11 November 1996
For nineteenth-century thinkers, the central problem of religious consciousness in the modern West was the tension between prevailing concepts of individual autonomy and the traditional Judaeo-Christian claim for divine revelation. The God Within brings together ten of Professor Emil Fackenheim's essays on the German Idealists who struggled to resolve this tension.
This philosophic preoccupation found its most searching and comprehensive expression, when the traditional notion of 'God as Transcendent' was reconceptualized as 'the God within.' The internalization of God's `otherness' reached its climax with Hegel, the subject of Fackenheim's earlier work, The Religious Dimension in Hegel's Thought. This long-awaited companion to that volume examines the earlier stages of the process, beginning with its initiator, Kant, then considering Schelling in both his earlier and later phases, and finally, looking once more at Hegel. The investigation of this movement, together with the related themes of history and the literary arts, leads to reflection on the significance of taking historicity seriously. Included is the classic, much-cited article `Metaphysics and Historicity,' which connects the philosophy of German Idealists to twentieth-century questions of historicity and existential thought in particular. The previously unpublished essay `Schelling in 1800-1801: Art as Revelation,' provides an overview of philosophical history from Kant through Fichte and Schleiermacher, to the later Schelling.
All the essays gathered here are concerned with the radical singularity of history and existence on the one hand and the demands of philosophical truth on the other. They are informed by Professor Fackenheim's engagement with the profound philosophical challenges of our day--particularly his efforts, as a Jewish theologian, to confront the horrors of the Holocaust. We see, through Fackenheim's exposition, how these thinkers sought to come to terms with the presence of radical evil, a problem whose modern relevance is explored in this volume's epilogue, the 1988 essay `Holocaust and Weltanschauung: Philosophical Reflections on Why They Did It.'