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A Companion to Heidegger’s
Phenomenology of Religious Life

ELEMENTA
Schriften zur Philosophie und
ihrer Problemgeschichte

herausgegeben von

Rudolph Berlinger †
Wiebke Schrader †
Martina Scherbel

Band 80 - 2010

Amsterdam - New York, NY 2010

A Companion to Heidegger’s
Phenomenology of Religious Life

Edited by
S.J. McGrath and Andrzej Wierciński

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations vii

Preface xi

I. The Historical Contexts of Heidegger’s 1920-21 Religion Courses

1. A “Genuinely Religiously Orientated Personality”. Martin Heidegger
and the Religious and Theological Origins of his Philosophy 3
Holger Zaborowski

2. Traces of Heidegger’s Religious Struggle in his
Phenomenology of Religious Life 21
Alfred Denker

3. Religion, Theology and Philosophy on the Way to
Being and Time: Heidegger, Dilthey and Early Christianity 35
István M. Fehér

4. Heidegger and the Ascesis of Thought 67
Franco Volpi

5. Theology and the Historicity of Faith in the Perspective
of the Young Martin Heidegger 93
Jeffrey Andrew Barash

6. A Historical Note on Heidegger’s Relationship to Ernst Troeltsch 115
Sylvain Camilleri

II. Phenomenological Method in the Early Heidegger

7. Heidegger’s Methodological Principles for Understanding
Religious Phenomena 137
Jean Greisch

8. Heidegger’s Atheology: The Possibility of Unbelief 149
Andrzej Wierciñski

9. Formal Indication, Irony, and the Risk of Saying Nothing 179
S.J. McGrath

III. Reading Heidegger on Paul, Augustine, and Christian Mysticism

10. Philosophia Crucis: The Influence of Paul on Heidegger’s
Phenomenology 209
Jaromir Brejdak

11. The End of Time: Temporality in Paul’s Letters to the Thessalonians 219
Graeme Nicholson

12. Present History: Reflections on Martin Heidegger’s Approach
to Early Christianity 233
Gerhard Ruff

13. The Poetics of World: Origins of Poetic Theory in Heidegger’s
Phenomenology of Religious Life 239
Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei

14. Truth and Temptation: Confessions and Existential Analysis 263
Daniel Dahlstrom

15. Memory and Temptation: Heidegger Reads Book X of
Augustine’s Confessions 285
Costantino Esposito

16. Notes for a Work on the ‘Phenomenology of Religious Life’ (1916-19) 309
Theodore Kisiel

17. The Theological Architecture of the Religious Life-World
according to Heidegger’s Proto-Phenomenology of Religion (1916-1919) 329
Sylvain Camilleri

18. Choosing a Hero: Heidegger’s Conception of Authentic Life
in Relation to Early Christianity 349
Dermot Moran

1910-36 (ed.: Vittorio Klostermann.1 1996. GA5. BZ. Unterwegs zur Sprache.: Vittorio Klostermann. The Eternal Return of the Same (tr. 1984. Vol. 1994. and tr.M.: Vittorio Klostermann.M. Basic Writings (ed. English: 1960. 1977.: Vittorio Klostermann.: Vittorio Klostermann. ID. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Frankfurt a. 1935-46 (ed. 1996. Frankfurt a. Oxford: Blackwell. Julian Young and Kenneth Haynes). Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 12). Teil 2) Frankfurt a.: Vittorio Klostermann. GA6. GA15. 1986. GA6. New York: Harper & Row. 1955-56 (ed. 1912-59 (ed.M. 1950-59. Oxford: Blackwell. Nietzsche. Frankfurt a. Frankfurt a. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 13). New York: HarperCollins.: Vittorio Klostermann. Off The Beaten Track. English: 1971. 1936-39 (ed. Identität und Differenz.M. Curd Ochwadt) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 15). Leidecker).M. Andrew Mitchell and François Raffoul). Der Satz vom Grund. Peter Jaeger) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 10). Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 9). Frankfurt a. Reden und andere Zeugnisse eines Lebensweges. English: 2002. Essays in Metaphysics: Identity and Difference (tr. New York: Harper & Row. 1912-16 (ed. 1992. On the Way to Language (tr. GA1.M. GA9. Frankfurt a. Peter D. Pfullingen: Günther Neske. Cambridge University Press. New York: Philosophical Library Inc. English: 2003. Begriff der Zeit (tr. 1935-46 (ed. Holzwege. 1951-73 (ed. 1910-1976 (ed. GA16. Brigette Schillbach) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 6. 1989. William McNeill) (German- English edition). Four Seminars (tr. Seminare.:Vittorio Klostermann. Nietzsche II (ed. . 1993. Teil 1). Krell). English: 1979. Herz). GA10.M. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 16). Frankfurt a. David Farrell Krell) (revised and expanded edition).M. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 1). II. GA12. The Concept of Time / Der Begriff der Zeit (tr. Nietzsche I. Pathmarks (ed. Brigette Schillbach) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 6. 1957. English: 1991. Frankfurt a. 2000.: Vittorio Klostermann. Reginald Lilly). Frankfurt a. CT. David F.: Vittorio Klostermann. David Farrell Krell). Wegmarken (ed. 1985. GA13. William McNeill) (German-English edition). 1997. Kurt F. GA17. The Principle of Reason (tr. 1923-24 (ed. English: 1998.M. Aus der Erfahrung des Denkens. English: 1984.: Vittorio Klostermann. Friedrich- Wilhelm von Herrmann) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 17).2. Cambridge University Press. Abbreviations of Heidegger’s Works BW. Frankfurt a.M. Frühe Schriften. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 5). The Concept of Time. William McNeill). Nietzsche I: The Will to Power as Art (tr. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 1978.M. Einführung in die phänomenologische Forschung. New York: Harper & Row.

Ontologie. 1994. Parvis Emad and Kenneth Maly). Bloomington. Initiation into Phenomenological Research (tr.: Vittorio Klostermann. English: 1999. 1992.M. Bloomington. Frankfurt a. Käte Bröcker-Oltmanns) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 63). . English: 2004. Bloomington.: Vittorio Klostermann. English: 1992. Ralph Manheim). GA60.: Indiana University Press. The Phenomenology of Religious Life (tr. GA63. Towards the Definition of Philosophy (tr.: Vittorio Klostermann. Bloomington. Albert Hofstadter).: Vittorio Klostermann. 1936-1938 (ed.M. An Introduction to Metaphysics (tr. GA65.M.: Indiana University Press. Contributions to Philosophy (From Enowning) (tr. Phenomenological Interpretations of Aristotle.M. GA58. Frankfurt a. English: 2000. 1935 (ed. 1992. 1992.: Vittorio Klostermann. 1999. 1925 (ed. Prolegomena zur Geschichte des Zeitbegriffs. Richard Rojcewicz). New York and London: Continuum. Ontology and the Hermeneutics of Facticity (tr. Zur Bestimmung der Philosophie.: Indiana University Press.: Vittorio Klostermann. English: 2000. The Metaphysical Foundations of Logic (tr. Richard Rojcewicz). 1997.: Vittorio Klostermann. 1983. Matthias Fritsche and Jennifer Anna Gosetti). Peter Jaeger) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 20). Ind. Ind. Basic Problems of Phenomenology (tr.M. 1994. Bloomington. Frankfurt a. Einführung in die phänomenologische Forschung.: Vittorio Klostermann. Michael Heim). Frankfurt a. Abbreviations of Heidegger’s Works GA19.M. Ind. GA20.M. Ind. Bloomington. Plato’s Sophist (tr. Die Grundprobleme der Phänomenologie. Petra Jaeger) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 40). Ted Sadler). Metaphysiche Anfangsgründe der Logik im Ausgang von Leibniz. Platon: Sophistes. 1995. Frankfurt a. Walter Bröcker und Käte Bröcker-Oltmanns) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 61).: Vittorio Klostermann. Frankfurt a. GA40. Friedrich- Wilhelm von Herrmann) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 65). GA26. Ingeborg Schüßler) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 19). Ind. GA24. Frankfurt a. 1928 (ed. Frankfurt a. Phänomenologische Interpretationen zu Aristoteles.M. Frankfurt a. 1995. 1921-22 (ed.: Vittorio Klostermann. Hans-Helmuth Gander) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 58). Phänomenologie des religiösen Lebens. 1919 (ed.: Indiana University Press. GA56/57. English: 1997. John van Buren). Bloomington. Frankfurt a.M. Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis).: Vittorio Klostermann. English: 1984.M. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1917-21 (ed. GA61. 1927 (ed.: Indiana University Press. Frankfurt a.: Indiana University Press. English: 1982. 1919-20 (ed. Ind. Bernd Heimbüchel) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 56/57).: Indiana University Press. 1923 (ed.M. Grundprobleme der Phänomenologie. 1990. Theodore Kisiel). Klaus Held) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 26).: Indiana University Press. Ind. 1924/25 (ed. Hermeneutik der Faktizität. Claudius Strube) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 60). Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 24). Bloomington. History of the Concept of Time: Prolegomena (tr. English: 1999. Einführung in die Metaphysik. English: 2001. Ind.

