A World with Many Ends: Eschatology and Perspectivism

Article by Mårten Björk in Humanities 2022, 11(2).

In this article, the relation between crisis, dying, and apocalypse is examined from the vantage point of Franz Rosenzweig’s philosophy of revelation. Following Rosenzweig’s suggestion that truth—for finite and temporal beings like us—can only be found in time, the article suggests that there exists an intrinsic relation between truth and death. Truth is not only or even primarily logical or mathematical truth according to Rosenzweig. Truth is the reality of our finite lives and implies an eschatological understanding of death as that which gives life unity by eternalising it as that which it forever was in the past. Life, Rosenzweig argues, is polytheistic by entailing manifold perspectives and possibilities, while death is monotheistic by endowing living beings with the unity and completion they lack in life. All death, even the most horrid death, is, if not a completion, at least an end, which gives the living the possibility to judge and verify the meaning of the past once and for all. Yet, if we believe Rosenzweig, the dead are not gone in the past but rather the eternal ground that makes present and future time possible. The dead, by literally being the past, reveal that all time exists after itself, as something that already was, and that the world is nothing but a world with many ends by dying away into the “life outside life” that Rosenzweig called God.