This essay analyzes the concept of faith (German Glaube) in two of Jacobi’s works: David Hume on Faith, or Idealism and Realism. A Dialogue (1787), and Preface and also Introduction to the Author’s Philosophical Collected Works (1815). The different accounts of faith found in these two works are rooted in different anthropological and metaphysical conceptions. In the Dialogue, the human being plays an active part in a unitary world-structure in which both man and nature are suffused with the same divine principle of life. In the Introduction, on the contrary, a divine principle, spirit, gives rise to a dualistic split between man and nature. The aim of the essay is to determine to what extent Jacobi’s concept of faith is grounded in religion. There are two aspects to faith in his philosophy. One is philosophical-theoretical and explains both the metaphysical structures of the world and humanity’s role in it. The sense of this aspect changes, along with his metaphysical perspective, between the Dialogue and the Introduction. The other aspect never varies and constitutes the authentic kernel of the concept of faith in Jacobi’s philosophy: the raising of man to a divine existence and to a higher form of knowledge. This kernel is undoubtedly religious.
Keywords: Jacobi, faith, belief, life, spirit, wonder, salto mortale