Reprinted as GA12 VA. English: 1962. GA77. 1976. SZ. Unterwegs zur Sprache (7th edition). De diversis quaestionibus octoginta tribus De mag. Contra academicos De civ. Epistulae N. John van Buren). Augustine. Aristotle.. From the Earliest Essays to Being and Time and Beyond (ed. Trin. Albany. Nicomachean Ethics Serm.: State University of New York Press. Augustine. 28-33. SD. acad.E. Sermones ST. London: Athlone. Summa Theologica Tract. 1993.) Sachgemäße Exegese: Die Protokolle aus Rudolf Bultmanns Neutestamentlichen Seminaren 1921- 51. Augustine. De magistro De ordine.: Vittorio Klostermann. N. Dei. Vorträge und Aufsätze. Pfullingen: Neske. English: 2006. Anzeige der hermeneutischen Situation’ in Dilthey Jahrbuch für Philosophie und Geschichte der Geisteswissenschaften 6: 228-69. Augustine. 1954. Augustine. Augustine. Marburg: Elwert 1996. Joan Stambaugh). Y. Feldweg-Gespräche. ‘Phenomenological Interpretations in Connection with Aristotle. New York. Augustine.M.Y. Psalm. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. Being and Time (tr. 1997. De civitate Dei De div. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. S. Abbreviations of Heidegger’s Works GA66. Thomas Aquinas. 1978. 1995. N. Augustine. N.: Harper & Row. An Indication of the Hermeneutical Situation’ (tr. 1989. ‘Phänomenologische Interpretationen zu Aristoteles. 1944-45 (ed.Y. 1938/39 (ed. John van Buren) in S: 111-145. On Time and Being (tr. NewYork. In Johannis evangelium tractatus . English: 1972. De ordine De praed. ‘Das Problem der Sünde bei Luther’ in Bernd Jaspert (ed. (tr. De Trinitate En. Ingrid Schüßler) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 77). Other Abbreviations Conf. John van Buren) in S: 105-110. English: 2002. Mindfulness. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson). Parvis Emad and Thomas Kalary). English: ‘The Problem of Sin in Luther’ (tr. Augustine. Zur Sache des Denkens (2nd edition). 2002. quaest. Augustine. Besinnung. US. Augustine. Pfullingen: Günther Neske. PSL. Augustine. Jon. Enarrationes in Psalmos Epist.: Harper & Row. Confessiones Cont. PIA. 1982. Frankfurt a. Sein und Zeit (17th edition). sanct. Supplements. in. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann) (Martin Heidegger Gesamtausgabe 66). De praedestinatione sanctorum De.

Preface It is no exaggeration to say that the publication of Heidegger’s early Freiburg lectures (1919-1923) has precipitated a revolution in Heidegger scholarship. The early lectures shed light on a hotly debated issue: the young Heidegger’s engagement with the Christian tradition. No tradition is so sacred that it cannot be turned inside-out. Gustav Siewerth) began to interpret Heidegger’s ontology in a theological frame in the 30s. This is above all the hermeneutic Heidegger.4 On the con-side was Heidegger himself. Johannes Lotz. GA6. The later Heidegger’s ontology undoes the “onto-theological” tradition. what the Thomists call esse is on one side of the ontological difference – an ontic determination. the Heidegger who inspired Hans-Georg Gadamer’s great effort to think historically. the absolute paradigm of which is the creator God. at the same time that he is daringly experimenting with language in a bid to say that which has never before been said. Karl Rahner. and Siewerth and interpreted Heidegger’s notion of Sein as a figure for what Aquinas calls esse. with neo-Kantianism. Lotz. as loaded with Seinsvergessenheit as all other metaphysical concepts (GA24: 145- 169. which presumed to answer the question of the meaning of being by reference to a highest being who produced all other beings.2 Ever since Heidegger’s Catholic students (Max Müller. with Aristotle. a Heidegger who cannot do without the tradition because it is in every case the matter to be thought. with phenomenology. This is not the master theoretician of Being and Time (1927). the act of being. This is a Heidegger who is working intensely with the tradition. Neologisms are discarded as fast as they are coined. Telling a story about the causal production of beings from the highest being .1 We now read Heidegger differently because we have a different Heidegger to read. the history of metaphysics from Plato to Hegel.2: 363-416). Nor is this the laconic and cryptic thinker of the later writings. the question of Heidegger’s compatibility with Christian philosophical and theological traditions has been in dispute. who insisted that between phenomenological-ontology and metaphysical theology no fusion was possible. Rahner.3 On the pro-side were those who followed Müller.

Heidegger’s turbulent passage from the neo-Scholasticism in which he was reared to the radical Protestantism with which he came to identify himself – before abandoning Christianity altogether in the 30s – determines the method and content of the religion lectures. which applied existential phenomenological principles to the New Testament. With the publication of the early Freiburg Lectures we now know that the young Heidegger extracted formal phenomenological structures implicit in early Christian literature. Between the pro and the con were those who saw in Heidegger’s Destruktion of onto-theology the unveiling of the genuine God. Bultmann’s theology. especially radical Protestant theology. as well as in the medieval mystics. while purporting to be historically more accurate.9 These are resolutely philosophical. particularly in Paul and Augustine. who emphatically denied reason the possibility of knowing God without a grace-enabled experience of revelation (Pöggeler 1990).6 The texts published under the title Phenomenology of Religious Life (volume 60 of the collected works) include two lecture courses Heidegger gave at the University of Freiburg in the academic year 1920/1921. ‘The Foundations of Medieval Mysticism: Notes Toward a Cancelled Lecture Course.7 It is widely agreed that the early Heidegger’s Dasein analytic invokes certain Christian themes.5 In the background of these disputes were second-hand reports of Heidegger’s early engagement with Christian theology. 1919.xii Preface only more emphatically covers up the mystery of being and prepares the ground for technology (GA40: 8-9). the one who cannot be named in the language of metaphysics.. and ‘Augustine and Neo-Platonism’. Appended to the two lectures is the contents of a folder holding scattered notes Heidegger took on the theme of mysticism between 1917 and 1919. formally atheistic interpretations of theological texts. He discovers theoretical implications of Paul and Augustine . was not as capricious as it looked. Yet Heidegger’s “violent” readings yield interesting results for theology. Bultmann’s claim lacked textual evidence.8 the religion lectures reveal to us the extent of Heidegger’s appropriation of Christian concepts. collected under the misleading title. Otto Pöggeler claimed that Heidegger had shown an early sympathy for the iconoclasm of the early Luther. Bultmann was reclaiming for Christianity what was originally its own (Gadamer 1994: 29-43). reconstructed on the basis of student notes: ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’. in the years before the 1927 publication of Being and Time. Until recently.

