do we meet "Arya " (i.e., those who belong to the friends)? Where do we first find the alien element, which, according to Goethe, we "must not tolerate"?


I have said that we must give the expression "Germanic" a wider and at the same time a narrower signification than that of Tacitus. Both the extension and the narrowing are the results of historical and anthropological considerations.

The expression is widened by the knowledge that no clear distinction can be drawn physically and mentally between the "German" of Tacitus and his predecessor in history, the "Celt," or his successor whom we are wont even more audaciously to sum up as the "Slav." In view of their physical characteristics the scientist would not hesitate to look upon these three races as varieties of a common stock. The Gauls who in the year 389 B.C. conquered Rome answer exactly to the description which Tacitus gives of the Germanic race: "bright blue eyes, reddish hair, tall figures"; and, on the other hand, the skulls which have been found in the graves of the oldest heroic Slavonic ages have shown to the astonishment of the whole scientific world that the Slavs from the time of the migrations were just as distinctly dolichocephalous (i.e., long-skulled) and as tall as the other Germanic tribes of that time and those of pure race to-day. [1] Moreover, Virchow's comprehensive investigations into the colour of hair and of eyes have revealed the fact that the Slavs were originally and still are in certain districts just as fair as the Germanic races. Quite apart, therefore, from the general conception "Indo-European," which is a mere theoretical and hypothetical term, it appears that we have every reason for considerably extending the idea "Germanic" which we have got from Tacitus and which we have hitherto for philological reasons been inclined to make narrower and narrower. [2]


Let us speak first of the Celts.

Misled chiefly by philological considerations, the Celtic languages being supposed to be more nearly related to the Italian and Greek than to the Germanic, we have been used to overlook the very decisive physical, and still more decisive moral influence. [3] We group the Celt with the Graeco-Italians, with whom he is manifestly only distantly connected, while he is intimately related to the Germanic peoples. Though the completely Romanised Gaul may have presented a direct contrast to his conqueror, the Burgundian or Frank, yet that original conqueror of Rome, indeed even the later Gaul who had been settled for centuries in Northern Italy, and whom Florus still describes as "superhuman" (corpora plus quam humana erant, ii. 4) clearly resembles the Teuton physically; but not only physically, for his love of wandering, his delight in war, which leads him (as the Goths at a later time) even to Asia in the service of any master who gives him an opportunity of fighting, his love of song ... all these things are essential features of this same relationship, whereas one would be at a loss to prove the points of connection with the Graeco-Italians. The Germanic peoples in the narrower, Tacitean sense of the word enter history for the first time [4] mixed with Celts and led by Celts; the word "Germanic" is Celtic. Do we not still meet those tall figures with blue eyes and reddish hair in North-West Scotland, in Wales, &c., and are they not more like a Teuton than a Southern European? Do we not yet see how the Bretons as daring mariners rival the feats of the old Norsemen? But no less an authority than Julius Caesar has told us, in the first chapter of the first book of his Gallic War, how this wild Celto-Germanic mind becomes everywhere gradually effeminate through contact with Roman civilisation. [5]

More striking and more decisive for my theory is the relationship of Celt and Teuton in the deeper mental qualities. History gives us ample proof of this, of the relationship of those finer features that make up individuality. Are we to believe -- to dive deeply into the subject -- that it is an accident that St. Paul's epistle on redemption by faith, on the gospel of freedom (in contrast to the "slavish yoke" of the Church law), on the importance of religion as not consisting in works but in regeneration "to a new creature" -- was addressed to the Galatians, those "Gallic Greeks" of Asia Minor who had remained almost pure Celts -- an epistle in which we seem to hear a Martin Luther speaking to Germans credulous indeed but yet incomparably gifted for understanding the deepest mysteries? [6] I for my part do not believe that there is any room for chance in such matters; I believe it all the less in this case, because I notice in what a different way the same man speaks, what endless roundabout paths he chooses when teaching the same truths to a community of Jews and the children of the chaos of peoples, as in the Epistle to the Romans. But our judgment does not rest merely on such a hypothetical basis, nor does it rest solely upon the relationship between old Celtic and old Germanic mythical religion, but upon observation of the relationship between the mental qualities generally, to which the whole cultured history of Europe up to the present day testifies -- wherever the Celt has kept his blood pure. Thus, for example, we find in the genuinely Celtic parts of Ireland in former times -- taking the five hundred years from the Celt Scotus Erigena to the Celt Duns Scotus -- splendid theologians with high philosophical gifts, whose independence of thought and keen desire to investigate brought upon them the persecution of the Roman Church; in the heart of Bretagne was born that intellectual pioneer Peter Abelard, and let it be carefully noted that what distinguishes him, like those others, is not merely independent thought and striving after freedom, but above all the holy earnestness of his life, a thoroughly "Germanic quality." These Celtic minds of former centuries, teeming with strength, are not merely free, and not merely pious, any more than the Breton seaman of to-day, but they are both free and pious, and it is this very combination that expresses what is specifically "Germanic," as we observe it from Charlemagne and King Alfred to Cromwell and Queen Louise, from the daring anti-Roman troubadours and the Minnesingers so politically independent, to Schiller and Richard Wagner. And when we see, for example, Abelard contending from profound religious conviction against the sale of indulgences (Theologia Christiana), and at the same time putting the Hellenes in every respect far above the Jews, declaring the morals of their philosophers to be superior to the Jewish sanctity of law, Plato's view of life more sublime than that of Moses -- yes, when we actually find him in his Dialogus inter philosophum, Judceum et Christianum, making the recognition of the transcendental ideality of the conception of space the basis of religious thought, so that man stands directly before God's countenance not by entering into an empirical heaven but solely by an inner conversion of mind: are we not forced to recognise that this mind is characteristically Indo-European in contrast to the Semitic and the late Roman, and that, moreover, an individuality here reveals itself, which in every single one of those plis de la pensee (of which I spoke in the previous chapter) betrays the specifically Germanic character? I do not say German but Germanic character, and I am not speaking of to-day, when differentiation has led to the formation of very clearly defined national characters, but of a man who lived almost a thousand years ago; and I assert that so far as the whole tendency of his thought and feeling is concerned this Breton might right well have been born in the heart of Germania. A typical Celt in the gloomy passionateness of his nature, a new Tristan in his love, he is flesh of our flesh and blood of our Teutonic blood; he is Germanic. Just as Germanic as these so-called "pure German" populations of Swabia and the Black Forest, the home of Schiller, Mozart and many others of the greatest of Germany's sons, who owe their peculiar character and uncommon poetical gifts to the strong admixture of Celtic blood. [7] We recognise this same spirit of Abelard at work wherever it can be proved that the Celts were present in large numbers, as in the home of the unfortunate Albigenses in the South of France, or as they still are in the homeland of the Methodists, Wales. We recognise it also in the so-called typically Catholic country Bretagne, for Catholicism and Protestantism are, after all, mere words; the religiosity of the Breton is genuine, but in its colour it is really "heathen" rather than Christian; primeval popular religion lived on here under the mask of Catholicism; moreover, who would not see in the ineradicable loyalty of this people to the throne a Germanic characteristic which is just as common as the love of war and loyalty to the flag among the Irish, who in politics agitate against England, but at the same time voluntarily furnish a large proportion of the English Army, and go abroad to die for the same alien king, to whom they are so hostile at home? But the close relationship between Celts and Germanic peoples (in the narrower sense of the word) reveals itself most strikingly in their poetry. From the first Frankish, German and English poetry were closely allied to genuine Celtic, not that the former people did not possess motives of their own, but they adopted the Celtic ones as being originally akin to them, and in these there is a something strange, something not quite understood, because half-forgotten, which lends them increased piquancy and charm. Celtic poetry is incomparably profound, inexhaustibly rich in symbolical meaning; it was manifestly in its far distant origin intimately connected with music, the soul of our Germanic poetry. If we examine the works which were written when the poetic impulse once more awoke to life, about the turn of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, in all Germanic lands, but above all in the lands of the Franks -- when we on the one hand consider the Geste de Charlemagne, the Ralandslied, the Berte aus grans pies, Ogier le Danois, &c., all independent efforts of Frankish imaginative power, and on the other hand see Celtic poetry live again in the legends of the Queste du Graal, Artus' Tafelrunde, Tristan und Isolde, Parzival, &c., we cannot for a moment doubt where the deeper, richer, more genuine and poetically inexhaustible wealth of imagination and thought is to be found. And this Celtic poetry of the thirteenth century was at a disadvantage, since it appeared not in its own form, but robbed of the wings of song, expanded to romance form, quickened with knightly, Roman and Christian beliefs, its genuine poetical kernel almost as much obscured by alien accrescences as the Norse myths in the German Nibelungenlied. The further back we go, the more clearly do we recognise -- in spite of all individual differences -- the intimate relationship between old Celtic and old Germanic poetical tendency; from stage to stage backwards something is lost, so that, for example, although Gottfried's Tristan as a poem undoubtedly surpasses the French versions of the same subject, yet several of the deepest and finest traits, upon which this incomparable, poetical, mythical and symbolical legend is based, are lacking in it, while the old French romance possesses them and Chrestien de Troyes had at least given a suggestion of them; the same is true of Wolfram's Parzival. [8] But this relationship reveals itself most convincingly and impressively when we see that in reality it was only German music that was able to awaken to new life the old Celtic and old Germanic poetry in their original intention and significance; this we have learnt from the artistic achievements of the nineteenth century, which at the same time revealed the close relationship between both these sources.


Of the genuine Slav there is less to be said, since we are at a loss where to look for him, and are sure of only one thing, that in his case there has been a transformation of the type, so that the thick-set body, round head, high cheek-bones, dark hair, which we to-day consider to be typically Slavonic, were certainly not characteristics of the Slav at the time when he entered European history. But even to-day the fair type predominates in the north and east of European Russia, and the Pole, too, is distinguished from the southern Slav by the colour of his skin (Virchow). In Bosnia one is struck with the tallness of the men and the prevalence of fair hair. The so-called Slavonic type which merges into the Mongolian I have not once met in a journey of several months across that country, any more than the characteristic "potato-face" of the Czech peasant; the same may be said of the splendid race of the Montenegrins. [9] In spite, therefore, of the universal prejudice, there are, as we see, enough physical indications that the Germanic man, when he entered history, had, in addition to an elder brother in the west, a younger in the east who was not so very unlike himself. But on the other hand it is exceedingly difficult to unravel the confused skein of what was originally Slavonic, owing to the manifest fact that this branch of the Germanic family was at a very early time almost completely destroyed by other tribes, much earlier and more thoroughly and more mysteriously than the Celts; but this fact should not deter us from recognising and admitting the related features and attempting to sift them out from the mass of what is alien.

But here again our best help will lie in searching the depths of the soul. If I may judge from the one Slavonic language of which I have a slight knowledge, the Servian, I should be inclined to think that a strong family resemblance in poetical gifts to the Celts and Germanic peoples could be proved. The heroic cycle which celebrates the great battle of Kossovopolje (1383), but which beyond doubt goes further back in its poetical motives, reminds one of Celtic and Germanic lyric and epic poetry by the sentiments to which it gives utterance -- loyalty unto death, heroic courage, heroic women, as well as the high respect which these enjoy, the contempt for all possessions in comparison with personal honour. I read in histories of literature that such poems, and heroic figures like Marco Kraljevich are common to all popular poetry; but this is not true, and can only appear so to one whose excess of learning has blinded him to the fine features of individuality. Rama is an essentially different hero from Achilles, and he, again, quite different from Siegfried; while on the other hand the Celtic Tristan betrays in many features direct relationship to the German Siegfried, and that not merely in the external ornaments of the knightly romance (fights with dragons, &c.), which may to some extent be a later addition, but rather in those old, popular creations where Tristan is still a shepherd and Siegfried not yet a hero at the Burgundian Court. It is here that we see clearly that, apart from extraordinary strength and the magic charm of invincibility and more such general attributes of heroes, definite ideals form the basis of the poems; and it is in these, not in the former, that the character of a people is reflected. So it is in the case of Tristan and Siegfried: loyalty as the basis of the idea of honour, the significance of maidenhood, victory in downfall (in other words, the true heroism centred in the inner motive, not in the outward success). Such features distinguish a Siegfried, a Tristan, a Parzival not only from a Semitic Samson whose heroism lies in his hair, but equally from the more closely related Achilles. Purity is strange to the Hellenes; faith is not a principle of honour, but only of love (Patroclos); the hero defies death; he does not overcome it, as we can say of the heroes of whom we have spoken. These are just the traits of true relationship which, in spite of all divergences of form, I find in Servian poetry. The fact alone that their heroic cycle groups itself around, not a victory, but a great defeat, the fatal battle of Kossovo, is of great significance; for the Servians have won victories enough and had been under Stephan Duschan a powerful State. Here, then, beyond question we find a special tendency of character, and we may with certainty conclude that the rich store of such poetical motives -- all referring to destruction, death, everlasting separation of lovers -- did not spring up only after that unfortunate battle and under the brutalising rule of Mohammedanism, but is an old legacy, exactly as the Fate of the Nibelungs, "aller Leid Ende," and not the Fortune of the Nibelungs, was the German legacy, and exactly as Celtic and Frankish poets neglected a hundred famous victors to sing of the obscure conquered Roland, and to let primitive poetical inspiration once more live through him, in a half-historical new youth. Such things tell their tale. And just as decisive is the peculiar way in which woman is represented among the Servians -- so delicate, brave and chaste -- also the very great part which poetry assigns to her. On the other hand, only a specialist can decide whether the two ravens that fly up over Kossovo at the end of the battle, to proclaim to the Servian people its downfall, are related to Wotan's ravens, or whether we have here a general Indo-Germanic motive, a relic of the nature myths, a case of borrowing, a coincidence. And so, too, in reference to a thousand details. But fortunately here, as everywhere, the element that is really important is manifest to every unbiased observer. In Russian poetry we seem to find little but legends, fairy tales and songs of the olden time; but here too the melancholy on the one hand and on the other the intimate relation to nature, particularly to the animal world (Bodenstedt; Poetische Ukraine), are unmistakably Germanic.

It is not my intention to carry this investigation further; want of space as well as my plan forbids me. Let criticism put to the test the truth of what unerring feeling will reveal to everyone who has the sense of poetry; that is the critic's duty. I must, however, mention the second manifestation of the soul-life by which the Germanic element in the Slav clearly reveals itself -- Religion.

In whatever direction we glance, we behold the Slav, especially in early times, distinguished by earnestness and independence in religious matters. And one of the principal features of this religiosity is the fact that it is saturated with patriotic feelings. As early as the ninth century, even before the parting between east and west had taken place for ever, we see the Bulgarians in the interest of questions of dogma maintaining equally friendly relations with Rome and with Constantinople. What they demand is solely the recognition of the independence of their Church; Rome refuses it, Byzantium grants it. And thus in the first half of the tenth century is founded the first Christian Church which has an independent constitution. [10] The immense importance of such an event must be immediately manifest to everyone. With Michael of Bulgaria it was no question of divergences of faith; he was a Christian, and ready to believe everything that the priests proclaimed as Christian truth. In his case it was solely a question of constitution; he wanted to see his Bulgarian Church managed by a Bulgarian Patriarch with complete independence; no Prince of the Church in Rome or Byzantium should interfere. This may seem to many to be merely an administrative question, but in reality it is the rising of the Germanic spirit of free individuality against the last incorporation of the imperium which was born of the chaos, and represented the anti-national, anti-individual and levelling principle. This is not the place to enter more fully into this subject; that can be done only in the two following chapters. But when we encounter the same process everywhere among the Slavs, we cannot deny its significance as a symptom to aid our judgment of their original character. No sooner had the Servians established their kingdom than they made for themselves an autonomous Church; and the great Czar Stephan Duschan defended his patriarch against the suzerain pretensions of the Byzantine Church and forced the latter to recognise him legally. There, too, it was not a matter of faith; for at that time (the middle of the fourteenth century) the schism between Rome and Constantinople was a fact of long standing and the Servians were already as they are to-day, fanatically orthodox members of the Greek Church; but just as the Bulgarians resisted the interference of Rome, so the Servians resisted that of Constantinople. The principle is the same -- the maintenance of nationality. The Russian Church certainly took much longer to free itself; indeed only long after the destruction of the Byzantine Empire did it do so. But Russia can only in a very qualified and un-Germanic sense be called a Slavonic land, and yet it and England are the only pre-eminent nations of modern Europe that possess an absolutely national Church with a national head. It is, further, a specially striking fact that the Slavs are the only Christians (with the exception of the Czechs, who are subject to German influence) who have never tolerated divine service in any language but their own! The great "Slavonic apostles" Cyrillus and Methodius had trouble on this account; though persecuted by the German prelates who clung to the" three sacred languages" (Greek, Latin, Hebrew), though denounced as heretics by the Roman Pope, they yet succeeded in gaining this point as a special right: the strictly Roman Catholic Slavs had also their Slavonic Mass, and even in the last years of the nineteenth century Rome had not succeeded in wresting this privilege from the Dalmatians. But all this forms only one side of Slavonic religion, the external (though hardly external in reality); the other side is still more striking. In Russia, in those parts where we find the greatest percentage of genuine Slavs (that is in Little Russia, the home of that beautiful poetry which I have alluded to above), there manifests itself to-day by the never-ceasing formation of sects an intensive inner religious life similar to that of Wurtemberg and Scandinavia. The relationship is striking. Of this in the so-called "Latin" countries there is no trace. It is in such matters that the inmost nature of the soul is reflected. And here, too, it is a question of a lasting quality, which asserted itself in every century despite all blood-mixtures. The extreme trouble experienced in converting the Slavs to Christianity is a testimony to their deeply religious nature: Italians and Gauls were the easiest to convert, Saxons could be won only by the power of the sword, but it took long years and fearful cruelties to make the Slavs give up the faith of their fathers. [11] The notorious persecutions of the heathen lasted, in fact, to the century of Gutenberg. Very characteristic is the attitude here also of those genuine, still almost pure Slavs in Bosnia and Herzogovina. At an earlier period the influential part of the nation adopted the doctrines of Bogumil (allied to those of the Catharists or Patarenes); that is, they rejected everything Jewish in Christianity and retained besides the New Testament only the Prophets and the Psalms, they recognised no sacraments and above all no priesthood. Though unceasingly opposed, oppressed and crushed from two sides simultaneously -- by the orthodox Servians and the Hungarians who obeyed every sign of the Roman Pope -- though they were thus the bloody victims of a double and continuous crusade, this little people nevertheless clung to its faith for centuries; the graves of the heroic followers of Bogumil still adorn the peaks of the hills, to which the corpses were borne to avoid the danger of desecration. It was the Mohammedans who, by forcible conversion, first did away with this sect. The same spirit, which animated a brave but ignorant people in a remote corner of the earth, in other places bore richer fruits, whereby the Slavonic branch distinguished itself just as much as the other branches of the Germanic family.


The most important event in the nineteen centuries that have passed is undoubtedly the so-called "Reformation"; at the bottom of it there is a double principle, a national and a religious; common to both is the freeing from the alien yoke, the shaking off of that "dead hand" of the extinct Roman Empire, which stretched not only over the goods and money, but also over the thoughts and feelings and faith and hope of humanity. Nowhere does the organic unity of Slavonic Germanicism manifest itself more convincingly than in this revolt against Rome. To understand this movement from the standpoint of national psychology, one must, to begin with, pay no attention to any dogmatic disputes concerning creed; it is not what people consider the truth in regard to the nature of the Communion that is important, it is a question solely of two directly contradictory principles, freedom and slavery. The greatest of the reformers points out that so far as he is concerned he is not contending for political rights, and he goes on to say, "but in spirit and conscience we are of all men the most independent: here we believe no one, trust no one, fear no one, but Christ alone." This signifies the freeing of the individual as well as of the nation. And when we have thus learned that the "Reformation" should be regarded not as a purely ecclesiastical affair but as a revolt of our whole nature against alien rule, of the Germanic soul against un-Germanic spiritual tyranny, we must at the same time admit that the "reform" began as soon as the Germanic peoples by culture and leisure had awakened to consciousness, and that this revolt still goes on. [12] Scotus Erigena (in the ninth century) is a reformer, since he refuses to obey the commands of Rome, and prefers to die by the dagger of the assassin than give up an iota of his "freedom of mind and conscience"; Abelard in the eleventh century is a reformer, since with all his orthodoxy he refuses to be deprived of the freedom of his religious conceptions and attacks in addition the administration of the Roman Church, the sale of indulgences, &c.; and in exactly the same way such lights of the Catholic Church as Dollinger and Reusch in the nineteenth century are reformers; not a single dogmatic question separated them from Rome, except the one question, freedom. In this momentous movement not only the Germanic peoples in the narrower sense of the word, not only the Celts, but also the Slavs distinguished themselves. What I said in the last paragraph about their refusing to permit alien interference in their Church administration, and their regarding the mother tongue as their most sacred legacy, should be repeated here; both signify the denial of the essential principles of Rome. But these endeavours were more deeply rooted; in the depth of their hearts it was a question of religion, not merely of nation. And as soon as the Reformation had gained a strong hold -- which happened first in distant England -- the Slavonic Catholics crowded to Oxford, drawn thither by the affinity of the most sacred feelings. It is quite certain that without the great Martin Luther the Reformation would never have become what it did -- our most modern historians may say what they like, nature knows no greater power than that of one great strong man -- but the soil on which this German could develop his full strength, the atmosphere in which alone his cause could prosper, were primarily the creations of Bohemia and of England. [13] Even a hundred years before the birth of Luther every third man in England was an anti-Papist, and Wyclif's translation of the Bible was known throughout the whole land. Bohemia did not lag behind; already in the thirteenth century the New Testament was read in the Czech language, and at the beginning of the fifteenth century Hus edited the complete Bible in the language of the people. But the most quickening influence was that of Wyclif; he was the first to open the eyes of the Slavs to evangelic truth, so that Hieronymus of Prague could say of him: "Hitherto we have had only the shell, Wyclif has revealed the kernel." [14] We get an altogether false idea of the Slavonic reformation if we direct attention principally to Hus and the Hussite wars; the predominance of political combinations, as well as of the enmity between Czechs and Germans from that time forth confused men's minds and obscured the pure object of their endeavour which at first had been so clear. Even a hundred years before Hus lived Milic, who, though an orthodox Catholic and disinclined by his interest in practical ministry to all speculation concerning dogma, invented the expression Antichrist for the Roman Church; in the prison at Rome he wrote his treatise, De Antichristo, in which he shows that the Antichrist will not come in the future, but is already there, he is heaping up "clerical" riches, buying prebends and selling sacraments. Mathias von Janow then expands this thought and thus paves the way for the real theological Reformation; he certainly champions the one sacred Church, but it must be thoroughly purified and built up anew: "It remains for us now only to wish that the Reformation may be made possible by the destruction of the Antichrist; let us raise our heads, for salvation is already near at hand!" (1389). He is followed by Stanislaus von Znaim, who defends before the University of Prague the forty-five theses of Wyclif; Hus, who makes a clear distinction between the "Apostolic" and the "Papal" and declares that he will obey the former, but the latter only in as far as it agrees with the Apostolic; Nikolaus von Welenowic, who denies the position of the priests as privileged intercessors with God; Hieronymus, that splendid knight and martyr, who moved even the indifferent Papal secretary Poggio, who was more interested in Hellenic literature than in Christianity and chiefly known as a collector and editor of obscene anecdotes, to utter the words, "O what a man, worthy of immortal fame!" And many others. Clearly we have not the achievement of a single, perhaps erratic mind in all this; on the contrary it is the soul of a nation -- at least everything that was genuine and noble in that people -- that expresses itself. It is well known what fate overcame this noble section, how it was wiped off the face of the earth. The Pope and the Roman bishops had bribed the army of international mercenaries, and from them it received its death-blow at the White Mountain. [15] Nor is it a question of a Czech idiosyncrasy; the other Catholic Slavs adopted exactly the same attitude. Thus, for example, the hymns of Wyclif were printed in the first Polish printing-press; Poland sent to the Council of Trent bishops whose sympathies were so distinctly Protestant that the Pope accused them before the king of being rabid heretics. But the Polish Parliament was not intimidated; it demanded from the King a complete reorganisation of the Polish Church upon the one basis of the Holy Scriptures. At the same time it demanded -- mirabile dictu! -- the "equal rights of all sects." The nobility of Poland and all the intellectual aristocracy were Protestant. But the Jesuits profited by the political confusion, which soon arose, to gain a firm footing in the land, and they were supported by France and Austria; the process was not "bloody and speedy," as Canisius had demanded, but the Protestants were nevertheless persecuted more and more cruelly and finally banished; with the downfall of its religion the Polish nation also fell. [16]

As these facts are not universally known, I have had to emphasise them in some detail, sufficiently, I hope, to pave the way for the conviction that the genuine Teuton, the genuine Celt, and the genuine Slav are originally and intimately related. At the moment when these races enter history, we do not find three ethnical souls side by side, but one uniform soul. Though the Celts have in many places, but not everywhere as I have shown above, undergone such physical changes by assimilating Virchow's hypothetical "Pre-Celts" and elements from the Latin chaos of peoples, that the so-called Celt of to-day is the very contrary of the original Celtic type; though a like fate may, to a still more regrettable degree, have overtaken the tall fair Slavs, who remind us of Norsemen, yet throughout the centuries we have seen the working of that distinct and thoroughly individual spirit, which I unhesitatingly call the Germanic, because the genuine Teuton, in the usual, limited sense of the word, in spite of all blood crossings, preserved this spirit in its purest and therefore most powerful form. This is not hair-splitting but a question of historical insight in the widest sense; I have no intention of putting down to the Germanic races, or indeed to the German, achievements which they did not accomplish, or of assigning to them fame which belongs to others. On the contrary, I wish to call to life again the feeling for the great northern brotherhood, and that, too, without binding myself to any racial or prehistoric hypothesis whatever, but solely by relying upon what is clear to every eye. I do not even postulate the blood-relationship; indeed I believe in it, but I am too well aware of the extreme complexity of this problem, I see too clearly that the true progress of science has here chiefly consisted in the discovery of our boundless ignorance and the inadequacy of all hypotheses hitherto formulated, to have any desire on my own part to continue building new castles in the air, when every genuine scientist is beginning to keep silence. "Everything is simpler than we can think, and at the same time more complicated than we can comprehend," as Goethe says. In the meantime we have met with relations in spirit, in sentiment and physical form: that may satisfy us. We have a definite something in hand, and since this something is not a definition, but consists of living men, I refer the reader to the study of the real Celts, Teutons and Slavs, that he may learn what is the true Germanic character.


I think I have now shown what is to be understood by the necessary extension of the idea; but in what does the limitation which I described as equally necessary consist? Here, too, the answer will be twofold, referring to physical qualities on the one hand, to intellectual on the other; but fundamentally these two things are really manifestations of the same thing.

The physical consideration must not be undervalued; indeed it would perhaps be difficult to over-estimate it. I have tried to show the reason, in the discussion of the race question in the previous chapter but one; besides this fact is one of those which mere instinct -- that thin silken thread of connection with the tissue of nature -- lets us directly feel, without learned proof. For just as the dissimilarity of human individuals can be read in their physiognomy, so the dissimilarity of human races can be read in the structure of their bones, the colour of their skin, their muscular system and the formation of their skull; there is perhaps not a single anatomical fact upon which race has not impressed its special distinguishing stamp. As is well known, even our nose, this organ of ours which has grown rigid and frostily motionless and which, according to certain followers of Darwin, is on the way to even greater monumentalisation by complete ossification -- even our nose, which in city life to-day is a dispenser of discomforts rather than of joys, a mere burdensome appendage, stands from the cradle to the grave in the centre of our countenance as a witness to our race! We must therefore, in the first place, strongly emphasise the fact that these North Europeans -- the Celts, Teutons and Slavs -- were physically different from the other Indo-Europeans, distinguished from the Southern Europeans in stature, "and like to themselves only," [17] but we must at once make the first limitation here, namely, that whoever does not possess these physical characteristics, no matter though he were born in the very heart of Germania speaking a Germanic tongue from childhood, cannot be regarded as genuinely Germanic. The importance of this physical motive power is easier to prove in the case of great national phenomena than in individuals, for it may happen that an especially gifted individual assimilates an alien culture and then, just because of his different nature, achieves something new and profitable; on the other hand, the particular value of race becomes clear as soon as it is a question of collective achievements, as I can impress at once upon the German reader when I tell him in the words of a recognised authority that "the privileged great statesmen and military leaders of the time of the founding of the new empire are mostly of the purest Germanic descent," like the "storm-tried seamen of the North Sea coast and the keen chamois-hunters of the Alps." [18] These are facts which should be pondered long and carefully. In their presence the senselessness of the well-known phrases of natural scientists, Parliamentarians, &c., concerning the equality of the human races [19] becomes so plain that one is almost ashamed of having listened to them even with one ear. They let us also see in what definitely conditional sense the well-known remark of that thorough Teuton, Paul de Lagarde, may claim validity, namely, that "Germanism does not lie in the blood, but in the mind." In the case of the individual, the mind may indeed rule the blood, and the idea conquer, but it is not so with the great mass. And in order to measure the importance of the physical element, as well as its limitation, one should remember further that that which may be called the Germanic idea is a very delicately constructed, many-jointed organism. One requires only to look at the Jewish idea by way of comparison, this infancy of art, the whole cunning of which lies in binding the human soul as tightly as Chinese ladies do their feet, the only difference being that these ladies can no longer move about, whereas a half-throttled soul is easier to carry and causes the busied body less trouble than a fully developed one, laden with its dreams. In consequence of this it is comparatively easy "to become a Jew," difficult, on the contrary, almost to the verge of impossibility "to become Germanic"; here as everywhere the power of the idea is supreme; but one should guard against following a true principle so far as to overlook the connection of natural phenomena. The richer the mind, the more closely and manifoldly is it connected with the substructure of a definitely formed blood. It is self-evident that in the unfolding of human qualities, the further their development has advanced, the higher must the differentiation in the physical substratum of our mental life have become, and the more and more delicate its tissues. Thus we saw in the former chapter how the noble Amorite disappeared from the world: by fusion with unrelated races his physiognomy was, as it were, wiped away, his gigantic form shrunk together, his spirit fled: the simple homo syriacus is, on the other hand, the same to-day as he was a thousand years ago and the mongrel Semite has to his perpetual contentment come out of the mixture in the crystallised form of the "Jew." The same has happened everywhere. What a magnificent people the Spaniards were! For centuries the West Goths were strictly forbidden to marry "Romans" (as the rest of the inhabitants were called), whereby a feeling of race nobility was developed, which long prevented mixing even at a time when such a fusion of the population was desired and enforced by the authorities; but gradually ever deeper and deeper breaches were made in the dam, and after mingling with Iberians, with the numerous remnants of the Roman chaos of peoples, with Africans of the most various origin, with Arabs and Jews, they lost all that the Germanic people had brought with them: their military superiority, their unconditional loyalty (see Calderon!), their high religious ideal, their capacity for organising, their rich artistic creative power; we see to-day what remained over, when the Germanic "blood," as the physical substratum, was destroyed. [20] Let us therefore not be in too great a hurry to assert that Germanicism does not lie in blood; it does lie in it; not in the sense that this blood guarantees Germanic sentiment and capacity, but that it makes these possible.

This limitation is therefore a very clear one: as a rule that man only is Germanic who is descended from Germanic ancestors.

I must, however, immediately call attention to the necessity of the previous extension of the idea, in order that this limitation may be intelligibly applied. Otherwise we must arrive at such comical conclusions as even Henke is guilty of in the pamphlet already quoted, when he says that Luther was not genuinely Germanic or that the Swabians, who are rightly regarded in the whole world as the finest representatives of pure Germanicism, are likewise not genuinely Germanic! A man whose descent and countenance prove him to be the product of a mixture of genuine German and genuine Slavonic blood, as Henke demonstrates in Luther's case, is genuinely Germanic, the child of a fortunate union; the same can be said of the Swabians, in whose case a close union of Celts and Germans has taken place and laid the foundation of rich poetical powers and remarkable strength of character. I have already spoken of the great advantages of crossing between nearly related peoples (chap. iv., pp. 277-283); this law proved its validity everywhere in the case of the Teutons: among the French, where the most manifold crossings of Germanic types produced a superabundance of rich talents, and where even to-day, in consequence of the existence of many centres of the most diverse pure race cultures, rich life manifests itself, among the English, the Saxons, the Prussians, &c. Treitschke calls attention to the fact that the "State-building power of Germany" has never lain in the pure German stems. "The true pioneers and promoters of culture in Germany were in the Middle Ages the South Germans, who are mixed with Celtic elements; in modern history it is the North Germans who are mixed with Slavs. [21] These results are at the same time a proof of the close relationship of the North Europeans, that human type which we can with Lapouge and Linnaeus call the homo europaeus, but better and more simply the Teuton. Now and only now we learn how in reference to ourselves we should distinguish between crossing and crossing. By crossing with each other Germanic peoples suffer no harm -- rather the reverse; but when they cross with aliens they gradually deteriorate.
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Re: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

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Part 2 of 4


But this limitation, which is so clear in the general definition, is unfortunately very difficult to apply in individual cases. For it will be asked: By what physical characteristics can one recognise the Teuton? Is, for example, fairness really a characteristic feature of all Germanic peoples? This seems to form a fundamental dogma, not only for the old historians, but also for the most modern anthropologists, and yet certain facts make me doubt it very much. In the first place there is the fact, which naturally is ignored by Virchow and his colleagues, blinded as they are by political prejudice; I mean the prevalence of dark colour among the members of the most genuine old Germanic nobility. In England this is quite striking. Tall, spare-built figures, long skulls, long countenances, the well-known Moltke type with the large nose and the clean-cut profile (which Henke too considers characteristically "pure Germanic"), genealogies which go back to the Norman period, in short, beyond doubt genuine Teutons in physique and history -- but black hair. Eckermann was struck by the brown eyes of Wellington. [22] In Germany I have noted the same in various families of old hereditary nobility. Moreover it has appeared to me remarkable that poets from the extreme north of Germany pretty frequently speak of dark hair as a characteristic feature not only of the nobility but also of the people; thus, for example, in Theodor Storm's story, Hans und Heinz Kirch, those genuine defiant Germanic seamen have both "dark brown hair," and of another daring figure, Hasselfritz, the poet says that he has brown eyes and brown hair; those genuine Teutons therefore resemble Achilles with his "brown hair." How often, too, in the folksongs do "dark brown eyes" occur! Burns, too, the Scottish peasant-poet, loves the "nut-brown maidens" of his home. [23] Once while on a voyage in Norway north of the 70th degree I was driven out of my course to a group of islands rarely visited by strangers, and to my astonishment I found among the fair fishing population individuals who corresponded exactly to that type: remarkably finely built men with noble, imposing Viking physiognomy, and in addition almost raven-black hair. Later I met this type in the south-east of Europe, in the German colonies of Slavonia, which, settled there for centuries, have kept their German race stainlessly pure amid the Slavs: the figure, the Moltke type (or, as the English say, the Wellington type), and the black hair distinguish these people from their neighbours, who are chiefly fair and have more or less expressionless countenances. However, we do not require to go so far; we find this type almost the predominant one in German Tyrol, whose inhabitants Henke says "represent the true type of the primeval Teuton." The same scholar explains their having, for the most part, dark and often black hair by the fact that the "sun has burned them black," and is of opinion that colour is "the quality which changes most easily with time." But Virchow's researches had long ago proved the opposite (see p. 385) and we might answer this assertion with a question, Why was David fair? Why did the Jews take from the Amorites a certain tendency to auburn hair and nothing more? What sun has darkened the hair of the English nobility and of the Norwegian in the far north, where the sun is not seen for months? No, certainly we have here to deal with other conditions, which must first be cleared up physiologically, for, so far as I am aware, it has not yet been done. [24] Just as certain red flowers at certain places or under the influence of conditions which are hidden from human observation grow up blue in colour (sometimes red and blue on the same stem), and black animal species sometimes produce white varieties, so it is not unthinkable that the colour of the hair in a certain human type is as a rule light, but may under certain conditions incline to the opposite extreme of the colour scale. What is decisive in this case is that we find this dark hair in individuals whose genuine Germanic origin is established beyond doubt, not only in the wider but also in the narrower Tacitean sense of the word, and moreover confirmed by their whole outward and inner personality. However, as soon as we look around, we see this very type -- tall, spare-built, long-skulled, with Moltke physiognomy, and a "Germanic nature" on the southern slopes of the Maritime Alps, for example; we need only go from Cannes and Nice, peopled with the descendants of the chaos, two hours northwards to more remote parts of the mountains: here, too, one finds the black hair. Are they Celts? Are they Goths? Are they Langobardians? I do not know: they are at any rate brothers of the races just named. In the mountains of Northern Italy one finds them also, alternating with the small, round-skulled un-Aryan homo alpinus. Regarding the Celts, Virchow has already said that he is "not disinclined to suppose that the original Celtic population was not fair-Aryan but brown-Aryan," and armed with this daring "inclination to suppose" he declares all dark hair to be a sign of an admixture of Celtic blood. But the ancients describe the original Celts as strikingly fair and "red-haired," and we can still see them with our own eyes, in Scotland and Wales; this hypothesis stands therefore on but one leg, that the Celts, besides being fair, may also be brown -- or rather dark-haired, which is not quite the same thing -- and among the pure Celts we can find proofs enough of this. We have therefore here exactly the same phenomenon as in the case of the Germanic peoples. Of the Slavs I can only say one thing, that Virchow declares them to have been "originally fair." But not only were they fair, they still are so; we only need to let a Bosnian regiment file past to be convinced of it. The map showing the result of Virchow's investigations in the case of school children proves that the whole of Posen, as well as Silesia east of the Elbe, shows the same small percentage of dark people (10-15 per cent) as the countries that lie farther to the west; the greatest percentage of brown people is found in districts which never a Slav entered, namely, Switzerland, Alsace, and the old German Salzkammergut. Whether or not there are genuine Slavs in whom black hair occurs, I do not know.

