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Josiah Royce, a Source of New Insight for Religion Today

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 October 2008

Jacquelyn Ann Kegley
Associate Professor of Philosophy, California State College, Bakersfield


Josiah Royce wrote three major works dealing with religion, The Religious Aspects of Philosophy, The Sources of Religious Insight and The Problem of Christianity. In these are insights which I believe need to be recalled today in order to achieve a fresher vision of the nature of religion and more particularly of the nature of Christianity. Moreover, Royce treats various aspects of individual and communal development which I believe are of some philosophic importance.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1982

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page 211 note 1 Royce, Josiah, The Religious Aspects of Philosophy (Boston and New York: Houghton & Mifflin & Company, 1885)Google Scholar: The Sources of Religious Insight (The Bross Lectures, Lake Forest College, 1911, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1912)Google Scholar; The Problem of Christianity (Chicago: A Gateway Edition, Henry Regnery Company, 1968), I and II.Google Scholar In The Religious Aspects of Philosophy, Royce states two reasons for his interest in religious problems, one personal and the other philosophical. He writes: ‘The religious problems have been chosen for the present study because they drove the author to philosophy, and because they of all human interests, deserve our best efforts and our utmost loyalty; philosophy must take an interest in religion because religion is dealing with two important dimensions of human experience of philosophical concern, the theoretical and the practical’ Kant's fundamental problems of What Do I Know? and What Ought I To Do? are of religious interest no less than of philosophical interest (pp. 3–4).

page 211 note 2 Royce writes: ‘A religion must teach some moral code, must in some way inspire a strong feeling of devotion, and in so doing must show something in the universe that answers to the code or that serves to reinforce this feeling.’ The Religious Aspects of Philosophy, p. 4.Google Scholar

page 211 note 3 ‘The central and essential postulate of whatever religion we, in these lectures are to consider, is The postulate that man needs to be saved.’ The Sources of Religious Insight, pp. 8–9.

page 211 note 4 Ibid. p. 12.

page 212 note 1 Ibid. pp. 28–9.

page 212 note 2 It is interesting for example that such a definition might well fit into a Sartrean scheme of things. Consider the hell of No Exit where the characters are condemned because of inauthenticity.

page 212 note 3 Royce writes: ‘The thesis of this book is that the essence of Christianity, as the Apostle Paul stated that essence depends upon regarding the being which the early Christian Church believed itself to represent, and the being which I call, in this book, the “Beloved Community”, as the true source, through loyalty, of the salvation of man’. The Problem of Christianity, I, XXXIV.Google Scholar

page 212 note 4 Ibid. p. XXXIII.

page 213 note 1 Ibid. p. 32.

page 213 note 2 Ibid. p. 88.

page 213 note 3 Ibid. p. 95.

page 213 note 4 Ibid. p. 105. Others also have recently emphasized this view of community as essential to Christianity. Thus, Lloyd Ratzloff contends that the popular evangelical notion of salvation as solely personal and individual fails to do justice to Paul's concern with integration of the community. He also points to his own efforts to build community in his church. Ratzloff, LloydSalvation: Individualistic or Communal”, journal of Psychology and Theology XLVIII (spring 1976), 198217.Google Scholar Markus Barth writes: ‘Paul held that justification of our fellowmen is closely related to the individual and justification by grace because justification occurs only in a human community of those who are justified by God… Justification in Christ is thus not an individual miracle happening to this person or that person, which each seeks or possesses for himself. Rather justification by grace is a joining together of this person and that person… It is a social event. No one is joined to Christ except together with a neighbor’, Jews and Gentiles: The social character of justification in Paul’, Journal of Ecumenical Studies V (2) (1968), 241–67.Google Scholar See also Stendahl, Krister, ‘The Apostle Paul and the introspective conscience of the West’, Harvard Theological Review LXIII (07), 199215.Google Scholar

page 214 note 1 Ramsey, Paul, ‘The idealistic view of moral evil’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research VI (06 1946), 554–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

page 214 note 2 The World and the Individual (New York: Dover Publications, 1959), II, 59.Google Scholar

page 214 note 3 Ibid. p. 359.

page 215 note 1 Ramsey, , op. cit. p. 577.Google Scholar

page 215 note 2 The World and the Individual, I, 276.Google Scholar

page 215 note 3 Ibid. pp. 48–9.

page 215 note 4 Ibid. p. 55.

page 216 note 1 Op. cit. The Problem of Christianity, pp. 130–1.Google Scholar

page 216 note 2 Ibid. pp. 152–3.