Hermeneutical phenomenology makes explicit the historical fore-determinations of consciousness implicitly operative in every ‘a priori’ inspection of ‘transcendental subjectivity’. Die Kategorien-und Bedeutungslehre des Duns Scotus (GA1: 189-401) Heidegger immersed himself in the study of Protestant theology. it has as its Sache the great historical texts which constitute Western understanding. Paul’s notion of Christian life as a never-ending “coming to be” (Gewordensein) is shown to be the heart of the Pauline proclamation. an intrusion of Greek metaphysics into Christianity and a substitution of a philosophical principle. is in a privileged position to let the factic speak on its own terms.11 Heidegger built upon Luther’s theologia crucis an understanding of “the necessary atheism of philosophy” (PIA: 246. terminology and subject matter in novel ways that are often impenetrable without reference to the historical setting of the lectures. awakened Heidegger from his dogmatic slumber.10 In the years immediately following his Habilitationsschrift. not only philosophical texts but also theological and religious literature. A subsidiary purpose of the volume is to bridge the gap between ‘continental philosophy’ in . GA61: 196–97). for the crucified God who can only be known in revelation. The volume is intended to both illuminate the text of GA60 and introduce the literature on the topic. and the temptation (tentatio) and care (cura) which plague human existence are identified as moments of breakthrough to the historical self. Augustine’s notions of the blessed life (vita beata). He is experimenting with methods. Methodologically Heidegger shows that phenomenology is not to be confined to a transcendental Cartesian- style analysis of the contents of the phenomenologist’s consciousness. Because of the historicity of consciousness. Throughout the early Freiburg lectures Heidegger makes revealing references to Luther. phenomenology is inevitably engaging this historical material: there are no “pure” concepts. The papers solicited for this volume are written by North American and European scholars who have been actively working on the young Heidegger in the last two decades. Preface xiii that had long been buried under Scholastic interpretations. The text of Heidegger’s Phenomenology of Religious Life is exceptionally difficult. bereft of a natural consciousness of God. to which human reason is assumed to have constant and unhindered access. He turned the theological limitations of philosophy into a strength: philosophy. Heidegger is still looking for his way into phenomenology. Luther’s objection to Scholasticism as the theologia gloriae.

not only to the religion lectures. Heidegger could never tolerate any external limitation on the freedom of thinking. German and Italian scholars. The volume is subdivided into three sections. deals with the biographical. A significant amount of international scholarship based on the German edition of Heidegger’s religion lectures remains largely unknown in North America. Husserl had asked Heidegger to work on the phenomenology of religion. but also as a major voice in the growing phenomenological movement. but also for . Fehér’s piece zeroes in on the most decisive influence in Heidegger’s phenomenological approach to early Christianity: Wilhelm Dilthey. ‘The Historical Contexts of the 1920-21 Religion Lectures’. his student writings. often desperate urgency. The first section. lead to the pre- Vatican II authoritarianism in Catholic theology and philosophy which pushed Heidegger out of the Church. Alfred Denker then follows traces of Heidegger’s personal religious struggles in the lectures of 1920/21. and theological background of Heidegger’s religion lectures. precipitated by several Papal pronouncements against modern trends in science and biblical hermeneutics. Dilthey’s understanding of Christianity as the setting for the genesis of the Western concept of the historical self was Heidegger’s cue. This upheaval in Catholic academic culture. This biographical background must be unpacked if the lectures are to be understood. not only as Husserl’s assistant at the University of Freiburg. a period in which Heidegger is in process of moving away from a personal belief in Christianity toward a methodological atheism which allows him to formalize theological concepts. Here we meet a Heidegger for whom religious questions have an existential. The Companion redresses this oversight by drawing together recent English work with studies by French. Both Zaborowski and Denker focus on the young Heidegger’s struggle with the “modernist” crisis in the Roman Catholic Church as a turning point in Heidegger’s thinking.xiv Preface North America and European work on Heidegger. István M. Holger Zaborowski examines perhaps the most neglected area of Heidegger’s studies. The lectures represent a transition period for the young Heidegger: he is moving away from the neo-Kantian and Scholastic interests which occupied him in his dissertation and Habilitationsschrift into his new role. philosophical. a task for which he was well prepared with many years of experience as a seminarian and theology student and a long-standing interest in mysticism. in which he examines the notions of temporality implicit in Paul and Augustine.

the early Heidegger’s thinking on questions of theology. an “ascesis of thought”. unpacks the predominantly methodological preoccupations of Heidegger at the time of the religion lectures. ‘Phenomenological Method in the Early Heidegger’. one which leaves the phenomenon free to show itself (or conceal itself) on its own terms: the early Heidegger’s much-discussed method of “formal indication”.” the leitmotif of Heidegger’s religion lectures. an oblique approach must be used in phenomenology. Heidegger uses the religion lectures as an opportunity to develop his own unique approach to phenomenology. something he will later call “the hermeneutics of facticity”. Preface xv the hermeneutic turn of phenomenology in Being and Time. Jean Greisch opens the section by breaking down the methodological assumptions determining Heidegger’s approach to primitive Christianity into fourteen hermeneutical rules. Volpi speaks of the relationship between Heideggerian thinking and Gnosticism. Andrzej Wierciñski’s chapter then relates the notion of “atheology. both positively and negatively. Atheology (methodological atheism) is not necessarily a rejection of religious faith. Jeffrey Andrew Barash provides an overview of Heidegger’s increasingly ambivalent approach to the phenomenological significance of faith. Drawing extensively on the Protestant theology which determined. These are not lectures on religion (something which displeased some of his students. In the next chapter Franco Volpi treats the young Heidegger’s self-declared methodological atheism as itself a spiritual path. Because life hides from the theoretical gaze. or the domain of phenomenological reduced “essences”. who protested as much to the dean) but phenomenological lectures drawing upon religion. it may in fact be a preparation for the drawing near of the divine God. but historical life in all of its indefinable singularity and fluidity. The subject matter of Heidegger’s inquiry is not Husserl’s “transcendendental ego”. In the next piece. The second section. with Heidegger’s later speculation on the relation of being and “the Holy”. I examine the early Heidegger’s method of formal indication. Frustrated with the sterility of Husserl’s phenomenology to penetrate life as we in fact live it. which receives a rare extended treatment in the ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of . Sylvain Camilleri closes this section with a historical reconstruction of Heidegger’s relationship to the liberal Protestant theologian Ernst Troeltsch. a subject that has received comparatively little attention in the literature. In the first of two contributions to this volume.

