The Critical Project in Schelling, Tillich, and Goodchild

  • Daniel Whistler
Part of the Radical Theologies book series (RADT)


Thomas Altizer begins his most recent “call to radical theology” with the following demand for “unthinking”:

A genuinely radical theology is a theological thinking that truly rethinks the deepest ground of theology, a rethinking that is initially an unthinking of every established theological ground; only through such an unthinking can a clearing be established for theological thinking, and that is the very clearing which is the first goal of radical theology. Nor can this be accomplished by a simple dissolution of our given theological grounds, for those are the very grounds that must here be ultimately challenged, and challenged in terms of their most intrinsic claims.1


Human Freedom Deep Ground Existential Philosophy Critical Thinker Critical Project 
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  1. 1.
    Thomas J. J. Altizer, The Call to Radical Theology, ed. Lissa McCullough (Albany: SUNY, 2012), 1.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    René Descartes, The Principles of Philosophy, §1 (in, e.g., Meditations and Other Metaphysical Writings, trans. Desmond M. Clarke (London: Penguin, 1998), 112).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Cf. Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy’s work from the late 1970s that is also driven by this question (e.g., Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy, The Literary Absolute: The Theory of Literature in German Romanticism, trans. Philip Bernard and Cheryl Lester (Albany: SUNY Press, 1988).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Bradley A. Johnson, The Characteristic Theology of Herman Melville: Aesthetics, Politics, Duplicity (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2012), 77.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    See Paul Tillich, “Philosophy and Theology.” In Hauptwerke, ed. John Clayton et al. (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1987), 4:279;Google Scholar
  6. Paul Tillich, “On the Boundary.” In The Boundaries of Our Being, trans. J. Heywood Thomas (London: Fontana, 1973), 297.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    Bradley A. Johnson, “Making All Things New: Kant and Rancière on the Unintentional Intentional Practice of Aesthetics.” In Afier the Postsecular and the Postmodern: New Essays in Continental Philosophy of Religion, ed. Anthony Paul Smith and Daniel Whistler (Newcastle: CSP, 2010), 377–378.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    Ibid., Johnson is here quoting Philip Goodchild, Capitalism and Religion: The Price of Piety (London: Routledge, 2002), as we shall see.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 13.
    Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, trans. Norman Kemp Smith (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 1929), A11/B25.Google Scholar
  10. 16.
    This is, of course, to accept Tillich’s later mythologising of his encounter with Schelling at face-value; for a concerted attempt to demythologise it, see the works of Christian Danz, especially Religion als Freiheitsbewußtsein (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2000).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 17.
    Karl Jaspers, Schelling: Größe und Verhängnis (Munich: Piper, 1955), 332;Google Scholar
  12. translated in Judith Norman and Alistair Welchman, “Introduction” to the New Schelling (London: Continuum, 2004), 2.Google Scholar
  13. 18.
    Gabriel Marcel, “Schelling fut-il un précurseur de la philosophie de l’existence?” In Revue de Metaphysique et de Morale (1957), 87.Google Scholar
  14. 19.
    Ibid., 86. See further George Pattison, Anxious Angels: A Retrospective View of Religious Existentialism (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 1999), 20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 20.
    See further Gabriel Marcel, “An Essay in Autobiography.” In The Philosophy of Existentialism, trans. Manya Harari (New York: Citadel, 1956), 105–106.Google Scholar
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    Martin Heidegger, Schelling’s Treatise on the Essence of Human Freedom, trans. Joan Stambaugh (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1985), 4, 27, 164.Google Scholar
  17. 25.
    Similar claims are made as early as Tillich ’s initial doctoral thesis on Schelling. Here Schelling is said to combine two methods in his philosophising on religion: an anthropological study of man as the giver of meaning to religion and a metaphysical examination of the structures of being that make religion possible. As such, “To reach the essence of religion it is necessary to conceive the spirituality of man in an original and substantial relat-edness to God. The method becomes speculative” (Tillich, Construction, 119). The anthropological starting-point in man is combined with a speculative extension of philosophy into a concern with God. As Tillich expressed it in 1948, “The way to ontology passes through the doctrine of man.” (Paul Tillich, “Existential Philosophy: Its Historical Meaning.” In Theology of Culture, ed. Robert C. Kimball (New York: Oxford University Press, 1959), 98).Google Scholar
  18. 30.
    Paul Tillich, The Interpretation of History, trans. Elsa L. Talmey (New York: Scribner, 1936), 158.Google Scholar
  19. 36.
    Paul Tillich, quoted in Gunther Wenz, “An Introduction to Paul Tillich’s Philosophical Writings,” Hauptwerke 1, 12. On this point in relation to Goodchild, see Joshua Ramey and Daniel Whistler, “The Physics of Sense: Bruno, Schelling, Deleuze.” In The Metaphysics of Gilles Deleuze, ed. Edward Kazarian et al. (Lexington, MA: Lexington, 2013).Google Scholar
  20. 42.
    On Kant’s refusal to countenance piety (and its relation to Goodchild’s work), see Daniel Whistler, “The Discipline of Pious Reason: Goethe, Herder, Kant.” In Moral Powers, Fragile Beliefs: Essays in Moral and Religious Philosophy, ed. Joseph Carlisle, James Carter and Daniel Whistler (London: Continuum, 2011).Google Scholar
  21. 43.
    Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right ( htm; last accessed: March 17, 2013); quoted in Goodchild, Capitalism and Religion, v.Google Scholar
  22. 44.
    Paul Tillich, “Critical and Positive Paradox.” In The Beginnings of Dialectical Theology, trans. Keith R. Crim and ed. James M. Robinson (Richmond: John Knox, 1968), 141; my emphasis.Google Scholar
  23. 67.
    F. W. J. Schelling, Inquiries into the Essence of Human Freedom, trans. James Gutmann (La Salle: Open Court, 1936), 56–58.Google Scholar
  24. 70.
    Iain Hamilton Grant, Philosophies of Nature of er Schelling (London: Continuum, 2006), 17.Google Scholar
  25. 71.
    F. W. J. Schelling, Historical-Critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Mythology, trans. Mason Richey and Markus Zisselberger (Albany: SUNY, 2007), 73.Google Scholar
  26. 77.
    F. W. J. Schelling, The Deities of Samothrace, ed. and trans. Robert F. Brown (Missoula: Scholars Press, 1977), 15.Google Scholar
  27. For more on this reading of Deities, see Daniel Whistler, “Language after Philosophy of Nature: Schelling’s Geology of Divine Names.” In Afer the Postsecular and the Postmodern: New Essays in Continental Philosophy of Religion, ed. Anthony Paul Smith and Daniel Whistler (Newcastle: CSP, 2010).Google Scholar
  28. 83.
    The two key discussions of fanaticism—outside the passage from the Critique of Judgment cited below—occur in Essay on the Maladies of the Head, 2:267 and Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime, 2:251 (both collected in Immanuel Kant, Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime, trans, and ed. Patrick Frierson and Paul Guyer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).Google Scholar
  29. My discussion of Kant in the next two paragraphs is dependent upon Alberto Toscano, Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea (London: Verso, 2010), 120–146.Google Scholar
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    Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, trans. Werner Pluhar (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1987), 5:275.Google Scholar
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    Immanuel Kant, The Conflict of the Faculties in Religion and Rational Theology, trans, and ed. A. W. Wood and George di Giovanni (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 304; quoted in Toscano, Fanaticism, 139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 91.
    Euclides da Cuhna, Rebellion in the Backlands, trans. Samuel Putnam (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1985).Google Scholar

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© Russell Re Manning 2015

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  • Daniel Whistler

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