Transcendental Arguments for the Actualization of God in Schelling and Rosenzweig

Karin Alina Nisenbaum


Franz Rosenzweig is often portrayed as an existentialist thinker concerned to articulate the irreducibility of the subjective, personal dimension of human life and the limitations of abstract rationality.  This paper argues that although such readings capture important aspects of Rosenzweig’s thought, they ignore the distinct method of philosophical argumentation that Rosenzweig employs, and they ignore the metaphysical foundations on which his views on the significance of individual human experience are grounded.  I make the case that Rosenzweig employs the method of transcendental argumentation to propose that the theological categories—Creation, Revelation, and Redemption—, are conditions of possibility for understanding ourselves as beings endowed with ethical value.  Because the metaphysical framework that F.W.J. Schelling develops in the Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom and in The Ages of the World fragments of 1810–15 is the source of inspiration for that developed by Rosenzweig in The Star of Redemption, I devote a significant part of the paper to clarifying how Schelling understood the ethical significance of the theological categories.

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