Graeme Nicholson. Jaromir Brejdak. Theodore Kisiel’s re-construction of the so-called ‘Philosophical Foundations of Medieval Mysticism’ reveals some of the textual issues surrounding this bundle of fragments in the Heidegger archive. emerges as a seed of Heidegger’s concept of “temporality”. Augustine. For Brejdak an analogy exists between Paul’s theologia crucis. finding in it numerous hints of the path to Being and Time. Daniel Dahltstrom and Constantino Esposito examine Heidegger’s rich and suggestive reading of Augustine’s Confessions Book X (on memory). . Sylvain Camilleri’s second article in this volume is a developed commentary on the notes. all-too-common in phenomenology. and Christian mysticism emerge as forerunners of existential phenomenology. Kisiel points out that only a few of these notes belong to the cancelled lecture course on medieval mysticism: the rest originate in other aborted research projects into the life-world of Christian mysticism. as the key to understanding not only the religion lectures but the whole of the early Heidegger. Augustine. ‘Reading Heidegger on Paul. The next chapter. Kisiel supplements the notes published in GA60 with unpublished pieces which he copied directly from the file in the Marbach Archiv. to cut the phenomena to the measure of a theoretical schema. thus offering us a vital supplement to GA60. drawing on little known nineteenth-century Protestant theologians who shaped the young Heidegger’s approach to Christianity. The third and final section of the volume. is composed of interpretations of GA60. by Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei. negotiates the resonances between the idea of “world” in the early Heidegger’s reading of Paul and the notion of “earth” in the later ‘Origin of the Work of Art’. Nicholson looks at how Paul’s concept of eschaton. a crucifixion of theory on the cross of the factic. and Christian Mysticism’. the end which is not a telos but a rupture. which becomes in Brejdak’s reading a philosophia crucis. The formal indication is meant to leave the phenomenon unmolested by pre-decided conceptual frames and help the investigator resist the tendency. Ruff speculates on the significance of the Paul lectures for the future of phenomenology.xvi Preface Religion’. the impossibility of reasoning about the crucified. and Gerhard Ruff offer careful and complementary expositions of Heidegger’s short and dense reading of Paul’s letters. as well as insight into the nature of Augustine’s breakthrough to the self-world. A central theme running through these chapters is the surprising way that Paul. and Heidegger’s notion of facticity.

Heidegger and Augustine. 6 On Heidegger and Paul. GA58. . 4 Coreth (1968) gives the most systematic presentation of this position. what happens to the ‘objectivity’ of phenomenology. see Brejdak (1998). 1 The early Freiburg Lectures are published in GA56/57. . 46. 204-5. On Heidegger and medieval mysticism see Camilleri (2008). I have analyzed Heidegger’s early writings and lectures in the light of this defection from Catholicism in McGrath (2006). 27. GA61: 7. 8 Among the first of Heidegger’s readers to intuit the kinship between Heidegger and reformed theology was Max Scheler (1976: 295. 3 On Rahner see Sheehan (1987). 9 On this series of transformations in Heidegger’s religious life see Zaborowsky and Denker below. The modest aim of this volume is to raise new questions for a new generation of Heidegger scholars. or contrived attempts that come to a sudden halt on the way to an ontological recovery of their own originary possibility”. The best introduction to this material remains Kisiel (1993). 309. see de Paulo (2006). 5 Welte (1978) made this interpretation of Heidegger famous. 106. in repeating on an ontological level Christian themes and texts that have been ‘de- Christianized’. 2005). The same Heideggerian thinking often consists. GA63: 5. 2 A solid review of this issue is found in Caputo (1993). But the very raising of them shakes the foundations of much of the Heidegger scholarship of the last century. The ambiguous relationship of faith to authenticity comes to the fore in this piece. On Siewerth see Wierciñski (2003. What possibilities for further elaboration of religious themes in phenomenology are opened up by Heidegger’s religion lectures? What is the meaning of the exemplary relationship of early Christianity to hermeneutic phenomenology? If we follow the young Heidegger. 182- 83. GA60. and GA63. 14. notably in Sein und Zeit. 7 The correct dating of these notes is given by Alfred Denker in chapter two below. phenomenological seeing that nonetheless takes its cue from historical existence? Or does this residue of Husserl’s phenomenological “intuition” collapse under the weight of human facticity?12 These are not questions that will be answered soon. 10 See for example GA56/57: 18. its claim (as strong in Heidegger as in Husserl) to evidentiality? Can the ontological difference support the early Heidegger’s methodological distinction between the ontological and the ontic. 260). GA60: 283. Preface xvii The volume closes with Dermot Moran’s meditation on the relationship of the religion lectures in general to Heidegger’s notion of “choosing a hero” in Being and Time. Derrida (1995: 22-23): “Heideggerian thought was not simply a constant attempt to separate itself from Christianity. Such themes and texts are then presented as ontic. anthropological. GA58: 62. Cf. The position has been resuscitated by Hemming (2003). GA61. 308. . between a pure. and argue that phenomenology must begin in the theological tradition because of the historicity of thinking.

– 2008. A Very Critical Introduction. 1993. The Early Heidegger and Medieval Philosophy: Phenomenology for the Godforsaken. Washington. Heidegger. Heideggers Beschäftigung mit dem Apostel Paulus. Emerich. Hemming. 2005. New York: Herder and Herder. Laurence. Theodore. 270-88. Caputo. For a philosophical critique of the relationship see McGrath (2005). . Hans-Georg. Cambridge University Press. 159-74. Metaphysics (tr. Berkeley: University of California Press.C. References Buren. Dordrecht: Springer.xviii Preface 11 On the history of Heidegger’s relationship to Luther see Van Buren (1994). Albany: State University of New York Press. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.: Peter Lang. Brejdak. – 2006. Frankfurt a.) The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger. Stanley). John D. John van. P. Mich.J. The Gift of Death (tr. Coreth. Philosophia crucis. Heidegger’s Ways (tr. Joseph Donceel). Derrida. 2003. Kisiel. Grand Rapids. Camilleri. Sylvain. Charles (ed. 1996. S. Theodor and John van Buren (eds). Heidegger’s Atheism: The Refusal of a Theological Voice. ‘Martin Heidegger. Phénoménologie de la religion et herméneutique théologique dans la pensée du jeune Heidegger. 1995. John W. University of Chicago Press. The Genesis of Heidegger’s Being and Time. Gadamer. 1968. Commentaire de la mystique médiévale (1916-1919). 1994. 1993. 12 For a development of this critique see McGrath (2008). Albany: State University of New York Press. ‘The Facticity of Being Godforsaken: The Young Heidegger’s Accommodation of Luther’s Theology of the Cross’ in American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 79 (2): 273–90. Jaromir.: Catholic University of America Press. 1994. 2008. M. Jacques. David Wills).: Eerdmans. Martin Luther’ in Kisiel. McGrath. D. Reading Heidegger from the Start. ‘Heidegger and Theology’ in Guigon.

Preface xix Paulo. Karl Rahner: The Philosophical Foundations. New York: Continuum. 1994. Lewiston. Der Denkweg Martin Heideggers (2nd edition). The Influence of Augustine on Heidegger: The Emergence of an Augustinian Phenomenology. Karl. J. Bern: Francke. Max. Andrzej. Inspired Metaphysics? Gustav Siewerth’s Hermeneutic Reading of the Onto-theological Tradition. 1994.N. Thomas. Scheler. Toronto: The Hermeneutic Press. Sheehan. de (ed. Joseph Donceel). Rahner. Queenston. Manfred Frings) (Max Scheler Gesammelte Werke 9). Wierciñski. and Lampeter: Mellon Press. Späte Schriften (ed. Pöggeler. – 2005. . Craig J. 2006. 2003. Religionsphilosophie. Bernhard. Hearer of the Word (tr. 1987. Athens: Ohio University Press. Philosophizing with Gustav Siewerth: A New German Edition with Facing Translation of ‘Das Sein als Gleichnis Gottes’ / ‘Being as Likeness of God’. Otto. Pfullingen: Günther Neske. 1976.). Welte. 1978. Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder. Konstanz: Verlag Gustav Siewerth Gesellschaft.