From these facts one can draw the irrefutable conclusion that fair hair cannot be arbitrarily assigned to the Teuton, as is so often done; the most genuine sons of this race may be black-haired. The presence of fair hair will certainly always allow us to conjecture Germanic blood (in the wide sense of the term), even though it be a very distant admixture, but the absence of light colour does not justify the opposite conclusion. One must therefore be careful in the application of this limitation; the hair alone is not a sufficient criterion, the other physical characteristics must also be taken into consideration.


This brings us to the further, equally difficult question: that of the form of skull. Here it appears as if a boundary could and must be drawn. For, however complex matters are to-day, in old times they were very simple: the old Germanic peoples of Tacitus, as well as the Slavs, were for the most part distinctly long-skulled; the long skull and the long face beneath it are such unmistakable marks of race that one may well ask whether he who does not possess them may be regarded as belonging to the race. In the Germanic graves of the time of the Migrations one finds half of the skulls long, that is, with a breadth which stands to the length in the relation of 75 (or less) to 100, and with few exceptions the rest of the skulls come near to this artificially chosen proportion; real round skulls (see p. 374) hardly occur at all. In the old Slavonic graves the proportion is still more in favour of the extremely long skulls. Little is known regarding the old Celts; but the tendency to long skulls among the Gaels of North Scotland and the Cymbrians of Wales also lends support to the same supposition in their case. [25] Since then this has changed very much, at least in many countries. It is not so up in the north, in Scandinavia, in Northern Germany (excluding the towns) and in England; on the contrary, the long skulls seem more prevalent in Denmark than among the Germanic peoples of the time of the Migrations: there there are 60 long skulls to the hundred, only six genuine and short ones. But the Slavs of Russia show (according to Kollman) scarcely three long skulls to the hundred, but 72 short skulls and the remainder incline to be short. And the old Bavarians! Johannes Ranke found by measuring the skulls of 1000 living individuals that only one in a hundred possessed the old Germanic skull, while 95 had genuine short skulls! Measurements of the Hellenic skulls of the Classical age and of to-day have produced similar results, but even in the case of the former the middle form of head was predominant; yet a third of them had long skulls, and in their graves fewer genuine short skulls are found than in Germanic graves; to-day, however, more than half are short skulls. That in these phenomena we see the effects of the infiltration of an Un-Germanic race, a race which does not belong at all to the Indo-European circle, but to the raceless chaos, can scarcely be doubted. Much trouble has been taken to sweep aside this conclusion. For instance, Kollmann (Professor in Basle) has sought to emphasise the countenance rather than the skull and to make the distinction one between long faces and short ones; [26] Johannes Ranke took up the idea and constructed as the specifically Germanic type a long face under a short skull; Henke again would fain believe that there has here been a gradual development, by which the length of the front of the head has increased rather than decreased, while the back has become shorter and shorter; that in consequence the long skull is still present in the case of the Germanic peoples with short skulls, only that it is concealed, &c. But however worthy of consideration all these views may be, the fact still remains that the Germanic peoples, wherever they have not crossed with others or only to a small extent, as in the north, are long-skulled and fair (or, it may be, dark) while this character disappears, first, the nearer one comes to the Alps, secondly, wherever it has been historically proved that there was much crossing with races from the south or with degenerate Celto-Germanic or Slavo-Germanic races.

Naturally the crossings known to history had the quickest influence (Italy, Spain, Southern France, &c., are well-known examples); but besides these mixtures -- and where they did not occur this was the sole influence -- there was another factor at work, namely, the existence of one or perhaps several prehistoric races, who never (or only indefinitely) appeared in history as races, and who, standing on a lower stage of civilisation, were at an early time conquered and assimilated by the various branches of the Indo-Germanic peoples. This, perhaps, contributes even at the present day to the process of ungermanising. For example, Wilhelm von Humboldt supposed that formerly the Iberians were spread over Europe, and this view has lately been championed by Hommel and others. Even though only a small portion saved itself by fleeing to the extreme west, the home of the Basques to-day, and though the majority of the men died perhaps by the sword of the enemy, yet one seldom finds complete extinction of the poor and helpless; they are kept as slaves, and the women become the property of the victors. In the Alps the same or perhaps a different race, but at any rate an Un-Germanic and non-Indo-European one had its abode, or at least fled thither as to a last place of security; one is forced to this supposition by the fact that to-day the Alps are the centre of the Un-Germanic, short-skulled, dark type, and that from here they radiate to north and south; the Rhaetian race, which anthropology has shown to be distinct, is perhaps a fairly genuine remnant of those former lake-dwellers and perhaps identical with Virchow's pre-Celts. In the wide districts of Eastern Europe we must also presuppose a special, probably Mongoloid race, to account for the specific deformation which so rapidly transforms the majority of the Germanic Slavs into inferior "Slavonics." How could we then bring ourselves to regard those Europeans who are descended from this altogether Un-Germanic type as "Germanic," simply because they speak an Indo-European language and have assimilated Indo-European culture? I consider it, on the contrary, a most important duty to make a clear distinction here, if we wish to understand past and present history. It is by distinguishing between peoples that we come to recognise the ideas in their special individuality. This is all the more necessary, as we have among us men who are half, a quarter, or perhaps a sixth Germanic, &c., and in consequence we have a mass of ideas and ways of thinking which are Germanic to the extent of a half, a fourth, a sixth, &c., or on the other hand are directly Anti-Germanic. And only by practice in distinguishing between the pure Germanic and the absolutely Un-Germanic can we find our way out of the confusion of this growing chaos. Chaos is everywhere the most dangerous enemy. In facing it thought must develop into action; towards this, clearness of conception is the first necessary step; and in the sphere in which we are at present, clearness consists in the recognition that Germanicism to-day contains a large number of Un-Germanic elements, and in the endeavour to separate what is pure from that which contains alien, and in no sense Germanic, ingredients.

Yet, justifiable as it may be to emphasise anatomical research, I am afraid that anatomy alone will not suffice here; on the contrary, it is just on this point that science is at present like a helpless barque tossing to and fro on a troubled sea; whoever is led away by its illusions is doomed sooner or later to sink. For that which I have just demonstrated concerning the various races who survived in Europe from pre-Aryan times, the Iberians, Rhaetians, &c., although indeed essentially correct, represents only the most elementary simplification of the innumerable hypotheses which, at the present moment, are afloat in the air, and every day the matter becomes more complicated, Thus -- to give the layman only one example -- long and careful researches have led to the conclusion that in Scotland, in the earliest stone age, there existed a long-skulled race, but that in the stone age there appeared another exceedingly broad-headed race, which after fusion with the former and with mixed forms was typical of the bronze age; all this took place in the remote past, long before the arrival of the Celts; when these appeared as the vanguard of the Germanic peoples, it can scarcely be doubted that they underwent changes through contact with the race settled there before them, since even to-day, after so many and so strong waves of immigration have swept over that land, we find in many individuals characteristics which, an authority tells us, point back directly and unmistakably to that prehistoric race of the bronze age which sprang from the mixing of long skulls and short ones! [27] Now how can we estimate anatomically the craniological influence of such long-settled races upon the Germanic peoples, if they themselves already possessed long skulls, short skulls, and skulls that are between the two? And why is it that to-day only the short skulls tend to increase? But here again come other men of science who sing a different song: some authorities hold that we have no strong reason for believing in the immigration of the Indo-European. It is their opinion that he was already there in the stone age, was even then distinguished by his long skull from another short-skulled race, and struggled with it for the mastery; that this long-skull of the stone age was no other than the Germanic individual! Virchow's view, based upon anatomical material, is, that even the oldest Troglodytes of Europe might have been of Aryan descent, at least that no one could prove the contrary. [28] But with the younger school such cautious and hesitating judgments find no favour; under the pretext of strictly scientific simplification they wave aloft the standard of the chaos and degrade the whole history of humanity as lies. These modern theories have been most clearly expressed by Professor Kollmann. He reduces all the peoples living in Europe to four types: long skulls with long faces, long skulls with short faces, short skulls with short faces, and short skulls with long faces; these four races he supposes to have lived with and beside each other for centuries and to do so still. And now comes the devil's hoof: all that history teaches us about the migrations, nationalities, mental differences, great creative works of art, which were executed solely by single national individualities and at best merely taken over by others, and about the war still waged among us between those elements that advance and those that retard culture ... all this is put aside as rubbish and we are called upon to believe the following dogma: "The development of culture is manifestly the common achievement of all these types. All European races, so far as we have penetrated into the secret of the nature of race, are equally gifted for every task of culture." [29] Equally gifted? One can scarcely believe one's eyes! "Equally gifted" for "every" task! I shall have to return to this point soon; I did not wish to leave the question of craniometry without having pointed out, first, how difficult it is here, too, to separate the Germanic from the non-Germanic by formulas, by the compass and the ruler; secondly, upon what a dangerous path these worthies take us, when they suddenly interrupt their discussion of "chameprosopic, platyrrhinous, mesoconchic, prognathic, proophryocephalous, ooidic, brachyklitometopic, hypsistegobregmatic Dolichocephali" in order to link on to it general remarks about history and culture. The layman understands little or nothing of the remainder; he wades hopelessly about in this barbaric jargon of neo-scholastic natural science; only the one point is printed in all the newspapers of Europe as the visible result of such a congress: that the most learned gentlemen in Europe have solemnly protocolled the fact that all the races bear an equal share in the development of culture; there never have been Greeks, Romans, Germanic peoples, Jews, but from time immemorial there have lived peacefully side by side or, it may be, devouring each other, leptoprosopic Dolichocephali, chameprosopic Dolichocephali, leptoprosopic Brachycephali and chameprosopic Brachycephali, "all working unitedly at the furtherance of culture" (sic!). It provokes a smile! But crimes against history are really too serious to be punished merely by being laughed at; the sound common sense of all intelligent men must step vigorously in and put a stop to this: we must say to these worthies, "Cobbler, stick to your last!" [30]

How utterly unscientific such a proceeding as that of Kollmann must be is quite manifest. Far-reaching simplification is a law of artistic creating, but not a law of nature; the characteristic thing here is rather endless complexity. What should we say of a botanist who wished to class plants in families according to the length and breadth of their leaves, or according to any other one characteristic? Kollmann's method is a retrograde step as compared with old Theophrastus. As long as men attempted artificial classifications, the systematic knowledge of the plant world did not advance one step; but then came men of genius of the nature of Ray, Jussieu, De Candolle, who by observation united to creative intuition established the chief families of plants and only then discovered the characteristics -- mostly very concealed ones -- which enabled us to demonstrate the relationship anatomically as well. The same is true of the animal world. All other procedure is absolutely artificial and consequently mere fooling. And hence in the case of man we cannot, as Kollmann does, build up at the anatomist's bidding a system into which facts then have to be fitted as well as may be; we must ascertain precisely what groups actually exist as individualised, morally and intellectually distinguishable races, and then see whether there are any anatomical characteristics which will aid us in classification.


This digression into the sphere of anatomical science has had the one good result of revealing to us how little sure help and how little useful or practical instruction we may expect from that source. We are either walking upon sandy and shifting ground or in a quagmire, where we sink at the first step and stick fast, or we must spring from point to point on the exceedingly sharp edges of dogma and at any moment fall into the abyss. The digression has moreover positive advantages: it enriches the material of our knowledge and teaches us to see more clearly. Both history and daily observation teach us that the races are not equally gifted, any more than individuals are; and anthropology shows us further (in spite of Professor Kollmann) that in the case of races which have achieved certain results, a definite physical conformation predominates. The mistake lies in operating with haphazard numbers of objects of comparison and in measuring according to arbitrarily chosen relations. Thus, for example, it is considered a fixed rule that as soon as the breadth of a skull bears the relation of 75:100 or less, then it is "dolichocephalous," with 76 or even 75-1/4 it is "mesocephalous" and from 80 onwards "brachycephalous." Who is the authority? Why should there be a special magic in the number 75? Any other magic than that of my own convenience and laziness? I understand quite well that we cannot get on in daily practice without termini technici and limitations, but what I cannot understand is that they should be taken for anything but arbitrary limits and arbitrary words. [31] This applies to the high and low countenances just as well as to the long and short skulls; everywhere it is a question of relations which merge by degrees into each other. But it is the nature of life to be plastically mutable; the living principle of creation is fundamentally different from the crystalline principle in this, that it does not shape according to unchangeable relations of numbers but that it in a way freely creates, while observing the harmony of parts and retaining the fundamental scheme which is given by the nature of the thing itself. No two individuals are like each other. To survey the physical structure of a race at any given moment, I should require to have before me all the representatives of that race and seek out in this crowd the uniform and uniting idea, the predominant specific tendency of physical conformation, which is peculiar to this race as race; I should see it with my eyes. If I had had, say at the time of Tacitus, all the Germanic peoples before my eyes: the still unmixed Celts, the Teutons and the Germanic Slavs, I should certainly have seen a harmonious whole, in which a certain law of structure predominated, and round it the most manifold and varying conformations would have grouped themselves. Probably there would not have been a single individual who united in himself all the specific characteristics of this plastic idea of race (in the way in which it would have appeared to my thinking brain) in the highest potentiality and in perfect harmony: the great radiant heavenly eyes, the golden hair, the gigantic stature, the symmetrical muscular development, the lengthened skull (which an ever-active brain, tortured by longing, had changed from the round lines of animal contentedness and extended towards the front), the lofty countenance, required by an elevated spiritual life as the seat of its expression -- certainly no single individual would have possessed all these features. Were one feature perfect the other would be merely indicated. Here and there, too, nature, which is ever experimenting and never repeating itself, would have broken the law of harmony, an overgrown giant would swing his club over dull eyes, under too long a skull would be seen a face proportionately too short, glorious eyes would beam from beneath a fine lofty forehead, but in comparison, the body would be strikingly small, &c. &c., ad infinitum. In other groups again secret laws of the correlation of growth must have manifested themselves; here, for example, families with black hair, but at the same time with particularly large daring aquiline noses and more slender build, there red hair with remarkably white freckled skin and countenance somewhat broader in the upper part ... for the slightest change in the conformation causes other changes. Still more numerous must those figures have been from which in their average commonplaceness no specific law of structure could have been derived, if they had not appeared as portions of a large whole, in which their place was definitely fixed, so that we could see from the way in which they fitted in that organically they did belong to it. Darwin himself, who worked all his life with compass, ruler and weighing machine, is always in his studies on artificial breeding calling attention to the fact that the eye of the born and experienced breeder discovers things of which figures give not the slightest confirmation, and which the breeder himself can hardly ever express in words; he notices that this and that distinguishes the one organism from the other, and makes his selection for breeding accordingly; this is an intuition born of ceaseless observation. This power of observation we can acquire only by practice; the survey of the Germanic peoples in the time of Tacitus would have served our purpose. We should certainly not have found that in the case of all these men the breadth of the head bore to the length the proportion of 75:100; nature knows no such limitations; in the unlimited complexity of all thinkable intermediate forms, as well as of forms of greater development towards this or that extreme, we should probably here and there have encountered distinct brachycephali; discoveries in graves make it probable, and why should the plasticity of creative powers not have brought it about? We should, moreover, not have seen nothing but "giants" and be able to say that he who did not exceed six feet high was not Germanic: on the other hand, we might quite well have made the seemingly paradoxical statement, that the small men of this group are tall, for they belong to a tall race, and for the same reason those short skulls are long; if we look more closely we shall soon see that outwardly and inwardly they have specific characteristics of the Germanic people. The hieroglyphs of nature's language are in fact not so logically mathematical, so mechanically explicable as many an investigator likes to fancy. Life is needed to understand life. And here a fact occurs to me which I have received from various sources, viz., that very small children, especially girls, frequently have quite a marked instinct for race. It frequently happens that children who have no conception of what "Jew" means, or that there is any such thing in the world, begin to cry as soon as a genuine Jew or Jewess comes near them! The learned can frequently not tell a Jew from a non-Jew; the child that scarcely knows how to speak notices the difference. Is not that something? To me it seems worth as much as a whole anthropological congress or at least a whole speech of Professor Kollmann. There is still something in the world besides compass and yard-measure. Where the learned fails with his artificial constructions, one single unbiased glance can illuminate the truth like a sunbeam.

Und was kein Verstand der Verstandigen siebt.
Das ubet in Einfit ein kindlich Gemut.
[Google translate: And no understanding of what the seventh Verstandigen.
The Einfit UBET in a childlike Gemut.]

We shall not interfere with the craniologists any longer than is necessary; however, we shall not despise the material collected by their diligence: it will be a valuable addition to our knowledge of what is Germanic and an earnest warning in regard to the intrusion amongst us of that which is non-Germanic.

The very necessary limitation of the name "Germanic" to those who are really Teutons or at least have much Germanic blood in their veins can therefore never be carried out with mathematical exactness, but will always require, as it were, the eye of the breeder and the eye of the child. Much knowledge must, of course, be useful, but seeing and feeling is still more indispensable. And with this we transfer our investigation into the necessary limitation of the word "Germanic" to the mental element, in which history teaches us on every hand to separate the Germanic from the non-Germanic, and at the same time thereby to recognise the physical element and value it at its true worth.



The science of physiognomy, which is at once spirit and body, mirror of the soul and anatomical "factum," next claims our attention. Look, for example, at the countenance of Dante Alighieri; we shall learn as much from it as from his poems. [32] That is a characteristically Germanic countenance! Not a feature in it reminds us of any Hellenic or Roman type, much less of any of the Asiatic or African physiognomies which the Pyramids have faithfully preserved. A new being has entered into the history of the world! Nature in the fulness of her power has produced a new soul: look at it, here she reflects herself in a countenance such as never was seen before! "Above the mental hurricane expressed in the countenance rose nobly the peaceful brow arching like a marble dome." [33] Yes, yes, Balzac is right. Hurricane and marble dome! If he had only told us that Dante was a leptoprosopic Dolichocephalous, we should not have been much wiser. At any rate we shall never find a second Dante, but a walk through the collection of busts in the Berlin Museum will convince us how firmly established this type was in Northern Italy, which had been thoroughly germanised by Goths, Langobards and Franks. To this day we see the closest unmistakable physiognomical relationship in the German Tyrolese mentioned above, as also in Norway, and individual kindred features wherever genuine Teutons are to be found. However, if we look at the greatest Germanic men, we shall not find one but numerous physiognomic conformations; the daring powerfully curved nose predominates; we find, however, all thinkable combinations, even to that powerful head which in every particular is the very opposite of Dante's and by this very fact betrays the intimate relationship: I mean the head of Martin Luther.


Here the hurricane, of which Balzac spoke, embraces forehead, eyes and nose, no marble dome is arched above it; but this flaming volcano of energy and thoughtfulness rests upon mouth and chin as upon a rock of granite. Even the smallest feature of the powerful face testifies to energy and thirst for achievement; when one looks at this countenance the words of Dante rise to one's memory

Cola dove si puote
Cio che si vuole.

This man can do what he wills and his whole will is directed to great deeds: in this head there is no studying for mere learning's sake, but to find out truth, truth for life; the man does not sing to charm the ear, but because song elevates and strengthens the heart; he could not, like Dante, have lived proudly apart and unknown, trusting his fame to future generations -- what does such a countenance care for fame? "Love is the pulse-beat of our life," he said. And where love is strong, there too there is strong hatred. It is absolutely false to say, as Henke does, that such a countenance represents the North German Slavonic type. [34] So mighty a personality towers high above such specifications; it shows us the outward expression of one of the astonishingly rich possibilities of development of the Germanic spirit in its highest and richest form. Luther's countenance, like Dante's, belongs to all Germanic peoples. One finds this type in England, where no Slav ever made his abode; one meets it also among the most active politicians of France. One can picture to oneself this man fifteen hundred years ago, on horse-back, swinging his battle-axe to protect his beloved northern home, and then again at his own fireside with his children crowding round him, or at the banquet of the men, draining the horn of mead to the last drop and singing heroic songs in praise of his ancestors. Dante and Luther are the extremes of the rich physiognomical scale of great Germanic men. As Tacitus said: they resemble themselves alone. But every attempt to localise the type, to the north or to the south, to the Celtic west or the Slavonic east, is manifestly futile, futile at least when one looks especially at the more important and therefore more characteristic men, and disregards the chance details of habit, especially of the manner of wearing the beard. Goethe, for example, might be the child of any Germanic stem judging by the cast of his face, as might also Johann Sebastian Bach and Immanuel Kant.


Let us attempt a glance into the depths of the soul. What are the specific intellectual and moral characteristics of this Germanic race? Certain anthropologists would fain teach us that all races are equally gifted; we point to history and answer: that is a lie! The races of mankind are markedly different in the nature and also in the extent of their gifts, and the Germanic races belong to the most highly gifted group, the group usually termed Aryan. Is this human family united and uniform by bonds of blood? Do these stems really all spring from the same root? I do not know and I do not much care; no affinity binds more closely than elective affinity, and in this sense the Indo-European Aryans certainly form a family. In his Politics Aristotle writes (i. 5): "If there were men who in physical stature alone were so pre-eminent as the representatives of the Gods, then everyone would admit that other men by right must be subject unto them. If this, however, is true in reference to the body, then there is still greater justification for distinguishing between pre-eminent and commonplace souls." Physically and mentally the Aryans are pre-eminent among all peoples; for that reason they are by right, as the Stagirite expresses it, the lords of the world. Aristotle puts the matter still more concisely when he says, "Some men are by nature free, others slaves"; this perfectly expresses the moral aspect. For freedom is by no means an abstract thing, to which every human being has fundamentally a claim; a right to freedom must evidently depend upon capacity for it, and this again presupposes physical and intellectual power. One may make the assertion, that even the mere conception of freedom is quite unknown to most men. Do we not see the homo syriacus develop just as well and as happily in the position of slave as of master? Do the Chinese not show us another example of the same nature? Do not all historians tell us that the Semites and half-semites, in spite of their great intelligence, never succeeded in founding a State that lasted, and that because everyone always endeavoured to grasp all power for himself, thus showing that their capabilities were limited to despotism and anarchy, the two opposites of freedom? [35] And here we see at once what great gifts a man must have in order that one may say of him, he is "by nature free," for the first condition of this is the power of creating. Only a State-building race can be free; the gifts which make the individual an artist and philosopher are essentially the same as those which, spread through the whole mass as instinct, found States and give to the individual that which hitherto had remained unknown to all nature: the idea of freedom. As soon as we understand this, the near affinity of the Germanic peoples to the Greeks and Romans strikes us, and at the same time we recognise what separates them. In the case of the Greeks the individualistic creative character predominates, even in the forming of constitutions; in the case of the Romans it is communistic legislation and military authority that predominate; the Germanic races, on the other hand, have individually and collectively perhaps less creative power, but they possess a harmony of qualities, maintaining the balance between the instinct of individual freedom, which finds its highest expression in creative art, [36] and the instinct of public freedom which creates the State; and in this way they prove themselves to be the equals of their great predecessors. Art more perfect in its creations, so far as form is concerned, there may have been, but no art has ever been more powerful in its creations than that which includes the whole range of things human between the winged pen of Shakespeare and the etching-tool of Albrecht Durer, and which in its own special language -- music -- penetrates deeper into the heart than any previous attempt to create immortality out of that which is mortal -- to transform matter into spirit. And in the meantime the European States, founded by Germanic peoples, in spite of their, so to speak, improvised, always provisional and changeable character -- or rather perhaps thanks to this character -- proved themselves to be the most enduring as well as the most powerful in the world. In spite of all storms of war, in spite of the deceptions of that ancestral enemy, the chaos of peoples, which carried its poison into the very heart of our nation, Freedom and its correlative, the State, remained, through all the ages the creating and saving ideal, even though the balance between the two often seemed to be upset: we recognise that more clearly to-day than ever.

In order that this might be so, that fundamental and common "Aryan" capacity of free creative power had to be supplemented by another quality, the incomparable and altogether peculiar Germanic loyalty (Treue). If that intellectual and physical development which leads to the idea of freedom and which produces on the one hand art, philosophy, science, on the other constitutions (as well as all the phenomena of culture which this word implies), is common to the Hellenes and Romans as well as to the Germanic peoples, so also is the extravagant conception of loyalty a specific characteristic of the Teuton. As the venerable Johann Fischart sings:

Standhaft und treu, und treu und standhaft.
Die machen ein recht teutsch Verwandtschaft!
[Google translate: Steadfast and loyal, and true and faithful.
Claiming a right teutsch relationship!]

Julius Caesar at once recognised not only the military prowess but also the unexampled loyalty of the Teutons and hired from among them as many cavalrymen as he could possibly get. In the battle of Pharsalus, which was so decisive for the history of the world, they fought for him; the Romanised Gauls had abandoned their commander in the hour of need, the Germanic troops proved themselves as faithful as they were brave. This loyalty to a master chosen of their own free will is the most prominent feature in the Germanic character; from it we can tell whether pure Germanic blood flows in the veins or not. The German mercenary troops have often been made the object of ridicule, but it is in them that the genuine costly metal of this race reveals itself. The very first autocratic Emperor, Augustus, formed his personal bodyguard of Teutons; where else could he have found unconditional loyalty? During the whole time that the Roman Empire in the east and the west lasted, this same post of honour was filled by the same people, but they were always brought from farther and farther north, because with the so-called "Latin culture" the plague of disloyalty had crept more deeply into the country; finally, a thousand years after Augustus, we find Anglo-Saxons and Normans in this post, standing on guard around the throne of Byzantium. Hapless Germanic Lifeguardsman! Of the political principles, which forcibly held together the chaotic world in a semblance of order, he understood just as little as he did of the quarrels concerning the nature of the Trinity, which cost him many a drop of blood: but one thing he understood: to be loyal to the master he had himself chosen. When in the time of Nero the Frisian delegates left the back seats which had been assigned to them in the Circus and proudly sat down on the front benches of the senators among the richly adorned foreign delegates, what was it that gave these poor men, who came to Rome to beg for land to cultivate, such a bold spirit of independence? Of what alone could they boast? "That no one in the world surpassed the Teuton in loyalty." [37] Karl Lamprecht has written so beautifully about this great fundamental characteristic of loyalty in its historical significance that I should reproach myself if I did not quote him here. He has just spoken of the "retainers" who in the old German State pledge themselves to their chief to be true unto death and prove so, and then he adds: "In the formation of this body of retainers we see one of the most magnificent features of the specifically Germanic view of life, the feature of loyalty. Not understood by the Roman but indispensable to the Teuton, the need of loyalty existed even at that time, that ever-recurring German need of closest personal attachment, of complete devotion to each other, perfect community of hopes, efforts and destinies. Loyalty never was to our ancestors a special virtue, it was the breath of life of everything good and great; upon it rested the feudal State of the Early and the co-operative system of the Later Middle Ages, and who could conceive the military monarchy of the present day without loyalty? ... Not only were songs sung about loyalty, men lived in it. The retinue of the King of the Franks, the courtiers of the great Karolingians, the civil and military ministers of our mediaeval Emperors, the officials of the centres of administration under our Princes since the fourteenth and the fifteenth centuries are merely new forms of the old Germanic conception. For the wonderful vitality of such institutions consisted in this, that they were not rooted in changing political or even moral conditions, but in the primary source of Germanicism itself, the need of loyalty." [38]

However true and beautiful every word that Lamprecht has here written, I do not think that he has made quite clear the "primary source." Loyalty, though distinguishing the Teutons from mongrel races, is not altogether a specific Germanic trait. One finds it in almost all purely bred races, nowhere more than among the negroes, for example, and -- I would ask -- what man could be more faithful than the noble dog? No, in order to reveal that "primary source of Germanicism," we must show what is the nature of this Germanic loyalty, and we can only succeed in doing so if we have grasped the fact that freedom is the intellectual basis of the whole Germanic nature. For the characteristic feature of this loyalty is its free self-determination. The human character resembles the nature of God as the theologians represent it: complex and yet indiscernible, an inseparable unity. This loyalty and this freedom do not grow the one out of the other, they are two manifestations of the same character which reveals itself to us on one occasion more from the intellectual on another more from the moral side. The negro and the dog serve their masters, whoever they may be: that is the morality of the weak, or, as Aristotle says, of the man who is born to be a slave; the Teuton chooses his master, and his loyalty is therefore loyalty to himself: that is the morality of the man who is born free. But loyalty as displayed by the Teuton was unexampled. The disloyalty of the extravagantly gifted proclaimer of poetical and political freedom, i.e., of the Hellene, was proverbial from time immemorial; the Roman was loyal only in the defence of his own, German loyalty remained, Lamprecht says, "incomprehensible to him"; here, as everywhere in the sphere of morals, we see an affinity with the Indo-Aryans; but these latter people so markedly lacked the artistic sense which urges men on to adventure and to the establishment of a free life, that their loyalty never reached that creative importance in the world's history which the same quality attained under the influence of the Germanic races. Here again, as before, in the consideration of the feeling of freedom, we find a higher harmony of character in the Teuton; hence we may say that no one in the world, not even the greatest, has surpassed him. One thing is certain: if we wish to sum up in a single word the historic greatness of the Teuton -- always a perilous undertaking, since everything living is of Protean nature -- we must name his loyalty. That is the central point from which we can survey his whole character, or better, his personality. But we must remember that this loyalty is not the primary source, as Lamprecht thinks, not the root but the blossom -- the fruit by which we recognise the tree. Hence it is that this loyalty is the finest touchstone for distinguishing between genuine and false Germanicism; for it is not by the roots but by the fruit that we distinguish the species; we should not forget that with unfavourable weather many a tree has no blossoms or only poor ones, and this often happens in the case of hard-pressed Teutons. The root of their particular character is beyond all doubt that power of imagination which is common to all Aryans and peculiar to them alone and which appeared in greatest luxuriance among the Hellenes. I spoke of this in the beginning of the chapter on Hellenic art and philosophy (see p. 14 f.); from that root everything springs, art, philosophy, politics, science; hence, too, comes the peculiar sap which tinges the flower of loyalty. The stem then is formed by the positive strength -- the physical and the intellectual, which can never be separated; in the case of the Romans, to whom we owe the firm bases of family and State, this stem was powerfully developed. But the real blossoms of such a tree are those which mind and sentiment bring to maturity. Freedom is an expansive power which scatters men, Germanic loyalty is the bond which by its inner power binds men more closely than the fear of the tyrant's sword: freedom signifies thirst after direct self-discovered truth, loyalty the reverence for that which has appeared to our ancestors to be true; freedom decides its own destiny and loyalty holds that decision unswervingly and for ever. Loyalty to the loved one, to friend, parents, and fatherland we find in many places; but here, in the case of the Teuton, something is added, which makes the great instinct become a profoundly deep spiritual power, a principle of life. Shakespeare represents the father giving his son as the best advice for his path through life, as the one admonition which includes all others, these words:

This above all: to thine own self be true!

The principle of Germanic loyalty is evidently not the necessity of attachment, as Lamprecht thinks, but on the contrary the necessity of constancy within a man's own autonomous circle; self-determination testifies to it; in it freedom proves itself; by it the vassal, the member of the guild, the official, the officer asserts his independence. For the free man, to serve means to command himself. "It was the Germanic races who first introduced into the world the idea of personal freedom," says Goethe. What in the case of the Hindoos was metaphysics and in so far necessarily negative, seclusive, has been here transferred to life as an ideal of mind, it is the "breath of life of everything great and good," a star in the night, to the weary a spur, to the storm-tossed an anchor of safety. [39] In the construction of the Germanic character loyalty is the necessary perfection of the personality, which without it falls to pieces. Immanuel Kant has given a daring, genuinely Germanic definition of personality: it is, he says, "freedom and independence of the mechanism of all nature"; and what it achieves he has summed up as follows: "That which elevates man above himself (as part of the world of sense), attaches him to an order of things which only the understanding can conceive, and which has the whole world of sense subject to it, is Personality." But without loyalty this elevation would be fatal: thanks to it alone the impulse of freedom can develop and bring blessing instead of a curse. Loyalty in this Germanic sense cannot originate without freedom, but it is impossible to see how an unlimited, creative impulse to freedom could exist without loyalty. Childish attachment to nature is a proof of loyalty: it enables man to raise himself above nature, without falling shattered to the ground, like the Hellenic Phaethon. Therefore it is that Goethe writes: "Loyalty preserves personality!" Germanic loyalty is the girdle that gives immortal beauty to the ephemeral individual, it is the sun without which no knowledge can ripen to wisdom, the charm which alone bestows upon the free individual's passionate action the blessing of permanent achievement.
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Re: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

Postby admin » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:37 pm

Part 3 of 4


These few simplified remarks should, I think, enable us to understand the essential characteristics, intellectual and moral, of the Germanic races. Simplification might easily fill a whole book and it would only be amplification. If we wish clearly to distinguish the Teuton from his nearest kinsmen we should study the inmost being of both and compare a Kant as an ethical teacher with an Aristotle. For Kant "the autonomy of the will is the highest principle of morality"; a "moral personality" exists for him only from the moment when "a man is subject to no other laws than those which he gives to himself." And according to what principles shall this autonomous personality give itself laws? We must suppose that there is an unprovable "realm of impulses -- certainly only an ideal!" An ideal is therefore to determine life! And in a note to the same book (Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten) Kant in a few words contrasts this new, specifically Germanic philosophy with the Hellenic: "There the realm of impulses is a theoretical idea, to explain that which is; here (in the case of the Teutons) it is a practical idea to bring about by our active and passive attitude that which is not, but yet may be." What daring, to create by our will a moral realm which is not, to cause it "actually" to come into existence! What a dangerous piece of daring if loyalty were not at work, which is so thoroughly characteristic of Kant's own mental physiognomy! And we should carefully note this contrast: here (in the case of the Teuton) Ideal and at the same time Practice, there (in the case of the Hellene) sober Reality and, as its associate, Theory. The great captain of the powers of the chaos laughed at the German "ideologists," as he called them: a proof of ignorance, for they were more practical men than he himself. It is not the ideal that is in the clouds but theory. The Ideal is, as Kant here wishes it to be understood, a practical idea as distinguished from a theoretical one. And that which we see here, on the heights of metaphysics, in clear-cut outlines, we find again everywhere: the Teuton is the most ideal, but at the same time the most practical, man in the world, and that because here we have not dissimilarity, but on the contrary identity. A Teuton writes a Critique of Pure Reason, but at the same time a Teuton invents the railway; the century of Bessemer and of Edison is at the same time the century of Beethoven and of Richard Wagner. Whoever does not feel the unity of the impulse here, whoever considers it a riddle that the astronomer Newton should interrupt his mathematical investigations to write a commentary to the Revelation of St. John, that Crompton invented the spinning machine merely to give himself more leisure for his beloved music, and that Bismarck, the statesman of blood and iron, caused Beethoven's sonatas to be played to him in the decisive moments of his life, understands nothing at all of the nature of the Teuton, and cannot in consequence rightly judge the part he plays in the history of the world in the past and at the present time.


So much for this important subject. We have seen who the Teuton is; [40] let us now see how he entered into history.