page 216 note 3 Op. cit. The Problem of Christianity, p. 145.Google Scholar

page 216 note 4 Erickson, Erik, ‘Reflections on the dissent of contemporary youth’, International Journal of Psycho-analysis LI, 16Google Scholar, and Kholberg, Lawrence, ‘From is to ought: how to committhe naturalistic fallacy and get away with it with the study of moral development’, in Mischel, Theodore, ed., Cognitive Development and Epistemology (New York: Academic Press, 1971), p. 180.Google Scholar

page 217 note 1 Erickson, Eric, Insight and Responsibility (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1964), p. 222.Google Scholar

page 217 note 2 Kohlberg, Lawrence and Gilligan, Coral, ‘The adolescent as a philosopher: the discovery of the self in a postconventional world’, Daedalus C (Fall 1971), 1066–7.Google Scholar

page 217 note 3 Forsyth, James, ‘Faith and Eros: Paul's answer to Freud’, Religion in Life XLVI (4) (1971), p. 477.Google Scholar

page 217 note 4 Royce, , The Problem of Christianity, I.Google Scholar

page 217 note 5 Op. cit. Sources of Religious Insight, p. 66.Google Scholar Here Royce touches base with Heidegger who speaks of the self as being called to be truly oneself and of this call as a call to be guilty. The ability to be guilty is ‘the ability to be responsible for one's own existence’. Heidegger writes: ‘Guilt is a determinant of one's very being in so far as this being becomes subject to the conditions of existence. There is the immediate awareness that in each concrete situation of one's existential actualization one is never what one ought to be’, See Schrag, Calvin, ‘Towards a phenomenology of guilt’, Journal of Existentialism iii (spring 1963), 334–5.Google Scholar Royce, however, does not argue that one is by nature guilty, one's existence is not necessarily a fallen one.

page 218 note 1 The World and the Individual, II, 349.Google Scholar

page 218 note 2 Royce, , The Sources of Religious Insight, p. 60.Google Scholar

page 219 note 1 The Problem of Christianity, I, 186–7.Google Scholar

page 219 note 2 Ibid. p. 192.

page 219 note 3 The Problem of Christianity, II, 387.Google Scholar

page 220 note 1 The Problem of Christianity, I, 264.Google Scholar

page 220 note 2 Ibid. p. 291.

page 220 note 3 Ibid. p. 302.

page 220 note 4 Ibid. pp. 301 8.

page 221 note 1 Ibid. p. 322.

page 222 note 1 Rosenblatt, Christine Downing, ‘Guilt and Repsonsibility in the Thought of Martin Buber’, Judaism, p. 61.Google Scholar In Good and Evil, Buber writes: ‘Evil is the lack of direction and that which is done in and out of it as the grasping, seizing, devouring, compelling, seducing, exploiting, humiliating, torturing and destroying of what offers itself. Good is direction and what is done in it with the whole soul’, p. 130.

page 222 note 2 Tillich, Paul, Dynamics of Faith (New York: Harper & Row, 1957), chapters 1 and 6.Google Scholar

page 222 note 3 Buber, Martin, ‘Existential Guilt’, in Smith, Guilt, Man, and Society, p. 92.Google Scholar

page 222 note 4 Hiltner, Seward, The Journal of Religion, XXV (Jan. 1945). I, p. 3.Google Scholar

page 222 note 5 McKenzie, John G.., Guilt: its meaning and significance (Abingdon, 1962), p. 169.Google Scholar

page 223 note 1 Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, Life Together (New York: Harper & Row, 1954), pp. 2021.Google Scholar

page 223 note 2 Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, Sanctorum communio: a Dogmatic Inquiry Into the Sociology of the Church, trans. Smith, R. Gregor from the 3rd German Edition, 1960 (London: Collins, 1963), p. 119.Google Scholar

page 223 note 3 Hiltner, Seward, ‘Salvation in dynamic perspective’, Southwest Journal of Theology, XX (2) (1978), 54 and 55.Google Scholar

page 223 note 4 Royce, Josiah, ‘Self Consciousness, Social Consciousness, and Nature’, in Studies in Good and Evil (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1895), p. 203.Google Scholar

page 224 note 1 The Problem of Christianity, I, 51.Google Scholar

page 224 note 2 Hiltner, , ‘Salvation in dynamic perspective’.Google Scholar

page 224 note 3 The Problem of Christianity, II, 418.Google Scholar

page 224 note 4 Ibid. p. 426.

page 224 note 5 Ibid. pp. 429–30.

page 224 note 6 Ibid. p. 430.