Supplementary Appendix: Review of Encomium for the Most Recent Philosophy

Anonymous review of Franz Berg,
Encomium for the Most Recent Philosophy [*]

Rubric: Philosophy. No place of publication. Lob der allerneuesten Philosophie ([n.p.] 1802), 29 pages; octavo.

Several recently published disputational propositions from Bamberg have earned a place among the most peculiar phenomena attending developments in contemporary philosophy by illustrating the progress and dissemination of a most extraordinary variety of philosophical originality, the likes of which future generations will perhaps find incredible.

These showpieces of the most current philosophy include the following: Propositions for the attainment of the philosophical doctorate under the presiding chair Herr Geistlicher Rath and Professor Georg Nüsslein on 26 September 1801, defended by Joseph Reubel, the Swabian, Doctor of Medicine. These propositions contain such a wealth of genuine, purified philosophical gold, cleansed of all the slag of healthy human understanding, that it comes as no surprise when the anonymous author of these pages breaks into an enthusiastic panegyric to the most recent philosophy.

For who cannot but be astonished at the following assertions:

“Whosoever’s consciousness has emerged on one pole within the overall magnet of conscious nature is incapable of philosophizing and lacks all sensibility for true poesy; intelligence in its highest potence is true non-difference, which, when moving out of itself, disassembles itself into truth and beauty; this is the spirit of the poet; the most primal rights are those between man and woman; the mutual amalgamation of these rights is love, and love itself is a penetration into totality; in the attainment of totality, justice, like understanding, must become a vain chimera.” —

“The transcendental gondola,” as the author of the Lob expresses himself on page 13, “facilely floats away over the circles of becoming, on into the heaven of intelligence in its highest potence. They have disappeared.” —

“Dear reader, futilely do you strain your eyes. Solar expanses here are mere inches. Make it easier for yourself by engaging a negative standard, and know that they transcend both common and logically cultivated human understanding.”

The author concludes by offering congratulations to Nüsslein and Reubel the Swabian, and by expressing his hope that the latter might form a triumvirate together with Röschlaub and Schelling for dispelling death,

“except may heaven forbid that he suffer the misfortune of killing in reality those whom he heals in ideality, a misfortune that befell Schelling, the One and Only, in Boklet in Franconia in the case of M. B.*, as malicious people maintain. [1]

But what is the use of such congratulations — Nüsslein and Joseph Reubel the Swabian are beyond them, just as they are beyond satire, as soon as they have withdrawn into the transcendental regions, into intelligence in its highest potence, the point of non-difference, enraptured away from this netherworld.

If, however, that notwithstanding they be pleased to take notice of such, let me say that I will abide no gratitude of any sort, asking them instead, mindful of Schelling’s grand assertion (System des transcendentalen Idealismus, p. 70) that “the self is a completely self-enclosed world, a monad, which cannot issue forth from itself, though nor can anything enter it either, from without,” [2] not to forget their laboriously learned role as did the ape after several nuts were tossed to him.” —

In conclusion let us point out that Herr Professor Nüsslein has issued a solemn public protest denying having had any part in these propositions. [3]


[*] Source: Lob der allerneuesten Philosophie ([n.p.] 1802), reviewed in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (1802) 225 (Tuesday, 10 August 1802) 327—28. The author of the review was likely Christian Gottfried Schütz. As in the original Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, citations from the theses in question and from Schelling are set in italics, citations from Franz Berg’s book in quotation marks. Back.

[1] M.B.*: “Mademoiselle Böhmer.” Back.

[2] System des transcendentalen Idealismus (Tübingen 1800); translation here from System of Transcendental Idealism, trans. Peter Heath (Charlottesville 1993), 37. Back.

[3] Georg Nüsslein, “An das Publikum,” Oberdeutsche allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung 43 (1802) 1. Jahreshälfte, 10 April 1802, 685–87:

For several days now, an anonymous pamphlet (without indicating any place of publication or publisher), Lob der allerneuesten Philosophie (1802), has been circulating publicly here. In it, the author empties the entire surfeit of his satirical brine onto my head. And why?

He considers me to be the author of the philosophical disputational propositions defended on 26 September of last year under my supervision and in the presence of my colleagues by Herr Joseph Reubel from Swabia, Doctor of Medicine, and published with the permission of the philosophical faculty here. But in this regard he is wholly mistaken.

I am herewith declaring publicly that I am neither the author nor the defender of these disputational propositions and thus have absolutely no connection with them. I owe it to myself to make this declaration in order both to refute, once and for all, any and all direct or indirect attacks on me as the alleged author of these theses (as well as those of Messieurs Sauer and Stransky) in the Würzburg and Göttinger Gelehrte Anzeigen and in the Reichsanzeiger, and to correct the judgment of the misguided public.

Bamberg, 30 March 1802

Georg Nüsslein
Geistlicher Rath and Professor of
Philosophy and Mathematics Back.

Translation © 2016 Doug Stott