I am not qualified and do not wish in this work to give a history of the Germanic races; but we cannot understand and value the nineteenth century either in so far as it is a product of the preceding ones nor in its own gigantic expansive power, if we do not possess clear conceptions, not only concerning the nature of the Teuton, but also concerning the conflict which has been raging between him and the non-Teuton for fifteen hundred years. To-day is the child of yesterday: what we have is partly the legacy of pre-Germanic antiquity. What we are is altogether the work of the early Teuton, who is wont to be represented to us as a "barbarian," as if barbarism were a question of relative civilisation and did not simply denote a rudeness of mind. One hundred and fifty years ago Montesquieu brilliantly cleared up this confusion of ideas. After showing that all the States that make up Europe to-day (America, Africa and Australia were then out of the question) were the work of Germanic barbarians who suddenly appeared from unknown wilds, he continues, "But in reality these peoples were not barbarians, since they were free: they became barbarians later when, dominated by the absolute power, they lost their liberty." [41] In these words we read not only the character of the Teutons, but also the fate against which they were destined continually to struggle. For it is not possible to say what uniform and independent culture might have arisen on a purely Germanic soil; instead of this the Teuton entered into a history which was already perfectly shaped, a history with which he had hitherto not come in contact. As soon as the bare struggle for existence gave him leisure, he grasped with the fervour of passion the two constructive ideas which the "old world" now tumbling to pieces had tried in its last agony to develop: imperialism and Christianity. Was this a piece of luck? Who will venture to affirm it? He received no great thoughts of antiquity in pure form, all were transmitted by the sterile, shallow spirits of the chaps that shunned the light and hated freedom. But the Teuton had no choice. In order to live, he had in the first place to assimilate alien customs and thoughts as they were presented to him; he had to be apprenticed to a civilisation which in truth was no longer worthy to loosen the latchet of his shoes; the Hellenic creative impulse, Roman legislation, the sublime simple doctrine of Christ, which would have had the greatest affinity to his nature, were completely removed from his eyes, to be dug up centuries later by his own diligence. In his adoption of the alien he was greatly aided by his perilous power of assimilation, and also by that "modesty" which Luther praises as "the sure sign of a pious god-fearing heart," but which in its extravagant estimation of the merit of others leads to many a foolish delusion. Hence it is that a sharp critical eye is needed to separate in the motives and thoughts of those old heroic generations what is genuinely Germanic from that which has been deflected from its natural course, sometimes for ever. Take, for example, the absolute religious toleration of the Goths, when they had become masters of that Roman empire where the principle of intolerance had long been predominant: it is just as characteristic of Germanic sentiment as the protection which they gave to the monuments of art. [42] We see here at once these two features, freedom and loyalty. Characteristic, too, is the constancy with which the Goths clung to Arianism. Dahn is certainly right in saying that it is a chance that the Goths were induced to join the sect of the Arians and not of the Athanasians; but chance ceases where loyalty begins. Thanks to the great Wulfila, the Goths possessed the whole Bible in their mother tongue, and Dahn's mockery of the incapacity of these rough men for theological disputes is somewhat out of place in view of the fact that this living book was the source of their religious faith -- a thing that not every Christian of the nineteenth century could say of himself. [43] And now comes the really important matter -- not the dreary quarrel about Homo-ousian and Homoi-ousian, which even the Emperor Constantine declared to be idle -- but the loyal clinging to what has once been chosen, the emphasising of Germanic individuality, and the right of free-agency in dealing with the foreigner. If the Teutons had been as Dahn represents them, mere barbarians with no will, as ready to adopt the cult of Osiris as any other faith, how does it come that all of them (Longobardians, Goths, Vandals, Burgundians, &c.) in the fourth century adopted Arianism and that, while elsewhere it scarcely survived fifty years, they remained true to it for centuries? I see nothing theological in this and I do not attach the slightest importance to those subtleties which can be twisted out of every little trifle to prove a preconceived thesis; I direct my attention solely to the great facts of character and here again I see loyalty and independence. I see the Germanic peoples instinctively carrying out the emancipation from Rome a thousand years before Wyclif, at a time when the religious idea of Rome had not been clearly separated from the Roman imperialism, and in such a phenomenon I can see nothing accidental. [44] It is clear from Karl Miller's account in his Kirchengeschichte (1892, i. 263) how far from unimportant this phenomenon was; he says of the Arian Teutons: "Each Empire has its own Church. There are no Church unions in the manner of the Catholic Church ... the new priests ... have been component parts of the organisation of the race and the people. The standard of culture in the ministry is naturally quite different from that among the Catholics: purely national and Germanic, without being influenced by the ecclesiastical and profane culture of the old world. On the other hand, according to all Christian testimony the customs and morals of the Teutons are immeasurably higher than those of the Catholic Romance peoples. It is the moral purity of a still uncorrupted people as opposed to an absolutely rotten culture." Tolerant, evangelical, morally pure: that is what the Teutons were before they came under the influence of Rome.

Now it is peculiar that the Teutons at a later period allowed themselves to be ensnared and created knights of the Anti-Germanic powers; I am afraid that this too is a genuinely Germanic feature, for everything living bears in itself the germ of its own ruin and death. Certainly Charlemagne never even in his dreams thought of serving the Bishop of Rome; on the contrary, he wanted to make the Bishop's power subordinate to his own; he treats the Pope as a master treats his subject, [45] he is called by his contemporaries a "reformer" of the Church and carries his point against Rome even in matters of dogma, as in the worship of images, to which he as genuine Teuton objected. But all this did not hinder him from strengthening the Papacy by bestowing on the head of the Roman Church power and dignity, and furthering the amalgamation of the German monarchy with a Roman Christianity, hitherto unheard of, but which thenceforth weighed like a nightmare upon Germany. Imagine how matters would have developed if the Franks, too, had become Arians or if they as Catholics had early renounced Rome, say under Charlemagne, and had founded nationally organised churches like most of the Slavs! When the Popes urgently appealed to Charlemagne's predecessors, Charles Martel and Pepin, for help, Rome's position as a world-power was lost; the decisive rejection of her pretensions would have destroyed her influence forever. Indeed, if Charlemagne's efforts to get the Imperial Crown conferred by Byzantium and not by Rome had been successful, the ecclesiastical independence of the Teutons would never have been endangered. Charlemagne's whole activity testifies to such distinctly German nationalism that we see that Germanisation was his object, and not only his object but also his life-work, in spite of all appearances and many consequences which seem to point to the contrary; for he is the founder of Germany, the man who, as the venerable Widukind said, made quasi una gens [Google translate: as one nation] of the Germans, and in so far he is the originator of the no longer "Holy Roman" but "Holy German" empire of to-day. The Roman Church, on the other hand, was unavoidably the shield- and armour-bearer of all Anti-Germanic movements; this was the part which it played from the beginning -- more and more openly as time went on, so that it never was more Anti-Germanic than at the present day. And yet it owes its existence to the Teutons! I am not speaking of matters of faith at all, but of the Papacy as an ideal, secular power; orthodox Catholics, whom I honour in my heart, have understood and admitted this. To give only one example, which is linked with what I have written above: we have seen that religious toleration is natural to the Teuton as a man who has sentiments of freedom and to whom religion is an inner experience; before the Roman Empire was seized by the Goths persecution had been the order of the day, but then it ceased for a long time, for the Teutons put an end to it. It was only after the doctrines and passions of the races had estranged the Teuton from himself that the Frank began to preach Christianity to the Saxon sword in hand. It was the De Civitate Dei [Google translate: The City of God] which impressed upon Charlemagne the duty of conversion by force, [46] and to this the Pope, who bestowed on him the title of Christianissimus Rex unceasingly urged him; hence it was that the first Thirty Years War raged among Germanic brothers, laying waste, destroying, sowing undying hatred, not because they, but because Rome so wished it. It was exactly the same nine hundred years later in the second Thirty Years War, which in some parts of Germany only a fiftieth part of the population survived -- certainly a practical way for getting rid of the Teutons, to make them destroy each other. And in the meantime the doctrine of Augustine, the African half-breed, the dogma of systematic intolerance and of the punishment by death of heterodoxy had entered the Church; and, as soon as the Germanic element had been sufficiently weakened and the Anti-Germanic element sufficiently strengthened, that dogma solemnly declared to be law and to the everlasting disgrace of humanity was put in practice for five hundred years, in the midst of a civilisation which otherwise was advancing everywhere. How does one of the most eminent Catholics of the nineteenth century judge this remarkable event, this brutalisation of men, who had formerly shown themselves so humane, in the days when they were supposed to be barbarians? "It was," he says, "a victory which the old Roman Imperial law gained over the Germanic spirit." [47]

If we wish to carry out the necessary limitation of the expression "Germanic," that is, separate the Germanic from the Un-Germanic, we must in the first place endeavour, as I did in the beginning of this chapter, to realise the fundamental qualities of mind and character of the Teutons, and then, as has just been shown by an example, we must with a critical eye follow the course of history. Such "victories over the Germanic spirit" were frequently won, many of them with only temporary success, many so thorough that noble races falling into a progressive degeneracy disappeared for ever from the German family. For this Teuton who entered into history under such complex, contradictory and absolutely obsolete conditions had become estranged from himself. Every power was set in motion to delude him: not only the passions, the greed, the lust of power, all the evil vices, which he had in common with others, even his better qualities were played upon to serve this purpose: his mystical tendencies, his thirst for knowledge, his force of faith, his impulse to create, his high organising abilities, his noble ambition, his need of ideals -- everything possible was used against himself. The Teuton had entered history not as a barbarian but as a child -- as a child that falls into the hands of old experienced libertines. Hence it is that we find Un-Germanic qualities nestling in the heart of the best Teutons, where, thanks to Germanic earnestness and loyalty, they often took firmer root than anywhere else; hence, too, the great difficulty of solving the riddle of our history. Montesquieu told us that the Teuton had become barbarian through the loss of his freedom: but who robbed him of it? The chaos of races in conjunction with himself. Dietrich of Berne had rejected the title and the crown of Imperator; he was too proud to wish to be more than King of the East Goths. Later Teutons, on the other hand, imbued as they were by Un-Germanic ideas, were dazzled by the Imperial purple with the power of a magic talisman. For in the meantime the Jurisconsults of the late degenerate Roman law had come and whispered in the ear of the German Princes wonders concerning the kingly prerogatives; and the Roman Church, which was the most powerful disseminator of Justinian law, [48] taught that this law was sacred and given by God; [49] and down came the Pope declaring himself to be lord and master of all crowns; he alone, as Christ's representative on earth, could grant or remove, [50] and the emperor as mere rex regum [Google translate: king of Kings] was subject to the servus servorum [Google translate: servant of servants]. But if the Pope bestowed or ratified regal power, every King was King by the grace of God, and when the legal authorities declared that the bearer of the crown was the rightful owner of the whole land, and had unlimited authority over his subjects, the transformation was complete, and in place of a nation of free men there now stood a nation of slaves. This is what Montesquieu rightly calls barbarism. The Germanic Princes, who had made this contract not merely from lust of power and wealth, but also out of misunderstanding, had unconsciously sold themselves to the hostile powers; thenceforth they became the pillars of Anti-Germanicism. One more victory had been gained over the Germanic spirit!

I leave to the reader's own study other examples of the way in which the Teuton was estranged from himself. Once he had lost the freedom to act and the freedom to believe, the basis of his particular, incomparable nature was undermined in such a way that only the most violent revolt could save him from complete downfall. How free and daring had been the religious speculation of the first Norse schoolmen, full of personality and life; how enslaved and gagged such speculation appeared subsequently to Thomas Aquinas, who to the present day stands as law to all Catholic schools! [51] How touching it is to think of the Goths in possession of their Gothic Bible, listening awestruck to the words of Christ which they but imperfectly understood and which seemed to them the words of some ancestral almost forgotten tale, or perhaps a distant voice penetrating to their ear, and calling them to a beautiful inconceivable future; so that we find them sinking on their knees in the simply hewn house of God or in the tent that served the same purpose, [52] and praying with childlike simplicity for all that is nearest and dearest to them! But now all that had disappeared: the Bible was to be read solely in the Latin vulgate -- that is, only by scholars -- and was soon so little known to even priests and monks that even Charlemagne had to admonish the bishops to pay more earnest heed to the study of the sacred writings; [53] the sacred worship could henceforth be held only in a language which no layman understood. [54] How brilliantly clear, on the other hand, does the idea of pure science appear in Roger Bacon at the beginning of the thirteenth century -- observation of nature, philology to be studied scientifically, mathematics! But his works are condemned by Rome and destroyed, he himself in the prime of his life is imprisoned in a cloister, so that all earnest investigation of nature was held back for centuries and then opposed at every step. That such lights of science as Copernicus and Galilei were good Catholics, and such pioneers of new cosmological and philosophical conceptions as Krebs (Nicolaus of Cusa), Bruno, Campanella and Gassendi, actually Cardinals, monks and priests, only proves that in the case of all these men it is not a question of difference of faith but of the struggle between two philosophies, or better still, between two human natures, the Germanic and the Anti-Germanic, which also was proved by the fact that most of these men were persecuted, or that at least their writings were condemned. [55] Cardinal Nicolaus of Cusa, the confidant of Popes, who was fortunate enough to live before the retrograde movement introduced by the Council of Trent, proved his genuinely Germanic nature by the fact that he was the first to reveal the forgery of the Decretalia of Isidor and the would-be donation of Constantine, and that he as an active reformer of the Church untiringly, though unsuccessfully, strove to bring about what had later to be obtained by force. The man who exposes forgeries cannot possibly be morally identical with him who commits them. And so we cannot make religious denominations any more than nationalities the test by which to distinguish between that which is genuinely Germanic and that which is Anti-Germanic. Not only is it difficult before the Council of Trent to distinguish between the Roman Christians and others, inasmuch as many of the great teachers of the Church like Origenes and many Catholic doctors had gone much further than a Luther or a Hus in accepting tenets and views which from that time forth were reckoned to be heretical -- but in later times and down to the present day we see pre-eminently German minds remain obedient to Rome from deep conviction and loyal attachment to the great idea of a universal Church, and yet prove themselves most genuine Teutons; while on the other hand the man in whom the revolt against the Anti-Germanic powers was most powerfully expressed, Martin Luther, quotes the testimony of Augustine, to urge the Princes to rebellion, and Calvin burns the great doctor Michel Lervet because of his dogmatic views, receiving for this the approval of the humane Melancthon. We cannot therefore put down individual men as representatives of the Teutons; but as soon as they have become subject to the Non-Germanic influence in education, surroundings, &c. -- and who was not so influenced during at least a thousand years? -- we must learn to distinguish carefully between that which grows out of the genuine pure Germanic nature, be it for good or for evil, as a living component of the personality, and that which is forcibly grafted on or bound up with it.

It is clear that, in a certain sense, we may regard the intellectual and moral history of Europe from the moment of the entry of the Teuton to the present day as a struggle between Teuton and non-Teuton, between Germanic sentiment and Anti-Germanic disposition, as a struggle which is waged partly externally, philosophy against philosophy, partly internally, in the breast of the Teuton himself. But here I am trespassing upon the following division. What has been said here I shall summarise by referring to the perfect type of the Anti-Germanic; this is, I think, the most valuable supplement to the positive picture.


The struggle against the Germanic spirit has in a way embodied itself in one of the most extraordinary men of history; here as elsewhere a single great personality has, by its example and by the sum of living power which it brought into the world, been able to do more than all the councils and all the solemn resolutions of great societies. And it is a good thing to see our enemy before us in a form which deserves respect, otherwise hatred or contempt is apt to dim our judgment. I do not know who would be justified in refusing honest admiration to Ignatius of Loyola. He bears physical pain like a hero, [56] is just as fearless morally, his will is of iron, his action direct, his powers of thinking spoiled by no pedantry and artificiality; he is an acute, practical man, who never stumbles over trifles and yet assures to his influence a far-reaching future, by seizing the needs of the moment and making them the basis of his activity; he is in addition unassuming, an enemy of phrases, and no comedian; a soldier and a nobleman; the priesthood is rather his instrument than his natural vocation. Now this man was a Basque; not only was he born in the pure Basque part of Spain, but his biographers assure us that he was of genuine unmixed Basque descent, that is, he belonged to a race which was not only Un-Germanic but absolutely distinct from the whole Indo-European group. [57] In Spain since the time of the Celtic immigration the mixed Celtiberians formed a considerable portion of the population, but in certain northern parts the Iberian Basques have remained unmixed to the present day and Ignatius, really Inigo, is said to be a "genuine son of the enigmatical, taciturn, energetic and fantastic stem of the Basques." [58] It is, by the way (as an illustration of the incomparable importance of race), exceedingly remarkable that the man, to whom principally must be ascribed the maintenance of the specifically Romish, Anti-Germanic influence for centuries to come, was not himself a child of the chaos but a man of pure descent. Hence the simplicity and power which strike us as so wonderful when in the midst of the Babel of the sixteenth century, just as the Germanic spirit of independence is being reawakened (the true Renaissance!) and all voices mingle in the hoarse and confused din of fear, we see this one man, who, standing apart, calm and unconcerned about what others decide and endeavour to attain (except in so far as it affects his plans), goes his own way and without precipitation, in full control of his natural passionate temperament, forms the plan of campaign, fixes the tactics to be employed, drills the troops to the most carefully conceived and therefore most dangerous attack that was ever made against Germanicism -- or rather against Aryanism as a whole. Whoever considers it a coincidence that this personality was a Basque, whoever considers it a coincidence that this Basque, although he soon found capable and perfectly devoted assistants from all nationalities, yet at the summit of his power made an intimate, indeed almost inseparable friend of one sole man, consulted with him, and proclaimed his will through him, and that this one man was by race a pure Jew (Polanco) who had been converted to Christianity at a later period of his life -- whoever, I say, passes such phenomena by unheeded, has no feeling for the majesty of facts. [59] If we gain access to the innermost mental life of this remarkable man, as we can easily do by his Exercitia spiritualia (a fundamental text-book of the Jesuits to the present day) we seem to be entering an absolutely strange world. At first I felt myself in a Mohammedan atmosphere set out with Christian decorations: [60] the absolute materialism of the conceptions -- for example, that we can feel the stench of hell and the glow of its flames, the idea that sins are transgressions of a "paragraphic" law, so that we can keep an account of them and should do so according to a definitely prescribed scheme, and so on -- reminds us of Semitic religions; but we should be doing the latter an injustice if we identified them with the thinly varnished Fetishism of Loyola. The fundamental principle of the religion of Ignatius is opposition to every kind of symbolism. He has been called a mystic and an attempt has been made to prove the influence of mysticism upon his thought, but this intellect is quite incapable of even grasping the idea of mysticism in the Indo-European sense; for all mysticism from Yajnavalkya to Jacob Bohme signifies the attempt to discard the dross of empiricism and surrender to a transcendental, empirically inconceivable untruth, [61] while Loyola's whole endeavour is to represent all mysteries of religion as concrete manifest facts in direct contrast to mysticism. We are to see, hear, taste, smell and touch them! His Exercitia are not an introduction to mystical contemplation, but rather the systematic development of the hysterical tendencies present in us all. The purely sensuous element of imagination is developed at the expense of reason and judgment and brought to the point of its greatest capacity; in this way the animal nature proves victorious over the will and henceforth the will is not broken, as is generally asserted, but fettered. In a normal human being, understanding forms the counterpoise of will; Loyola's idea directs itself, therefore, first against understanding, as the source of freedom and the creative impulse; in one of his latest proclamations he expresses it concisely: he characterises the "renunciation of will and the negation of our own judgment" as the "source of the virtues." [62] In the Exercitia also, the first rule of orthodoxy is "the destruction of every judgment of our own" (see the Regulae ad sentiendum vere cum ecclesia, reg. i.). [63] By this the will is not broken, but only freed from obedience to its natural master, the individual; but what now controls him is the whip of the Exercitia. By these, exactly as in the case of the Fakirs, only in much more carefully planned and therefore more successful manner, a pathological condition of the whole individual is produced (and by yearly repetitions and still more frequent ones in the case of persons whose capacity of resistance is greater, it is always strengthened anew), and this condition has exactly the same effect as every other form of hysteria. Modern medicine sums up these psychopathological conditions in the term "forced neurosis" and well knows that the person affected does not indeed lose his will, but certainly within the circle of the forced conceptions all free control of it! Naturally I cannot here enter more fully into this highly complex matter, which, especially in the second half of the nineteenth century, has been in so far cleared up by the experiments of Charcot and others as well as by scientific psychology that the problem is now clearly grasped and the fearful power of Physis over Psyche recognised; [64] it is sufficient if I have proved the destruction of the physical basis of freedom to have been Loyola's first purpose. This direct attack upon the body of the individual, not for the purpose of subjecting the body to the spirit, but to seize and conquer the spirit by means of the body, reveals a sentiment which is the negation of all that we Indo-Europeans have ever called religion. For Loyola's system has nothing in common with asceticism; on the contrary, he hates asceticism and forbids it, and rightly so from his standpoint: for asceticism increases the intellectual capacities and culminates, when carried out with absolute consistency, in the complete conquest of the senses; these may then continue, so to speak, as material for the imagination, to serve the mystical devotion of a Saint Theresa or the mystical metaphysics of the author of Chandogya; from that time forth they are senses rendered subject to will, elevated and purified by the power of the mind, and this the Hindoo teacher expresses when he writes: "the man of understanding is already in his lifetime bodiless." [64] On the other hand, as I have said, Loyola's method actually prescribes a gymnastic course for the sensitive faculty, by which, as he himself describes his aim, the will and the judgment may be enslaved. While true asceticism is possible only to a few chosen individuals, since moral determination must obviously form the basis and constantly hold the reins in this matter, these so-called "mental exercises" of Loyola, which must never last more than four weeks (but may be shortened or adapted by the teacher to each individual) will find an impressionable subject in almost every one, especially in younger years. The suggestive power of such a grossly mechanical method planned with supreme art for exciting the whole individual is so great that no one can get quite out of it. I too feel my senses tremble when I give myself up to these Exercitia; but it is not the anatomically cut out heart of Jesus that I see (as if the muscular apparatus called "heart" had anything in common with divine love!), I see the ravenous ursus spelaeus [Google translate: bear dens] lying in wait for its prey; and when Loyola speaks of the fear of God and teaches that it is not "childlike fear" that should satisfy us, but that we should tremble with "that other fear, called timor servilis [Google translate: servile]," that is, the tottering fear of helpless slaves, then I hear that mighty bear of the cave roar, and I shudder as did the men of the diluvial age, when poor, naked and defenceless, surrounded by danger day and night, they trembled at that voice. [66] The whole mental disposition of this Basque points backwards thousands of years; of the intellectual culture acquired by humanity he has adopted some externals but the inner growing and strengthening, that great emancipation of man from fear, that gradual tearing down of the tyranny of sense, which was formerly a condition of existence and hindered the development of every other quality, that "entrance of mankind into the daylight of life" with the awakening of his freely creative power, that tendency to seek ideals, which one does not first smell and taste in order to believe in them, but which one "really allows to grow up," because man, who has become a moral being, so wills it, that divine doctrine that the kingdom of Heaven comes not with outward signs but is within us like a hidden treasure [67] -- this left absolutely no impression upon this man; standing apart from the restlessly hurrying waters which flow together to the great stream of Aryanism, his forefathers have lived since time immemorial, proud of their individuality, organically incapable of ever attaining to an intimate knowledge of that other nature. And do not imagine that Ignatius is in this respect a unique phenomenon! There are hundreds of thousands of people in Europe who speak our Indo-European tongues, wear the same clothes, take part in our life, and are excellent people in their way, but are just as far removed from us Teutons as if they lived on another planet; here it is not a question of a cleft such as separates us in many respects from the Jew, and which may be bridged at this point and that, but of a wall which is insurmountable and separates the one land from the other. The exceptional importance of Loyola lies in his pre-eminent greatness of character; in such a man therefore we see the Un-Germanic and the necessarily Anti-Germanic in a clear and great form, whereas at other times, whether it be owing to apparent unimportance or the indefiniteness of the half-breed character, it is easily overlooked or at least difficult to analyse. I said "greatness of character," for as a matter of fact other greatness is here out of the question: we note in the case of Loyola neither philosophical nor artistic thoughts and just as little real inventive power; even his Exercitia are in their outlines borrowed from former cloister exercises [68] and merely "materialised" by him, and his great fundamental principle of uncompromising obedience is an old soldier's thoughtlessly brutal transference of a military virtue of necessity to the domain of mind. His activity as an organiser and agitator bespeaks the subtlest cunning and a precise knowledge of mediocrities (very important or original people he systematically excluded from the Order), but nowhere is there evidence of depth. To prevent misunderstandings and misinterpretations I must add that I do not ascribe to him as an intention what has come to pass as the result of his action. Loyola did not call his order into existence with the object of opposing the Reformation -- so at least the Jesuits assure us -- much less can the word "Germanic" have been associated in his mind with any definite conception, nor can he have viewed his struggle against Germanicism as a life-purpose. We might just as well assert that that race of the Basques which had been pursued, driven and persecuted ever further and further by the encroachment of the Indo-Europeans had wished to avenge itself on the victor through him. But in this book, where we are occupying ourselves not with chronicles but with the discovery of fundamental facts of history, we should emphasise the amount of truth that lies concealed behind these utterances which are untenable from the point of view of chronology. For it is not in what he wished to do but in what he had to do that the greatness of this extraordinary man lies. Father Bernhard Duhr may assure us in his most excited tone [69] that the founding of the Order of the Jesuits had nothing to do with opposition to Protestantism; its activity culminated from the very first so manifestly and so successfully in the prosecution of this one aim that even the earliest biographers of Loyola bestow on him the title of honour "Anti-Luther." And whoever says "Anti-Luther" says Anti-Germanic -- whether he is conscious of this or not. But with regard to the question of race-revenge, the fact that those physically strong but mentally inferior and Anti-Germanic races, which were never quite destroyed but withdrew into the mountains, are reviving and increasing, is engaging more and more the attention not of visionaries but of the most earnest natural scientists. [70]

With Ignatius of Loyola I place the type of the Anti-Germanic spirit before the reader and I think I have thereby illustrated the necessary limitation of the Germanic idea which at the beginning of the chapter was taken in as comprehensive a sense as possible. I cannot imagine a definition of the Teuton put down in paragraphs -- as we have seen that is not even possible with physical man -- but rather as something vividly conceived, which qualifies us to give an independent judgment. Here more than anywhere else we must guard against letting the conception stiffen in the definition. [71] Such living definitions of ideas are not like mathematical ones: it is not sufficient to say that this or that is so and so, it is only by means of the negative supplement, not so and not so, that the positive representation is put in relief and the idea, freed from the fetters of words.
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Re: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

Postby admin » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:38 pm

Part 4 of 4


Freedom and loyalty then are the two roots of the Germanic nature, or, if you will, the two pinions that bear it heavenwards. These are not meaningless words, each one of them embraces a wide complex of vivid conceptions, experiences and historical facts. Such a simplification has outwardly only been justified by the fact that we have proved that rich endowments were the inevitable basis of these two things: physical health and strength, great intelligence, luxuriant imagination, untiring impulse to create. And like all true powers of nature, freedom and loyalty flowed into each other: the specifically Germanic loyalty was a manifestation of the most elevated freedom -- the maintenance of that freedom, loyalty to our own nature. Here too the specifically Germanic significance of the idea of duty becomes clear. Goethe says in one passage -- he is speaking of taste in art, but the remark holds for all spheres: "to maintain courageously our position on the height of our barbarian advantages is our duty." [72] This is Shakespeare's "to thine own self be true!" This is Nelson's signal on the morning of the Battle of Trafalgar "England expects every man to do his duty!" His duty? Loyalty to himself, the maintenance of his barbarian advantages, i.e. (as Montesquieu teaches us), of the freedom that is born in him. In contrast to this we behold a man who proclaims as the highest law the destruction of freedom, i.e., of freedom of will, of understanding, of creative work -- and who replaces loyalty (which would be meaningless without freedom) by obedience. The individual shall become -- as Loyola says word for word in the constitutions of his Order -- "as it were a corpse which lets itself be turned on any side and never resists the hand laid upon it, or like the staff of an old man which everywhere helps him who holds it, no matter how and where he wishes to employ it." [73] I think it would be impossible to make the contrast to all Aryan thought and feeling more clear than it is in these words: on the one hand sunny, proud, mad delight in creating, men who fearlessly grasp the right hand of the God to whom they pray (p. 243) on the other a corpse, upon which the "destruction of all independent judgment" is impressed as the first rule in life and for which "cowering slavish fear" is the basis of all religion.


I sometimes regret that, in a book like this, moralising would be so out of place as to be almost an offence against good taste. When we see those splendid "barbarians" glowing with youth, free, making their entry into history endowed with all those qualities which fit them for the very highest place; when next we realise how they, the conquerors, the true "Freeborn" of Aristotle, contaminate their pure blood by mixture with the impure races of the slave-born; how they accept their schooling from the unworthy descendants of noble progenitors, and force their way with untold toil out of the night of this Chaos towards a new dawn; -- then we have to acknowledge the further fact that every day adds new enemies and new dangers to those which already exist -- that these new enemies, like the former ones, are received by the Teutons with open arms, that the voice of warning is carelessly laughed at, and that while every enemy of our race, with full consciousness and the perfection of cunning, follows his own designs, we -- still great, innocent barbarians -- concentrate ourselves upon earthly and heavenly ideals, upon property, discoveries, inventions, brewing, art, metaphysics, love, and heaven knows what else! and with it all there is ever a tinge of the impossible, of that which cannot be brought to perfection, of the world beyond, otherwise we should remain lying idle on our bear-skins! Who could help moralising when he sees how we, without weapons, without defence, unconscious of any danger, go on our way, constantly befooled, ever ready to set a high price on what is foreign and to set small store by what is our own -- we, the most learned of all men, and yet ignorant beyond all others of the world around us, the greatest discoverers and yet stricken with chronic blindness! Who could help crying with Ulrich von Hutten: "Oh! unhappy Germany, unhappy by thine own choice! thou that with eyes to see seest not, and with clear understanding understandest not!" But I will not do it. I feel that this is not my business, and to tell the truth this haughty pococurantism is so characteristic a feature that I should regret its loss. The Teuton is no pessimist like the Hindoo, he is no good critic; he really thinks little in comparison with other Aryans; his gifts impel him to act and to feel. To call the Germans a "nation of thinkers" is bitter irony; a nation of soldiers and shopkeepers would certainly be more correct, or of scholars and artists -- but of thinkers? - - these are thinly sown.[74] Hence it was that Luther went so far as to call the Germans "blind people"; the rest of the Germanic races are the same in scarcely less degree; for analytical thought belongs to seeing, and to that again capacity, time, practice. The Teuton is occupied with other things; he has not yet completed his "entrance into the history of the world"; he must first have taken possession of the whole earth, investigated nature on all sides, made its powers subject to him; he must first have developed the expression of art to a perfection yet unknown, and have collected an enormous store of historical knowledge -- then perhaps he will have time to ask himself what is going on immediately around him. Till then he will continue to walk on the edge of the precipice with the same calmness as on a flowering meadow. That cannot be changed, for this pococurantism is, as I said above, characteristic of the Teuton. The Greeks and the Romans were not unlike this: the former continued to think and invent artistically, the latter to add conquest to conquest without ever becoming conscious of themselves like the Jews, without ever noticing in the least how the course of events was gradually wiping them from off the face of the earth; they did not fall dead like other nations; they descended slowly into Hades full of life to the last, vigorous to the last, in the proud consciousness of victory. [75]

And I, a modest historian, who can neither influence the course of events nor possess the power of looking clearly into the future, must be satisfied if in fulfilling the purpose of this book I have succeeded in showing the distinction between the Germanic and the Non- Germanic. That the Teuton is one of the greatest, perhaps the very greatest power in the history of mankind, no one will wish to deny, but in order to arrive at a correct appreciation of the present time, it behoved us to settle once for all who could and who could not be regarded as Teuton. In the nineteenth century, as in all former centuries, but of course with widely different grouping and with constantly changing relative power, there stood side by side in Europe these "Heirs" -- the chaos of half-breeds, relics of the former Roman Empire, the Germanising of which is falling off -- the Jews -- and the Germans, whose Contamination by mixture with the half-breeds and the descendants of other Non-Aryan races is on the increase. No arguing about "humanity" can alter the fact that this means a struggle. Where the struggle is not waged with cannon-balls, it goes on silently in the heart of society by marriages, by the annihilation of distances which furthers intercourse, by the varying powers of resistance in the different types of mankind, by the shifting of wealth, by the birth of new influences and the disappearance of others, and by many other motive powers. But this struggle, silent though it be, is above all others a struggle for life and death.




1. Cf. the summary in Ranke: Der Mensch, 2nd ed. ii. 297. It is not possible that these excavations revealed facts limited to the Norman Waregians, since the investigations embrace subjects from the most various places, not only in Russia, but also in Germany.

2. In consequence the anthropologists of to-day use the expression homo europaeus (see p. 373) in a much more definite sense than Linnaeus had done; but such a nomenclature is much too abstract for the historian, who has therefore hitherto taken no notice of it. In order to awaken intelligent interest in wide circles, one must employ the existing, well- known terminology and suit it to new needs. This is here done by widening the idea "Germanic," a procedure which will justify itself step by step in the course of this work; it is only by this that the history of the last two thousand years and especially of the nineteenth century becomes intelligible. That Celts, Slavs and Teutons are descended from a single pure stock may to-day be regarded as certain in the light of anthropology and ancient history. (Cf. the final summary of Dr. G. Beck; Der Urmensch, Basel, 1899, p. 46 f.). In addition we have historical evidence of the mutual mixing of these different stems. Thus, for instance, H. d' Arbois de Jubainville, Professor at the College de France, arrives in his book Les Celtes, 1904, at the conclusion; Il y a probablement en Allemagne plus de sang Gaulois qu'en France. [Google translate: There are probably more blood in Germany Gauls in France.]

3. Schleicher, for instance, in his famous, universally copied genealogy of the Indo-Germanic languages (cf. Die Deutsche Sprache, 1861, p. 82) makes one group of the Italo-Celtic languages, which he thinks branched off in very early times from the "North European mother tongue"; also such divergent views as the well-known "wave-theory" of Johannes Schmidt continue to represent the Celt as if he were the furthest removed of all Indo-Europeans from the Germanic peoples.

4. At the invasion of the Cimbri and Teutons, 114 B.C.

5. Regarding the physical identity of Celts and Germanic peoples Professor Gabriel de Mortillet has lately collected such comprehensive material, anthropological facts, as well as the testimonies of old Roman writers, that it is sufficient if I refer to his Formation de la nation francaise, 1897 (p. 114 f.). His final words are: "La carac teristique des deux groupes est donc exactement la meme et s'applique aussi bien au groupe qui a recu le nom de Gaulois (synonymous with Celts, see p. 92) qu'au groupe qui depuis les invasions des Cimbres a pris le nom de Germains." [Google translate: The characteristics of the two groups is exactly the same and applies both the group that received the name of Gaul as the group that since the invasions of the Cimbri was took the name of Germans.]

6. Mommsen testifies that Galatia was "a Celtic island amidst the floods of the Eastern peoples," in which even the Celtic language maintained itself for a long time: Roman History, 3rd ed. v. 311 f.

7. Wilhelm Henke: Der Typus des germanischen Menschen (Tubingen, 1895). Similarly Treitschke: Politik i. 279.

8. In this place I have used the results of some of my own studies (cf. Notes sur Parsifal and Notes sur Tristan in the Revue Wagnerienne, 1886 and 1887).

9. On the other hand the shape of the skull has undergone a gradual change; among the present inhabitants of Bosnia we find not quite 1-1/2 per cent of long heads, while there are, on the other hand, 84 percent of distinctly round heads; the oldest graves show 29 percent of long heads and 34 percent of round ones, and graves from the time of the Middle Ages 21 percent of long heads. (See Weisbach: Altbosnische Schadel, in den Mitteillungen der anthropologischen Gesellschaft in Wien, 1897.) It is interesting to hear that the formation of the face, in spite of the change of skull, has remained "leptoprosop," i.e., long in shape.

10. Cf. Hergenrother: Photius ii. 614.

11. The first division of the sixth book of Neander's Allgemeine Geschichte der Christlichen Religion und Kirche shows how difficult it was to convert the Wends and Poles to Christianity.

12. The anthropologist Lapouge says in his purely scientific definition of the homo europaeus: "en religion il est protestant." [in religion it is protestant] See Depopulation de la France, p. 79.

13. Luther writes to Spalatin, February 1520: "Vide monstra, quaeso in quae venimus sine duce et doctore Bohemico."

14. Neander, ix. 314.

15. Dollinger: Das Haus Wittelsbach, Akad. Vortrage i. 38.

16. Read the exceedingly interesting work of Count Valerian Krasinski: Geschichte des Ursprungs, Fortschritts und Verfalls der Reformation in Polen, Leipzig, 1841. Nowhere else, perhaps, is to be found so complete, abundant, convincing and perfectly treated material as in Poland, to see how religious intolerance and especially the influence of the Jesuits completely ruined a land which was advancing towards a brilliant future in every intellectual and industrial sphere. We can best see the attitude of the Poles to Rome before the time of Luther in the speech delivered by Johann Ostrorog in the assembly of the States in the year 1459, in which he said, "We cannot object to the recommending of this land as a Catholic one to the protection of the Pope, but it is unbecoming to promise him unbounded obedience. The King of Poland is subject to no one, and only God is over him; he is not the vassal of Rome ... &c. &c."; then he inveighs against the shameless simony of the Papal stool, the sale of indulgences, the greed of the priests and monks, &c. (see p. 36 ff.). This whole Polish movement is, like the Bohemian, distinguished by a fresh breath of independence and national feeling and at the same time indifference to and depreciation of dogmatic questions (the Poles never were Utraquists); and (just as in Bohemia) it is born Germans who contend for Rome and gain the victory over religious and political freedom: Hosen (Cardinal Hosius) -- the man who sends Cardinal de Guise a letter of congratulation on the murder of Admiral Coligny and who "thanks God for the great gift that France has received through the night of St. Bartholomew and prays that God may look upon Poland with equal mercy" -- this same Hosen is at the head of the anti-national reaction, he introduces the Jesuits into the land, he forbids the reading of Holy Scripture, he teaches that the subject has absolutely no rights in reference to his prince, &c. If such a man is Germanic, and those champions of freedom are not, then this name is purely and simply a term of reproach.