I. The Historical Contexts of Heidegger’s
1920-21 Religion Courses

A “Genuinely Religiously Orientated Personality”:
Martin Heidegger and the Religious and Theological
Origins of his Philosophy

Holger Zaborowski

For as you began, so you will remain,
And much as need can effect,
And breeding, still greater power
Adheres to your birth
And the ray of light
That meets the newborn infant.1

Friedrich Hölderlin (2004: 501)

1. Heidegger’s Religious and Theological Origins as Future of His
Thinking

On several occasions, Martin Heidegger emphasized the theological and
religious origins of his thought. He argued that without his theological
background, he would not have reached the way of thinking. “But
origins”, he famously claimed, looking back upon his life and way of
thinking, “always remain future” (GA12: 96).2 In this quote, Heidegger
refers to his background as seminarian and student of Catholic theology
at Freiburg University. But his Meßkirch background and thus his
religious background more broadly understood, were also important for
his future way of thinking.3 “The today”, Heidegger states on the
occasion of the 700th anniversary of his hometown Meßkirch in July
1961, “has its origins in the past and is at the same time exposed to what
comes towards it” (GA16: 574-582, 575).
As early as the beginning of the 1920s, Heidegger highlighted
the relation of his thought to his religious and theological origins. In a
well-known letter to his student and friend Karl Löwith, Heidegger
asserts that it belongs to his own facticity to be a Christian theologian
and writes that he works out of his “I am”, out of his “factual origins”,
“milieu”, and “contexts of life” (Papenfuss 1990: 29). In 1919,
Heidegger’s teacher Edmund Husserl characterized Heidegger as a

4 Zaborowski

“genuinely religiously orientated personality” (wirklich religiös
gerichtete Persönlichkeit) (Schütte 1969: 139). Hans Georg Gadamer
interpreted Heidegger’s Phenomenological Interpreations of Aristotle,
written in 1922, as “Heideggers ‘theologische’ Jugendschrift” (Gadamer
2003: 77).4 The young Privatdozent Heidegger was not only influenced
by his religious and theological origins, he continued to be interested in
religious and theological issues throughout the early part of his career.
Thus in his early Freiburg lecture courses, Heidegger not only lectures
on the phenomenology of religion, on Augustine, neo-Platonism, and on
St. Paul (and intended to lecture on medieval mysticism), he also
explicitly refers to the importance of Martin Luther and Søren
Kierkegaard for his own philosophical enterprise (GA63: 5).5
In this essay, I would like to explore Heidegger’s theological
and religious background.6 Although he became increasingly aware of
his “vocation” as philosophical, an “inner calling”, his theological roots
remained essential to his thought.7 As a student and young scholar,
Heidegger not only spoke the theological and religious language of his
time, he made this language his own.8 His religious and theological
standpoint also changed over the course of time which sheds an
interesting light upon the subsequent development of his thinking.
Current Heidegger research tends either to overlook this important phase
of Heidegger’s way of life and thought or to simplify it. Heidegger is
characterized as a theology student, heavily influenced by Roman
Catholic neo-scholasticism who would later radically turn against his
origins. The situation, however, is more complex.
In the following essay, I discuss Heidegger’s emphasis on divine
grace, his apologetic opposition to modernism, and his so-called “break
with the system of Catholicism” – what can be called his discovery of
historicity. Before I do so, I will briefly introduce key tendencies in
scholarship on Heidegger’s early way of life and thought.

2. Research in Heidegger’s Early Way of Life and Thinking

Scholars of Heidegger and of twentieth-century German philosophy
have examined Heidegger’s early way of life and thought with different
backgrounds and interests.9 It does not come as a surprise that the
religious and theological background of Heidegger’s thought has also
attracted a considerable amount of scholarly attention. Some scholars
such as Bernhard Casper, Alfred Denker, Hugo Ott, Johannes Schaber,

A “Genuinely Religiously Orientated Personality” 5

and Thomas Sheehan have approached the topic biographically and
historically, examining the religious climate of Heidegger’s hometown
Meßkirch,10 his relation to Benedictan Monasticism and to the Abbey
Beuron (in the vicinity of Meßkirch),11 and the years when Heidegger
was a theology student at Freiburg University.12 Other scholars such as
Karl Lehmann, Otto Pöggeler, Richard Schaeffler, and John Caputo
have taken a more philosophical approach, both systematically and
historically, and discuss, amongst other questions, the extent to which
Heidegger’s mature thought has been influenced by his early way of life
and thought.13 Research in this topic has particularly been stimulated by
new publications and re-prints of early texts by Heidegger in Frühe
Schriften (GA1), Aus der Erfahrung des Denkens (GA13), Reden und
andere Zeugnisse eines Lebensweges (GA16), and in the first volume of
the Heidegger-Jahrbuch which almost exclusively focuses on
Heidegger’s way of life and thought until 1919 (Denker: 2004a).
As far as the sources for Heidegger’s early life and thought are
concerned, however, scholars confront two significant problems. There
are, first of all, important sources such as Heidegger’s letters to his
parents that have, as of today, not yet been published, and, secondly,
generally few sources for Heidegger’s life and thought until 1919. This
is particularly problematic as Heidegger explicitly speaks of the
“exciting years between 1910 and 1914”. What these years gave rise to,
Heidegger claims, “cannot be said properly, but only be indicated
through a list that selects a few aspects”. This list contains not only the
second edition of Nietzsche’s Will to Power and the German translation
of Kierkegaard’s and Dostoevsky’s works, it also lists his “awakening
interest” in Hegel, Schelling, Rilke, Trakl, and Dilthey (GA1: 56).14
During these “exciting years”, however, Heidegger develops a critical
distance to his own religious and theological origins in Roman
Catholicism.

3. The Inwardness of Decision and the “Grace Character of All Life”

As a student, Heidegger published four poems. ‘Dying Splendor’
(GA13: 5) was published in 1910, the poems ‘Gethsemane Hours’ and
‘We Want to Wait’ were published in 1911 in the journal Akademische
Rundschau, the poem ‘On Still Paths’ was published in 1911 in Der
Akademiker. Both the Akademische Rundschau and Der Akademiker
were anti-modernistic magazines. All these poems have at least

6 Zaborowski

implicitly a religious dimension.15 Heidegger’s early poems are thus an
important source for an interpretation of the religious and theological
background of his thought. Nevertheless, these poems have been
neglected by Heidegger scholars who tend to disregard them as a source
for interpreting Heidegger’s philosophy.16 In these poems, in which he
uses the language of the poetry of his time, Heidegger first employs the
language of religious and devotional poetry, then increasingly the
language of existential and experience-related poetry. They illustrate in
particular the extent to which the concept of grace was crucially
important for the early Heidegger’s Christian worldview.
The religious dimension is particularly evident in ‘Gethsemane
Hours’ which reads as follows:

Gethsemane hours of my life:
In the dark gleam
Of discouraged desponding
Often you have seen me.
I cried and shouted: never in vain.
My young being
Tired of moaning.
Has trusted only in angel ‘Grace’ (Ott 1993: 71).

This poem shows how Heidegger’s faith was shattered by the experience
of meaninglessness and God’s absence. But this poem also shows
Heidegger’s “solution”. Heidegger does not take refuge in a radical
critique of Christianity nor in a simple affirmation of the neo-Scholastic
wordlview. He trusts in the “angel grace” and thus in his immediate
relation to a transcendent being. Interestingly enough, apart from the
title, there is no Christological reference in the poem.
In ‘Consolation’, a poem published in 1915, angels also play the
role of comforters in a world of death, crisis, and failure:

The sun is shining
For a short hour only.
Must early die.
Love cries –
The meadow of life
A field of broken fragments
How God intends it!
On eternal trace
Are angels courting (Ott 1993: 89).

