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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores Schopenhauer’s complex relationship with Christianity and Christian thought. It charts the development of his relationship with religion to the point where he shapes a critically interpretive and frequently comparative theory of religions in general and his lifelong studies of Christianity in particular. Schopenhauer’s writings about Christianity are numerous and varied in character and tone for in numerous ways he was both a critic and defender of religion—especially Christianity. The chapter outlines Schopenhauer’s interactions with and interpretations of major Christian doctrines and thinkers and also discusses those aspects of Christian thought that most significantly influenced his own writings, especially in terms of metaphysics, ethics, and soteriology. It concludes with some reflections on just how dependent his philosophical system was on Christianity and religion in general for his most significant ideas. Overall it seeks to demonstrate that an engagement with Schopenhauer’s relationship with Christianity and Christian thought can prove illuminating for understanding multiple aspects of his philosophy in general.

Keywords: Schopenhauer, Christianity, God, via negativa, theology, mysticism, asceticism

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