17. During the last years the conviction is growing among the learned that the Germanic peoples did not emigrate from Asia to Europe, but were settled in Europe from earliest times (see Wilser: Stammbaum der arischen Volker, 1889 (Naturw, Wochenschr.); Schrader: Sprachvergleichung und Urgeschichte, 2. Aufjage, 1890; Taylor: The Origin of the Aryans, 1890: Beck: Der Urmensch, 1899, &c.).

18. Henke: Der Typus des germanischen Menschen, p. 33.

19. See pp. 259 ff., 392 note 2, 531.

20. Cf. Savigny's Geschichte des romischen Rechtes im Mittelalter, i, chaps. iii. v. This keeping of the Germanic race pure for centuries, in the midst of an inferior population, is seen not only in Spain but also in Northern Italy, where the Teutons lived under separate laws into the fourteenth century. See details below and in vol. ii; chap. ix; When criticising this book, Professor Dr. Paul Barth wrote in the Vierteljahrsschrift fur wissenschaftliche Philosophie, 1901, p. 75, "Chamberlain might have gone further than he does into the influence of Semitic blood in Spain. By the addition of Semitic blood the Spaniards have become fanatical, they have carried every idea to its extreme, so that it loses all its reason and sense: religious devotion even to "cadaver-obedience" towards their superiors, politeness which is painful, ceremonious etiquette, honour which has become the most insane sensitiveness, pride which is ridiculous grandezza, so that Spanish in popular speech among us has become almost equivalent to absurd."

21. Politik i. 279.

22. Gesprache mit Goethe, 16.2.1826.

23. Goethe, too, makes "black hair" and "black eyes" heroic attributes.

24. At least I can find nothing on this point either in the textbooks of physiology or in such special works as Waldeyer's.

25. Cf. Ranke: Der Mensch ii. 298.

26. Correspondenzblatt der deut. anthrop. Gesellschaft, 1883. No. 11.

27. Sir William Turner: Early Man in Scotland. Speech delivered before the Royal Institution in London on January 13, 1898.

28. Ranke: Der Mensch ii. 578.

29. Allgemeine Versammlung der deutschen anthropologischen Gesellschaft, 1892.

30. Cf. the splendid satire by M. Buchner on modern craniometry in the supplement to the Munich Allgemeine Zeitung, 1899, No. 282-284. -- In the meantime J. Deniker has proposed a new division of all Europeans into six chief and four subordinate races. Thus the picture changes every year!

31. Very remarkable in this connection are the researches of Dr. G. Walcher, which show that the position of the head of the new-born child exercises a definite influence upon the shape of the skull. In the case of twins from one embryo by this means the one was developed into a distinct dolichocephalous, the other to a brachycephalous child. (See Zentralblatt fur Gynakologie, 1905, No. 7.)

32. That Dante is Germanic and not a son of the chaos becomes in my opinion so clear from his personality and his work that proof of it is absolutely superfluous. But it is nevertheless interesting to know that the name Alighieri is Gothic, a corruption of Aldiger; it belongs to those German proper names, at the basis of which lies the word "get" = spear, as in Gerhard, Gertrude, &c. (a fact which in reference to Shakespeare might have given the visionaries much to think about!). This name came into the family through Dante's grandmother on the father's side, a Goth from Ferrara, whose name was Aldigiero. With regard to the origin of the paternal grandfather and of the poet's mother only the one fact to-day is known, that the attempt to derive him from Roman families is a pure invention of the Italian biographers who thought it more illustrious to belong to Rome than to Germania; but since the grandfather was a warrior, knighted by the Emperor Conrad, and Dante himself tells us that he belongs to the petty nobility, then his descent from pure Germanic parentage is as good as proven (cf. Franz Xaver Kraus: Dante, Berlin. 1897, pp. 21-25). Even to the beginning of the fifteenth century many Italians are described in old documents as Alemanni, Langobardi, &c., ex alamanorum genere, legibus vivens Langobardorum, &c. (and that though the majority of them had adopted Roman law, whereby the documentary evidence of their descent usually disappeared); so thoroughly saturated with Germanic blood (and that too its sole creative element) was that people which the so-called "Roman Culture" to-day wishes to regard as its source (see Savigny: Geschichte des romischen Rechtes im Mittelalter, i. chap. iii.).

33. Balzac: Les Proscrits.

34. As above, p. 20. What is here said about Luther has since been verified by the strictly anthropological researches of Dr. Ludwig Woltmann; see the Politisch-anthropologische Revue, 1905, p. 683 f.

35. Cf. p. 404.

36. See pp. 14, 25, 33, &c.

37. Tacitus: Annals xiii. 54.

38. Lamprecht: Deut. Gesch., 2nd ed. i. 136.

39. But quite analogous to Indian sentiment, in so far as here the regulative principle is transferred to our inmost hearts.

40. The whole ninth chapter, which tries to describe Germanic civilisation and culture in its principal lines, forms a supplement to what is as briefly as possible sketched here.

41. Lettres persanes, chap. cxxxvi.

42. See above, p. 322, and cf. Gibbon: Roman Empire, chap. xxxix., and Clarac: Manuel de l'histoire de l'art chez les Anciens jusqu'a la fin du 6me siecle de notre ere, ii. 857 f. The mongrel races destroyed the monuments, partly from religious fanaticism, partly because the statues provided the best lime for building and the temples furnished splendid dressed stones. Where are the true barbarians?

43. We can see in Neander's Kirchengeschichte, 4th ed. iii. 199, how characteristic of the Goths was the reading of the Bible. Neander quotes a letter in which Hieronymus expresses his astonishment at the manner in which "the barbaric tongue of the Goths seeks after the pure sense of the Hebraic original," while in the south "no one troubles about the matter." That was already in the year 403!

44. Dahn, 2nd Auflage von Wietersheim's Volkerwanderung ii. 60.

45. That the Pope was actually the subject of the Emperor is proved by civil and by public law, so that the passionate dissertations for and against are aimless. (See Savigny: Geschichte des romischen Rechtes im Mittelalter i. chap. v.).

46. Hodgkin: Charles the Great, 1897, pp. 107, 248.

47. Dollinger: Die Geschichte der religiosen Freiheit (in his Academic Lectures, iii. 278).

48. Savigny: Geschichte des romischen Rechts i. chap. iii.

49. "The Middle Ages put Roman Law as revealed reason in matters of justice (ratio scripta) side by side with Christianity as revealed religion" (Jhering: Vorgeschicte der Indo-europaer, p. 302).

50. Phillips: Lehrbuch des Kirchenrechtes, 1881 (l), § 102, &c.

51. We must also remember that Thomas Aquinas was descended on his mother's side from the house of Stauffen and early came under the influence of German knowledge and thought (Albertus Magnus). Where would the chaos have achieved anything great -- and the achievements of Aquinas deserve our admiration for their strength and greatness -- without the help of the Teutons?

52. See Hieronymus: Epist. ad Laetum.

53. Dollinger: Das Kaisertum Karls des Grossen, Acad. Lectures, iii. 102.

54. It is interesting in this connection to call attention to the fact that Pope Leo XIII., by the constitution officiorum numerum of January 25, 1897, has "not inconsiderably intensified the strictness" of the Index of forbidden books (so says the orthodox-Roman commentator Professor Hollweck in his book Das kirchliche Bucherverbot, 2nd ed., 1897. p. 15). The old Germanic spirit of freedom had in fact begun to assert itself in France and Germany in the nineteenth century; ecclesiastical teachers asserted that the Index was not valid for those countries, bishops demanded great changes in the direction of freedom, laymen (Coblenz, 1869) united in sending addresses, in which they demanded the complete abolition of the Index (see pp. 13, 14); Rome's answer was to make it stricter than ever, as every layman can find from the book quoted above, which has the episcopal sanction. According to this law the orthodox Roman Catholic is forbidden to read practically all the literature of the world, and even such authors as Dante he can read only in drastically expurgated, "episcopally approved" editions. It is an interesting fact in connection with the strictness of the new Index constitution that henceforth not merely books which touch upon theological questions must be episcopally approved but also that, according to pp. 42 and 43, such as treat of natural science and art may not be read by orthodox Catholics absque praevia Ordinariorum venia. But it is specially noteworthy that the reading of the Bible in a faithful complete edition, even when this has been edited by Catholics, is forbidden as "grievous sin"! Only those editions may be read which have been specially revised, provided with notes and approved by the Papal stool (p. 29). This care, however, is exercised only for minds already wavering, for during religious instruction as well as at other times the young are warned so strongly against reading the Scriptures that I have lived for twenty years in Catholic countries without encountering a single Catholic layman who ever had had the complete Bible even in his hand; in other cases the Index librorum prohibitorum finds little or no application in practical life; with unerring instinct Rome has felt that the one really dangerous book for it is that in which we find the simple figure of Christ. Before the Council of Trent, i.e., at a time when the later "Protestant" had not yet visibly separated from the later "Catholics," this was not so in Germany; by means of that pioneer of the Reformation, the "German art" of book-printing, in a short time (and in spite of the then existing ecclesiastical prohibition), the Bible in "right common German" had become the most popular book in the land (Janssen: Geschichte des deutschen Volkes i. 20). But the Council of Trent for ever put an end to this state of affairs by its Decretum de editione et usu sacrorum librorum. Immanuel Kant admired, however, the strong consistency of the Roman Church and looked upon the prohibition to read the Bible as its "corner-stone" (Hasse: Letzte Ausserungen Kant's, 1804. p. 29). At the same time he was wont to laugh at the Protestants, "who say: study the Scriptures diligently, but you must not find anything there but what we find" (Reicke: Lose Blatter aus Kant's Nachlass ii. 34).

55. It is very remarkable that such original and free-thinking philosophers as Bruno and Campanella belong to the extreme south of Italy, where even to-day, according to anthropological verifications, the Indo-Germanic distinct dolichocephalous type is most strongly represented in the Peninsula (see Ranke: Der Mensch ii. 299).

56. His leg had been shattered in battle and after it was completely healed he had it broken again because it had become shorter than the other and so rendered him unsuitable for military service.

57. See Bastian: Das Bestandige in den Menschenrassen, p. 110; Peschel: Volkerkunde, 7th ed. p. 539.

58. Gothein: Ignatius von Loyola und die Gegenreformation, 1895, p. 209.

59. It also deserves mention that the first two men who joined Ignatius and helped to found his Order were likewise not Indo-Europeans: Franz Xavier was a genuine Basque, Faber a genuine, superstitious Savoyard (see p. 373 note 2).

60. Since the above was written, a book by Hermann Muller has appeared, Les Origines de la compagnie de Jesus, in which it is proved that Ignatius had studied very carefully the organisation of the Mohammedan secret leagues and in his Exercises in many ways followed Mohammedan views. In truth this man is the personification of all that is Un- Germanic.

61. See chap. ix., Division "Philosophy."

62. See the last writing to the Portuguese, analysed and quoted by Gothian, p. 450.

63. The Jesuit father Bernhard Duhr has devoted a paragraph of the fourth edition of his well-known book Jesuiten-Fabeln to my "Foundations." As the expression of a different point of view is always suggestive and instructive, I would gladly recommend this criticism to my readers, just as I have taken every opportunity to refer to the pamphlet of the Catholic theologian Professor Dr. Albert Ehrhard against these "Foundations" (Heft 4. der Vortrage der Leogesellschaft). But I must unfortunately point out that my Jesuit opponent does not hesitate at an untruth, whereby he makes his task indeed easier, but spoils its effect on sensible independently thinking readers. As a refutation point for point would lead me too far, I choose two examples; they will suffice. On page 936 Duhr says (in reference to what I asserted on p. 566): Nowhere in the Exercitia is any attempt made to destroy the judgment of the individual, on the contrary, a number of directions are given for extending our knowledge and so forming our judgment rightly. In the rule quoted by Chamberlain also all that is said is: "Putting aside our own judgment we must be prepared to obey in everything the true bride of Christ, the Church." Now this interpretation is a frivolous sophism; for when I "put aside" my own opinion to obey "in everything" the judgment of the Church, then I no longer have an opinion of my own. But in the literal translation of the Spanish original, published by the Jesuits themselves, versio literalis ex autographo hispanico, we read as follows: "Primo, deposito omni judicio proprio, debemus tenere animum paratum et promptum ad obediendum in omnibus verae sponsae Christi domini nostri, quae est nostra sancta mater ecclesia hierarchia, quae romana est." And in the other passage adduced by me, Loyola's epistle to the Portuguese, the words are (S. 21):" [vos ego per Christum dominum nostrum obtestor ut ...] voluntatem dico atque judicium expugnare et subjicere studeatis." Are these words not clear enough? Do "deponere," "expugnare" and "subjicere" really only mean "to put aside"? The second instance is still worse. On page 157 of the second volume I have quoted a sentence of the Jesuit Jouvancy concerning and against occupation with the mother tongue; Duhr boldly answers, "So foolish an assertion Jouvancy has nowhere made." In refutation of this I beg the reader to take up the following book: Bibliothek der katholischen Padagogik, founded with the assistance of P.C. Dr. L. Kellner, Suffragan Bishop Dr. Knecht, Spiritual Councillor Dr. Hermann Rolfus and published by F. X. Kunz, vol. x., Der Jesuiten Sacchini, Juvencius und Kropf Erlauterungsschriften zur Studienordnung der Gesellschaft Jesu, trans. by J. Stier, R. Schwickerath, F. Zorell, members of the same society, Freiburg i. B., Herder. 1898. Pages 209 to 322 contain the translation into German of Jouvancy's Lern-und Lehrmethode. And here we read on p. 229, "We must take this opportunity of calling attention to a cliff which is especially dangerous to young teachers, namely, too much reading of works in the mother tongue, especially poetical ones. This is not only a waste of time but may very easily cause shipwreck to the soul."

64. To the most interesting summaries of late years belong the essays of Dr. Siegmund Freud: Uber die Atiologie der Hysterie and Die Sexualitat in der Atiologie der Neurosen in the Vienna Klinische Rundschau in 1896 and 1898. I am convinced that every strong stimulus of the outward activity of sense from purely inner excitement, even when it does not occur in sexual form, is an exacerbation of the sense-life, the seat of which is the brain, and from it results a corresponding paralysis.

65. Cankara: Die Sutra's des Vedante i. I. 4.

66. Regulae ad sentiendum cum ecclesia, No. 18. It is very remarkable in connection with this fundamental doctrine of Ignatius (and all Jesuitism) that the Church father Augustine considered the timor servilis a proof that the man who felt it did not know God! Of such people he says: "They fear God with that slavish fear which proves the absence of love, for complete love knows no fear" -- "Quoniam timent quidem Deum, sed illo timore servili, qui non est in charitate, quia perfecta charitas foras mittit timorem" (De Civitate Dei xxi, 24). Goethe has clearly expressed in his Wanderjahre (Bk. ii. chap. i.) what should be the sacred rule of every Teuton in this matter: "no religion which is based on fear, is respected among us." Diderot makes the fine remark: "Il y a des gens dont il ne faut pas dire qu'ils craignent Dieu, mais bien qu'ils en ont peur" (Pensees philosophiques viii.).

67. See pp. 187, 188.

68. See, too, the above note about the influence of Mohammedanism upon the composition of the Exercitia.

69. See Jesuitenjabeln, 2nd ed. pp. 1-11.

70. I should perhaps have pointed out more emphatically that from the first the activity of the Jesuits has been exercised chiefly in opposition to the Reformation. Thus, for example, two of the direct pupils and friends of Ignatius, Salmeron and Lainez, took care to arrogate to themselves the decisive positions at the Council of Trent, the one as opener of each debate, the other as the last speaker in each case. Little wonder that the "freedom of the Christian," concerning which Luther had written such beautiful words, was fettered once for all at this Council! The great Catholic Church already entered upon that course which was gradually to lower it to a Jesuit sect.

71. Cf. Goethe: Geschichte der Farbenlehre, under Scaliger.

72. Anmerkungen zu Rameau's Nefje.

73. "Perinde ac si cadaver essent, quod quoquoversus ferri, et quacunque ratione tractare se sinit: vel similiter atque senis baculus, qui obicumque et quacumque in re velit eo uti, qui cum manu tenet, ei inservit."

74. Herder says (Journal, 1769, near the end): "The Germans think much and nothing."

75. This reminds us of what Goethe called "after all the most magnificent symbol": a setting sun on a sea, with the legend "even when setting it remains the same" (Unterhaltungen mit dem Kanzler von Muller, March 24, 1824.
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Re: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

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Richard Wagner



Your high-engender'd battles.



WITH this division we enter a new field -- the purely historical. Although the legacy of antiquity and its heirs were manifestations of history, it was possible to free these manifestations from their surroundings and so to consider them under the light of history, and yet not quite as history. Henceforth we have to deal with a succession of events and processes of development, that is to say, with history pure and simple. But there will be a certain sameness in the method, because, just as we formerly noted what remains constant in the stream of time, we shall now choose out only individual points in the incalculable crowd of events that hurry past our mental eye, points which have permanent significance and are, so to speak, "constant." The philosopher might offer the objection that every impulse, even the smallest, exercises perpetual influence; the answer is that in history almost every individual force very soon loses it. separate importance and possesses only the value of one component among countless others which are only present as ideas, while one single great "resultant" remains behind as the perceptible issue of many manifestations of contradictory powers. But now -- to maintain the mechanical comparison -- these resulting lines unite again to form new parallelograms of forces and produce new, greater, more evident events, which have a deeper influence upon history and more enduring importance -- and that goes on until certain heights of power-manifestation are reached, which cannot be surpassed. Only the highest of these must be dealt with here. I shall take it for granted that the historical facts are known; and my task consists merely in properly emphasising and grouping what appears indispensable for an intelligent judgment of the nineteenth century with its contrary currents, its crossing resultants and its leading ideas.

I intended originally to call this third and last division of the first part "The Time of Wild Ferment." I felt, however, that this wild ferment continued long after the year 1200. In fact, even at the present day in many places there seems to be quite enough and to spare. I had also to give up the plan of three chapters -- the Struggle in the State, the Struggle in the Church, the Struggle between State and Church -- since this would have led me much deeper into history than I could have reconciled with the purpose of my work. But I thought it proper in these introductory words to mention my original plan and the studies that it involved, in order that the far simpler method which I have adopted with the division into two chapters "Religion" and "State" may be accepted as the final result of my studies, while some criticism may be disarmed. At the same time it will be understood how far the idea of "The Struggle" has been the leading motive of my exposition.


Goethe in one passage describes the Middle Ages as a conflict between powers which to some extent already possessed, and to some extent endeavoured to gain, considerable independence, and calls the whole an "aristocratic anarchy." [1] I do not like the expression "aristocratic," for it always implies -- even when viewed as aristocracy of intellect -- rights of birth; in contradiction to which that mighty power, the Church, denies all hereditary rights: even the right of succession, recognised by a whole people, does not confer legitimacy on a monarch unless the Church of its own free will ratifies it; that was and still is the Roman theory of the legal powers of the Church, and history offers many examples of Popes freeing nations from their oath of allegiance and inciting them to rebel against their lawful king. In its own midst the Church recognises no individual rights of any kind; neither nobility of birth nor of mind is of any moment. And though we certainly cannot call it a democratic power, yet still less is it aristocratic; all logocracies have been essentially anti-aristocratic and at the same time anti-democratic. Moreover, other powers, genuinely democratic, were beginning to assert themselves in the period which Goethe calls aristocratic. The Teutonic races had entered history as free men, and for many centuries their kings possessed much less power over them than over the subjects whom they had conquered in the various countries of the Roman Empire. The double influence of Rome -- as Church and Law -- sufficed to weaken and soon to abolish these rights. [2] But the impulse towards freedom could never be entirely checked; we see it assert itself in every century, now in the north, now in the south, at one time as freedom of thought and faith, at another as a struggle for city privileges, such as commerce, the defence of rights of class, or a revolt against them, occasionally too in the form of inroads of rude, unconquered tribes into the half-organised mass of the post-Roman Empire. But we must agree with Goethe when he says that this prevailing state of warfare is anarchy. Individual great men had scarcely time to think of justice; moreover every power fought unscrupulously for its own ends, regardless of the rights of others: that was a necessity of existence. We must not let moral scruples bias us : the more unscrupulously a power asserted itself, the greater was its capacity of life. Beethoven says in one passage, "Power is the morality of men who excel others"; and power was the morality of that epoch of the first wild ferment. It was only when nations began to take shape, when in art, science and philosophy man became once more conscious of himself, when, through organisation for the purpose of work, the exercise of his inventive gifts, and the grasping of ideal aims, he entered once more into the magic circle of genuine culture, into "the daylight of life," that anarchy began to give way, or rather to be gradually dammed up in the interests of a new world and a new culture which were assuming final form. This process is still going on, for we are living in all respects in a "Middle Age," [3] but the contrast between the pure anarchy of former times and the moderate anarchy of to-day is so striking that the fundamental difference must be very obvious. Political anarchy probably reached its height in the ninth century; compare the nineteenth with it and we shall be forced to admit that in spite of our revolutions and bloody reactions, in spite of tyranny and regicide, in spite of the uninterrupted ferment here and there, in spite of the shiftings of property, the nineteenth century is to the ninth as day is to night.

In this section I have to deal with a time when there was hardly anything but conflict. In a later age, as soon in fact as the dawn of culture began to appear, there was a shifting of the centre of gravity; the outward conflict still continued and many an honest historian sees even in this age only Popes and Kings, Princes and Bishops, nobility and corporations, battles and treaties; but henceforth there is side by side with these a new invisible power, remodelling the spirit of humanity, and yet making no use of the anarchical morality of force. However slowly this may reveal itself, the sum of intellectual work, which led to the discovery of the heliocentric system .of the world, [4] has entirely under. mined the foundations on which Church theology and Church power rested. The introduction of paper and the invention of printing have raised thought to a world power; out of the lap of pure science have come those discoveries which, like steam and electricity, completely transform the life of humanity as well as the purely material relations of power; [5] the influence of art and of philosophy. -- e.g., of such personalities as Goethe and Kant -- is incalculably great. But I return to this in the second part of these "Foundations," which discusses the rise of a new Germanic world; this section has to deal solely with the struggle of the great powers for possession and supremacy.


If I were to follow the usual custom and, as I had originally planned, contrast State and Church, not State and Religion, we should be in danger of dealing with mere forms. For the Roman Church is first and foremost a political, i.e., a national power; it inherited the Roman idea of imperium, and, in league with the Emperor it represented the rights of an absolute universal empire, supposed to be established by God. It thus conflicted with Germanic tradition and the Germanic impulse to form a nation. Religion it regarded as a means of closely uniting all peoples. Since earliest times the Pontifex maximus in Rome was the chief official in the hierarchy, judex atque arbiter rerum divinarum humanarumque, to whom (according to the legal theory) the King and later the Consuls were subordinate. [6] Of course the remarkably developed political sense of the old Romans had prevented the Pontifex maximus from ever abusing his theoretical power as judge of all things divine and human, just in the same way as the unlimited power (according to the legal fiction) of the paterfamilias over the life and death of his family never gave rise to excesses; [7] the Romans in fact had been the very reverse of anarchists. But now, in the unfettered human chaos, the title and its legal claims were revived; never before or since has such weight been attached to theoretical "law"; vested legal rights were never so much flaunted and insisted upon as at this time, when violence and malice were the sole ruling forces. Pericles had expressed the opinion that the unwritten law stood higher than the written; now only the written word was valid; a commentary of Ulpian, a gloss of Tribonian -- intended for quite different conditions -- was ratio scripta and decided the rights of whole peoples; a parchment with a seal on it legalised every crime. The heiress, administrator and advocate of this view of political law was the city of Rome with her Pontifex maximus, and it stands to reason that she employed these principles to her own advantage. But at the same time the Church inherited the Jewish hierocratic idea of State, with the High Priest as supreme power; the writings of the Church fathers from the third century onwards are full of Old Testament utterances and ideas; and there cannot be the shadow of a doubt that the Roman ideal was the establishment of a universal State with the Jewish priestly rule as a foundation.[8] Here, therefore, the Roman Church must be viewed as a purely political power: here it is not Church that is opposed to State, but one State to another, one political ideal to another.

But apart from the political struggle, which never raged so bitterly and irreconcilably as when the Roman imperial idea came in conflict with Germanic national aspirations, and the Jewish theocracy with Christ's pronouncement, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's," there broke out another very important battle, that about religion itself. And in the nineteenth century this struggle is no more at an end than the other. In our secular States at the beginning of the century the religious contrasts seemed to have lost all acuteness, the nineteenth century had the appearance of an epoch of unconditional tolerance; but during the last thirty years the Church agitators have been once more zealously at work, and the night of the Middle Ages still lies so black around us that in this field every weapon is considered good, and actually proves itself good, though it may be lying, falsification of history, political pressure or social compulsion. It is no mere trifle that lies at the root of this religious strife. Underneath a dogmatic strife, so subtle that it seems to the layman senseless and indifferent, there slumbers not seldom one of those fundamental spiritual questions which decide the whole tendency of a nation's life. How many laymen, for instance, are there in Europe who are capable of understanding the conflict concerning the nature of communion? And yet it was the dogma of transubstantiation (issued in the year 1215, exactly at the moment when the English forced the Magna Charta from their king), which inevitably broke up Europe into several hostile camps. Race differences are at the bottom of this. But race is, as we have seen, plastic, inconstant and composed of manifold elements almost always striving with each other for the mastery; frequently the victory of a religious dogma has given one element preponderance over the others and thus determined the whole further development of a race or nation. Perhaps even the greatest thinker of the time has not quite understood the dogma in question: for dogma deals with the Inexpressible and Unthinkable; but in such cases the direction is the important matter -- the orientation of the will, if I may so express it. Thus we can easily understand how State and Religion can and must affect each other, and that not only in the sense of a tussle between universal Church and national Government: there is also the troublous fact that the State possesses the means (and till lately possessed almost unlimited means) of checking a moral and intellectual movement revealing itself in religion: friction may also arise through the complete victory of some religious view directing the State itself into an entirely new course. Any one who glances impartially at the map of Europe cannot doubt that religion was and is a powerful factor in the growth of States and the development of culture. [9] It not only reveals, but makes, character.

I think that I shall be doing justice to the object which I have in view if, when dealing with this epoch, I choose for special treatment the two great objects of contention -- State and Religion, the struggle in Religion and for Religion, the struggle in the State and for the State. But I must defend myself from the appearance of postulating two separate entities, which became a unity only by their capability of influencing each other; I am rather of the opinion that the complete separation of religious from civic life, which is so popular to-day, rests upon a dangerous error of judgment. It is in reality impossible. In former centuries it was the custom to call Religion the soul and the State the body; [10] but to-day, when the intimate connection of soul and body in the individual becomes more and more present to us, so that we scarcely know where we are to assume the boundary-line to be, such a distinction should make us pause. We know that behind a dispute about justification by faith and justification by works, which is apparently carried on entirely and exclusively in the forum of the soul, very "corporeal" things may be concealed; the course of history has shown us this; and on the other hand we see the moulding and the mechanism of the corporate State having a great and decisive influence upon the nature of the soul (e.g., France since the night of St. Bartholomew and the Dragonades). In decisive moments the ideas State and Religion coalesce completely; we can without figure of speech assert that for the ancient Roman his State was his Religion, and that for the Jew his Religion was his State; and even to-day, when a soldier rushes to battle with the cry: for God, King and Fatherland! that is at the same time Religion and State. Nevertheless in spite of the importance of this caveat, the maintenance of a distinction between the two ideas is a practical necessity; practical for a rapid survey of the summits of history, and practical for a later attempt to connect them with the phenomena and currents of our century.



1. Annalen, 1794.

2. This can be followed more clearly in Savigny's Geschichte des romischen Rechtes im Mittelalter than in general works of history, because he gives a fuller and more vivid account: see especially in the fourth chapter of the first volume the division dealing with "The Freemen" and "the Counts."

3. See vol. i. p. lxix.

4. Augustine comprehended quite well and admitted expressly (De Civitate Dei xvi. 9) that if the world is round and men live at the Antipodes, "whose feet are opposite our feet, separated from us by oceans, their development going on apart from us," then the sacred writings have "lied." Augustine in fact must admit as an honest man that in such an event the plan of salvation, as the Church represents it, is inadequate, and so he hastens to the conclusion that the idea of such antipodes and unknown human races is absurd, nimis absurdum est. What would he have said if he had lived to see the heliocentric system established as well as the fact that untold millions of worlds move in space?

5. Thus poor Switzerland is on the point of becoming one of the richest industrial States, since it can transform its huge water-supply into electricity at almost no cost.

6. See especially Leist: Graeco-italische Rechtsgeschichte, § 69.

7. See vol. i. p. 162.

8. Naturally the oldest are to be excepted, who, like Origenes, Tertullian, &c., had no idea of the possible predominant position of Christianity.

9. Very beautifully shown by Schiller at the beginning of the first part of his Thirty Years War.

10. E.g., Gregory II. in his frequently mentioned letter to Emperor Leo the Isaurian.
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Re: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

Postby admin » Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:18 pm

Part 1 of 5


Rightly understand the driving power of religion, do what it behoves you to further it, and seek to fulfil your duty in this. -- ZOROASTER.


ON a former occasion (vol. i. p. 249) I expressed my personal conviction that the earthly life of Jesus Christ forms the origin and Source, the strength and -- fundamentally -- the significance of everything that has ever called itself Christian religion. I shall not repeat myself, but refer once for all to the chapter on Christ. In that chapter I completely separated the sublime figure of Christ from all historical Christianity, here I purpose to deal with the complementary aspect, and to speak of the rise and growth of the Christian religion. It will be my endeavour to bring out certain leading ideas without even touching the inviolable Figure on the Cross. This separation is not only possible but necessary; it would show a blasphemous lack of critical insight to try to identify with the rock itself the strange structures that have been built upon it by human profundity, acuteness, shortsightedness, confusion, stupidity, by tradition and piety, superstition, malice, senselessness, convention, philosophic speculation and devotion to mysticism -- amid the never-ceasing clatter of tongues and swords and the crackling of flames. The whole superstructure of the Christian Churches has hitherto been outside of the personality of Christ. Jewish will, united to Aryan mythical thought, has formed its principal part; much was derived from Syria, Egypt, &c.; the appearance of Christ upon earth was, to begin with, only the incitement to the constitution of religion, its driving power -- as when the lightning breaks through the clouds and there follows a downpour of rain, or when sunbeams suddenly fall upon certain substances which have nothing in common, and they, at once transformed, burst the boundaries that formerly separated them and unite to form a new compound. It would certainly be unwise to try to estimate the power of the sunbeam and the lightning from these effects. All honour to those who built upon Christ, but we must not permit our vision or our judgment to be dimmed. There is not only a past and a present, there is also a future; for it we must maintain our full freedom. I doubt whether we can rightly judge the past in its relation to the present unless a living divination of the needs of the future carries the mind aloft. Taking the standpoint of the present alone the eye is too much earthbound to be able to see all the possible sequences. It was a Christian, and a Christian in sympathy with the Roman Church, who at the beginning of the nineteenth century said: "The New Testament is still a book with seven seals. Christianity must be studied by man for eternities. In the gospels lie the outlines of future gospels." [1] Whoever studies carefully the history of Christianity sees that it is always and everywhere in a state of flux, always and everywhere waging an inward struggle. Whoever, on the other hand, cherishes the foolish delusion that Christianity has now received its various final forms, overlooks the fact that even the Romish Church, which is considered particularly conservative, has created new dogmas in every century, while older ones (certainly with less noise) were being borne to their grave; he forgets that, even in the nineteenth century, that firmly established Church has experienced more movements, struggles and schisms than almost any other. Such a man imagines that, as the process of development is at an end, he now holds the sum of Christianity in his hands and from this monstrous supposition he constructs in the piety of his heart not only the present and the future but also the past. Still more monstrous is the supposition that Christianity is exhausted and spent, sustained in its boundless course only by the law of inertia; and yet more than one moral philosopher of recent times has written the obituary notice of Christianity, speaking of it as of an historical experiment now over, the beginning, middle and conclusion of which are capable of analytical demonstration. The error of judgment, which lies at the bottom of these opposite views is, it is obvious, practically the same, it leads moreover to equally false conclusions. This error we avoid when We distinguish the personality of Christ -- that ever- gushing constant spring of the loftiest religiosity -- from the structures which the changing religious needs, the changing mental claims of men, and -- what is more important -- the fundamentally different natures of dissimilar human races have erected as the law and temple of their worship.


The Christian religion took its rise at a very peculiar time, under as unfavourable circumstances as could be imagined for the establishment of a uniform, worthy and solid structure. In those very districts where its cradle stood, namely, in Western Asia, Northern Africa and Eastern Europe, there had been a peculiar fusion of the most diverse superstitions, myths, mysteries and philosophical theorems, whereby, as was inevitable, all had lost something of their individuality and value. Think for a moment of the political and social condition of those countries at that time. What Alexander had begun, Rome had completed in a more thorough fashion: in those districts there prevailed an internationalism of which we can hardly form an idea to-day. In the leading cities on the Mediterranean and in Asia Minor there was absolutely no uniformity of race. There were to be found in heterogeneous groups Hellenes, Syrians, Jews, Semites, Armenians, Egyptians, Persians, Roman military colonies, &c. &c., surrounded by countless hybrids, in whose veins all individual characteristics had been confounded and lost. The feeling of patriotism had quite disappeared, because it lacked all meaning; there existed neither nation nor race; Rome was for these men practically what the police are for our mob. On this state of affairs, which I have characterised as "the chaos of peoples," I have endeavoured to throw some light in chapter four of my book. From it resulted free interchange of ideas and customs; national custom and character were gone, and men sought to find a substitute in a capricious confusion of alien practices and alien views of life. There was now practically no real faith. Even in the case of the Jews -- otherwise a splendid exception in the midst of this Witches' Sabbath -- faith was uncertain amid so many varying sects. And yet never before was there such an intoxication of religious feeling as spread at that time from the banks of the Euphrates to Rome. Indian mysticism, which ill all manner of corrupt forms had penetrated as far as Asia Minor, Chaidaic star-worship, Zoroastric worship of Ormuzd and the fire- worship of the magicians, Egyptian asceticism and the doctrine of immortality, Syrian and Phoenician orgiasm and the delusion of the sacrament, Samothracian, Eleusinian and all other kinds of Hellenic mysteries, curiously disguised outcrops of Pythagorean, Empedoclean and Platonic metaphysics, Mosaic propaganda, Stoical ethics -- were all circling in a mad whirl. Men no longer knew what religion meant, but they gave everything a trial, in the dim consciousness that they had been robbed of something which was as necessary to them as the sun to the earth. [2] Into this world came the word of Christ; and it was by these fever-stricken men that the visible structure of the Christian religion was erected; no one could quite free it from the traces of delirium.


The history of the rise of Christian theology is one of the most complicated and difficult that exist. The man who approaches it earnestly and frankly will receive profound and stimulating instruction, but he will at the same time be forced to admit that very much is still exceedingly dark and uncertain, as soon as we leave theorising and try to demonstrate historically the real origin of an idea. A complete history, not of the dogmas within Christianity, but of the way in which from the most diverse circles of ideas articles of faith, conceptions, rules of life entered Christianity and made their home there, cannot yet be written; but enough has happened to convince every one that here an alloy (as the chemists say) of the most diverse metals has been formed. It is not within the scope of my work to submit this complicated state of matters to a thorough analysis, even were I competent for the task; [3] in the meantime it will be sufficient to consider the two chief pillars -- Judaism and Indo-Europeanism -- on which almost the whole structure has been built and which explains the hybridism of the Christian religion from the beginning. Of course much that was Jewish and Indo-European was afterwards so falsified by the influence of the Chaos and especially of Egypt that it became no longer recognisable. Take, for example, the introduction of the cult of Isis (mother of God) and the magic transformation of matter, though here, too, a knowledge of the fundamental structure is indispensable. Everything else is proportionately unimportant; thus -- to give only one example -- the official introduction into practical Christianity of Stoic doctrines of virtue and bliss by Ambrosius, whose book De Officiis Ministrorum was merely a pale imitation of Cicero's De Officiis, which he in turn had compiled from the Greek Panaetius. [4] Such a thing is certainly not without significance; Hatch shows, for example, in his lecture on "Greek and Christian ethics," that the moral code which obtains to-day is made up of far more Stoical than Christian elements. [5] But we have already seen that morality and religion may be independent of each other (see vol. i. pp. 215 and 489), at least wherever the "conversion" taught by Christ has not taken place; and while it is interesting to see a Church father recommending the practical and cosmopolitan, not to say legal, morality of a Cicero as model to the priests of his diocese, yet such a thing does not reach to the foundations of the religious structure. The same might be said of many another element which will occupy our attention later.