A “Genuinely Religiously Orientated Personality” 7

Heidegger contrasts the experience of death and finitude to an “eternal
trace”, but not to an “eternal order”. The angels grasp this eternal trace,
but humanity no longer fully understands God’s intentions. But there is
still hope in the “courting of angels”.
Grace remains a crucial notion throughout Heidegger’s career.
In a letter to Elisabeth Blochmann of 1919, Heidegger speaks of the
“lack of internal inner humility towards the mystery of grace and life”
(Heidegger 1989: 14). Later in his life, Heidegger relates grace closely
to origin and birth (GA16: 489). Native soil makes it possible,
Heidegger argues, to accept the gift of grace.
Heidegger’s emphasis on grace shows a particular approach to
Christianity that is influenced by a tradition that runs from Paul and
Augustine to late Scholastic theology, medieval mysticism, and Luther,
Pascal, Kierkegaard, and Dostoevsky. This Pauline and Augustinian
tradition emphasizes divine grace, the fallenness of humanity, the limits
of human existence, and the significance of the divine will. Although
there are undoubtedly overlaps, one can plausibly argue that this is not
the religious and theological tradition that expresses itself in early
twentieth-century neo-Scholasticism. Heidegger speaks the language of
his religious and theological background with a specific “dialect”, as it
were, that would find its expression also in his subsequent interest in the
Protestant tradition and in his later philosophy.
There are further sources that illustrate Heidegger’s early
“Augustinianism”. In 1911, Heidegger published a review of Das
Reisebuch. Licht und Dunkel in Natur und Geist (Jörgensen 1903),
written by the Danish convert to Catholicism Johannes Jörgensen. For
Heidegger, Jörgensen belongs to the Augustinian tradition. He is a
“modern Augustine”, who makes a radical decision for Christianity and
dies to the old Self. “And if you want to live spiritually and achieve your
salvation”, Heidegger writes, agreeing with the very thrust of
Jörgensen’s devout and missionary argument, “die, kill what is low in
you and co-operate with supernatural grace and you will be resurrected”
(GA16: 5).
Heidegger’s early poems, however, also show signs of religious
doubt. Heidegger increasingly has problems with a simple trust in God.
He seems to have experienced the absence of God keenly. In the poem
‘Loneliness’ (Einsamkeit) (GA16: 40), published in 1916, Heidegger
intertwines the historical situation of the First World War, described
once again with reference to angels, with the personal situation of his

8 Zaborowski

own life that is characterized by the experience of sinfulness and
darkness:

Angels are spreading shrouds outside
Careworn statures which never find the light
Are erring around me, my mourning sins

Heidegger no longer speaks of angels and grace, but of loneliness,
silence, and distance from his own past:

Memory dies. The world stands still

Only a feeling can show what could comfort his soul:

I feel how love of God will flare up –

But even the love of God no longer flares up in him, let alone the
certainty of divine presence. The scene is cold and hopeless:

It snows.

So Heidegger seems to be in a religious crisis.

4. The Battle Against Modernism

Not only Heidegger’s early poems, but also his early essays and the
early lectures he delivered in Meßkirch are important indications of his
theological development. Many of his early essays and articles were
published in the Roman Catholic newspaper Heuberger Volksblatt.17
These texts are characterized by a rigorous criticism of the cultural
decline of the modern world. Heidegger addresses in particular the
human being who “never put his foot onto an erroneous path and did not
let himself be blinded by the fallacious shine of the modern mind”
(GA16: 8).18 Heidegger targets modern individualism in which he claims
most other problems are rooted: “The shrill contradictions of our age –
on the one hand the obstinate reality-fanaticism of the naturalist and
socialist organization of life, on the other the new realm of ideas and
philosophy of immanence with its construction of values for existence
– are the end results of a boundless autonomism” (GA16: 7). Heidegger
turns against this “boundless autonomism” by opposing to it the

In the climate of the early twentieth- century Kulturkampf. The Heuberger Volksblatt tells us that in 1912. 20 and on “thinking horses”. Heidegger talks about the “animal origin of the human being and the judgement of the sciences”. Nietzsche. for example. At a time when the natural sciences were transgressing their borders. In 1913. logic. “socialism from a scientific point of view”. is not able to live merely by his or her own resources – that is the illusion of autonomism.21 Here. however. and the natural sciences. did not think that modern natural sciences and philosophy were utterly misguided. Heidegger opposes modernism and individualism with philosophy and science.24 Heidegger’s first interest in philosophy.25 While Heidegger’s study of the natural sciences made it possible for him to criticize the presuppositions and the limits of evolutionary .23 Heidegger intended to confute doctrines that at least at his time were not reconcilable with the teaching of the Catholic church. he lectures on “spiritism (modern belief in spirits) and the sciences”. The background of these apologetic efforts is a belief in a divinely ordered creation. and putting into question the traditional truths of Christianity. concerning the last earthquake and the science of earthquakes”. to confute Darwin and to defend the Christian view of the human being as crown of creation. On the contrary. A “Genuinely Religiously Orientated Personality” 9 Christian alternative. Heidegger thinks.19 A month later. the radical difference between the human being and animals (which explains why animals such as horses cannot think). and natural science was thus religiously motivated. he saw his task as an apologetic defence of Christianity through an exposition of the limits of the sciences. mathematics. Heidegger delivered “interesting material out of the area of natural sciences. Heidegger. Between 1911 and 1913 he regularly gave papers in Meßkirch on topics such as modernism. one can clearly see in the young Heidegger a lively interest in the natural sciences.22 The titles of Heidegger’s first lectures (and their summaries in the Heuberger Volksblatt) show that he was not only interested in providing a popular and accessible introduction to scientific and political questions. She is only able to achieve fulfilment if she abandons the modern claim to power and certainty so that she can be born anew. which can be traced back to his schooldays. he emphasizes. He intended to engage critically modernistic doctrines such as socialism and Darwinism. The human being. as Heidegger thought. So. These lectures were undoubtedly religiously motivated.

is “not trained in logical thinking and cannot differentiate” (Heidegger 1911). he found in mathematics. At this early point in his career Heidegger puts himself at the service of the “justified egoism” that he demands of Catholic Academics. and modern logic ways to counter modernistic relativism. Heidegger calls for “more logical acumen” (Heidegger 1911b). which hermetically seals itself off against any affective influence of the soul. Die Lehre vom Urteil im Psychologismus (GA1: 59-188). one which ranks intellectual and ethical consolidation and development of one’s own personality as a basic requirement over any remaining projects and occupations” (Heidegger 1991: 12). In studying logic. Heidegger targets the naturalization of human consciousness and the concept of truth and criticizes what he calls the “non-philosophy (Unphilosophy) of psychologism” (GA1: 147). For “[a] strict. Heidegger holds that the student of his time is in danger of an “unlogical. he attempted to defend the traditional concept of truth as eternal and independent of human beings and thus also as independent of empirical sciences. Philosophy. ‘Thinking’ can no longer let itself be constrained in the unshakeable eternal limits of fundamental logical propositions” (Heidegger 1991: 11). There are more explicit sources that show the extent to which Heidegger’s interest in logic has a religious and apologetic foundation. The modern human being is ethically incapable of trusting in the eternal principles of logic. ice-cold logic is inimical to the refined feelings of the modern soul. Heidegger claims to develop a critical distance to the modernistic tendencies of his time. For what reason? Heidegger’s answer is unambiguous. is “in truth a mirror of eternity” (Heidegger 1991: 11). philosophy. On this basis. thus the ideological opponent of the Heuberger Volksblatt. published in the liberal Old Catholic Oberbadische Grenzboten. “To strictly logical thought. unhealthy condition”. and Freedom of the Mind’. In a newspaper article published in the Heuberger Volksblatt. In his essay ‘On a Philosophical Orientation for Academics’ (Zur philosophischen Orientierung der Akademiker). In his doctoral dissertation. to each truly presuppositionless scientific work there belongs a certain base of ethical . according to Heidegger at this time. and demands that “a justified egoism must be once again strongly emphasized. Heidegger remarks that the author of the article ‘Ultramontanism. The modern character is too weak to follow logic. Science.10 Zaborowski theory.

