„Rühre Nicht, Bock! Denn es brennt": Schelling, Žižek and Christianity

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Žižek sees Schelling as somewhat of a precursor to Lacan. Schelling’s later philosophy is crucial to Žižek’s Lacanian formulation of a pernicious and (at times) self-serving God. The period between 1804, marked by the publication of Schelling’s Philosophy and Religion, and 1809, marked by the publication of Of Human Freedom, sees a middle Schelling that has clearly given up on his earlier ideas of a rationalistic, idealistic monism. In this chapter, I aim to relate Schelling’s problems with his identity philosophy, and Idealism more generally. Why it failed, according to Schelling, and why Schelling created a disastrous solution to the tripartite enigma of human freedom that dominates Schelling’s thought. Evil must exist for Schelling, and God must endow the world with evil. This, the original scission in the heart of the Absolute himself, forces Schelling to split the Absolute. He claims that God exists in two halves - his Grounds and his Existence - so that “God is never fully himself,” as Žižek says. Žižek holds that the “unconscious” is therefore to be understood as a kind of “vanishing mediator.” It is this thought, contra more traditional readings of Schelling, that Žižek argues enables a reading in terms of Lacan, thereby enabling Lacanian thought to be linked to Schelling. Lacan develops in Seminar III the pernicious God, who contra Descartes exists perhaps to toy with the appearance of the world. This Lacanian idea is clearly a forerunner of the Schelling that Žižek constructs; the present chapter will explore the theological and metaphysical implications of Žižek’s Schellingian-Lacanian understanding of God as a possible injurious Absolute.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSlavoj Žižek and Christianity
EditorsSotiris Mitralexis, Dionysios Skliris
PublisherLondon: Routledge
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9780367588298
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameTranscending Boundaries in Philosophy and Theology


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