Now those two principal pillars, upon which the Christian theologists of the first centuries erected the new religion, are Jewish historical and chronological faith and Indo-European symbolical and metaphysical mythology. As I have already demonstrated in detail, we have here to deal with two fundamentally different" views of life." [6] These two views now became amalgamated. Indo-Europeans -- men nurtured on Hellenic poetry and philosophy thirsting after ideas -- transformed Jewish historical religion according to the fancy of their richly imaginative spirit; Jews. on the other hand, even before the rise of Christianity seized hold on the mythology and physics of the Greeks, saturated them with the historical superstition of their people and out of the whole spun an abstract dogmatical web which was just as incomprehensible as the most sublime speculations of a Plato, materialising into empirical forms everything that was transcendental and allegorical; on both sides therefore irremediable misapprehension and non-comprehension -- the inevitable consequence of deviation from the natural course! It was the work of the first centuries to weld together in Christianity these alien elements, and this work could naturally only succeed amid unceasing strife. Reduced to its simplest expression, this strife was a struggle for mastery between Indo-European and Jewish religious in stincts. It broke out immediately after the death of Christ between the Jewish Gentiles and the heathen Christians, for centuries it raged most Violently between gnosis and antignosis, between Arians and Athanasians, it woke up again in the Reformation and to-day it goes on as fiercely as ever, not indeed in the clouds of theory or on battlefields, but as an underground current in Our life. We can make this process clear by a comparison. It is as though we were to take two trees of different genera, cut off their heads and without uprooting them bend them together and tie them in such a fashion that each should become a graft of the other. Upward growth would at once become an impossibility for both; deterioration, not improvement, would be the result, for, as every botanist knows, an organic union is in such a case impossible, and the trees, if they survived the operation, would continue to bear each its own leaves and flowers, and in the confusion of foliage alien would every where be driving against alien. [7] Exactly the same has happened with the Christian structure of religion. Jewish religious chronicle and Jewish Messianic faith stand unreconciled beside the mystic mythology of the Hellenic decadence. Not only do they not fuse, in essential points they contradict each other. Take, for example, the conception of the Godhead: here Jehovah, there the old Aryan Trinity. Take again the conception of the Messiah: here the expectation of a hero of the tribe of David, who will win for the Jews the empire of the world, there the Logos become flesh, fastened on to metaphysical speculations, which had occupied the Greek philosophers for five hundred years before the birth of Christ. [8] Christ, the undeniably historical personality, is forced into both systems; for the Jewish historical myth he had to supply the Messiah, although no one was less suitable; in the neo-Platonic myth he is the fleeting incomprehensible manifestation of an abstract scheme of thought -- he, the moral genius in its highest potentiality, the greatest religious individuality that ever lived!

Nevertheless even admitting the necessary untrustworthiness and defects of such a hybrid representation, we can hardly imagine how a universal religion could have arisen in that chaos of peoples without the cooperation of these two elements. Of course, if Christ had preached to Indian or Germanic peoples his words would have had quite a different influence. There has never been a less Christian age -- if I am allowed the paradox -- than the centuries in which the Christian Church originated. A real understanding of Christ's words was at that time out of the question. But when through him the stimulus to religious elevation was given to that chaotic and deluded mass of human beings, how could a temple have been built for them without basing everything upon the Jewish chronicle and the Jewish tendency to view things from a concrete historical standpoint? One could only keep these slavish souls, who had nothing to lean upon either in themselves or in the national life around them, by giving them something tangible, something material and dogmatically certain; it was a religious law, not philosophical speculations about duty and virtue, that they required; for that reason indeed many had already adopted Judaism. But Judaism -- invaluable as a power of will -- possesses only a very small and, being Semitic, a very limited creative capacity; the architect had therefore to be sought elsewhere. Without the wealth of form and the creative power of the Hellenic spirit, or let us say simply, without Homer, Plato and Aristotle, and in the further background Persia and India -- the outward cosmogonic and mythological structure of the Christian Church could never have become the temple of a universal faith. The early teachers of the Church all link themselves with Plato, the later ones with Aristotle as well. Any Church history will testify to the extensive literary poetical and philosophical culture of the earliest, that is the Greek, fathers, and from that we may form a high estimate of the value of this culture for the fundamental dogmas of Christianity, The Indo-European mythology could not of course receive colour and life under such strange auspices; it was Christian art which at a later time helped as far as possible to make good this want; yet, thanks to the influence of the Hellenic eye, this mythology at least received a geometric and in so far visible shape: the ancient Aryan conception of the Trinity supplied the skilfully built cosmic temple, in which were erected the altars of an entirely new religion.

We must now become quite clear about the nature of these two most important constructive elements of the Christian religion, otherwise it will be impossible to understand the very complicated strife about articles of faith, which has been raging from the first century of our era to the present day -- but especially during the first centuries. The various leading spirits confuse in the most varying proportions the most contradictory views, doctrines and instincts of Jew and Indo- European, Let us therefore consider first the mythologically moulding influence of the Indo-European philosophy upon the growing Christian religion, and afterwards the mighty impulse which it received from the positive, materialistic spirit of Judaism.

In chapter five I have given a detailed exposition of the difference between historical and mythical religion; [9] I assume it now to be known. Mythology is a metaphysical view of the world sub specie oculorum. Its peculiarity, its special character -- its limitation also -- consists in this, that what has not been seen is by it reduced to something seen. The myth explains nothing, it is not a seeking after the whence and whither; nor is it a moral doctrine; least of all is it history. From this one reflection it is clear that the mythology of the Christian Church has primarily nothing to do with Old Testament chronology and the historical advent of Christ; it is an old Aryan legacy transformed in many respects for the worse by alien hands and adapted well or badly to new conditions. [10] In order to form a clear idea of the mythological portions of Christianity, we shall do well to distinguish between inner and outer mythology, that is, between the mythological moulding of outer and of inner experience. Phoebus driving his car through the sky is the figurative expression of an outward phenomenon; the Erinnyes pursuing the criminal symbolise a fact of man's inner experience. In both spheres Christian and mythological symbolism have penetrated deep, and as Wolfgang Menzel, a man of Catholic leanings, says, "Symbolism is not merely the mirror, it is also the source of dogma." [11] Symbolism as the source of dogma is manifestly identical with mythology.


As an excellent example of mythology which grows from external experience I should like to mention especially the conception of the Trinity. Thanks to the influence of Hellenic sentiment, the Christian Church (in spite of the violent opposition of the Jewish Christians), had, in the moulding of its dogma, steered successfully past that most dangerous cliff, Semitic monotheism, and has preserved in her otherwise perilously Judaised conception of the Godhead the sacred "Three in Number" of the Aryans. [12] It is well known that We continually come iatcriso,ssas tGheoenthuemsbaeyrs, Three among the Indo-Europeans: it is, as Goethe says,

die ewig unveraltete.
Dreinamig -- Dreigestaltete.

We find it in the three groups of the Indian gods, at a later time (several centuries before Christ) developed into the detailed and expressly stated doctrine of the Trinity, the Trimurti: "He, who is Vishnu, is also Civa, and he, who is Civa, is also Brahma; one being but three Gods." And the conception can be traced from the distant east to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, Where Patricius found the clover leaf as the symbol of the Trinity among the Druids. The number Three was bound at an early time to impress itself upon races that were inclined to poetry and metaphysics, for it and it alone is not a chance number (like five or ten which are derived from the fingers) nor a pedantically calculated number (like seven, which is derived from the so-called seven wandering stars), it expresses a fundamental phenomenon, so that the conception of a Trinity might rather be called an experience than a symbol. The authors of the Upanishads had already recognised that all human knowledge rests on three fundamental forms -- time, space, causality -- and that not a triplicity but (to quote from Kant) a "unity of apperception" results therefrom; space and time also are inseparable unities, but possess three dimensions. In short, the threefoldness as unity surrounds us on all sides as an original phenomenon of experience and is reflected in all individual cases. Thus, for example, the most modern science has proved that without exception every element tan take three -- but only three -- forms: the solid, the fluid, the gaseous; and this only further shows, what the people long ago knew, that our planet consists of earth, water and air. As Homer says

Everything was divided into three,

If we search for such conceptions intentionally, the proceeding very soon degenerates (as in the case of Hegel) into trifling; [13] but there is no trifling in the spontaneous, intuitive development into a myth of a general, but not analytically divided, physical and at the same time metaphysical cosmic experience. And from this example we derive the consoling certainty that in the Christian dogma too the Indo-European spirit has not become entirely untrue to its own nature, but that its myth-creating religion has still remained nature-symbolism, as was the case from time immemorial with the Indo- Eranians and the Teutonic nations. But here the symbolism is very subtle indeed, because in the first Christian centuries philosophical abstraction flourished, while artistic creative power was dormant. [14] We must also emphasise the fact that the myth was not felt by the great mass of the Christians as a symbol; but the same was true of the Indians and Teutonic peoples with their deities of light, air and water; it is indeed no mere symbol, all nature testifies to the inner, transcendental truth of such a dogma as well as to its power of vigorous progressive development. [15]

Now the structure of Christian dogma contains a great deal of such external, or, if we will, cosmic mythology.

In the first place nearly everything which as doctrine supplements the conception of the Trinity: the incarnation of the Word, the Paraclete, &c. More especially is the myth of God becoming man an old Indian ancestral property. We see it in the idea of unity in the very first book of the Rigveda; it meets us in philosophical transformation in the doctrine of the identity of Atma and Brahma; and it assumed visible form in the God-man Krishna, a figure which the poet makes God explain in the Bhagavadgita as follows: "Again and again when virtue languishes and injustice prevails I create myself (in human form). For the protection of the good, the destruction of the evil and the confirmation of virtue I am born on earth." [16] The dogmatic conception of the nature of Buddha is merely a modification of this myth. The conception, too, that the god who became man could only be born of a virgin is an old mythical feature and decidedly belongs to the class of nature-symbols. The much-ridiculed schoolmen who wished to find not only heaven and hell, but also the Trinity, the incarnation, the birth from a virgin, &c., suggested in Homer and expressed in Aristotle, were not quite wrong. The altar and the view of the sacraments among the earliest Christians point likewise rather to common Aryan conceptions of a symbolic nature-cult than to the Jewish peace-offering to an angry God (see details concerning this at the end of the chapter). In short, no single feature of Christian mythology can lay claim to originality. Of course, all these conceptions received a very different meaning in the Christian doctrine -- not that the mythical background had become essentially different but rather because from now onwards the historical personality of Jesus Christ stood in the foreground, and because the metaphysics and the myths of the Indo-Europeans, when recast by the men of the chaos, had mostly been so disfigured as to be no longer recognisable. An attempt has been made in the nineteenth century to explain away the fact of Christ as a myth; [17] the truth lies in the very reverse: Christ is the one thing in Christianity that is not mythical; through Jesus Christ, through the cosmic greatness of his personality (and to this may be added the historically materialising influence of Jewish thought) myth has, so to speak, become history.


Before I pass on to the moulding of myths from inner experience, I must say a word about those alien, transforming influences that brought themselves to bear upon the visible structure of religion, and so falsified Our own inherited mythical conceptions.

For example, it is, as I have said, an old idea that God becoming man was born of a virgin, but the worship of the "mother of God" was taken from Egypt, where for about three centuries before Christ the rich plastically changeable Pantheon with its usual readiness to receive the alien had assimilated this idea with particular zeal, transforming it, like everything Egyptian, to a purely empirical materialism. But it was long before the cult of Isis could force its way into the Christian religion. In the year 430, the term mother of God" is described by Nestorius as a blasphemous innovation; it had just made its way into the Church! In the history of mythological dogma nothing can be so clearly proved as the direct, genetic connection of the Christian worship of the "mother of God" with the worship of Isis. In the latest times the religion of the chaos that dwelt in Egypt had limited itself more and more to the worship of the "son of God" -- Horus and his mother Isis. Concerning this the famous Egyptologist Flinders Petrie writes: " This religious custom had a profound influence upon the development of Christianity. We may even say that, but for the presence of Egypt we should never have seen a Madonna. Isis had obtained a great hold on the Romans under the earlier Emperors, her worship was fashionable and widespread; and when she found a place in the other great movement, that of the Galileans, when fashion and moral conviction could go hand in hand then her triumph was assured, and, as the Mother Goddess, she has been the ruling figure of the religion of Italy ever since." [18] The same author then shows also how the worship of Horus as a child of God was transferred to the conceptions of the Roman Church, so that out of the profound and thoughtful, ripe and manly proclaimer of salvation of the earliest representations there grew finally the arrogant bambino of Italian pictures. [19] Here we see the chaos of peoples as well as Indo-Europeanism and Judaism at work in the development of the structure of the Christian Church. We find the same in the conceptions of heaven and of hell, of the resurrection, of angels and evil spirits, &c., and at the same time we find their mythological worth becoming less and less, till finally almost nothing is left but slavish superstition, which worships before the fetish of the putative nails of a saint. I attempted in the second half of the first chapter to explain the difference between superstition and religion; at the same time I showed how the delusive conceptions of the uneducated mob, in league with the most subtle philosophy, successfully instituted an attack upon genuine religion, as soon as Hellenic poetical power began to decline; what was said there is applicable here and need not be repeated. (See vol. i. pp. 70 to 80.) Centuries before Christ the so-called mysteries were introduced into Greece, and into them men were initiated by purification (baptism), in order that by, partaking together of the divine flesh and blood (Greek mysterion, Latin sacramentum) they might then share in the divine nature and immortality; but these delusive doctrines were accepted exclusively by the ever-increasing population of" foreigners and slaves" and inspired all genuine Hellenes with horror and contempt. [20] The more deep the religious and creative consciousness sank, the more boldly did the chaos raise its head. A fusion of all shades of superstitions was brought about by the Roman Empire, and when Constantine II. at the end of the fourth century proclaimed the Christian religion to be the religion of the State and so forced all those who were at heart non-Christians into the community of the Christians, all the chaotic conceptions of degenerate "heathendom" flowed in at the same time and from those days onward formed -- at least to a great extent -- an essential element of the dogma.

This moment is the turning-point in the development of the Christian religion.

Noble Christians, especially the Greek fathers, fought desperately against the disfiguration of their pure, simple faith, a struggle which found its most important but its most violent and best known expression in the long conflict about image- worship. Already in this, Rome, prompted by race, culture and tradition, took the side of the chaos. At the end of the fourth century the great Vigilantius, a Goth, raises his voice against the pseudo-mythological Pantheon of guardian angels and martyrs, the abuse of relics-and the monkhood taken over from the Egyptian worship of Serapis; [21] but Hieronymus, who was educated in Rome, fights it down and enriches the world and the calendar with new saints invented by his own imagination. The "pious lie" was already at work. [22]


This may suffice to illustrate the manner in which the mythology derived from outer experience and handed down by the Indo-Europeans was unavoidably disfigured by the Chaos of Peoples. If we now turn our attention to the forming of myths from inner experience we shall find the Indo-European legacy in purer form.

The kernel of the Christian religion, the locus in which all rays concentrate, is the conception of a "redemption of man": this idea has always been and still is strange to the Jews; it absolutely contradicts their whole conception of religion; [23] for here we have not to do with a visible, historical fact, but with an inexpressible, inner experience. It is, on the other hand, the central idea in all Indo-Eranian religious views; they all revolve, at it were, round the longing for redemption, the hope of salvation; nor was this idea of redemption strange to the Hellenes; we find it in their mysteries: it forms the basis of many of their myths, and in Plato (e.g., in the seventh book of the Republic) it is clearly recognisable, although, for the reason stated in the first chapter, the Greeks of the Classical epoch revealed to a very small extent the inner, moral, or, as we should say to-day, pessimistic side of these myths. They sought the kernel elsewhere:

What are treasures to me in comparison with life.

And yet alongside of this high estimate of life as the most glorious of all possessions there is the song of praise to the one who dies young:

All things are fair in death, whatever may appear. [24]

But whoever notices the tragic basis of the proverbial "Greek cheerfulness" will be inclined to recognise this "redemption in beautiful manifestation" as clearly related to those other conceptions of the redemption; it is the same theme in a different key, Major instead of Minor.

The idea of redemption -- or let us rather say the mythical conception of redemption [25] -- embraces two others: that of a present imperfection and that of a possible perfection by some non-empirical, that is, in a certain sense supernatural or transcendental process: the one is symbolised by the myth of degeneration, the other by that of gracious help bestowed by a Higher Being. The myth of degeneration becomes particularly plastic where it is represented as the fall by sin; this is in consequence the most beautiful and imperishable page in Christian mythology; whereas the complementary conception of grace is so pre-eminently metaphysical that it can scarcely be presented in plastic form. The story of the fall is a fable, by which attention is drawn to a great fundamental fact of human life awakened to consciousness; it leads up to knowledge; grace, on the other hand, is a conception which only follows after knowledge, and can only be acquired by personal experience [26] Hence a great and interesting difference in the development of all genuine (that is, non-Semitic) religions according to the predominant mental gifts of the various races. Wherever the creative and figurative element predominates (in the case of the Eranians, the Europeans, and, as it seems, the Sumero-Accadians) degeneration is plastically presented as "fall by sin" and made the centre of the complex of myths derived from inner experience: this complex of myths groups itself around the conception of redemption; [27] whereas where this is not the case (for example among the Aryan Indians, who have such high talents for metaphysics but as plastic artists are more rich in imagination than skilful in form), we do not find the myth of degeneration clearly and definitely formulated, but only all sorts of contradictory conceptions. On the other hand, grace -- the weak point of our religion and for most Christians a mere confused word -- is the radiant sun of Indian faith; it represents not merely hope but the triumphant experience of the pious, and therefore stands so very much in the forefront of all religious thought and feeling that the discussions of the Indian sages on grace, especially in its relation to good works, make the violent debates which have always divided the Christian Church appear relatively almost childish and to a great extent ridiculous, if we except the case of a very few men -- an Apostle Paul and a Martin Luther. Should anyone be inclined to doubt that here we are dealing with the mythical shaping of inexpressible inner experiences, I would refer him to the speech of Christ to Nicodemus, in which the word "regeneration" would be just as senseless as the story in Genesis of the degeneration of the first beings by the eating of an apple, if there were not here as there, a case of making visible a perfectly actual and present but at the same time invisible process which therefore the understanding cannot grasp. And in reference to the fall by sin I refer to Luther, who writes: "Original sin means the fail of all nature"; and again: "The earth is indeed innocent and would willingly bring forth the best; but it is hindered by the curse that has fallen upon men by reason of sin." Here natural affinity between man's innermost action and surrounding nature is obviously postulated: that is Indo-European mythical religion in its full development (see vol. i. pp. 214 and 412). I may also say that when this mythical religion reveals itself as the conception of reason (as in the case of Schopenhauer) it forms Indo-European metaphysics. [28]

Reflection upon this brings home to us the profound and very significant fact that our Indo-European view of "sin" is altogether mythical, that is, it reaches beyond the real world. I have already pointed out (vol. i. p. 390 ) how fundamentally distinct the Jewish view is; so that the same word denotes with them quite a different thing; I have, moreover, studied various modern Jewish handbooks of religious teaching without anywhere finding a discussion of the idea of "sin": whoever does not break the law is righteous; on the other hand, the Jewish theologians expressly and energetically reject the dogma of original sin which the Christians derived from the Old Testament. [29] Now if we reflect on this position of the Jews, which is perfectly justified by their history and religion, we shall soon come to see that from our different standpoint sin and original sin are synonyms. It is a question of an unavoidable condition of all life. Our conception of sinfulness is the first step towards the recognition of a transcendental connection of things; it is evidence that our direct experience of this connection is beginning -- an experience which receives its consummation in the words of Christ; "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you" (see vol. i. p. 187). Augustine's definition: "Peccatum est dictum, factum vel concupitum contra legem aeternam" [30] is only a superficial extension of Jewish conceptions; Paul goes to the root of the matter by calling sin itself a "law" -- a law of the flesh, or, as we should say to-day, an empirical law of nature -- and by showing in a famous passage which has been considered obscure but is perfectly clear (Romans viii.). that the Church law, that so-called lex aeterna of Augustine, has not the least power over sin, which is a fact of nature, over which grace alone can prevail. [31] The exact transcription of the Old Indian thought! The singer of the Veda already "searches eagerly for his sin" and finds it not in his will but in his condition, which even in his dreams holds evil up before his eyes, and finally he turns to his God, "the God of grace," who enlightens the simple. [32] And in the same way as later Origenes, Erigena and Luther, the Cariraka-Mimansa considers all living beings as "in need of redemption, but only human beings as being capable of it." [33] It is only when we view sin as a condition, not as the transgression of a law, that we can arrive at the two conceptions of redemption and of grace. Here we have to do with the inmost experiences of the individual soul, which, as far as is possible, are made visible and communicable through mythical images.

How unavoidable the struggle was in this whole range of myth-building becomes clear from the simple reflection that such conceptions are directly contradictory to the Jewish view of religion. Where does one find in the sacred books of the Hebrews even the slightest hint of the conception of the divine Trinity? Nowhere. Note also with what fine instinct the first bearers of the Christian idea take precautions that the "redeemer" should not be incorporated in any way with the Jewish people: the house of David had been promised everlasting duration by the Priests (2 Samuel xxii. 5), hence the expectation of a King from this tribe; but Christ is not descended from the house of David; [34] neither is he a son of Jehovah, the God of the Jews; he is the son of the cosmic God, that "holy ghost" which was familiar to all Aryans under different names -- the "breath of breath," as the Brihadaranyaka says, or, to quote the Greek fathers of the Christian Church, the poietes and plaster of the world, the "originator of the sublime work of creation." [35] The idea of a redemption and with it of necessity the conceptions of degeneration and grace have always been and still are alien to the Jews. The surest proof is afforded by the fact that, although the Jews themselves relate the myth of the Fall at the beginning of their sacred books, they themselves have never known anything of original sin! I have already pointed to this fact and we know of course that all the myths contained in the Bible are without exception borrowed, reduced from mythological ambiguity to the narrow significance of an historical chronicle by those who composed the Old Testament. [36] For this reason there grew up in regard to the cycle of myths of redemption a strife within the Christian Church which raged wildly during the first centuries, and signified a life and death struggle for religion, which is not yet settled and never can be -- never, so long as two contradictory views of existence are forced by obstinate want of comprehension to exist side by side as one and the same religion. The Jew, as Professor Darmesteter assured us (vol. 1. p. 421), " has never troubled his brain about the story of the apple and the serpent"; for his unimaginative brain it had no meaning; [37] for the Greek and the Teuton, on the other hand, it was the starting-point of the whole moral mythology of humanity laid down in the book of Genesis. These therefore could not help" troubling their brains" about the question. If like the Jews they rejected the Fall completely, they at the same time destroyed the belief in divine grace and therewith disappeared the conception of redemption, in short, religion in our Indo-European sense was destroyed and nothing but Jewish rationalism remained behind -- without the strength and the ideal element of Jewish national tradition and blood relationship. That is what Augustine clearly recognised. But on the other hand, if we were to accept this very ancient Sumero-Accadian fable, which was meant, as I said before, to awaken the perceptive faculty, if we fancied we must interpret it in that Jewish fashion which views all things mythical as materially correct history, the result must be a monstrous and revolting doctrine, or, as Bishop Julianus of Eclanum at the beginning of the fifth century expresses it, "a stupid and profane dogma." It was this conviction that decided the pious Briton Pelagius -- and before him, as it seems, almost the whole Hellenic Christendom. I have studied various histories of dogma and histories of the Church without ever finding this so very simple cause of the unavoidable Pelagian controversy even hinted at. Harnack, for example, in his History at Dogma, says of Augustine's doctrine of grace and sin: "As the expression of psychological religious experience it is true; but when projected into history it is false," and a little further on he says, "the letter of the Bible had a confusing influence"; here on two occasions he is very near the explanation, without seeing it, and in consequence the rest of his exposition remains abstract and theological, leaving us very uncertain on. the matter. For here we have obviously an instance, if I may use a popular expression, of a knife that cuts both ways. By scornfully rejecting the low materialistic, concretely historical view of Adam's Fall, he proves his deeply religious feeling and maintains it in happy protest against shallow Semitism, at the same time -- by proving death, for example, a universal and necessary law of nature having nothing to do with sin -- he is fighting for truth against superstition, for science against obscurantism. On the other hand, he and his comrades have had their sense for poetry and myth so destroyed by Aristotelianism and Hebraism, that he himself (like so many an Anti-Semite of the present day) has become half a Jew and rejects the good with the bad: he will hear nothing of the Fall; the old, sacred image which points the way to the profoundest knowledge of human nature he discards completely; but grace is hereby made to shrink to a meaningless word and redemption becomes so shadowy an abstraction that a follower of Pelagius could speak of an "emancipation of man from God by free will." This path would have led directly back to flatly rationalistic philosophy and Stoicism, with the never-failing complement of grossly sensual mystery-service and superstition, a movement which we can observe in the ethical and theosophic societies of the nineteenth century. There is no doubt, therefore, that Augustine in that famous struggle, in which he originally had the greatest and most gifted portion of the Episcopate, and more than once the Pope too, against him, saved religion as such, for he defended the myth. But by what means only was that possible to him? It was only possible because he threw the narrow Nessus-shirt of acquired Jewish narrow-mindedness over the splendid creations of divining, intuitive, heavenward-soaring wisdom, and transformed Sumero-Accadian similes into Christian dogmas, in the historical truth of which every one must henceforth believe on penalty of death. [38]

I am not writing a history of theology and cannot go deeper into this controversy, but I hope that these fragmentary hints have thrown some light on the inevitable quarrel concerning the Fall, and characterised it in its essentiality. Every educated man knows that the Pelagian controversy is still going on. The Catholic Church, by emphasising the importance of works as opposed to faith, could not help diminishing the importance of grace; no sophistry can put aside this fact, which when further reflected has influenced the actions and thoughts of millions. But Fall and Grace are so closely connected parts of one single organism that the least touching of the one influences the other; thus it was that step by step the true significance of the myth of the Fall became so weakened that the Jesuits to-day are generally described as semi- Pelagians, and they themselves even call their doctrine a scientia media. [39] As soon as the myth is infringed, Judaism is inevitable.

It is clear that the struggle must rage more fiercely concerning the conception of grace; for the Fall was at least found in the sacred books of the Israelites, though only as uncomprehended myth, whereas grace is nowhere to be found there and is and remains quite meaningless to them. The storm had already burst among the Apostles, and it has not yet died away. Law or grace: the two could no more exist simultaneously than man could at once serve God and mammon. "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Paul to the Galatians ii. 21). One such passage is decisive; to play off against it other so-called "canonical" utterances (e.g., The Epistle of James ii. 14, 24) is childish; for it is not a question of theological hair-splitting but of one of the great facts of experience of inner life amongst us Indo-Europeans. "Only he receives redemption, whom redemption chooses," says the Katha-Upanishad. And what gift is it that this metaphysical myth lets us "receive by grace"? According to the Indo-Eranians knowledge, according to the European Christians faith: both guaranteeing a regeneration, that is, awakening man to the consciousness of a different connection of things. [40] I quote again the words of Christ, for they cannot too often be quoted: "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you." This is a discernment or a faith, obtained by divine grace. Redemption by knowledge, redemption by faith: two views which are not so very different as people have thought; the Indian, and Buddha, put the emphasis on the intellect, the Graeco-Teuton, taught by Jesus Christ, upon the will: two interpretations of the same inner experience. But the second is of more far-reaching importance, since redemption by knowledge, as India shows, signifies fundamentally a pure and simple negation and so affords no positive, creative principle; while redemption by faith takes hold of humanity by its darkest roots and forces it to take a definite and a strongly positive direction:

Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott! [Google translate: A mighty fortress is our God!]

To the Jewish religion both views are equally foreign.
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Re: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

Postby admin » Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:20 pm

Part 2 of 5


So much for information and instruction concerning those mythological portions of the Christian religion. which certainly were not borrowed from Judaism. Manifestly, the structure is essentially Indo-European, not a temple built solely in honour of the Jewish religion. This structure rests upon pillars and these pillars upon foundations, which are not all Jewish. But now it remains to appreciate the importance of the impulse derived from Judaism, whereby at the same time the nature of the struggle within the Christian religion will appear more and more manifest.

Nothing would be falser than to regard the Jewish influence in the creation of the Christian religion as merely negative, destructive and pernicious. If we look at the matter from the Semitic standpoint. which with the help of any Jewish religious doctrine we can easily do. we shall see things in exactly the opposite light: the Helleno-Aryan element as the undoing. destroying force that is hostile to religion as we already observed in the case of Pelagius. Without giving up our natural point of view, an unprejudiced consideration will show us that the Jewish contribution is very important and almost indispensable. For in this marriage the Jewish spirit was the masculine principle, the generative element, the will. Nothing entitles us to assume that Hellenic speculation, Egyptian asceticism and international mysticism, without the fervour of the Jewish will to believe, would ever have given the world a new religious ideal and at the same time a new life. Neither the Roman Stoics with their noble but cold, impotent moral philosophy, nor the aimless, mystic self-negation of the theology introduced from India to Asia Minor, nor the opposite solution found in the neo-Platonic Philo, where the Israelite faith is viewed in a mystical, symbolical fashion, and Hellenic thought, deformed by senility, must embrace this strangely adorned youngest daughter of Israel -- none of these, obviously, would have led to the goal. How could we otherwise explain the fact that at the very time when Christ was born Judaism itself, so exclusive in its nature, so scornful of everything alien, so stern and joyless and devoid of beauty, had begun a genuine and most successful propaganda? The Jewish religion is disinclined to all conversion, but the Gentiles, impelled by longing for faith, went over to it in crowds. And that too although the Jew was hated. We speak of the Anti-Semitism of to-day. Renan assures us that horror of the Jewish character was even more intense in the century before the birth of Christ [41]* What is it then that forms the secret attraction of Judaism? Its will. That will which, ruling in the sphere of religion, created unconditional, blind faith. Poetry, philosophy, science, mysticism, mythology -- all these are widely divergent and to a certain extent paralyse the will; they testify to an unworldly, speculative, ideal tendency of mind, which produces in the case of all noble men that proud contempt of life which makes it possible for the Indian sage to lay himself while still alive in his own grave, which makes the inimitable greatness of Homer's hero Achilles, which stamps the German Siegfried as a model of fearlessness and which received monumental expression in the nineteenth century in Schopenhauer's doctrine of the negation of the will to live. The will is here in a way directed inwardly. This is quite different in the case of the Jew. His will at all times took an outward direction; it was the unconditional will to live. This will to live was the first thing that Judaism gave to Christianity: hence that contradiction, which even to-day seems to many an inexplicable riddle, between a doctrine of inner conversion, toleration and mercifulness, and a religion of exclusive self-assertion and fanatical intolerance.

Next to this general tendency of will -- and inseparably bound up with it -- must be mentioned the Jewish purely historical view of faith. In the third chapter I have treated at length the relation between the Jewish faith of will and the teaching of Christ, while I have in the fifth discussed its relation to religion as a whole; I presuppose both passages to be known. [42] Here I should like merely to call attention to the fact, how great and decisive an influence the Jewish faith as a material unshakable conviction concerning definite historical events was bound to exercise at that moment of history at which Christianity arose. On this point Hatch writes: "The young Christian communities were helped by the current reaction against pure speculation-the longing for certainty. The mass of men were sick of theories; they wanted certainty. The current teaching of the Christian teachers gave this certainty. It appealed to definite facts of which their predecessors were eye-witnesses. Its simple tradition of the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was a necessary basis for the satisfaction of men's needs." [43] That was a beginning. The attention was in the first place directed solely to Jesus Christ; the sacred books of the Jews were counted as very suspicious documents: Luther speaks in anger of the small respect which men like Origenes and even Hieronymus (as he tells us) paid to the Old Testament; most of the gnostics rejected it in toto; Marcion actually regarded it as a work of the Devil. But as soon as the thin edge of Jewish historical religion had found its way into men's ideas, the whole wedge could not fail gradually to be driven in. It is believed that the so-called Jewish Christians suffered a defeat and that the heathen Christians with Paul carried off the victory? That is only true in a very conditional and fragmentary manner. Outwardly, indeed, the Jewish law with its "sign of the Covenant" suffered complete shipwreck, outwardly, too, the Indo-European with his Trinity and other mythology and metaphysics prevailed; but inwardly, during the first centuries, the true backbone of Christianity came to be Jewish history -- that history which had been remodelled by fanatical priests according to certain hieratic theories and plans, which had been supplemented and constructed with genius but at the same time with caprice -- that history which historically was utterly untrue. [43] Christ's advent, which had been foretold to them by authentic witnesses, was to those poor men of the chaos like a light in the darkness: it was an historical phenomenon. Sublime spirits indeed placed this historic personality in a symbolical temple; but what signified logos and demiurgos and emanations of the divine principle to the common people? Its healthy instinct impelled it to fasten on to something which gave it a firm hold, and that was Jewish history. The Messianic hope -- although in Judaism it by no means played the part which we Christians imagine [45] -- formed the uniting link in the chain, and mankind possessed henceforth not only the teacher of the new sublime religion, not only the divine picture of the Sufferer on the Cross, but the whole world-plan of the Creator from the time when he created heaven and earth to the moment when he should sit in judgment, "which was soon to be." The longing for material certainty, the distinguishing mark of that epoch, had, as we see, not rested, till every trace of uncertainty had been destroyed. That signifies a triumph of Jewish, and fundamentally of Semitic, philosophy and religion.

Closely allied to this is the introduction of religious intolerance. Intolerance is natural to the Semite; in it an essential feature of his character expresses itself. To the Jew especially the unwavering belief in the history and destination of his people was a vital question; this belief was his only weapon in the struggle for the existence of his nation; in it his particular gifts had been permanently expressed; in short, for him there was at stake something which had grown outward from within -- something which was the gift of the history and character of the people. Even the negative qualities of the Jews which are so prominent, for example the indifference and unbelief which has been widespread from earliest times to the present day, had contributed to the rigidness of the compulsion to believe. But now this powerful impulse was applied to quite another world. Here there was no people, no nation, no tradition; that moral motive power of a fearful national trial, which lends consecration to the hard, narrow Jewish law, was altogether lacking. The introduction, therefore, of compulsory faith into the Chaos (and then among the Germanic nations) was in a way an effect without a cause, in other words the rule of caprice. What in the case of the Jews had been an objective result became here a subjective command. What there had moved in a very limited sphere, that of national tradition and national religious law, ruled here without any limitations. The Aryan tendency to establish dogmas (see vol. i. p. 429) entered into a fatal union with the historical narrowness and deliberate intolerance of the Jews. Hence the wild struggle for the possession of the power to proclaim dogmas, lasting through all the first centuries of our era. Mild men like Irenaeus remained almost without influence; the more intolerant the Christian bishop was, the more power did he possess. But this Christian intolerance is distinguished from Jewish intolerance in the same way as Christian dogma is distinguished from Jewish dogma: for the Jews were hemmed in on all sides, confined within definite narrow boundaries, whereas the whole field of the human intellect stood open to Christian dogma and Christian intolerance; moreover Jewish faith and Jewish intolerance have never possessed far-reaching power, whereas the Christians, with Rome, soon ruled the world. And thus we find such inconsistencies as that a heathen Emperor (Aurelian, in the year 272) forces upon Christianity the primateship of the Roman bishop, and that a Christian Emperor, Theodosius, commands, as a purely political measure, that the Christian religion be believed on pain of death. I say nothing of other inconsistencies, e.g., that the nature of God, the relation of the Father to the Son, the eternity of the punishments of hell, &c., ad inf., were settled by majority by Bishops, who frequently could neither read nor write, and became binding upon all men from a fixed day, in somewhat the same way as our Parliament imposes taxes upon us by the vote of the majority. Yet, however difficult it may be for us to watch this monstrous development of a Jewish thought on alien soil without uneasiness, we must admit that a Christian Church could never have been fully developed without dogma and intolerance. Here then we are indebted to Judaism for an element of strength and endurance.