27 This trajectory shows signs of what will become his “break with the ‘system of Catholicism’”. In 1919. one which would occupy him for the rest of his life (GA1: 410f). also shows neatly Heidegger’s turn towards history and the problem of the relation of history to philosophy.und Bedeutungslehre des Duns Scotus shows that historicity has emerged as the central problem of his thought. to provide another example. This change in Heidegger’s religious attitudes did not go unnoticed.und Bedeutungslehre des Duns Scotus (GA1: 131-354). Die Kategorien. though. but rather a continuous departure from key principles of his Roman Catholic past. Heidegger discovers the problem of the relation “between time and eternity” (GA1: 410) and thus the problem of historicity. Edmund Husserl speaks of a “radical change” in Heidegger’s “key religious persuasions” (Husserl. The reference to Hegel and the use of a partly Hegelian language in the final chapter of Die Kategorien. Already in February 1917. as early commentators noticed. Heidegger not only deals with historical questions.26 5. written in January 1919. he also follows a systematic trajectory. in a new sense” (LEK: 69). Heidegger’s Discovery of Historicity and His “Break with the System of Catholicism” My interpretation of Heidegger’s early poems has shown that there is a significant change in Heidegger’s religious attitude. Why does the “theory of historical knowledge” make the system of Catholicism problematic to Heidegger? The answer to this question is relatively clear. his qualifying dissertation. in a private letter to Rudolf Otto. 141). The famous letter to Engelbert Krebs. Heidegger could not reconcile the insight into the fundamental significance and problem of history and of “historical knowledge” with the presumption of neo-Scholasticism to attain eternal truths. but not Christianity and metaphysics – these. This change is also mirrored in Heidegger’s Habilitationsschrift.28 In a word. 1969: 139. Heidegger writes that “epistemological insights extending to a theory of historical knowledge have made the system of Catholicism problematic and unacceptable to me.29 It is less a radical and utterly unexpected break. A “Genuinely Religiously Orientated Personality” 11 power. the art of getting hold of oneself and externalizing oneself”(Heidegger 1991: 11). Heidegger wrote to his teacher Heinrich Rickert that he never .

Kant. In his review of the second edition of Joseph Gredt’s influential Elementa philosophiae Aristotelico-Thomisticae. was indeed the philosopher of modern subjectivism who abandoned any claim of objectivity of knowledge and the whole area of supersensual transcendental truth. however.12 Zaborowski held the narrow Catholic standpoint and that he would follow his own free and personal search for the truth (Denker 2002b: 42). so he studied neo- Scholastic textbooks himself. as we have seen. Heidegger writes that the philosophical lectures that were prescribed for theology students did not satisfy him.32 Heidegger had also already given public expression to his criticism of neo-Scholastic textbook philosophy. in a review of a selection of Kant’s letters. Heidegger. He found more in the apologetic works of Hermann Schell. particularly on the person of Immanuel Kant. He argues that one cannot but make critical remarks from a scientific standpoint. A further sign that Heidegger increasingly turned away from the system of Catholicism is his interpretation of Immanuel Kant’s philosophy. For there is evidence of a criticism of neo-Scholasticism as early as 1915. In the beginning of his intellectual career. In his review . They gave him a certain formal logical training. but an unwavering striving for truth (GA16: 29).30 Although Heidegger. once held an anti-modernistic position.31 With Schell. So Kant’s philosophy appeared deeply erroneous and was strictly condemned (Hertling 1891: 97f). Heidegger attacks the understanding of the sciences and of philosophy presupposed by Gredt. It is noteworthy that Heidegger’s comments on Kant become less ambiguous and increasingly more positive as he matures. published in 1913. So we find rather eulogistic remarks on Kant. Heidegger argues that a “high ethical power” is revealed in Kant’s self-discipline. Heidegger shared the dismissive Catholic interpretation of Kant. but philosophically left him dry. Catholic philosophers and theologians agreed in the beginning of the 20th century. for philosophy is not a sum of theorems. Heidegger not only names a theologian who was influenced by Brentano (like Edmund Husserl and himself). but also a key figure of the Catholic renewal in the beginning of the twentieth century whose dogmatics and apologetics had been put on the index of forbidden books.33 But he gradually warmed to Kant’s thought. he did not exactly lie in his letter to Rickert. immediately relativizes his praise in saying that one must also not overlook the weaknesses of Kant’s character (GA1: 45). But even the reading of these texts failed to satisfy. In his 1915 curriculum vitae.

develops rather organically. changes significantly towards a more affirmative reading and interpretation of Kant. Heidegger showed a proximity to. This is one of the most important lessons that Heidegger has to teach us. Due to the scope and limits of this essay. I Would Not Have Reached the Way of Thinking” In this essay I have briefly examined important dimensions of Heidegger’s religious and theological development until 1919. one that needs to be taken more seriously in the study of his own life and work. Heidegger scholars would do well to follow his autobiographical self-interpretations. more closely. So Heidegger’s way of thought. It goes without saying. Heidegger’s way of thought cannot properly be understood without also taking into account his religious and theological origins. his interpretation of Kant. one’s origins always remain one’s future. This also means that his origins continue to be important for his thinking. A “Genuinely Religiously Orientated Personality” 13 of Charles Sentroul’s Kant und Aristoteles. that there is such an impact. 6. As far as this is concerned. he calls the mind of the lonely man of Königsberg “fit as a fiddle” (kerngesund) (GA1: 54). it is plausible to argue. one of the key figures of modern liberal cultural Protestantism. though. They would then see that his “break with the system of Catholicism” was not as radical a break as it may appear. In another review of an anthology of texts by Kant. if not even at odds with the “system of Catholicism” and also to philosophers such as Kant and Nietzsche who were condemned by Catholic theologians. or as he puts it. . Thus exactly at the time when Heidegger gradually develops a critical distance to the system of Catholicism and the faith of his childhood. or interest in. Even before 1919. “Without This Theological Origin. which stress the significance of his origins. I cannot examine the impact of Heidegger’s religious and theological background and of its development on his later way of life and thought. also published in 1914.34 Heidegger argues that Catholicism is lacking in a responsible interpretation of Kant (GA1: 53). Whoever takes the historicity of human life seriously cannot but acknowledge that we cannot dismiss our past. religious and theological concepts and writers that were not fully reconcilable.

