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Historical-critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Mythology

F. W. J. Schelling, Mason Richey, Markus Zisselsberger

Publication Year: 2007

Translated here into English for the first time, F. W. J. Schelling’s 1842 lectures on the Philosophy of Mythology are an early example of interdisciplinary thinking. In seeking to show the development of the concept of the divine Godhead in and through various mythological systems (particularly of ancient Greece, Egypt, and the Near East), Schelling develops the idea that many philosophical concepts are born of religious-mythological notions. In so doing, he brings together the essential relatedness of the development of philosophical systems, human language, history, ancient art forms, and religious thought. Along the way, he engages in analyses of modern philosophical views about the origins of philosophy’s conceptual abstractions, as well as literary and philological analyses of ancient literature and poetry.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Historical-critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Mythology

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pp. v

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pp. vi-xiii

The great Walter Otto once lamented the eventual failure, despite their initial excitement, of Schelling’s Berlin lectures on the Philosophy of Mythology and Revelation (1841–1854). Schelling spoke at a time in which the “spiritual world was at the point of fully losing the sense for genuine philosophy” because “mythos remained in an age in which ...

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pp. xv-xxiv

I. Describing Friedrich W. J. Schelling’s thought is a tricky enterprise. A pedigreed and clichéd philosophical tradition holds that philosophy is “thelove of wisdom and knowledge,” by which one generally means the pursuit of things true and rational by the philosophical bureaucrats of knowledge, by those dedicated to rendering their domain truly ...

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pp. 3-5

First Book. Historical-critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Mythology Outline of the Content First Lecture: Title and object of these lectures (p. 1*). Course of development (p. 5). First method of explanation of mythology as poesy (mythology has no truth). Development and critique of this view (p. 10). Consideration of Herodotus’s passage, II, 53: out of which is established the ...

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pp. 7-21

Gentleman, you rightly expect that I explain, above all, the title under which these lectures are announced. Indeed, not on account that it is new and that,in particular, prior to a certain time, it has scarcely been included in the lecture register of a German university. For whatever concerns this state of affairs, if one wanted to draw an objection from it, the admirable freedom of...

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pp. 23-36

[XI 26] If we reluctantly distance ourselves from the poetic view, this is mainly because it imposes no restriction on us, because it leaves to us complete freedom vis-

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pp. 37-50

[XI 47] The purely poetic viewpoint, as we have named the first one, and the philosophical, as we will moreover name the second viewpoint—not that we held it for particularly philosophical, that is, worthy of a philosopher, but rather because it gives a philosophical content to mythology—these two viewpoints, to which we were at first led in a natural and unsought way, we have...

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pp. 51-67

[XI 67] If nothing is to be done either with the opinion that there was no truth at all originally in mythology or with the opinion that indeed concedes an original truth in it, but not in mythology as such—that is, especially so far as it is the doctrine of the gods [Götterlehre] and the history of the gods—then with the elimination of both these views the third is of itself grounded,...

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pp. 69-84

[XI 94] How did peoples emerge into being? Whoever perhaps wanted to declare this question superfluous would have to either advance the proposition that peoples always were, since time immemorial; or the other, that peoples emerge into being of themselves. One will not easily decide to make the first assertion. One could, however, attempt to assert that peoples emerge into...

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pp. 85-101

[XI 119] According to the development advanced, of which one moreover easily sees that some more precise determinations are to be expected from further inquiry, it appears that one is no longer able to doubt that it will be this explanation with which we must remain, an explanation that presupposes a monotheism—not in general, but a historical one—to polytheism, namely,...

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pp. 103-122

[XI 144] Now, as we oppose those who trust only in conclusions provided by revelation, as far as the first state of the human species is concerned it is to be seen as good fortune for our investigation that our claims are as decisively confirmed by the Mosaic writings themselves as the first claim, that from the beginning of history—as Kant has with justification called the fall from grace...

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pp. 123-138

[XI 175] We may now articulate it as fact, and also the revelation has born witness to it, that a spiritual power, God, ruled over the time of the still unified and undivided human race, a God who restrained the free dispersal, a God who kept the development of the human race on the first level of Being that is divided by mere natural or tribal differences, but which otherwise is ...

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pp. 139-158

[XI 199] If, from the standpoint arrived at, we look back one last time at themerely external presuppositions with which one, in the earlier hypotheses,intended to understand mythology (indeed, revelation was also one of these),then it was indisputably an essential step to the philosophical consideration of mythology in general that its emergence was transferred into the interior...

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pp. 159-175

[XI 228] When a new science enters into the circle of those well-known, accepted ones, then it will find in them points with which it is connected, at which it is almost expected. The order in which from out of the totality of possible sciences some emerge and are fashioned prior to others will not consistently be that of their inner dependence on one another, and a science that...


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pp. 177-188


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pp. 189-218


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pp. 221-229


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pp. 231-240

E-ISBN-13: 9780791479964
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791471319
Print-ISBN-10: 0791471314

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2007