But not only the backbone of the growing Christian Church was borrowed from Judaism; the whole skeleton was its product. Take first the establishment of faith and virtue: in ecclesiastical Christianity it is absolutely Jewish, for it rests on fear and hope: on the one side eternal reward, on the other eternal punishment. In regard to this subject also I Can refer to former remarks, in the course of which I pointed out the fundamental difference between a religion which addresses itself to the purely selfish emotions of the heart, i.e., to fear and desire, and a religion which, like that of Brahma, regards the renunciation of the enjoyment of all reward here and in the other world as the first step towards initiation into true piety. [46] I will not repeat myself; but we are now in a position to extend our former knowledge, and only by so doing shall we clearly recognise what unceasing conflict must inevitably result from the forcible fusion of two contradictory views of life. For the least reflection will convince us of the fact that the conception of redemption and of conversion of Will, as it had hovered in many forms before the minds of the Indo-Europeans, and as it found eternal expression in the words of the Saviour, is quite different from all those which represent earthly conduct as being punished or rewarded in an after-life. [47] Here it is not a case of some trifling difference, but of two creations standing side by side, strange from the root to the crown. Though these two trees may have been firmly grafted the one upon the other they can never join together and be one. And yet it was this fusion which early Christianity tried to effect and which still for faithful souls forms the stone of Sisyphus. At the beginning indeed, that is, before the whole national chaos and with it its religious conceptions had in the fourth century been forcibly driven into Christianity, this was not the case. In the very oldest writings one hardly finds any threats of punishment, and heaven is only the belief in an unspeakable happiness, [48] gained by the death of Christ. Where Jewish influence prevails, we find even in the earliest Christian times the so-called Chilianism, that is, the belief in an approaching earthly millennium (merely one of the many forms of the theocratic world-empire of which the Jews dreamt); wherever, on the other hand, philosophic thought kept the upper hand for a time, as in the case of Origenes, conceptions manifest themselves which can scarcely be distinguished from the transmigration of souls of the Indians and of Plato: [49] the spirits of men are regarded as being created from eternity; according to their conduct they rise or sink, until finally all without exception are transfigured, even the demons. [50] In such a system, it is plain that neither the individual life itself, nor the promise of reward and the threat of punishment, has anything in common with the Judaeo-Christian religion. [51] But here too the Jewish spirit quickly prevailed, and that in exactly the same way as did dogma and intolerance, by taking a development which hitherto had been undreamt of on the limited soil of Judea. The pains of hell and the bliss of heaven, the fear of the one and the hope of the other are henceforth the only mainsprings which influence all Christendom. What redemption is, scarcely anyone now knows, for even the preachers saw in it -- and indeed still see in it at the present day -- nothing more than " redemption from the punishments of hell." [52] The men of the chaos in fact understood no other arguments; a contemporary of Origenes, the African Tertullian, declares frankly that only one thing can improve men, " the fear of eternal punishment and the hope of eternal reward" (Apol. 49). Naturally some chosen spirits rebelled constantly against this materialising and Judaising of religion; the importance of Christian mysticism, for example, could perhaps be said to lie in this, that it rejected all these conceptions and aimed solely at the transformation of the inner man -- that is, at redemption; but the two views could never be made to agree, and it is just this impossibility that was demanded of the faithful Christian. Either faith is to "improve" men, as Tertullian asserts, or it is to completely transform them by a conversion of the whole soul-life, as the gospel taught; either the world is a penitentiary, which we should hate, as Clemens of Rome taught in the second century [53] and after him the whole official Church, or else this world is the blessed soil, in which the Kingdom of Heaven lies like a hidden treasure, according to the teaching of Christ. The one assertion contradicts the other.

In the further course of this chapter I shall return to these contrasts; but I had first to make the reader feel their reality, and at the same time point out to him the measure of the triumph of Judaism as an eminently positive active power. With the proud independence of the genuine Indo-European aristocrat Origenes had expressed the opinion, "only for the common man it may suffice to know that the sinner is punished"; but now all these men of the chaos were "common men"; sureness, fearlessness and conviction are the gift only of race and nationality; human nobility is a collective term; [54] the noblest individual man -- for example an Augustine -- cannot rise above the conceptions and sentiments of the common man and attain to perfect freedom. These "common" men needed a master who should speak to them as to slaves, after the manner of the Jewish Jehovah: a duty which the Church, endowed with the full power of the Roman Empire, accepted. Art, mythology and metaphysics in their creative significance had become quite incomprehensible to the men of that time; the character of religion had in consequence to be lowered to the level on which it had stood in Judea. These men required a purely historical, demonstrable religion. which admitted no doubt or uncertainty either in the past or in the future and least of all in the present: this was found only in the Bible of the Jews. The motives had to be taken from the world of sense: corporal punishment s alone could deter these men from evil deeds. promises of happiness free of all care, alone could urge them to good works. That was of course the religious system of the Jewish hierocracy (cf. vol. i. p. 453). From that time onward the system of ecclesiastical commands, taken from Judaism and further developed, decided authoritatively in regard to all matters, whether incomprehensible mysteries or obvious facts of history (or it might be, historical lies). The intolerance which had been foreshadowed in Judaism but had never attained to its full development, [55] became the fundamental principle of Christian conduct, and that as a logically unavoidable conclusion from the presuppositions just mentioned: if religion is a chronicle of the world, if its moral principle is legal and historical, if there is an historically established precedent for the decision of every doubt, every question, then every deviation from the doctrine is an offence against truthfulness and endangers the salvation of man which is conceived as purely material; and so ecclesiastical justice steps in and exterminates the unbeliever or the heretic, just as the Jews had stoned everyone who was not strictly orthodox.

I hope that these hints will suffice to awaken the vivid conception and at the same time the conviction that Christianity as a religious structure actually rests upon two fundamentally different and directly hostile "views of existence": upon Jewish historical-chronistic faith and upon Indo-European symbolical and metaphysic mythology (as I asserted upon p. 19). I cannot give more than indications, not even now, when I am preparing to cast a glance at the struggle which was bound to result from so unnatural a union. Real history is true only when it is apprehended as much as possible in detail; where that is not possible, a survey cannot be made too general; for only by this is it possible really to grasp completely a truth of the higher order, something living and unmutilated; the worst enemies of historical insight are the compendia. In this particular case the recognition of the connection of phenomena is simplified by the fact that we have here to do with things which still live in our own hearts. For the discord spoken of in this chapter dwells, though he may not know it, in the heart of every Christian. Though in the first Christian centuries the struggle seemed, outwardly, to rage more fiercely than it does to-day, there never was a complete truce; it was just in the second half of the nineteenth century that the question here touched upon came to a more acute crisis, chiefly through the active energy of the Roman Church, which never grows weary in the fight; neither is it thinkable that our growing culture can ever attain to true ripeness, unless illuminated by the undimmed sun of a pure, uniform religion; only that could bring it from out the "Middle Ages." If it is now obvious that a clear knowledge of that early time of open, unscrupulous strife must enable us to understand our own time, then unquestionably the spirit of our present age helps us in turn to comprehend that earliest epoch of growing, honestly and freely searching Christianity. I say expressly that it is only the very earliest epoch that the experiences of our own heart teach us to comprehend; for at a later time the struggle grew less and less truly religious, more and more ecclesiastical and political. When Popery had attained to the summit of its power in the twelfth century under Innocent III., the real religious impulse which a short time before had been so strong under Gregory VII. ceased, and the Church was henceforth, so to speak, secularised; no more can we even for a moment regard and judge the Reformation as a purely religious movement, it is manifestly at least half political; and under such conditions there soon is nothing left but a mere matter of business in which the purely human interest sinks to the lowest level. On the other hand, in the nineteenth century, in consequence of the almost complete separation in most countries of State and Religion (which is in no way influenced by the retention of one or more State churches) and in consequence of the altered, henceforth purely moral position of Popery, which outwardly has become powerless, there has been a noticeable awakening of religious interest, and of all forms of genuine as well as of superstitious religiosity. A symptom of this ferment is the abundant formation of sects among ourselves. In England, for example, more than a hundred different and so-called Christian unions possess churches which are officially registered, or at any rate places of meeting for common worship. In this connection it is striking that even the Catholics in England are divided into five different sects, only one of which is strictly orthodox Roman. Even among the Jews religious life has awakened; three different sects have houses of prayer in London and there are besides two different groups of Jewish Christians there. That reminds us of the centuries before the religious degeneration; at the end of the second century, for example, Irenaeus tells of thirty-two sects, Epiphanius, two centuries later, of eighty. Therefore we are justified in the hope that the further back we go the better we shall understand the spiritual conflict of genuine Christians.


We get the most vivid idea of the double nature of Christianity when we see how it affects individual great men, as Paul and Augustine. In the case of Paul everything is much greater and clearer and more heroic, because spontaneous and free; Augustine, on the other hand, is sympathetic to all generations, is venerable, awakening pity at the same time that he commands admiration. Were we to place Augustine side by side with the victorious Apostle -- perhaps the greatest man of Christianity -- he would not for a moment bear comparison; but when we put him on a line with those around him, his importance is brilliantly manifest. Augustine is the proper contrast to that other son of the Chaos, Lucian, of whom I spoke in chap. iv.: there the frivolity of a civilisation hurrying to its fall. here the look of pain raised to God from amid the ruins; there gold and fame as the goal in life. mockery and pleasantry the means, here wisdom and virtue, asceticism and solemn earnest working; there the tearing down of glorious ruins, here the toilsome building up of a firm structure of faith, even at the cost of his own convictions, even though the architecture should be very rude in comparison with the aspirations of the profound spirit, no matter, if only poor, chaotic humanity may yet get something sure to cling to, and wandering sheep gain a fold.

In two so different personalities as Paul and Augustine the double nature of Christianity naturally reveals itself in very different ways. In the case of Paul everything is positive, everything affirmative; he has no unchanging theoretical "theology," [56] but -- a contemporary of Jesus Christ -- he is consumed, as if by living flames, by the divine presence of the Saviour. As long as he was against Christ he knew no rest until he should have swept away the very last of his disciples; as Soon as he had recognised Christ as the redeemer, his life was entirely given up to spreading the "good news" over the whole world that he could reach; in his life there was no period of groping about, of seeking, or irresolution. If he must discuss, then he paints his theses on the sky, visible from afar; if he must contradict, he does so with a few blows of a club, as it were, but his love flashes up again immediately, and he is, as his own epigram says, "all things to all men," caring not if he has to speak in one way to the Jew, in another to the Greek and in another to the Celt, if only he can "save some." [57] However profoundly the words of this one apostle flash into the darkest regions of the human heart, there is never a trace of painful constructing, of sophisticating in them; what he says is experienced and wells up spontaneously from his heart; indeed his pen seems unable to keep pace with his thought; "not as though I had already attained, but I follow after ... forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before" (Phil. iii. 13). Here contradiction is openly placed side by side with contradiction. What matters it if only many believe in Christ the Redeemer? Not so Augustine. No firm national religion "surrounds his path as it did that of Paul; he is an atom among atoms in the shoreless ocean of a fast decaying chaos. No matter where he puts his foot, he encounters sand or morass; no heroic figure -- such as Paul saw -- appears like a blinding sun on his horizon, but from a dreary writing of the lawyer Cicero he must draw the inspiration for his moral awakening of others, and from sermons of the worthy Ambrosius his appreciation of the significance of Christianity. His whole life is a painful struggle; first against and with himself, until he has overcome the various phases of unbelief and after trying various doctrines has accepted that of Ambrosius; then against what he had formerly believed, and against the many Christians whose opinions differed from his own. For while the living memory of the personality of Christ tinged all religion in the lifetime of the Apostle Paul, this was now effected by the superstition of dogma. Paul had been able proudly to say of himself that he did not fight like those who swing their arms around them in the air; Augustine, on the other hand, spent a good part of his life in such fighting. Here, therefore, the contradiction which is always endeavouring to conceal itself from its own eye and that of others, goes much deeper; it rends the inner nature, mixes as it were" the corn with chaff," and builds (in the intention of founding a firm orthodoxy) a structure which is so inconsistent, insecure, superstitious and in many points actually barbarous, that should the Christianity of the Chaos one day crumble to pieces, Augustine more than any other man would be responsible for it.

Let us now study these two men more closely. And first of all let us try to gain some fundamental ideas concerning Paul, for here we may hope to reveal the germ of the development which followed.


In spite of all assertions, it remains very doubtful whether Paul was a pure Jew by race; I am strongly of opinion that the double nature of this remarkable man must be explained partly by his blood. There are no proofs. We only know the one fact, that he was not born in Judea or Phoenicia, but outside the Semitic boundary, in Cilicia, and that too in the city of Tarsus, which was founded by a Dorian colony and was thoroughly Hellenic. When we consider on the one hand how lax the Jews of that time outside of Judea were in regard to mixed marriages, [58] on the other hand that the Diaspora, in which Paul was born, was keenly propagandist and won a large number of women for the Jewish faith, [59] the supposition appears not at all un. warrantable that Paul's father was indeed a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin (as he asserts, Romans xi. I; Philippians iii. 5), but that his mother was a Hellene who had gone over to Judaism. When historical proofs are lacking, scientific psychology may well have the right to put in its word; and the above hypothesis would explain the otherwise incomprehensible phenomenon, that an absolutely Jewish character (tenacity, pliancy, fanaticism, self- confidence) and a Talmudic education accompany an absolutely un-Jewish intellect. [60] However that may be, Paul did not grow up, like the rest of the Apostles, in a Jewish land, but in a busy centre of Greek science, and of philosophical and oratorical schools. From his youth Paul spoke and wrote Greek: his knowledge of Hebrew is said to have been very defective. [61] Though he may therefore have been educated as a strict Jew, the atmosphere in which he grew up was nevertheless not purely Jewish, but the stimulating, rich, free-minded Hellenic atmosphere: a circumstance which deserves all the more attention in that the greater the genius, the greater is the influence of impressions received. And thus we see Paul in the further course of his life after the short epoch of Pharisaical errors in which he fervently persisted, avoiding as much as possible the society of genuine Hebrews. The fact that for fourteen years after his conversion he avoided the city of Jerusalem, although he would have met there the personal disciples of Christ, that he only stayed there of necessity and for a short time, limiting his intercourse as much as possible, has given rise to a library of explanations and discussions; but the whole life of Paul shows that Jerusalem and its inhabitants and their manner of thought were simply so abhorrent to him as to be unbearable. His first act as an apostle is the doing away with the sacred "sign of the covenant" of all Hebrews. From the very beginning he finds himself at feud with the Jewish Christians. Where he has to undertake apostolic missions at their side, he quarrels with them. [62] None of his few personal friends is a genuine Jew of Palestine: Barnabas, for example, is, like himself, from the Diaspora, and so anti-Jewish in sentiment that he (as pioneer of Marcion) denies the old covenant, that is, the privileged position of the Israelite people; Luke, whom Paul calls "the beloved," is not a Jew (Col. iv. 11-14); Titus, the one bosom-friend of Paul, his "partner and fellow-helper" (2 Cor. viii. 23), is a genuinely Hellenic Greek. In his mission work, too, Paul is always attracted to the "heathen," especially to places where Hellenic culture flourishes. Modern investigation has thrown valuable light on this matter. Till a short time ago the knowledge of the geographical and economic relations of Asia Minor during the first Christian century was very defective; it was thought that Paul (on his first journey especially) sought out the most uncivilised districts and anxiously avoided the towns; this supposition has now been proved erroneous: [63] rather did Paul preach almost exclusively in the great centres of Helleno-Roman civilisation and with preference in districts where the Jewish communities were not large. Cities like Lystra and Derbe, which hitherto were spoken of in theological commentaries as unimportant, scarcely civilised places, were on the contrary centres of Hellenic culture and of Roman life. With this is connected a second very important discovery: Christianity did not spread first among the poor and uncultured, as was hitherto supposed, but among the educated and well-to-do. "Where Roman organisation and Greek thought have gone, Paul by preference goes," Ramsay tells us, [64] and Karl Muller adds: "The circles which Paul had won had never really been Jewish." [65] And yet, this man is a Jew; he is proud of his descent, [66] he is, as it were, saturated with Jewish conceptions, he is a master of Rabbinical dialectic, and it is he, more than any other, who stamps the historical mode of thinking and the traditions of the Old Testament as an essential, permanent part of Christianity.

Although religion is my theme, I have intentionally emphasised in the case of Paul these more exoteric considerations, because where I as a layman enter the sphere of theological religion, it is my duty to be extremely cautious and reserved. Gladly would I demonstrate sentence for sentence what in my opinion should be said about Paul, but how often does everything depend on the meaning of one single probably ambiguous word; the layman can only be on sure ground when he goes deeper, to the source of the words themselves. Hence Paul calls cheerfully to us: "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master-builder, I have laid the foundation and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereon!" (I Cor. iii. 10). So let us now take heed -- let us follow the admonition of Paul, not to leave this care to others -- and we shall discover, even without entering the domain of learned discussions, that the foundation of the Christian religion laid by Paul is made up of incongruous elements. In his deepest inner nature, in his view of the importance of religion in the life of man, Paul is so un-Jewish that he deserves the epithet anti-Jewish; the Jew in him is merely the outer shell, he shows it only in the ineradicable habits of the intellectual mechanism. At heart Paul is not a rationalist but a mystic. Mysticism is mythology carried back from symbolical images to the inner experience of the Inexpressible, an experience which has grown in intensity and realised more clearly his own inner nature. The true religion of Paul is not the belief in a so-called chronicle of the history of the world, it is mythical-metaphysical discernment. Such things as the distinction between an outer and an inner man, between flesh and spirit, "Miserable man that I am, who will redeem me from the body of this death?" -- the many expressions such as the following, "We are all one body in Christ," &c. -- all these sayings point to a transcendental view of things. But the Indo-European tendency of mind is still more apparent when we consider the great fundamental convictions. Then we find as kernel (see p. 31) the conception of redemption; the need of it is produced by the natural and quite general tendency to sin, not by transgressions of law with consequent feeling of guilt; redemption is brought about by divine grace which bestows faith, not by works and holy life. And what is this redemption? It is "regeneration," or, as Christ expresses it, "conversion." [67] It would be impossible to hold a religious view which represented a sharper contrast to all Semitic and specially to all Jewish religion. So true is this that not only wall Paul during his lifetime opposed by the Jewish Christians, but this very kernel of his religion for fifteen hundred years lay hidden within Christianity under the over-luxuriant tangle of Jewish rationalism and heathen superstitions -- anathematised, when it attempted to show its head in the case of men like Origenes, rendered unrecognisable by the deeply religious Augustine, who was at heart genuinely Pauline, but was carried away by the opposite current. Here Teutons had to interfere; even to-day Paul has apart from them no genuine disciples: a circumstance the full significance of which will be apparent to everyone, when he learns that two centuries ago the Jesuits held a conference to discuss how the Epistles of Paul could be removed from the sacred writings or corrected. [68] But Paul himself had begun the work of anti-Paulinism, by erecting around this core of belief, which was the product of an Indo-European soul, an absolutely Jewish structure, a kind of latticework, through which a congenial eye might indeed see, but which for Christianity growing up amid the unhappy chaos became so much the chief thing that the inner core was practically neglected. But this outer work could naturally not possess the faultless consistency of a pure system like the Jewish or the Indian. In itself a contradiction to the inner, creative religious thought, this pseudo-Jewish theological structure became entangled in one inconsistency after the other in the endeavour to be logically convincing and uniform. We have already seen that it was Paul himself who made such a fine attempt to bring the Old Testament into organic connection with the new doctrine of salvation. This is particularly the case in the most Jewish of his letters, that to the Romans. In contrast to other passages the Fall of Man is here introduced as a purely historical event (v. 12), which then logically postulates the second historical event, the birth of the second Adam "from the seed of David" (i. 3). Hence the whole history of the world runs in accordance with a very clear, humanly comprehensible, so to say" empirical" divine plan. Instead of the narrow Jewish view we here certainly find a universal plan of salvation, but the principle is the same. It is the same Jehovah, who is Conceived quite humanly, who creates, commands, forbids, is angry, punishes, rewards: Israel is also the chosen people, the "good olive," upon which some twigs of the wild tree of Heathendom are henceforth grafted (Rom. xi. 17); and even this extension of Judaism Paul brings about solely by a new interpretation of the Messianic doctrine, " as it had been fully developed in the Jewish Apocalypse of that time." [69] Now everything is arranged in a finely logical and rationalistic manner: the creation, the accidental fall of man, the punishment, the selection of the special race of priests, from whose midst the Messiah shall come, the death of the Messiah as atonement (exactly in the old Jewish sense), the last judgment, which takes account of the works of men and distributes punishment and reward accordingly. It is impossible to be more Jewish: a capricious law decides what is holiness and what sin, the transgression of the law is punished, but the punishment can be expiated by the making of a corresponding sacrifice. Here there is no question of an inborn need of redemption in the Indian sense, there is no room for rebirth, as Christ so urgently impressed it upon His disciples, the idea of grace possesses in such a system no meaning, any more than does faith in the Pauline sense. [70]

Between the two religious views of Paul there is not a merely organic contrast, such as all life furnishes, but a logical one, that is, a mathematical, mechanical, in. dissoluble contradiction. Such a contradiction leads necessarily to a conflict. Not necessarily in the heart of the One originator, for our human mind is rich in automatically working contrivances for adaptation to circumstances; just as the lens of the eye accommodates itself to various distances, whereby the object which at one time is clearly seen is On the next occasion so blurred as to be almost unrecognisable, so the inner image changes with the point of vision, and hence on the various levels of Our philosophy there may stand things which are not in harmony without our ever becoming aware of the fact; for if we contemplate the One the details of the other disappear, and vice versa. We must therefore distinguish between those logical contradictions which the martyred spirit of compulsion with full consciousness presents -- as for example those of Augustine, who is always hesitating between his conviction and his acquired orthodoxy, between his intuition and his wish to serve the practical needs of the Church -- and the unconscious contradictions of a frank, perfectly simple mind like Paul. But this distinction serves only to make the particular personality better known to us; the contradiction as such remains. Indeed Paul himself confesses that he is" all things to all men," and that certainly explains some deviations; but the roots strike deeper. In this breast lodge two souls: a Jewish and an un-Jewish, or rather an un-Jewish soul with pinions fettered to a Jewish thinking-machine. As long as the great personality lived, it exercised influence as a unity through the uniformity of its conduct, through its capacity for modulating its words. But after its death the letter remained behind, the letter, the fatal property of which is to bring all and everything to the same level, the letter, which destroys all perspective moulding and knows but one plane -- the superficial plane! Here contradiction stood side by side with contradiction, not as the colours of the rainbow which merge into each other, but as light and darkness which exclude each other. The conflict was unavoidable. Outwardly it found expression in the establishment of dogmas and sects; nowhere was it more powerfully expressed than in the great Reformation of the thirteenth century, which was throughout inspired by Paul, and might have chosen as its motto the words: "Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (Gal. v. I); even to-day the conflict between the Jewish and the non-Jewish religion of Paul goes on. Still more fatal almost was and is the inner struggle in the bosom of the individual Christian, from Origenes to Luther, and from him to every man of the present day who belongs to a Christian Church. Paul himself had not been in the least bound down by any kind of dogma. It has been proved that he knew very little of the life of Christ; [71] that he received counsel and instruction from no one, not even from the disciples of the Saviour, nor from those who were "regarded as pillars"; he explicitly states this and makes it a boast (Gal. i. and ii.); he knows nothing of the cosmic mythology of the Trinity; he will have nothing to do with the metaphysical hypostasis of the Logos, [72] nor is he in the painful position of having to reconcile himself with the utterances of other Christians.

He passes with a smile many a superstition that was widespread in his time and that was later transformed into a Christian dogma, saying, for example, of the angels that "no one hath seen them" (Col. ii. 18), and that one should not by such conceptions be "beguiled of one's reward"; he frankly admits that we "know only in part; we see now through a glass darkly" (I Cor. xiii. 9, 12), and so it never occurs to him to fit his living faith into dogmatic piecework: in short, Paul still remained a free man. No One after him was free. For by his fastening on to the Old Testament, he had produced a New Testament: the old was revealed truth the new consequently the same; the old was certified historical chronicle, the new could be nothing less. But while the old at a late period had been put together and revised with a particular aim, it was not so with the new; here the One man stood naturally beside the other. If for example Paul, clinging firmly to the one great fundamental principle of all ideal religion, teaches that it is faith not works that redeems us, then the pure Jew James immediately utters the fundamental dogma of all materialistic religion that not faith but works make us blessed. We find both in the New Testament, both are in Consequence revealed truth. And now for the striking contradiction in Paul himself! Those learned in Scripture may say what they like -- and amongst them we must in this case include even a Martin Luther -- the Gordian knots that we have to deal with here (and there are several of them) can only be cut, not loosened: either we are for Paul or we are against him, either we are for the dogmatically chronistic pharisaical theology of the one Paul or we believe with the other Paul in a transcendental truth behind the mysterious mirage of empirical appearance. And it is only in the latter case that we understand him when he Speaks of the "mystery" -- not of a justification (like the Jews), but of the mystery of "transformation" (I Cor. xv. 51). And this transformation is not something future; it is independent of time altogether, i.e., something present: "ye are saved; he has made us sit together in heavenly places ..." (Eph. ii. 5, 6). And if we must speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of our flesh" (Rom. vi. 19), if we must speak with words of that mystery which is beyond words, that mystery which we indeed see in Jesus Christ, but cannot conceive and hence cannot express-then we do speak of original sin, of grace, of redemption by regeneration, and all this we embrace with Paul as "faith." Though therefore we put aside the different teachings of other Apostles, neglect the later additions to the church doctrine from mythology, metaphysics and superstition, and hold to Paul alone, we kindle an inextinguishable fire of conflict in our own hearts, as soon as we try to force ourselves to look upon both religious doctrines of the Apostle as equally justified.

This is the conflict in which Christianity has from the very first been involved; this is the tragedy of Christianity, before which the divine and living personality of Jesus Christ, the one source of everything in Christianity that deserves the name of religion, soon faded into the background. Though I named Paul especially, it must be clear from many a remark here and there, that I am far from regarding him as the one source of all Christian theology; very much in it has been added later, and great world-revolutionising religious struggles, such as that between Arians and Athanasians, are carried on almost altogether outside of the Pauline conceptions. [73] In a book like this I am compelled to simplify very much, otherwise the mass of material would reduce my pictures to mere shadows. Paul is beyond question the mightiest "architect" (as he calls himself) of Christianity, and it has been my object to show, in the first place, that by introducing the Jewish chronistic and material standpoint Paul establishes also the intolerantly dogmatic, causing thereby unspeakable evil in later times; and secondly, that even when we go back to pure unmixed Paulinism, we encounter inexplicable hostile contradictions -- which are historically easy to explain in the soul of this one man, but which, when stamped into lasting articles of faith for all men, were bound to sow discord among them and to extend the conflict into the heart of the individual. This unfortunate discordancy has from the first been a characteristic of Christianity. All that is contradictory and incomprehensible in the never-ending strifes of the first Christian centuries, during which the new structure of religion Was erected stone by stone with such difficulty, awkwardness, inconsistency, toil and (apart from some great minds) indignity -- the later deviations of the human intellect in scholasticism, the bloody wars of confessions, the fearful confusion of the present day with its Babel of Creeds, which the secular sword alone holds back from open combat with each other the whole drowned by the shrill voice of blasphemy, while many of the noblest men shut their ears, preferring to hear no message of salvation than such a cacophony -- all this is really the result of the original hybrid or discordant nature of Christianity. From the day when (about eighteen years after the death of Christ) the strife broke out between the congregations of Antioch and Jerusalem, as to whether the followers of Christ need be circumcised or not, to the present day, when Peter and Paul are much more diametrically opposed than then (see Galatians ii. 14), Christianity has been sick unto death because of this. And that all the more as from Paul to Pio Nono all seem to have been blind to two simple clear facts: the antagonism of races, and the irreconcilability of the mutually exclusive religious ideals lying side by side. And thus it came to pass that the first divine revelation of a religion of love led to a religion of hatred, such as the world had never known before. The followers of the Teacher who yielded without a struggle and went unresistingly to the Cross, within a few centuries murdered in cold blood, as "pious work," more millions of human beings than fell in all the wars of antiquity; the consecrated priests of this religion became professional hangmen; whoever was not prepared to accept under oath an empty idea which no man comprehended but which had been stamped as dogma, an echo perhaps from the leisure hour of the intellectual acrobat Aristotle or the subtle Plotinus -- that is, all the more gifted, the more earnest, the nobler, the free men -- had to die the most painful death; though the truth of religion lay not in the word but in the spirit, for the first time in the history of the world the Word entered upon that fearful tyranny which even to-day lies like a nightmare upon our poor struggling "Middle Ages." But enough, everyone understands me, every one knows the bloody history of Christianity, the history of religious fanaticism. And what is at the root of this history? The figure of Jesus Christ? No, indeed! The union of the Aryan spirit with the Jewish and that of both with the madness of the Chaos that knew neither nation nor faith. The Jewish spirit, if it had been adopted in its purity, would never have caused so much mischief; for dogmatic uniformity would then have rested on the basis of something quite comprehensible, and the Church would have become the enemy of superstition; but as it was the stream of the Jewish spirit was let loose upon the sublime world of Indo-European symbolism and freely creative, rich imaginative power; [74] like the poison of the arrow of the South American this spirit penetrated and benumbed an organism to which only constant change and remodelling could give life and beauty. The dogmatic element [75] the letter-creed, the fearful narrowness of religious conceptions, intolerance, fanaticism, extreme self-conceit -- all this is a consequence of the linking on to the Old Testament of the Jewish historical belief: it is that "will," of which I spoke before, which Judaism gave to growing Christianity; a blind, flaming, hard, cruel will, that will which formerly at the sacking of an enemy's city had given the order to dash the heads of the babes against the stones. At the same time this dogmatic spirit transformed as by a spell the most stupid and revolting superstition of miserable slavish souls into essential components of religion; what had hitherto been good enough for the "common man" (as Origenes expressed it) or for the slaves (as Demosthenes scoffingly says), princes of intellect must now accept for the salvation of their souls. In a former chapter I have already called attention to the childish superstitions of an Augustine (vol. i. p. 311); Paul would not for a moment have believed that a man could be changed into an ass (we see how he speaks of the angels), Augustine on the other hand finds it plausible. While therefore the highest religious intuitions are dragged to the ground and so distorted as to lose all their fine qualities, long obsolete delusive ideas of primitive men -- magic, witchcraft, &c. -- were at the same time given an officially guaranteed right of abode in praecinctu ecclesiae.
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Re: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

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Part 3 of 5


No human being offers such a fine but at the same time sad example as does Augustine of the discord caused in the heart by a Christianity thus organised. It is impossible to open any work of his without being touched by the fervour of his feeling, and held spellbound by the holy earnestness of his thoughts; we cannot read it long without being forced to regret that such a spirit, chosen to be a disciple of the living Christ, capable as few only were capable to carry on the work of Paul and to assist the true religion of the Apostle to victory at the decisive moment, was yet unable to contend -- without Fatherland, race or religion as he was -- against the powers of the Chaos, from which he himself had arisen, so that finally in a kind of mad despair he clung to the one ideal only -- to help to organise the Roman Church as the saving, ordering, uniting, world-ruling power -- even though it should cost the better part of his own religion. But if we remember what Europe was like at the beginning of the fifth century (Augustine died in 430), if the Confessions of this Father of the Church have thrown light on the social and moral condition of the so-called civilised men of that horrible time, if we realise that this "Professor of Rhetoric," educated by his parents in the "spes litterarum" (Confessions ii. 3), well acquainted with the rounded phrases of Cicero and the subtleties of neo-Platonism, had to live to see the rude Goths, truculentissimae et saevissimae mentes (De Civ. Dei i. 7). capturing Rome, and the wild Vandals laying waste his African birthplace, -- if we remember, I say, what terror-inspiring surroundings impressed themselves upon this lofty spirit from every side, we shall cease to wonder that a man, who at any other time would have fought for freedom and truth against tyranny of conscience and corruption, should in this case have thrown the weight of his personality into the scale of authority and uncompromising hierocratic tyranny. Just as in the case of Paul, it is not difficult for anyone with knowledge to distinguish between the true inner religion of Augustine and that which was forced upon him; but here, owing to the continued development of Christianity, the matter has become much more tragical, for the ingenuousness and thus the true greatness of the man is lost. This man does not contradict himself frankly, freely and carelessly, he is already enslaved, the contradiction is forced upon him by alien hands. It is not a question here, as in the case of Paul, of two parallel views of existence; nor of a third which is added to them in the mysteries, sacraments and ceremonies of the Chaos; but Augustine must to-day assert the opposite of what he said yesterday: he must do it in order to influence men who would otherwise not understand him; he must do it because he has sacrificed his own judgment at the threshold of the Roman Church; he must do it in order not to lack some one subtle dialectical sophistry in dispute with would-be sectarians. It is a tragic spectacle. No one had seen more clearly than Augustine what pernicious consequences the forced conversion to Christianity entailed upon Christianity itself; even in his time there was in the Church, especially in Italy, a majority of men who stood in no inner relation to the Christian religion and who only adopted the new mystery cult in place of the old one, because the State demanded it. The one, as Augustine informs us, becomes Christian because his employer commands him, the other because he hopes to win a suit through the intervention of the bishop, [76] the third seeks a situation, a fourth wins by this means a rich wife. Augustine gazes sorrowfully upon this spectacle, which actually became the poison that consumed the marrow of Christianity, and utters an urgent warning (as Chrysostom had done before him) against "conversion in masses." Yet it is this same Augustine who establishes the doctrine of "compelle intrare in ecclesiam," who seeks sophistically to establish the grave principle that, by means of "the scourge of temporal sufferings," we must endeavour to rescue "evil slaves" -- who demands the penalty of death for unbelief and the use of the State power against heresy! The man who had said these beautiful words concerning religion, "By love we go to meet it, by love we seek it, it is love that knocks, it is love that makes us constant in what has been revealed" [77] -- this man becomes the moral originator of the inquisition! He did not, indeed, invent persecution and religious murder, for these were of the essence of Christianity from the moment when it became the State religion of Rome, but he confirmed and consecrated them by the power of his authority; it was he who first made intolerance a religious, as well as a political power. It is very characteristic of the true, free Augustine that he, for example, energetically rejects the assertion that Christ meant Peter when he said "upon this rock will I build my Church," and even denounces it as something senseless and blasphemous, since Christ evidently meant upon the rock of this "faith," not of this man; Augustine consequently makes a clear distinction between the visible Church, which is built partly upon sand, as he says, and the real Church: [78] and yet it is this very man who, more than any other, helps to establish the power of this visible Roman Church which claims Peter as its founder, who praises it as directly appointed by God, "ab apostolica sede per successiones episcoporum," [79] and who supplements this purely religious claim to power by the more decisive claim of political continuity -- the Roman Church the legitimate continuation of the Roman Empire. His chief work De Civitate Dei is inspired to as great an extent by the Roman imperial idea as by the Revelation of St. John.

