The history of religion has for its starting-point the relative monotheism of humanity in its original unity, and for its goal the absolute monotheism of Christianity. With the separation into nations polytheism arises. This is partly simultaneous polytheism (a plurality of gods under a chief god), partly successive polytheism (an actual plurality of divinities, changing dynasties of several chief gods), and develops from star worship or Sabeism up to the religion of the Greeks. The Greek mysteries form the transition from mythology to revelation. While in the mythological process one or other of the divine potencies (Ground, Son, Spirit) was always predominant, in Christianity they return into unity. The true monotheism of revelation shows God as an articulated unity, in which the opposites are contained, as being overcome. The person of Christ constitutes the content of Christianity, who, in his incarnation and sacrificial death, yields up the independence out of God which had come to him through the fall of man. The three periods in the development of the Church (real, substantial unity—ideality or freedom—the reconciliation of the two) were foreshadowed in the chief apostles: Peter, with his leaning toward the past, represents the Papal Church; Paul the thinker the Protestant Church; and the gentle John the Church of the future.
In his period of vigorous creation Schelling was the center of an animated philosophical activity. Each phase of his philosophy found a circle of enthusiastic fellow-laborers, whom we must hesitate to term disciples because of their independence and of their reaction on Schelling himself. Only G.M. Klein (1776-1820, professor in Wuerzburg), Stutzmann (died 1816 in Erlangen; Philosophy of the Universe, 1806; Philosophy of History, 1808), and the historians of philosophy Ast and Rixner can be called disciples of Schelling. Prominent among his co-workers in the philosophy of nature were Steffens, Oken, Schubert, and Carus; besides these the physiologist Burdach, the pathologist Kieser, the plant physiologist Nees von Esenbeck, and the medical thinker Schelver (Philosophy of Medicine, 1809) deserve mention. Besides Hegel, J.J. Wagner and Friedrich Krause distinguished themselves as independent founders of systems of identity; Troxler, Suabedissen, and Berger are also to be assigned to this group. Baader and Schleiermacher were competitors of Schelling in the philosophy of religion, and Solger in aesthetics. Finally Fr. J. Stahl (died 1861; Philosophy of Right, 1830 seq..), was also influenced by Schelling. There is a wide divergence in Schelling’s school, as J.E. Erdmann accurately remarks, between the naturalistic pantheist Oken and the mystical theosophist Baader, in whom elements which had been united in Schelling appear divided.
%1. The Philosophers of Nature.%