By Karin A. Nisenbaum
Schelling never stopped returning to religion, despite the very different intellectual contexts that separate his earliest writings of 1795 from his last lectures in 1850. The question for this chapter is whether a common thread can be discerned in Schelling’s engagement with religion. Such is of course a version of the question that has forever haunted Schelling scholarship: is Schelling, as Hegel famously taunted, the “Proteus of philosophy” (Hegel 1896, 3:513), or is there a fundamental continuity to his trajectory? We argue that, in relation to religion at least, there is one problematic to which Schelling always returns, if not one answer: the compatibility of naturalism with religion. That is, Schelling is always interested in the reconciliation of religious explanations with naturalistic ones, implicitly asking whether a commitment to naturalism threatens religious belief. What results is a continuing attempt to incorporate religious phenomena into a thoroughgoing philosophy of nature, to find continuity between nature and the divine.
London: Routledge, 2017