Still more fateful and cruel does this life in inconsistency, this building up from the ruins of his own heart, appear when we contemplate the inner life and the inner religion of Augustine. Augustine is by nature a mystic. Who does not know his Confessions? Who has not read again and again that magnificent passage, the tenth chapter of the seventh book, where he describes how he only found God when he sought him in his own heart? [80] Who could forget his conversation with his dying mother Monica, that wondrous blossom of mysticism which might have been culled in the Brihadaranyaka-Upanishad: "If the storms of the senses were silent, and those shadowy figures of earth, of water and of air were dumb, if the vault of Heaven were silent and the soul too remained silent and turned back upon itself, so that it should, self- forgotten, float out beyond itself; if dreams were silent and revelations that are dreamt, if every tongue and every name were silent, if everything were silent that dying passes away, if the universe were still -- and He alone spoke, not through His creatures, but Himself, and we heard His words, not as though one spoke with tongue of man nor by voice of angels nor in thunder nor in the riddle of allegories -- and this supreme and unique Being thrilled the one who looked upon Him, consuming him completely and sinking him in mystic bliss (interiora gaudia) -- would not eternal life be like this conception suggested by a brief moment conjured up by our sighs?" (ix. 10). But Augustine is not merely a mystic in feeling (many such have been prominent in Christianity), he is a religious genius who strives; after the inner "conversion" which Christ taught, and who through the Epistles of Paul became regenerated; he tells us how it was Paul that caused light, peace, blessedness to penetrate his soul rent by passion and driven to complete despair by years of inner conflict and fruitless study (Conf. viii. 12). With the fullest conviction, with profound understanding he grasps the fundamental doctrine of grace, of gratia indeclinabilis, as he calls it; it is to him so absolutely the foundation of his religion that he rejects the appellation" doctrine" for it (De gratia Christi, § 14); and as a genuine disciple of the Apostle he shows that the merit of works is excluded by the conception of grace. His view of the importance of redemption and of original sin is more uncertain and not to be compared with those of the Indian teachers; for the Jewish chronicle here dims his power of judgment, though that is almost of secondary importance, since he on the other hand establishes the idea of regeneration as the "immovable central point of Christianity." [81] And now comes this same Augustine and denies almost all his inmost convictions! He who has told us how he had discovered God in his own soul and how Paul had brought him to religion, writes henceforth (in the heat of combat against the Manichaeans): "I would not believe the gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not compel me to do so." [82] Here accordingly for Augustine the Church -- which, he himself testified, contained few true Christians -- stands higher than the gospel; in other words, the Church is religion. In contrast to Paul, who had exclaimed "Let each man take heed how he build upon the foundation of Christ," Augustine gives the explanation that it is not the soul but the bishop who has to settle the creed; he refuses to the most earnest Christians something which even almost every Pope later granted, namely, the investigation of varying doctrines: "As soon as the bishops have spoken," he writes, "there is nothing more to investigate, the superior power shall put down heterodoxy by force." [83] We must take up detailed histories of dogma to trace how the pure doctrine of grace is gradually weakened; he never could altogether give it up, but he so emphasised works that, although they remained (in Augustine's view) as "gift of God," components of grace -- visible results of it -- yet this relation was lost to the common eye. Thereby the door was thrown wide open to materialism-which is ever on the watch. As soon as Augustine emphasised this point, that no redemption Was possible without the service of works, the previous clause was soon forgotten, viz., "that the capacity for these works was a gift of grace, and these accordingly blossom on the tree of faith." Augustine himself goes so far as to speak of the relative merit of various works and regards the death of Christ also from the standpoint of a value to be calculated. [84] That is Judaism in place of Christianity. And naturally this changing and shifting of the fundamental views cause as much hesitation and doubt in regard to subordinate questions. I shall return later to the question of the sacrament, which now began to be discussed; these few hints I shall close with a last one, a mere example. to show what far-reaching consequences these inner contradictions of this growing Church were to have in the course of centuries. In various places Augustine develops with acute dialectics the idea of the transcendentality of the conception of time (as we should say to- day); he does not find a word for his idea, so that in a long discussion of this subject in the eleventh book of the Confessions he at last confesses: "What is time then? As long as no one asks me, I know it quite well, but when I am called upon to explain it to a questioner, I know it no more" (chap. xiv). But we understand him quite well. He wishes to show that for God, i.e., a conception no longer empirically limited, there is no time in our sense and thus demonstrates how meaningless are the many discussions concerning past and future eternity. Evidently he has grasped the essence of genuine religion; for his proof forces us irresistibly to the conclusion that all the chronicles of the past and prophecies for the future have only a figurative significance, and thereby punishment and reward are also done away with. And that is the man who later was not able to do enough to prove, and to impress upon the mind as a certain, fundamental and concrete truth the unconditional literal eternity of the punishment of hell. If we are fully entitled to recognise in Augustine a predecessor of Martin Luther, then he became at the same time a vigorous pioneer of that anti-Pauline tendency which at a later time found undisguised expression in Ignatius and his order and in their religion of hell. [85] Harnack thus summarises his chapter on Augustine: "Through Augustine the Church doctrine became in extent and meaning more uncertain . . . Around the old dogma, which maintained its rigid form, there grew up a large uncertain circle of doctrines, in which the most important thoughts of faith were contained, but which could not yet be fully surveyed and firmly attached to the old." Although he had worked so untiringly for the unity of the Church, he left, as is evident, more material for conflict and discord than he had found. The stormy conflict which even after his entry into the Church had arisen in his own breast, perhaps in many ways unconsciously, lasted till his death; -- no longer in the form of a struggle between sensual enjoyment and longing for noble purity, but as a conflict between a grossly materialistic, superstitious Church faith and the most daring idealism of genuine religion.


I shall not be so bold as to sketch the history of religion here, any more than I undertook to write a history of law in the second chapter. If I succeed in awakening a vivid and at the same time intimately correct conception of the nature of the conflict that has been bequeathed to us -- the conflict of various religious ideals struggling for the mastery -- then my end will be attained. The really essential thing is to perceive that historical Christianity -- a hybrid affair from the beginning -- planted this conflict in the breast of the individual. With the two great figures of Paul and Augustine I have tried to show this as briefly but as clearly as I could. I have thereby revealed the chief elements of the external conflict, that is, of the conflict in the Church. "The true basis is the human heart," says Luther. And so I now hasten to the end, choosing from the almost incalculable mass of facts relating to the "struggle in religion" a few which are especially suited to enlighten our views. I limit myself to what is absolutely necessary to supplement what has already been indicated. In this way we may hope to get a bird's-eye view as far as the threshold of the thirteenth century, where the external conflict begins in earnest, while the inner has practically ceased: henceforth divergent views, principles, powers -- above all divergent races -- opposed each other, but these are relatively at harmony with themselves and know what they wish.

Considered in the commonest outlines, the conflict in the Church during the first ten centuries consists first of a. struggle between East and West, and later of one between South and North. These terms are not to be taken in the purely geographical sense: the "East" was a last flickering of the flame of Hellenic spirit and Hellenic culture, the "North" was the beginning of the awakening of the Germanic soul; there was no definite place, no definite centre for these two powers: the Teuton might be an Italian monk, the Greek an African presbyter. Rome was opposed to both. Its arms reached to the most distant East and to the remotest North; but here again this term "Rome" is not to be understood merely in a local sense, though in this case there was a fixed immutable centre, the sacred city of ancient Rome. There was no specific Roman culture to oppose to the Hellenic, for all culture in Rome had from the first been and still was Hellenic; still less could one speak of a distinctly individual Roman soul, like that of the Teuton, since the people of ancient Rome had disappeared from the face of the earth and Rome was merely the administrative centre of a nationless mixture; whoever speaks of Rome talks of the chaos of races. And yet Rome proved itself not the weaker but the stronger of the opponents. Of Course it did not completely prevail either in the East or in the North; the three great "movements" are still more manifestly opposed to each other than they were a thousand years ago; but the Greek Church of the schism is in relation to its religious ideal essentially a Roman Catholic one, a daughter neither of the great Origenes nor of the Gnostics; nor did the Reformation of the North more than partially throw off what was specifically Roman, and it was so long before it produced its Martin Luther that considerable parts of Europe, which some centuries before would have belonged to it, since the "North" had reached the heart of Spain and the doors of Rome, were lost to it for ever -- Romanised beyond all hope of salvation.

A glance at these three principal movements, in which an attempt was made to build up Christianity, will suffice to make clear the nature of the struggle which has come down to us.


The first enchanting bloom of Christianity was Hellenic. Stephen, the first martyr, is a Greek, Paul -- who so energetically commands us to "rid ourselves of Jewish fables and old wives' tales" [86] -- is a mind saturated with Greek thought, who clearly only feels at home when he is addressing those who have acquired Hellenic culture. But soon there was added to the Socratic earnestness and the Platonic depth of conception another genuinely Hellenic trait, the tendency to abstraction. It was this Hellenic tendency of mind which furnished the basis for Christian dogmatics, and not merely the basis, but all those conceptions which I have termed "external mythology" -- the doctrine of the Trinity, of the relation of the Son to the Father, of the Word to the Incarnation, &c., indeed the whole dogma. Neo-Platonism and what we might call neo-Aristotelianism were then in a flourishing condition; all who had acquired Hellenic culture, no matter to what nationality they belonged, occupied themselves with pseudo-metaphysical speculations. Paul indeed is very cautious in the employment of philosophical arguments; he uses them only as a weapon, to convince and to refute; on the other hand, the author of the Gospel of St. John calmly welds together the life of Jesus Christ and the mythical metaphysics of late Hellenism. This was a beginning, and from that time forth the history of Christian thought and of the moulding of the Christian faith was for two centuries exclusively Greek; then it was about two hundred years more before, with the subsequent anathematising of the greatest Hellenic Christian, Origenes, at the synod of Constantinople in the year 543, Hellenic theology was finally silenced. The Judaising sects of that time, such as the Nazarenes, the Ebionites, have no lasting importance. Rome, as the focus of the empire and of all traffic, was naturally and necessarily the organic centre for the Christian sect as for everything else in the Roman Empire; but it is characteristic that no theological thoughts came from there; when finally, at the end of the third century, a "Latin theology" arose, it was not in Italy but in Africa that it appeared, and it was a very stubborn Church and theology that caused Rome great uneasiness, until the Vandals and later the Arabs destroyed it. The Africans, however, like all those Greeks, who -- like Irenaeus -- fell under the spell of this overwhelming power, played into the hands of Rome. Not only did they look upon the pre-eminence of Rome as an understood thing, but they also resisted all those Hellenic conceptions which Rome, with its political a1id administrative ambitions, was bound to regard as injurious, but above all the Hellenic spirit in its whole individuality, which was opposed to every process of crystallisation, and in research, speculation and reorganisation always strove after the Absolute.

Here we have really a conflict between Imperial Rome, now bereft of all soul, but as an administrative power at its very highest perfection, and the old spirit of creative Hellenism which was flickering up for the last time; -- a spirit so permeated and dimmed by other elements as to be unrecognisable, and lacking much of its former beauty and strength. The conflict was waged obstinately and mercilessly, not with arguments alone but with all the means of cunning, violence, bribery, ignorance and especially with a shrewd manipulation of all political conjunctures. It is clear that in such a conflict Rome was bound to be victorious; especially as in those early days (till the death of Theodosius) the Emperor was the actual head of the Church even in matters of dogma, and the Emperors -- in spite of the influence which great and holy archbishops in Byzantium for a time exercised over them -- with the unerring instinct of experienced politicians always felt that Rome alone was capable of introducing unity, organisation and discipline. How could metaphysical brooding and mystical meditation ever have prevailed over practical and systematic politics? Thus, for example, it was Constantine [87] -- the still unbaptized murderer of wife and children, the man who by special edicts established the position of the heathen augurs in the Empire-it was Constantine who called together the first oecumenical council (at Nicaea, A.D. 325) and, in spite of the overwhelming majority of the bishops, established the doctrines of his Egyptian favourite Athanasius. Thus originated the so-called Nicene creed: on the one side the shrewd calculation of a level-headed, unscrupulous and un- Christian politician, who asked himself but the one question, "How can I most completely enslave my subjects?" on the other side the cowardly pliancy of frightened prelates, who put their signature to something which they considered false, and as soon as they had returned to their dioceses, began to agitate against it. For us laymen, by far the most interesting thing about this first and fundamental Church council is the fact that the majority of the bishops, as genuine pupils of Origenes, were altogether opposed to all enclosing of the conscience in such intellectual straitjackets and had demanded a formula of faith, wide enough to leave free play to the mind in things which transcend the human understanding, and thus to ensure the right of existence to scientific theology and cosmology. [88] What these Hellenic Christians therefore aimed at was a condition of freedom within orthodoxy, comparable to that which had prevailed in India. [89] But it was just this that Rome and the Emperor wished to avoid: nothing was any longer to remain indefinite or uncertain; in religion, as in every other sphere, absolute uniformity was to be the law throughout the Roman Empire. How unbearable the limited and "limiting" dogmatising was to the highly cultured Hellenic spirit becomes sufficiently clear from the one fact that Gregory of Nazianz, a man whom the Roman Church numbers among its saints because of his orthodoxy, even in the year 380 (long after the Nicaean Council) could write as follows: "Some of our theologians regard the Holy Ghost as God's method of manifesting His power, others regard it as a creation of God, others as God Himself; there are those again who say that they do not know which they should accept, because of reverence for the Holy Writ, which is not clear on the point." [90] But the Roman Imperial principle could not yield to Holy Scripture; one tittle of freedom of thought and Rome's absolute authority would have been endangered. Hence in the second general synod at Constantinople in the year 381, the confession of faith was supplemented with a view to stopping up the last loophole of escape, and at the third, held at Ephesus in the year 431, it was definitely decided that "nothing might be added and nothing taken from this confession on penalty of excommunication." [91] Thus the intellectual movement of dying Hellenism, which had lasted more than three hundred years, was finally brought to an end. Detailed accounts of that are given in histories; but the works of theologians (of all churches) are to be taken with great caution, for a very natural feeling of shame causes them to pass hastily over the accompanying circumstances of the various councils, in which the dogmatic creed of Christianity was fixed, as it was supposed, for "all time." [92] In one council the proceedings were such that even in Roman Catholic works it was described as the "Robber-synod"; but it would be difficult for the impartial to decide which synod most deserved this title. Never were proceedings more undignified than at the famous third oecumenical council at Ephesus, where the "orthodox" party, that is, the party that wished to gag all further thought, brought into the city a whole army of armed peasants, slaves and monks, in order to intimidate, to cry down and, if need be, to murder all the hostile bishops. That indeed was very different from the Hellenic way of furthering theology and cosmology! Perhaps it was the right way for that wretched age and those wretched human beings. And there is another important consideration: in spite of my repugnance for that chaos of races incorporated in Rome, I firmly believe that Rome did religion a service by emphasising the concrete as opposed to the abstract and saving it from the danger of complete evaporation. And yet it would be ridiculous to feel admiration for such narrow and common characters as Cyrillus, the murderer of the noble Hypatia, and to hold in reverence councils like that over which he presided at Ephesus, which the Emperor himself (Theodosius the younger) characterised as a "shameful and mischievous gathering," and which he had to break up on his own authority, in order to put an end to the squabbles and rude violence of the holy shepherds.

Already at this second oecumenical council at Ephesus the special Hellenic theme, mythological mysticism, was no longer in the foreground; for now the specifically Roman dogma-mongering had begun, and that, too, with the introduction of the worship of Mary and of the child Christ. I have mentioned above that this cult which was taken from Egypt had been for long established throughout the whole Roman Empire but especially in Italy. [93] The term "mother of God," instead of "mother of Christ," which first came into use in Christianity at the beginning of the fifth century, was opposed by the noble and almost fanatically orthodox Nestorius; he saw in this -- and rightly too -- the resurrection of heathendom. It was natural and consistent that it should be the Bishop of Egypt and the Egyptian monks, that is, the direct heirs of the cult of Isis and Horus, who with passion and rage, and supported by the rabble and the women, demanded the introduction of these primeval customs. Rome joined the Egyptian party; the Emperor, who loved Nestorius, was gradually stirred up against him. But here we have to deal not with the Hellenic cause in the real sense of the word but rather with the beginning of a new period: that of the introduction of heathen mysteries into the Christian Church. It was the business of the North to oppose them; for the question was one less of metaphysics than of conscience and morality; thus the frequent assertion that Nestorius (who was born in the Roman military colony Germanicopolis) was by descent a Teuton, is exceedingly plausible; he was at any rate a Protestant.

One more word about the East, before we pass to the North.

In its zenith of prosperity Hellenic theology, as has been pointed out, had occupied itself principally with those questions that hover on the borderland between myth, metaphysics and mysticism. Hence it is almost impossible, in a popular work, to enter more fully into it. At the end of the first chapter, when discussing our Hellenic legacy, I pointed to the amount of abstract speculation of Greek origin that has passed over into our religious thought -- though mostly in an impure form. [94] So long as thought of this kind remained active, as was the case in Greece before Christian times, where the eager student could by crossing the street pass from one "heresy," that is, from one "school," to another, these abstractions formed a supplement to the intellectual life, which was perhaps all the more welcome, as Greek life was so inclined to busy itself wholly with artistic contemplation and scientific study of the empiric world. The metaphysical inclination of men asserted itself by startlingly daring phantasies. But if one studies the words and life of Jesus Christ, one cannot but feel that in comparison with them these proud speculations evaporate into nothing. Metaphysics, in fact, are merely a kind of physics; Christ, on the other hand, is religion. To call Him logos, nous, demiurgos, to teach with Sabellius that the Crucified one was only a "transitory hypostatising of the word," or with Paul of Samosata that "He had gradually become God," is simply to change a living personality into an allegory, and that an allegory of the worst kind, namely, an abstract one. [95] And since it happened that this abstract allegory was compressed into a desolate Jewish chronicle, amalgamated with grossly materialistic mysteries, transformed into the one and only dogma held to be necessary to salvation, we may rejoice when practical men after three centuries exclaimed: "Enough! henceforth nothing more may be added!" We can well understand how Ignatius, when questioned regarding the authenticity of this or that word in Scripture, could answer that for him the unfalsified documents concerning Jesus Christ were Christ's life and death. [96] We must admit that Hellenic theology, though large-minded and brilliant in its interpretation of Scripture though far removed from the slavish sentiments of Western theology, yet was inclined to lose sight of these "unfalsified documents," namely, the actual manifestation of Jesus Christ.

There is room for admiration as well as criticism, but we must at the same time regret that all that was greatest and truest in this theology at its best was rejected by Rome. I will not try the patience of the reader by plunging into theological discussions; I will simply quote a sentence of Origenes; it will give us an idea of how much the Christian religion lost by this victory of the West over the East. [97]

In the twenty-ninth chapter of his book On Prayer, Origenes speaks of the myth of the Fall of Man and makes the remark: "We cannot help observing that the credulity and inconstancy of Eve did not begin at the moment when she disregarded the word of God and listened to the serpent, they were manifestly present before, and the serpent came to her, because in its cunning it had already noticed her weakness." With this one sentence the myth -- which the Jews, as Renan rightly remarked (see vol. i. p. 418), compressed into a dry historical fact -- is once more awakened to life. And with the myth nature steps into its rights. That which may be called sin, as soon as we aim at something higher, belongs to us, as Paul had already said, "by nature"; with the fetters of the chronicle we throw off the fetters of credulous superstition; we no longer stand opposed to all nature as something strange, something that has been born higher but that has fallen lower, we rather belong to nature, and we cast back upon it the light of grace that fell into our human heart. By carrying on the Pauline thought, Origenes here liberated science and at the same time pushed back the bolt that shut the heart to true, direct religion.

Such was the Hellenic theology that was vanquished in the struggle. [98]


If we proceed to study the second anti-Roman movement, that movement which I summed up in the one word "North," we shall immediately observe that it sprang from a quite different intellectual disposition and had to vindicate itself under entirely different temporal circumstances. In Hellenism Rome had contended against a culture higher and older than its own; here, on the other hand, it was a question first and foremost not of speculative doctrines, but of a tendency of minds, and the representatives of this tendency were for the most part at a considerably lower stage of culture than the representatives of the Roman idea; it took centuries to remove the difference. Then there was another circumstance to be considered. [99] While in the former struggle the still embryonic Roman Church had to seek to win the authority of the Emperor for its cause, it now stood as a perfectly organised powerful hierarchy whose absolute authority no one could question without danger to himself. In short, the conflict is different and it is being waged under different conditions. I say "is " and "is being," because the struggle between East and West was ended a thousand years ago -- Mohammed crushed it out; the schism remained as a cenotaph, but not as a living development, whereas on the other hand the conflict between North and South is still going on and is throwing threatening shadows over our immediate future.

I have already had an opportunity of mentioning, at least in general outline, at the end of the fourth chapter and at the beginning and end of the sixth, wherein this revolt of the North consisted. [100] Here in consequence I merely require to briefly supplement these remarks.

Let me first of all remark that I have used the expression "North," because the word "Germanicism" would not correspond to the phenomenon, or at best would be equivalent to a daring hypothesis. We find everywhere and at all times opponents of the civil and ecclesiastical ideals which were incorporated in Rome; if the movement assumes significance only when it approaches from the North, the reason is that here, in Celtic and Slavonic Germanicism, whole nations thought and felt uniformly, whereas in the chaos of the South it was an accident of birth, when an individual came into the world with the love of freedom and spiritual religion in his heart. But that which one might call "Protestant" sentiment has existed since earliest times: is this not the atmosphere that the Gospel histories breathe in every line? Is it possible to imagine that apostle of freedom, the writer of the Epistle to the Galatians, with his head bowed, because a Pontifex maximus on his curial chair has proclaimed some dogmatic decree? Do we not read in that rightly famous letter -- belonging to the earliest Christian times -- of the anonymous writer to Diognetus, that" invisible is the religion of the Christians?" [101] Renan says: "Les Chretiens primitifs sont les moins superstitieux des hommes ... chez eux, pas d'amulettes, pas d'images saintes, pas d'objet de culte." [Google translate: The primitive Christians are the least superstitious of men ... home, not amulets, no holy images, not objects of worship.] [102] Hand in hand with this goes a great religious freedom. In the second century Celsius testifies that the Christians varied very much in their interpretations and theories, all united only by the one confession: "through Jesus Christ the world is crucified for me and I for the world!" [103] Religion as spiritually profound as possible, its outward manifestation absolutely simple, freedom of individual faith-such is the character of early Christianity, it is not a later transfiguration invented by the Germanic races. This freedom was so great that even in the East, where Rome had always been predominant, every country, indeed frequently every city with its congregation, for centuries possessed its own confession. [104] We men of the North were far too practically and secularly inclined, too much occupied with civil organisation and commercial interests and sciences ever to go back to that absolutely genuine Protestantism of the pre-Roman period. Moreover these early Christians were more fortunate than we: the shadow of the theocratically transformed Roman imperial idea had not yet fallen upon them. It was, however, a fatal feature of the northern movement that it always had to make itself felt as a reaction -- that it had to tear down before it could think of building up. But this very negative character permits us to unite an almost inestimable mass of heterogeneous historical facts under one single term, viz., the Revolt against Rome. From the opposition of Vigilantius, in the fourth century, against the scandal of monachism which was threatening the prosperity of the nations, to Bismarck's conflict with the Jesuits, there is a trait of relationship uniting all these movements; for, however different the impulse may be which drives them to revolt, Rome itself represents so uniform, so persistently logical and so strongly established an idea, that all opposition to it receives a peculiar and to a certain extent similar colouring.

In order therefore to be clear we must hold fast to this idea of a Revolt against Rome. But inside it we must note an important difference. Under the uniform exterior the idea "Rome" conceals two fundamentally different tendencies: the one flows from a Christian source, the other from a heathen; the one aims at an ecclesiastical, the other at a political ideal. Rome is, as Byron says, "an hermaphrodite of empire." [105] Here again the unfortunate discord that we encounter in Christianity at every step! And in fact not only do two ideals -- a political and an ecclesiastical -- stand side by side, but the political ideal of Rome, Jewish-heathen in foundation and structure, contains a social dream so magnificent that it has at all times captivated even the greatest minds; whereas the religious ideal, permeated though it may be by the presence of Christ (so that many a sublime soul sees only Christ in this Church), has introduced into Christianity and brought to perfection there, conceptions and doctrines which are directly anti-Christian. Many a man of sound judgment has therefore thought the political ideal of Rome more religious than its ecclesiastical one. If then the revolt against Rome received a certain uniformity by the fact that the fundamental principle of Rome in both spheres (the political and the religious) is absolute despotism, so that every contradiction means sedition, then we can easily comprehend that in reality the reasons of revolt were very different in the case of different men. Thus the Germanic Princes of the earlier age accepted without question the religious doctrine, just as Rome preached it, but they at the same time stood up for their own political rights in opposition to the ideal that lay at the root of all Roman religion -- that political ideal with its splendid dream of a "city of God" upon earth -- and it was only in the greatest extremity that they abandoned a few of their national claims; on the other hand, the Byzantine Emperor Leo, although there was no attempt to threaten his political rights, was moved by purely religious and Christian conviction when, in order to stem the inflowing tide of heathen superstition, he opposed the worship of images and so came into conflict with Rome. [106] But how complicated are these two examples when we contemplate them carefully! For those Germanic princes, though questioning the secular claims of the Pope and the ecclesiastical conception of the Civitas Dei, used the Papal authority as often as it was to their advantage; and on the other hand such men as Vigilantius and Leo the Isaurian, who from purely religious interests attacked things which they looked upon as a scandal to Christianity, fell likewise into a grave inconsistency, in that they did not question the authority of Rome in principle and so logically submitted to it. The more closely we investigate the matter the greater becomes the confusion which is only indicated here. Any competent scholar who should devote himself to the exposition of this one subject -- the revolt against Rome (from about the ninth to the nineteenth century) -- would reveal the remarkable results that Rome has had the whole world against it, and is indebted for its incomparable power solely to the impelling force of a relentlessly logical idea. No one ever proceeded logically against Rome; Rome was always recklessly logical in its own cause. Thereby it overcame not only open resistance but also the numerous attempts from within to force it into other directions. Not only did Leo the Isaurian fail, who attacked it from without, the holy Francis of Assisi failed just as signally in his endeavour to reform the ecclesia carnalis, as he called it, from within; [107] that fiery apostolic spirit, Arnold of Brescia, failed to realise his fond hope of separating the Church from its secular aims; the Romans failed in their repeated and desperate revolts against the tyranny of the Popes; Abelard -- a fanatic for the Roman religious ideal -- failed in his endeavour to unite to it more rational and higher thought; Abelard's opponent, Bernhard, the reformer of monkdom, who desired to force upon the Pope and the whole Church his mystical conception of religion and would gladly have forcibly closed the mouths of "the incomparable doctors of reason," as he called them in mockery, failed to do so; the pious abbot Joachim failed in his struggle against the "Apotheosis of the Roman Church" and the "carnal conceptions" of the sacraments; Spain, which in spite of its Catholicism refused to adopt the decisions of the Council of Trent, failed; the devout house of Austria and that of Bavaria as well, which as a reward for their characterless submissiveness were still quarrelling in the seventeenth century about the refusal of the cup to the laity and the marriage of priests in their States, failed; [108] Poland failed in its daring attempts at reformations; [109] France, in spite of all its persistency, failed in the endeavour to maintain the shadow of a half-independent Gallic Church ... but especially signal was the failure of all those, from Augustine to Jansenius, who tried to introduce into the Roman system the apostolic doctrine of faith and of grace in its perfectly pure form, likewise of all those who, from Dante to Lamennais and Dollinger, demanded the separation of Church and State, and the religious freedom of the individual. All these men and movements -- and their number is in all centuries legion -- proceeded, I repeat, illogically and inconsistently; for either they wanted to reform the fundamental Roman idea, or they wished to obtain for themselves inside this idea a certain measure of personal or national freedom, both manifestly preposterous ideas. For the fundamental principle of Rome (not only since 1870 but since all time) is its divine origin and consequent infallibility; as opposed to it freedom of opinion can only be sinful obstinacy; and in regard to the question of reform, we must point to the fact that the Roman idea, however complicated it appears on closer inspection, is nevertheless an organic product, resting on the firm foundations of a history of several thousand years and further built up under careful consideration of the character and religious needs of all those men who in any way belong to the chaos of races -- and we know how far the sphere of the latter extends. [110] How could a man of Dante's intellectual acumen regard himself as an orthodox Roman Catholic and yet demand the separation of secular and ecclesiastical power, as well as the subordination of the latter to the former? Rome is, in fact, the heir of the highest secular power; it is only as its agents that the Princes wield the sword, and Boniface VIII. astonished the world only by his frankness, not by the novelty of his standpoint, when he exclaimed: "Ego sum Caesar! ego sum Imperator!" [Google translate: I am the Caesar! I am the Emperor!] Let Rome relinquish this claim (no matter how theoretical it might be as regards actual facts), it would have meant putting the knife to its own throat. One must never forget that the Church derives all its authority from the supposition that it is the representative of God; as Antonio Perez with real Spanish humour says: "El Dios del cielo es delicado mucho en suffrir companero in niguna cosa" (The God of Heaven is much too jealous to endure a rival in anything). [111] And in this connection we should not overlook the fact that all the claims of Rome, religious as well as political, are historical; its apostolic episcopate, too, is derived from divine appointment -- not from any mental superiority. [112] If Rome were at any point to surrender its flawless historical continuity, the whole structure could not fail to fall to pieces; and in fact the most dangerous point would be the point of connection with the supremacy of the Roman secular Imperium, henceforth extended to a divine Imperium; for the purely religious institution is so forced that even Augustine questioned it, [113] whereas the actual Empire is one of the most massive and fundamental facts of history, and the conception of it as of "divine origin" (and therefore absolute) goes farther back and is more deeply rooted than any evangelical tradition or doctrine. Now none of the Protestants mentioned above -- for they and not those who left the Roman Church deserve this negative characterisation -- exercised lasting influence; within this firmly jointed frame it was impossible. If we take up detailed Church histories, we are astonished at the great number of pre-eminent Catholic men, who devoted their whole life to the spiritualising of religion, the struggle against materialisation, the spread of Augustinian doctrines and the abolition of priestly misconduct, &c.; but their efforts left not a trace behind. And in order to have a lasting influence in this Church, important personalities had either, like Augustine, to contradict themselves, or, like Thomas Aquinas, to grasp the specifically Roman idea by the roots and resolutely from youth up to remodel their own individuality according to it. The only other solution was complete emancipation. Whoever exclaimed with Martin Luther: "It is all over with the Roman stool" [114] -- gave up the hopeless inconsistent struggle, in which first of all the Hellenic East and then the. whole North, as far as it continued it, were vanquished and broken: and yet it was he and he only who made national regeneration possible, since he who rebels against Rome at the same time throws off the yoke of the Imperial idea.

In the period with which we are here occupied matters did not go so far -- except in the case of the Waldensian movement. The struggle between North and South was and remained unequal, and was carried on within what was regarded as the authoritative Church. There were countless sects, but mostly purely theological ones; Arianism could have provided a specifically Germanic Christianity, but the adherents of this faith lacked the cultural equipment needed to be vigorous in propaganda, or to be able to vindicate their standpoint; on the one hand the hapless Waldensians, although Rome on several occasions caused them all to be massacred (the last being in the year 1685) -- so far as it could lay hands on them -- have maintained themselves to the present day and now possess a Church of their own in Rome itself: a proof that whoever is just as consistent as Rome, endures, no matter how weak he may be.

Hitherto I have been compelled to sketch this struggle without regard to proper sequence, because of the disjointed efforts and inconsistency of the men of the North as opposed to their uniform foe. Moreover, I have confined myself to mere indications; facts are like gnats: as soon as a light is struck, they fly in thousands in through the windows. Hence, to complete what has been indicated regarding the struggle between North and South I shall take two men as examples: a practical politician and an ideal politician, both zealous theologians in their. leisure hours and enthusiastic sons of the Roman Church at all times; I refer to Charlemagne and Dante. [115]


If ever a man had acquired a right to exercise influence upon Rome, it was Charlemagne; he could have destroyed the Papacy, he saved it and enthroned it for a thousand years; he, as no one before or after him, would have had the power to separate the Germans at least definitely from Rome; he on the contrary did what the Empire at its period of greatest splendour had not been able to do -- incorporated them, all and sundry, in the "Holy" and "Roman" Empire. This so fatally enthusiastic admirer of Rome was nevertheless a good German, and nothing lay nearer his heart than reforming from top to bottom, and freeing from the clutches of heathenism this Church which he so passionately prized as an ideal. He writes pretty blunt letters to the Pope, in which he wars against everything possible and calls ecclesiastically recognised councils ineptissimae synodi [Google translate: of the synod is a very silly]; and not content with criticising the apostolic stool, his care extends so far as to inquire how many concubines the country priests maintain! He takes heed above all that the priests or at least the bishops should once more become acquainted with the Holy Writ, which under the influence of Rome had become almost forgotten; he sees carefully to it that the sermon is reintroduced and in such a way that "the people can understand it"; he forbids the priests to sell the consecrated oil as a charm; he ordains that in his empire no new saints shall be invoked, &c. In short, Charlemagne proves himself a Germanic prince in two ways: in the first place, he and not the bishop, not even the Bishop of Rome, is master in his Church; secondly, he aims at that spirituality of religion which is peculiar to the Indo-European. That manifests itself most clearly in the quarrel about image-worship. In the famous libri Carolini, addressed to the Pope, Charlemagne indeed condemns iconoclasm but also iconolatry. He expresses the view that it is permissible and good to have images as ornaments and memorials, but they are a matter of absolute indifference, and in no case should they be honoured, much less worshipped. In this he opposed the doctrine and practice of the Roman Church, and that with perfect consciousness, by expressly rejecting the decisions of the synods and the authority of the Church fathers. An attempt has been made and still is made in the most modern Church histories to represent the matter as a misunderstanding: that the Greek word proskynesis was falsely translated by adoratio and that Charlemagne was thus misled, &c. But the important point is not the fine distinction between adorare, venerari, colere, &c., which still plays such a large part in theory and so small a one in practice; it is a case of two views being opposed to each other: Pope Gregory II. had taught the doctrine that certain images work miracles; [116] Charlemagne, on the other hand, asserts that all images possess only artistic worth, being in themselves of no account; the opposite assertion is blasphemous idolatry. The seventh general synod of Nicaea had ordained in the year 787 at its seventh sitting, that "candles and incense should be dedicated to the worship of images and other sacred utensils"; Charlemagne answers literally: "It is foolish to burn incense and candles in front of images." [117] And so the matter stands to-day. Gregory I. (about the year 600) had expressly ordered the missionaries to leave the heathen local gods, the miracle-working springs, and such things untouched, and be satisfied with merely giving them a Christian name; [118] his advice is still followed at the close of the nineteenth. century; even to-day noble Catholic prelates contend desperately but without Success against the heathenism systematically nurtured by Rome. [119] In every Roman "church of pilgrimage" there are particular images, particular statues, in fact, special works of art, which have assigned to them a generally quite definite, limited influence; or it is a fountain which springs up at the spot where the mother of God had appeared, &c.: this is primeval fetishism, which had never died out among the people but had been already quite abandoned by Europeans in the age of Homer. This fetishism has been newly strengthened and nurtured by Rome -- perhaps rightly, perhaps because it felt that there was here a true motive power capable of being idealised, something which those men who have not yet "entered the daylight of life" cannot do without -- and Charlemagne opposed it. The contradiction is manifest.

Now what has Charlemagne achieved in his struggle against Rome? Momentarily a good deal, but nothing permanent. Rome obeyed where it had to, resisted where it could, and quietly pursued its way, as soon as the powerful voice became silent for ever. [120]
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Re: The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston St

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Part 4 of 5


Dante achieved less than nothing, if that be possible. His ideas of reform went further and of him his most modern and praiseworthy Roman Catholic biographer says: "Dante did not after the manner of the heretic aim at or hope for a reform against the Church but through the Church: he is a Catholic, not a heretical or schismatic reformer." [121] But for this very reason he has exercised upon the Church -- in spite of his mighty genius -- not the slightest influence, either in life or in death. "Catholic Reformer" is a contradictio in adjecto, for the movement of the Roman Church can only consist, as it has actually consisted, in making its principles clearer, more logical and more unrelenting and in putting them into practice as such. I should like to know what curse of excommunication would be hurled at the man who, as a Catholic, would to-day venture to address the followers of Christ Upon earth in the following words:

E che altro e da voi all' idolatre,
Se non ch' egli uno, e voi n'orate cento? [122]

and who, after branding and scorning the Roman priesthood as an un-Christian unevangelical brood," continued:

Di questo ingrassa il porco, sant' Antonio,
Ed altri assai, che son peggio che porci,
Pagando di moneta seuza conio. [123]

The very fact that no one would venture to-day to use such language shows us how completely all those northern men, [124] who had dreamt of a reform "not against the Church but through the Church," have been vanquished. [125] Also the emphasis Dante lays on faith as opposed to works,

La fe, senzala qual ben far non basta

(see, for example, Purgatorio xxii. &c.), would scarcely be allowed to-day. But what I should like particularly to call attention to here is the fact that Dante's views on the purely spiritual office of the Church -- which is subordinate to the secular power -- have been doubly anathematised by paragraphs 75 and 76 of the Syllabus of the Year 1864. And this is perfectly logical, since, as I have shown above, the power of Rome lies in its consistency and especially in the fact that it under no circumstances gives up its temporal claims. It is a poor, short-sighted orthodoxy which tries to whitewash Dante to-day, instead of openly admitting that he belongs to. the most dangerous class of genuine protestors. For Dante went further than Charlemagne. The latter had had in his mind a kind of Caesaric papacy, in which he, the Emperor, like Constantine and Theodosius, should possess the double power in contrast to the Papal Caesarism, which the Roman Pontifex maximus aimed at; he did not therefore go beyond the genuine Roman idea of universal empire. Dante, on the other hand, demanded the complete separation of Church and State; but that would be the ruin of Rome, as the Popes have understood better than Dante and his latest biographer. Dante reproaches Constantine as being the author of all evil, because he had founded the ecclesiastical State.

Ahi, Constantin! di quanto mal fu matre,
Non la tua conversion, ma quella dote
Che da te prese il primo ricco patre! [126]

And according to him Constantine deserves double blame, first because he led the Church astray, secondly because he weakened his own Empire. In verse 55 of the twentieth canto of the Paradiso, he says that Constantine "destroyed the world," by giving power to the Church. And if we trace this idea in Dante's work De Monarchia, it is clear that we have here to deal with an absolutely heathen-historical doctrine -- the conception that universal power is the legitimate legacy of the Roman Empire! [127] How is it possible to approach so close to the fundamental idea of Rome's ecclesiastical power and yet not grasp it? For it is the Church itself that inherits that world-power. It was only by its taking possession of it that the Civitas Dei came into being. Long ago Augustine had proved with a logic which we should have liked Dante and his apologists to have possessed, that the power of the State was based upon the power of sin; henceforth, since by Christ's death the power of sin was broken, the State must submit to the Church, in other words, the Church stood at the head of the civic government. The Pope is, according to the orthodox doctrine, the representative of God, vicarius Dei in terris; [128] if he were merely the "representative of Christ" or the "successor of Peter," his function could be regarded as exclusively the care of souls, for Christ said: "My Kingdom is not of this world"; but who would presume to exercise authority over the representative on earth of the almighty Godhead? Who dare deny that the Temporal is just as much subject to God as the Eternal? Who would venture in any sphere to refuse to recognise his supremacy? Though, therefore, in theological matters of faith, Dante may have been a strictly orthodox Catholic, who did not doubt the" infallible preceptorship of the Church" [129] -- such dogmatic agreement is of little importance, the important thing is to know what a man, by the whole tendency of his nature, is and must be, wills and must will: and this impelled Dante to attack in passionate words not only the inviolable person of the Pontifex maximus and almost continuously to scourge all the servants of the Church, but to undermine the foundations of the Roman religion.

This attack, too, was hurled back from the mighty walls of Rome, upon which it left not a single trace.

I have intentionally emphasised the struggle between North and South only as it manifested itself inside the Church of Rome, and that not merely because I have already had occasion to speak of other manifestations, or because in point of time and historical sequence they belong only to the next epoch of culture, but because I think that this side of the matter is usually neglected, and that it is of great significance for the comprehension of the present age. The Reformation strengthened the Catholic Church at a later time; for it effected the elimination of elements that could not be assimilated, elements which, in the persons of submissive and yet rebellious sons -- like Charlemagne and Dante -- were much more dangerous than if they had been enemies, inasmuch as they inwardly hindered the logical development of the Roman ideal while outwardly they could further it little or nothing. A Charlemagne with Dante as his Chancellor would have wrecked the Roman Church; but a Luther has made the Church so clear concerning itself that the Council of Trent has meant for it the dawn of a new day.


I need not return to the question of race-differences, although they are at the bottom of this struggle between North and South; what is evident does not require proof. But I shall not break off this short discussion of the northern power in the Christian religious struggle and pass to "Rome," without first begging the reader to take up some good history, e.g., the first volume of Lamprecht's Deutsche Geschichte; [130] careful study will convince him how deeply rooted in the Germanic character are certain fundamental convictions; at the same time he will discover that though Jacob Grimm may be right in his assertion that "Germanic strength decided the victory of Christianity," this Christianity is essentially and from the first different from that of the Chaos. It is a question, as it were, of brain convolutions: [131] whatever is put in must bend and yield according to their shapes. Just as a boat, entrusted to the apparently uniform element of the ocean, will be driven very different ways, according as the one current or the other seizes it, so the same ideas in different heads travel in widely different ways and reach regions that have very little in common. How infinitely important, for example, is the old Germanic belief in a "universal, unchangeable, predestined and predestining fate!" [132] Even in this one "brain convolution," which is common to all Indo-Europeans, lies -- perhaps along with much superstition -- the guarantee of a rich intellectual development in entirely different directions and upon clearly defined paths. In the direction of idealism faith in destiny will with the necessity of nature lead to a religion of grace, in the direction of empiricism to strictly inductive science. For strictly empiric science is not, as is often asserted, a born enemy of religion, still less of the doctrine of Christ; it would have harmonised excellently, as we have seen, with Origenes, and in the ninth chapter I shall show that mechanism and idealism are sisters; but science cannot exist without the idea of flawless necessity, and hence, as even a Renan must admit, "all Semitic monotheism is essentially opposed to physical science." [133] Like Judaism, Christianity developed under Roman influence postulates as its fundamental dogma absolute creative arbitrariness; hence the antagonism and never-ending struggle between Church and science; it was nonexistent among the Indians; it has been artificially forced upon the Germanic races. [134] Just as important is the fact that for the old Teutons -- in the same way as for the Indians and Greeks -- moral speculation did not narrow off into a question of good and bad. [135] Out of this with the same inevitableness the religion of faith in contrast to the religion of works was bound to develop, i.e., idealism in contrast to materialism, inner moral conversion in contrast to Semitic sanctity of law and Roman sale of indulgences. Here we have moreover an excellent example of the importance of mere direction, that is, of feeling one's way correctly in the intellectual sphere. For never has any man taught the doctrine that life could be good without good works, [136] and on the other hand it is the unexpressed assumption of Judaism and a religious law of the followers of Rome, that good works without faith avail not: in itself therefore each view is noble and moral; but according as the one or the other is emphasised, we place the essence of religion in the spiritual conversion of the man, his disposition, his whole manner of thinking and feeling, or on the other hand in outward observances, redemption outwardly brought about, reckoning up of good and evil deeds and the calculation of morality after the manner of a profit and loss account. [137] Such things are scarcely less remarkable than the fact that it was impossible to bring home to the Teutons the idea "devil"; Walfila rendered Mammon as Viehgedrang (crowd of cattle), but he had to leave Satan and Beelzebub untranslated. [138] Happy beings! And how suggestive that is, when one remembers the Jewish religion of terror and Loyola the Basque's constant references to devil and hell. [139] Other things again are of purely historical interest. as for example the fact that the Teutons possessed no professional priesthood. that in consequence theocracy was strange to them, a circumstance which, as Wietersheim shows, has much facilitated the introduction of Roman Christianity. [140] But I shall leave these inquiries concerning natural religious tendencies to the reader, in order that I may have the necessary space left to bring forward some facts concerning the third great force in the struggle, as a supplement to what has already been indicated in connection with the discussion of East and North.


The power of Rome lay in the continuance of the imperial idea, indeed, originally in the actual continuance of the imperial power. It was a heathen Emperor, as we have seen (p. 46) who first settled a quarrel between Christians by proclaiming the voice of the Roman bishop decisive, and the true founder of Roman Christianity as a world-power is not a Pope, Church father, or concilium, but the Emperor Theodosius. It was Theodosius who on his own authority, by his edict of January 10, 381. did away with all sects except the one which he had elevated to the dignity of a State religion and confiscated all churches in favour of Rome; it was he who founded the office of "Imperial inquisitor" and punished with death every deviation from the orthodoxy which he recommended. But the whole conception of Theodosius was "imperial," not religious or apostolic: this is sufficiently clear from the fact that heterodoxy or heathenism was characterised juristically as high treason. [141] We cannot understand the full significance of this until we look back and find that two centuries earlier even so fiery a mind as Tertullian had demanded universal tolerance, because he was of opinion that each one should worship God according to his own conviction, and that one religion cannot injure the other. It becomes further clear when we see that 150 years before Theodosius, Clemens of Alexandria used the Greek word hairesis in the old sense, namely, to denote a particular school in contrast to other schools, no blame being expressed in the word. [142] To view heresy as a crime is, one can see, a legacy of the Roman Imperial system; the idea first occurred when the Emperors had become Christians, and it rests, I repeat, not upon religious assumptions, but upon the notion that it is high treason to hold a different creed from the Emperor. This respect for the Emperor was afterwards inherited by the Pontifex maximus.

In the second chapter, to which I refer the reader, I have discussed in detail the power of the genuine Roman idea of State as the history of that incomparable people that disappeared but too soon represents it, and also the revolutionary modifications which practically transformed this idea into its opposite, as soon as its creator, the Roman people, no longer existed. [143] The world was accustomed to receive laws from Rome, and from Rome alone; it was so used to this that even the separated Byzantine Empire still called itself "Roman." Rome and ruling had become synonymous expressions. We must not forget that to the men of the Chaos Rome was the one thing that held them together, the one idea of organisation, the only talisman against the influx of the Barbarians. The world is not ruled by interests alone (as modern historians are apt to teach), but above all by ideas, even when these ideas have become nothing but words; and thus we see Rome, even when bereft of its Emperor, retain a prestige such as no other city in Europe possessed. From time immemorial Rome had been called by the Romans "the holy city": that we still call it so is no Christian custom, but a heathen legacy; for to the old Romans, as we have shown at an earlier point (vol. i. p. 110), the one sacred thing in life was the Fatherland and the family. Henceforth there were no Romans; yet Rome remained the holy city. Soon, too, there was no Roman Emperor (except in name), but part of the imperial power had remained, e.g., the Pontifex maximus. [144] Here, too, something had taken place which originally had no connection with the Christian religion. Formerly, in pre-Christian times, the complete subjection of the priesthood to the secular power had been a fundamental principle of the Roman State, the priests had been honoured, but they had not been permitted to exert any influence on public life; only in matters of conscience did they possess jurisdiction, that is, they could impose upon anyone who accused himself (confession!) a punishment in expiation of his guilt (penitence!), exclude him from public worship, indeed lay upon him the curse of God (excommunication!). But when the Emperor had united in his own hands all the offices of the Republic, it became more and more the custom to regard the Pontificate as his highest dignity, whereby gradually the idea of Pontifex received a significance it had never before possessed. Caesar was of course not a title but only an eponym; Pontifex maximus, on the other hand, designated the highest, and from time immemorial the only lifelong, office; as Pontifex the Emperor was now "a sacred majesty," and before this "representative of the divine upon earth" everyone had to kneel in worship -- a relation in which nothing was changed by the conversion of the Emperors to Christianity. But there is a second consideration. There was -- and had been since earliest times -- another conception inseparably bound up with this heathen Pontifex maximus: though no longer influential externally he was absolutely supreme within the priesthood; it was the priests who chose him, but in him they selected their dictator for life; he alone nominated the pontifices, he alone possessed in all questions of religion the final right of decision. [145] If now the Emperor had usurped the office of Pontifex maximus, so the Pontifex maximus at a later age could with still greater right regard himself as Caesar et Imperator (see p. 98), since he had in the meantime actually become the all-uniting head of Europe.

Such is the stool (the sella famous since Numa's time), which the Christian bishop had bequeathed to him in a Rome that had lost its Emperor, such the rich legacy of dignity, influence, privileges, firmly established for 1000 years, which he received. The poor apostle Peter has little merit in the matter. [146]

Rome possessed therefore, if not culture and national character, at least the immeasurable advantages of firm organisation and old sacred tradition. It is probably impossible to over- estimate the influence of form in human things. Such an apparent trifle, for example, as the laying-on of hands to preserve the material, visible, historical continuity is of such direct influence upon the imagination that it has more weight with the people than the profoundest speculations and the most sacred examples of life. And all this is old Roman discipline, old Roman legacy from the pre-Christian time. The ancient Romans -- otherwise poor in invention -- had been masters in the dramatic shaping of important symbolical effects; [147] the modern Romans maintained this tradition. And thus here, and here alone, young Christianity found an already existing form, an already existing tradition, an already practised and experienced statesmanship, on which it could support itself, in which it could crystallise itself into a firm and lasting form. It found not only the idea of statesmanship but also the experienced statesman. Tertullian, for example, who struck the first fatal blow at freely speculative Hellenic Christianity, by introducing Latin into the Church instead of Greek -- Latin, in which all metaphysics and mysticism are impossible and which rob the Pauline Epistles of their deep significance -- was a lawyer, and started "the tendency of western dogmatics towards juristicism"; he did so by emphasising on the one hand the materially legal motive power in religious conceptions, on the other by introducing ideas with a legal colouring -- suited to the practical Latin world -- into the conceptions of God, of the "two substances" of Christ and the freedom of the human being, who wag felt to be in the position of a defendant, as at law. [148] Side by side with this theoretical activity of practical men there was also great activity in organisation. Ambrosius, for example, the right hand of Theodosius, was a civil official and was made a bishop, before he had been baptized! He himself tells frankly how he was " carried off from the bench," because the Emperor wished to employ him elsewhere, namely, in the Church, for the work of organisation, and how he thereby came into the painful position of having to teach others Christianity before he knew it himself. [149] It was men like these and not the successors of Peter in Rome, whose names are scarcely known in the first centuries, who laid the foundations of the Roman Church. The influence of the bishops was incalculably enhanced, for example, by the ordinance of Constantine, according to which, in the old Roman legal arrangement of the receptum arbitrii (court of arbitration) it was enacted that when the bishop was arbiter, his judgment should be unconditionally final; for the Christians it was in many cases a religious duty to apply to the bishop; henceforth he was even in civil law their supreme judge. [150] From this same purely civil, and absolutely non-religious source is derived the imposing idea of strictest uniformity in faith and worship. A State must manifestly possess a single, universally valid, logically perfected constitution; the individuals in the State cannot give legal decisions as they please, but must, whether they will or not, be subject to the law; this was all well understood by these Doctors of the Church and legal bishops, and regarded by them as ruling the religious sphere as well. The close connection of the Roman Church with Roman law was visibly expressed by the fact that for centuries the Church stood under the jurisdiction of this law and all priests in all lands were regarded eo ipso as Romans and enjoyed the many privileges which were attached to this legal position. [151] The conversion of the European world to this political and juristical Christianity was nor, as is w often asserted, brought about by a divine miracle, but by the commonplace method of compulsion. Even the pious Eusebius (who lived long before Theodosius) complained of the "unspeakable hypocrisy and dissimulation of the so-called Christians"; as soon as Christianity became the official religion of the Empire, there was no need for dissembling; men became Christians as they paid their taxes, and they became Roman Christians because they must give to the Emperor what is the Emperor's; religion had become, like the soil, the property of the Emperor.

Christianity as an obligatory world-religion is therefore demonstrably a Roman imperial idea, not a religious one, When the secular Empire declined and disappeared, this idea remained behind; the religion ordained by the Emperors was to supply the cement for the world which had become disjointed; all men were hereby benefited and consequently the more sensible ever gravitated back towards Rome, for there alone was found not merely religious enthusiasm, but a practical organisation, which exercised an untiring activity in all directions, left nothing undone to resist every counter-movement, possessed knowledge of men, diplomatic skill and above all a central unchanging axis -- not excluding movement, but guaranteeing security -- namely, the absolute Primacy of Rome, that is, of the Pontifex maximus. Herein lay first and foremost the strength of Roman Christianity, against the East as well as the North. Then came the further fact that Rome, situated in the geographical centre of the Chaos, and moreover endowed almost exclusively with secular and political gifts, knew exactly the character and the needs of the half-breed population, and was hindered by no deep-rooted national tendencies and conscientious objections from making advances all round -- under the one reservation that its supremacy remained unconditionally recognised and maintained. Rome was accordingly not only the one firmly established ecclesiastical power during the first thousand years, but also that which professed the most elasticity. Nothing is more stiff-necked than religious fanaticism; even the noblest religious enthusiasm will not easily accommodate itself to a different view. Now Rome was strict, and cruel if need be, but never really fanatical, at least not in religious things nor in earlier times. The Popes were so tolerant, so anxious to arrange matters, and to make the Church acceptable to all shades of opinion, that some of them long after their death had to be excommunicated in their graves, for the sake of uniformity of doctrine. [152] Augustine, for example, had considerable trouble with Pope Zosimas, who did not think the doctrine of peccatum originale important enough for him to conjure up on its account the dangerous struggle with the Pelagians, especially as the latter were not anti-Roman, but, on the contrary, yielded more rights to the Pope than their opponents did. [153] And whoever follows the course of Church history from this time down to the great dispute about grace between the Jesuits and the Dominicans in the seventeenth century (really the same thing again, but grasped at the other end and without an Augustine, to hinder the development of materialism) and sees how the Pope sought to settle it "by tolerating [154] both systems and forbidding the adherents of both to persecute each other" -- he who, I say, follows with a clear eye this history will find that Rome without yielding an iota of its claims to power was yet more tolerant than any other Church organisation. It was the religious Hotspurs in its midst, especially the numerous secret Protestants, as also the violent opposition from without, that gradually forced the Papal stool to adopt a more and more definite and more and more one-sided dogmatic tendency, till finally a rash Pontifex maximus of the nineteenth century in his Syllabus declared war upon the whole European culture. [155] The Papacy was formerly wiser. The great Gregory complains bitterly of the theologians, who torture themselves and others with questions regarding the nature of the Godhead and other incomprehensible things, instead of devoting themselves to practical and benevolent objects. Rome would have been glad if there never had been any theologians. As Herder rightly remarks, "A cross, a picture of Mary with the child, a Mass, a rosary, were more to its purpose than much fine speculation." [156]

It is self-evident that this laxity went hand in hand with distinct secularity. And this too was an element of power. The Greek meditated and "sublimated" too much, the religious Teuton was too much in earnest; Rome, on the other hand, never departed from the golden mean, which the vast majority of humanity prefers to follow. One need only read the works of Origenes (as an example of what the East aimed at) and then in strong contrast Luther's Von der Freiheit eines Christenmenschen (as a summary of what the North understood by religion), to see at once how little the one or the other was suited for the men of the Chaos -- and not only for them but for all who were at all infected with the poison of connubia promiscua. A Luther presupposes men, who have a strong support in themselves, who are capable of fighting spiritually as he himself has fought; an Origenes moves on the heights of knowledge, where the Indians might be at home, but not the inhabitants of the Roman Empire, not even a man like Augustine. [157] Rome, on the other hand, thoroughly understood, as I remarked above, the character and the needs of that parti-coloured population which for centuries furnished the bearers and mediators of civilisation and culture. Rome demanded from its adherents neither greatness of character nor independent thought, the Church itself relieved them of that; for talent and imaginative enthusiasm it had indeed room -- under the one condition of obedience -- but such gifted and visionary men were merely auxiliaries; the attention was directed continuously to the great masses, and for them religion was so completely transferred from head and heart to the visible Church, that it became accessible to every one, comprehensible to every one, and as clear as daylight to all. [158] Never has an institution displayed so admirable and clear-sighted a knowledge of mediocre humanity as that Church, which began at an early time to organise itself around the Pontifex maximus as central point. From the Jews it took the hierocracy, the intolerance, the historical materialism -- but carefully avoided the inexorably strict moral commands and the sublime simplicity of Judaism, the sworn foe of all superstition (for this would have scared away the people, which is always more superstitious than religious); it willingly adopted Germanic earnestness, as also mystical rapture -- but it took care that strict subjectivity did not make the path of salvation too full of thorns for weak souls and that mystical flights did not emancipate from the cult of the Church; it did not exactly reject the mystical speculations of the Hellenes -- it understood their worth for the human imagination -- but it robbed the myth of its plastic, incalculable, developable and so ever revolutionary significance, and condemned it to perpetual immobility like an idol to be worshipped. On the other hand, it adopted in the most large-hearted manner the ceremonies and especially the sacraments of the splendour-loving Chaos which sought religion in magic. This is its own real element, the one thing which the Imperium, that is, Rome, contributed independently to the structure of Christianity; and so it was that while holy men did not cease to reveal in Christianity the contrast to heathendom, the great masses passed from the one to the other without much noticing the difference: for they still found the splendidly robed priesthood, the processions, the images, the miracle-working local sanctuaries, the mystical transformation of the sacrifice, the material communication of eternal life, the confession, the forgiveness of sins, the indulgences -- all things to which they had long been accustomed.


I must still say a few words in explanation of this open, ceremonious entrance of the spirit of the Chaos into Christianity; it gave Christianity a peculiar colouring, which has more or less tinged all confessions up to the present day (even those which are separated from Rome), and it reached its culminating point at the end of the period with which we are occupied. The proclamation of the dogma of transubstantiation, in the year 1215, betokens the completion of a 1000 years' development in this direction. [159]

The adoption of the objective religion of Paul (in opposition to the subjective) involved as was inevitable a view of expiation similar to that of the Jews; but what gives the Jew a special claim to our honest admiration is his unceasing struggle against superstition and magic; his religion was materialism, but, as I pointed out in a former chapter, abstract, not concrete materialism. [160] Now towards the end of the second century of our era an absolutely concrete materialism, though tinged with mysticism, had spread like a plague through the whole Roman Empire. That this sudden resuscitation of old superstitions was brought about by the Semites, by those Semites, namely, who were not under the benevolent law of Jehovah, has been proved; [161] for the Jewish Prophets themselves had had trouble enough to suppress the belief (which was always asserting itself) in the magic efficacy of eaten sacrificial flesh; [162] and it was this very faith, which was so widespread among born materialists, that now spread like wildfire through all the countries of the strongly Semitised Chaos of peoples. It was everlasting life that was demanded by miserable creatures, who might well feel how little of eternity there was in their own existence. It was everlasting life that the Priests of the newly arranged mysteries promised them through the mediation of "Agapes," common, ceremonious meals, in which flesh and blood, magically transformed to divine substance, were partaken of, and in which by the direct communication of this substance of eternity which conferred immortality the body of the human being was likewise transformed, to rise after death to everlasting life. [163] Thus Apuleius, for example, writes about his initiation into the mysteries of Isis, that he dare not betray what must be concealed, and can only say this: he had reached the borders of the realm of death, had crossed the threshold of Proserpina and had returned from thence "reborn in all elements." [164] Those initiated into the cult of Mithras were also called in aeternum renati, for ever regenerate. [165]

There is no doubt that we must see in this a revival of the very earliest, most widespread, totemistic [166] delusions, conceptions against which the noblest men of all countries have long and successfully contended. It certainly seems to me doubtful whether the conception in this particular Semitic form of the Egypto-Roman mysteries ever existed among the Indo-Europeans; but these Indo-Europeans had in the meantime developed another idea, that of substitution at sacrifices: in sacris sirnulata pro veris accipi. [167] Thus we see the old Indians using baked cakes in the form of discs (hosts) as symbolical representatives of the animals to be slain. Now in the Roman chaos, where all thoughts are found jumbled confusedly together, that Semitic conception of the magic change of substance in the human being became fused with this Aryan symbolic conception of simulata pro veris, which had really been meant only to show that the former literally interpreted thank- offering was now a matter of the heart only. [168] Thus in the sacrificial meals of the pre-Christian Roman mystery-cults men partook not of flesh and blood but of bread and wine -- magically transformed. It is well known what a part these mysteries played. Everyone will at least remember having read in Cic. De Legibus ii. 14, that it was only these mysteries (then consisting of a "baptism" and a "love-feast") that gave men "understanding in life and hope in death." But no one will fail to notice that we have here, in these renati, a view of regeneration absolutely contrary to that taught and. lived by Christ. Christ and Antichrist stand opposed. Absolute idealism, which aims at a complete transformation of the inner man, his motives and purposes, is here opposed by a materialism intensified to madness, for by partaking of a mysterious food it hopes for a magical transformation of the ephemeral body into an immortal one. This conception means a moral atavism, such as only a period of the most utter decay could produce.

These mysteries, like everything else, were influenced by the genuine Christianity of the early days: it idealised them and used the forms of its time to give them a new purport. In the oldest post-evangelical writing, the Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles, found in 1883, and dating from the first Christian century, the mystic meal is merely a thank-offering (Eucharist). When taking the cup the congregation says: "We thank Thee, ) Father, for the sacred vine of Thy servant David, which Thou hast proclaimed by Thy servant Jesus; Thine be honour to all eternity." When taking the bread it says: "We thank Thee, O Father, for life and knowledge, which Thou hast made known to us by Thy servant Jesus; Thine be honour to all eternity." [169] In the somewhat later so-called Apostolic Constitutions the bread and wine are designated "gifts in honour of Christ." [170] Of a transformation of the elements into body and blood of Christ no one at that time knows anything. It is in fact characteristic of the earliest Christians to avoid the word "mysterion" which was then so common (in Latin it was rendered by sacramentum) It is only in the fourth century (that is, after Christianity became the official, obligatory religion of the absolutely un-Christian Empire) that the word comes into use, unquestionably as the symptom of a new idea. [171] But the best minds strove unceasingly against this gradual introduction into religion of materialism and magic. Origenes, for example, is of opinion that not only is it to be understood merely "figuratively," when we speak of the body of Christ at the Eucharist, but that this "figure" is suited only to "the simple"; in reality it is a "spiritual communion" that takes place. Hence, too, according to Origenes it is a matter of indifference who partakes of the Sacrament, he partaking in itself neither helps nor harms, it depends solely on the state of mind. [172] Augustine was in a much more difficult position, for he lived in a world so sensualised that he found the conception widespread that the mere partaking of bread and wine makes one a member of the Church and secures immortality, whether one lives as a criminal or not -- a conception against which he frequently and vigorously contends. [173] Eminent Church teachers too, like Chrysostom, had even then made the assertion that the body of the recipient was essentially changed by the consecrated food. Yet Augustine firmly maintains that sacraments are always merely symbols. Sacrificia visibilia sunt signa invisibilium, sicut verba sonantia signa rerum. [174] The host, according to Augustine, bears the same relation to the body of Christ as the word to the thing. When he nevertheless in the case of the Sacrament teaches that the Divine is actually communicated, it is a question of communication to the mind and by the mind. So clear an utterance leaves no room for interpretations and excludes the later Roman doctrine of the sacrifice of the Mass. [175] These extremely sketchy remarks will suffice to show even the uninitiated reader that the Eucharist could be viewed in two ways: the one way was opened up by the more ideal and more spiritual mysteries of the purer Hellenes (henceforth tilled with concrete purport as "feast of remembrance" through the life of Christ); the other, which was connected with Egyptian and Semitic magic doctrines, tried to see in the bread and wine the actual body of Christ and from that to prove that a magic transformation was brought about in its recipients.

These two tendencies [176] existed side by side for centuries, without ever coming to a decisive dogmatic struggle. The feeling of a mysterious danger may have contributed to prevent it; besides Rome, which at a very early period had quietly chosen the second way, knew that it had against it the most eminent Church fathers, as well as the oldest tradition. Once more it was the too conscientious North which threw the torch of war into this idyllic peace, where under the stole of a single universal and infallible Church the adherents of two different religions lived. In the ninth century the abbot Radbert, in his book Liber de corpore et sanguine Domini, taught for the first time as an irrefutable dogma the doctrine of the magical transformation of the bread into the objectively present body of Christ, which exercised a magical and immortalising influence upon all who partook of it -- even upon the ignorant and unbelieving. And who took up the gauntlet? In the most rapid survey such a fact cannot be passed over: it was the King of the Franks, later supported by the King of England! As always, the first instinct was correct; the Germanic princes immediately divined that their national in- dependence was being attacked. [177] Commissioned by Charles the Bald first of all Ratramnus and then the great Scotus Erigena refuted this doctrine of Radbert. That it was not a question here of a theological dispute of little consequence is Proved by the fact that this same Scotus Erigena produces a whole system inspired by Origenes -- an ideal religion, in which the Holy Script with its doctrines is viewed as "symbolism of the Inexpressible" (res ineffabilis, incomprehensibilis) and the difference between good and bad proved metaphysically indefensible, &c., and that exactly at the same moment the admirable Count Gottschalk, following in the footsteps of Augustine, develops the doctrines of divine grace and predestination. The quarrel could no longer be settled diplomatically. The Germanic spirit began to awaken; Rome could not let it have its way, otherwise its own power would soon be gone. Gottschalk was publicly scourged almost to death by the ecclesiastics in power and then condemned to lifelong misery in prison; Scotus, who had fled in time to his English home, was treacherously murdered by monks commissioned by Rome. And so, for centuries, men wrangled over the nature of the Sacrament. The Popes indeed maintained personally a very reserved, in fact ambiguous, attitude; they were more concerned about the keeping together of all Christians under their episcopal staff than about discussions which might shake the Church to its very foundations. But when in the eleventh century that fiery spirit Berengarius of Tours had once more begun to carry the religion of idealism through all France, the decision could no longer be postponed. There now sat on the Papal throne Gregory VII., the author of the Dictatus papae, [178] in which for the first time it was frankly declared that Emperors and Princes were unconditionally subject to the Pope: he was that Pontifex maximus who first imposed on all bishops of the Church the vassal oath of complete allegiance to Rome, a man whose purity of heart increased tenfold his might which was great in itself; now, too, Rome felt strong enough to enforce its view in regard to the sacrament. Dragged from prison to prison, from council to council, Berengarius had finally in the year 1059, in order to save his life, to retract his doctrine before an assembly of 113 bishops in Rome, and to confess to the faith that "the bread is not merely a sacrament but the true body of Christ that is chewed with the teeth." [179] However, the conflict still went on, indeed it now became general. In the second half of the thirteenth century there was in all countries into which Germanic blood had penetrated -- from Spain to Poland, from Italy to England [180] -- an awakening of religious consciousness such as has perhaps never since been equalled; it signified the first dawn of a new day and manifested itself as a reaction against the enforced unassimilable religion of the Chaos. Everywhere there arose Bible and other pious societies, and wherever the knowledge of the Holy Writ had spread among the people there followed, as if with mathematical necessity, the rejection of the secular and intellectual claims of Rome and above all the rejection of transubstantiation and the Roman doctrine of the sacrifice of the Mass. The situation became daily more critical. If the political situation had been more favourable, instead of being the most hopeless that Europe had ever known, an energetic and final severance from Rome would then have taken place even to the South of the Alps and the Pyrenees. There were reformers enough; in a way there was no need of them. The word Antichrist as a designation of the Roman stool was on every one's lips. Even the peasants knew that many ceremonies and doctrines of the Church were borrowed from heathendom, for at that time it had not yet been forgotten. Thus there was a widespread inner revolt against the externalising of religion, justification by works and particularly against the sale of indulgences. But Rome stood at that moment at the zenith of its political power, it conferred crowns, dethroned Kings and passed through its hands the threads of all diplomatic intrigues. It was then that that Pope ascended the Papal throne who used the memorable words, "Ego sum Caesar! ego sum Imperator." It became again, as in the time of Theodosius, high treason to hold a different faith from him. The defenceless were cut down; those who had to be treated more considerately were imprisoned, intimidated, demoralised; those who were for sale were bought. Then began the reign of Roman absolutism even in the sphere in which hitherto comparative tolerance had ruled, namely, in the sphere of the inmost religious conviction. It was introduced by two measures, whose connection is not at first manifest, but will become so from the above exposition: the translation of the Bible into the language of the people was forbidden (even the reading in the Latin vulgate by educated laymen); the dogma of transubstantiation was promulgated. [181]

This completed the structure, in an absolutely logical manner. The Apostolic Constitutions had admonished the layman "when he sat at home to study the Gospel diligently," [182] and in the Eucharist he was to see "an offering of gifts in honour of Christ"; but who at this time had preserved any knowledge of early, pure Christianity? Besides, as I have tried to show, Rome has never from the first adopted a specifically religious or a specifically evangelical standpoint; consequently those who have for centuries reproached it for its lack of evangelic spirit are in the wrong. Rome, by banishing the Gospel from the house and the heart of the Christian. and by taking as the official bases of religion the magical materialism, upon which the dying chaos of races had supported itself, as well as the Jewish theory of sacrifice, by which the priest became an indispensable mediator, has simply been consistent. At the same fourth Lateran synod, which in the year 1215 proclaimed the dogma of magical transformation. the Inquisition Court was organised as a standing institution. Not the doctrine alone, but the system as well was henceforth perfectly frank. The synod of Narbonne established in the year 1227 the principle: "The persons and goods of heretics are given to anyone who takes possession of them"; [183] heretici possunt non solum excommunicari, sed et juste occidi, was taught soon after by the first really Roman Church doctor, Thomas Aquinas. These principles and doctrines have not been abolished; they are a logical, irrefutable consequence of, the Roman premisses and are still valid to-day; in the last years of the nineteenth century a preeminent Roman prelate, Hergenrother. has confirmed this adding: "There is no yielding except under compulsion." [184]


At the beginning of the thirteenth century therefore the struggle of almost a thousand years had ended with the apparently unconditional victory of Rome and the complete defeat of the Germanic North. But what I have called the awakening of the Germanic spirit in the religious sphere was only the symptom of a general effort of men feeling their way, and making up their minds; soon it penetrated the civic, political and intellectual life; it was no longer merely a question of religion, it was an all-embracing revolt against the principles and methods of Rome. The struggle broke out afresh, but with different results. If Rome could venture to be tolerant, the struggle might be regarded to-day as at an end; but she cannot venture, for it would mean suicide; and thus the intellectual and material position which we Northmen have won with such pains and so incompletely is continually being undermined and eaten away. Besides Rome possesses, unsought and without any obligations, born allies in all enemies of Germanicism. What we need as a protection against this danger is an immediate and powerful regeneration of ideal sentiment, a regeneration that shall be specifically religious: we need to tear away the foreign rags and tatters that still hang upon our Christianity as the trappings of slavish hypocrisy: we need the creative power to construct out of the words and the spectacle of the crucified Son of Man a perfect religion fitting the truth of our nature, our capacities, and our present culture -- a religion so directly convincing, so enchantingly beautiful, so present, so plastic, so eternally true, and yet so new, that we must give ourselves to it as a maid to her lover, without questioning, happy, enraptured -- a religion so exactly suited to our highly gifted. but delicate, easily injured, peculiar Teutonic nature, that it shall have the power to master our inmost souls, ennobling and strengthening us: if we do not succeed in this, from the shadows of the future a second Innocent III. will come forth, another fourth Lateran synod will meet, and once more the flames of the Inquisition will crackle and flare up to heaven. For the world -- and even the Teuton -- will rather throw themselves into the arms of Syro- Egyptian mysteries than be edified by the threadbare twaddle of ethical societies and such- like. And the world will be right. On the other hand an abstract, casuistically dogmatic Protestantism, imbued with Roman superstition such as the Reformation has bequeathed to us in various different forms, is no living power. It certainly conceals a power, a great one -- the Germanic soul; but this kaleidoscope of manifold and inwardly inconsistent intolerances means hindrance to, not improvement of, this soul; hence the profound indifference of the majority of those who are of this confession, and the pitiful absence of cultivation of the greatest power of the heart, the religious power. Romanism, on the other hand, may be weak as a dogmatic religion, but its dogmatism is at least consistent; moreover the Romish Church -- provided only certain concessions are made to it -- is peculiarly tolerant and generous; it is so all-embracing that only Buddhism can compare with it, providing a home, a civitas Dei, for all characters, all tendencies of mind and heart, a home in which the sceptic (like many a Pope) can scarcely be called Christian; [185] and it joins hands with the average mind still fettered to heathen superstition and with the fanatical enthusiast, like Bernard of Clairvaux, "whose soul is enraptured in the fulness of the house of God and drinks new wine with Christ in the kingdom of his Father." [186] In addition there is the seductive and captivating idea of world and State, which is of great influence; for as an organised system, as a power of tradition, as a discerner of the human heart, Rome is great and admirable, more so almost than one can express in words. Even a Luther is said to have declared (Tischreden): "As far as outward government is concerned, the Empire of the Pope is the best thing for the world." A single David -- strong in the innocently pure revolt of a genuine Indo-European against the shame inflicted upon our race -- could perhaps lay low such a Goliath, but for a whole army of philosophising Lilliputians it would have been impossible. Its death too would be in no case desirable; for our Germanic Christianity will not and tan not be the religion of the Chaos; the delusion of a world religion is rank chronistic and sacramental materialism; like a malady it clings to the Protestant Church out of its Roman past; only in limitation can we grow to the full possession of our idealising power.

A clear understanding of the momentous struggles in the sphere of religion in the nineteenth century and in the approaching future will be impossible if we have not before our minds an essentially correct and vividly coloured picture of the struggle in early Christianity, until the year 1215. What came later -- the Reformation and the counter-reformation -- is much less important from a purely religious point of view, much more saturated with politics and ruled by politics; besides it remains a riddle, if we have not a knowledge of the past. It is this need that I have tried to meet in the present chapter. [187]


If in the above account I am accused of partiality, I would reply that I do not possess the desirable gift of lying. What is the good of "objective phrases"? Even an enemy can appreciate honest frankness. When it is a question of the dearest possessions of the heart, I prefer, like the Teutons, to rush naked to battle, with the sentiment that God has given me, rather than to march to the field adorned in the artificial armour of a science which proves nothing, or in the toga of an empty rhetoric which reconciles everything.

Nothing is further from my intention than the identification of individuals with their Churches. Our Churches to-day unite and separate by essentially external characteristics. When I read the Memorials of Cardinal Manning and see him calling the Jesuit Order the cancer of Catholicism, when I hear him violently complaining of the development (so zealously carried on at the present day) of the sacrament to downright idolatry, and calling the church in consequence a "booth" and an "exchange," when I see him working so actively for the spreading of the Bible and openly opposing the Roman tendency to suppress it (which he admits to be the predominant tendency), or when I take up such excellent, genuinely Germanic writings as Professor Schell's Der Katholizismus als Prinzip des Fortschrittes, I have a strong feeling that a single divine whirlwind would suffice to sweep a way the fatal jugglery of delusions inherited from the stone age, to scatter like a veil of mist the infatuations of the fallen empire of half-breeds and to unite in blood fraternity all Teutons -- in religion and through religion.

Moreover in my account, as I promised, the centre of all Christianity -- the figure on the Cross -- has remained untouched. And it is this figure which binds us all together, no matter how we may be separated by mode of thought and tendency of race. It is my good fortune to possess several good and true friends among the Catholic clergy and to the present day I have not lost one. I remember moreover a very highly gifted Dominican, who liked to argue with me and to whom I am indebted for much information on theological matters, exclaiming in despair: "You are a terrible man! not even St. Thomas Aquinas could be a match for you!" And yet the reverend gentleman did not withdraw from me his good graces, nor I from him my admiration. What united us was greater and mightier than all that separated us; it was the figure of Jesus Christ. Though each may have believed the other so fettered to false error, that, transferred to the arena of the world, he would not have hesitated for a moment to attack him, yet, in the stillness of the cloister, where I was wont to visit the father, we always felt ourselves drawn into that condition so beautifully described by Augustine (see p. 75), in which everything -- even the voice of the angels -- is silent and only the One speaks; then we knew that we were united and with equal conviction we both confessed, "Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but His words shall not pass away."
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