Pöggeler (1983: 77-89). 17 For the ideological orientation of the Heuberger Volksblatt and the “newspaper war” between the Heuberger Volksblattes and the liberal and Old Catholic Oberbadische Grenzbote see Vonberg (2003: 153-187). 561). For a brief description of the tolerant atmosphere in their parental home see Fritz Heidegger (1969: 61). 15. Grotz (2003: 92). 11 See Denker (2003). 14. first published in 1917. ‘On Still Paths’. 22 For this early interest in the natural sciences see Martin Heidegger. 5 For Heidegger’s interpretation of Luther see also PSL. Sheehan (1977). 2 All translations from the German are my own unless otherwise indicated. 15. Casper (2001). For Hedegger’s later view of the problematic Nietzsche interpretations of these years see GA6. (2004b). and Heidegger (2003a: 40). 101. at 37). Riedel (2003). 14 In this context. . For the relation of this poem to the work of Meister Eckhardt see Pöggeler (2004: 193). one should also mention Heidegger’s early reading of Friedrich Hölderlin. Schaeffler (1978): 3-34. Sheehan (1988). Denker (2001b). Safranski (2000: 15-88).14 Zaborowski 1 For Heidegger’s reference to this text see GA16 (558-561. 10 Ott (1992: 45-119). 19 Heuberger Volksblatt. 9 For general research in Heidegger’s early thought (including a comprehensive bibliography) see Denker (2004a). Denker (2004b). 4 For a similar interpretation see Casper (2001: 20). in GA16 (37-39. ‘Lebenslauf (Zur Habilitation 1915)’. 3 For Heidegger’s relation to his hometown Meßkirch see Denker (2000). For a contemporary description and analysis of the situation of Meßkirch during the Kulturkampf see Gröber (1912). 16 For Hugo Ott’s interpretation of ‘Gethsemane Hours’. Ott speaks of a ‘Beuron profile’ and ‘Beuron syndrome of the early Heidegger’. Lehmann (1966/67). 20 Heuberger Volksblatt. For the significance of Heidegger’s origins see also Harries (1996: 41-64). 3). Schaber (2002). Zaborowski (2004). For Heidegger’s ‘interest’ in “thinking horses” see also Denker (2002b: 39). Schaber (2003). 29th August 1913 in Denker (2005). Pöggeler (2004). see Ott (1992: 71f). 20th March 1912 in Denker (2005). and ‘July Night’. McGrath (2004). 14th March 1913. Ott (1992: 350f). 12 See Casper (1980: 534-541). For other interpretations of these poems see also Thomä (1990: 32-35).1 (222). 18 English translation by John Protevi (Heidegger 1991: 490-493). (2002a). 31. See Heidegger (2000: 132f). For Heidegger’s “vocation” to be a philosopher see Denker (2004b). 13 See Lehmann (1963/64). (2005). n. also Fritz Heidegger (1969: 60). n. n. (2001a). For other references to his origins and to the importance of one’s origins for one’s way of life see GA13 (1-3. 15 This is also true of the poem ‘Abendgang auf der Reichenau’ (GA13: 7). 6 For a more detailed essay on Heidegger’s religious and theological background see Zaborowski (2004). 21 Heuberger Volksblatt.). 33. Ott (1990: 442f. Schaber (2004). 7 See LEK (68). 8 Casper (2001: 12). in Denker (2005). 23 For the time of Kulturkampf in Meßkirch see Weber (2003: 189-202).

Denker. ‘Gutachten über die Habilitationsschrift des Herrn Dr. 25 For his view of apologetics see Heidegger (1991: 496-501). and Pasquale Porro (eds) Heidegger und das mittelalterliche Denken. 30 This corresponds to what Heidegger writes in his 1922 curriculum vitae. Quaestio (1): 11-22. Die philosophische Systematik seiner Theologie genetisch entfaltet (Beiträge zur neueren Geschichte der katholischen Theologie 8). 26 For a similar view see Klimke (1911: 162). Heidegger’. Turnhout and Bari: Brepols. 28 See Ott (1992: 106-119). Gott. Heidegger’s reading of early Christian sources was also important for the development of this position. For early reviews of Heidegger’s Habilitationsschrift see Denker (2004a: 79-91). Geist und Welt. 1913 in (Denker 2004a: 38-40). in Denker (2004a: 36). 33 See for example Heidegger’s ‘Das Realitätsproblem in der modernen Philosophie’ (GA1: 1-15. Hermann Schell als Philosoph und Theologe. – 1964. Vincent. particularly 2f). München. and Wien: Schoeningh. Paderborn. Psychologie. in Denker (2002b: 95f). 29 For an assessment of the religious dimension of Heidegger’s personality see also Löwith (1986: 42-45). Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta. References Berning. 2005. Einführung in die spekulativen Grundlinien seines Werkes (Abhandlungen zur Philosophie. Soziologie der Religion und Ökumenik 37). 1913. 2001. Das Denken Hermann Schells. See also Heidegger’s letter from December 6. Martin Heidegger und seine Heimat. There is still further research to be done on Schell’s influence on Heidegger. 34 See Sentroul (1911). – 1980. 32 On Hermann Schell’s life and thought see Berning (1964). . A “Genuinely Religiously Orientated Personality” 15 24 See Ernst Laslowski’s letter to Heidegger from January 20. Alfred and Elisabeth Büchin (eds). Casper. 1978. See GA16 (43). Hausberger (1999). 31 Heidegger. Constantino. ‘Das theologisch-scholastische Umfeld und der anti-idolische Grundzug des Denkens des jungen Heidegger’ in Esposito. Bernhard. Heidegger’s future significance as an apologetic philosopher and Laslowski’s concern for Heidegger’s career is a recurrent motif in Laslowski’s letters to Heidegger. ‘Lebenslauf (Zur Habilitation 1915)’ (GA16:37-39). ‘Martin Heidegger und die theologische Fakultät Freiburg 1909- 1923’ in Freiburger Diözesan-Archiv (100): 534-541. (1978). Essen: Ludgerus. 27 See also Heinrich Rickert.

‘Heideggers “theologische” Jugendschrift’ in Heidegger (2003b): 76-86. 1999. Teil 1’ in Meßkircher Heimathefte (7): 5-16. – 2002a. Conrad. Karl. Hermann Schell (1850-1906).und Denkweg 1909-1919’ in Denker (2004a): 97-122. Regensburg: Pustet. – 2004d. – 2004b. ‘Martin Heidegger: Zwischen Herkunft und Zukunft. – 2001b. Gadamer. ‘Martin Heidegger und die Herkunft seines Denkens. Teil 2’ in Meßkircher Heimathefte (8): 25-38. . ‘’Ein Samenkorn für etwas Wesentliches’.16 Zaborowski – With Hans-Helmuth Gander and Holger Zaborowski (eds). – (ed. Hausberger. Martin Heidegger/Heinrich Rickert. ‘Der Altkatholizismus in Meßkirch. Freiburg: Karl Alber. Heidegger und die Anfänge seines Denkens (Heidegger- Jahrbuch 1). Briefe 1912 bis 1933 und andere Dokumente. – 2000. – 2004c. M. ‘Erläuterungen zu Heideggers Dichtung’ in Philosophisches Jahrbuch (110): 92-111.: Vittorio Klostermann. Teil 4’ in Meßkircher Heimathefte (10): 91-110. Bausteine zur Biographie Martin Heideggers. ‘Heideggers frühe Veröffentlichungen (1909-1919). 1912. Martin Heidegger und die Erzabtei Beuron’ in Erbe und Auftrag (79): 91-106. ‘Martin Heidegger und die Herkunft seines Denkens.). Gröber. 2002b. Hans-Georg. ‘Heideggers Lebens. Die Anfänge seines Denkweges’ in Studia Phaenomenologica 1 (3): 275-322. – 2001a. – 2003. Bausteine zur Biographie Martin Heideggers. Bausteine zur Biographie Martin Heideggers. Ein Theologenschicksal im Bannkreis der Modernismuskontroverse (Quellen und Studien zur neueren Theologiegeschichte 3). 2004a. ‘Martin Heidegger und die Herkunft seines Denkens. Die Geschichte seiner Entwicklung und Bekämpfung’ in Freiburger Diözesan-Archiv (40): 135-198. Bausteine zur Biographie Martin Heideggers. 2003. ‘Martin Heidegger und die Herkunft seines Denkens. Teil 3’ in Meßkircher Heimathefte (9): 25-38. Frankfurt a. Grotz. Stephan. Ein Forschungsbericht’ in Denker (2004a): 373-387.

Hertling. Joachim W. – With Imma von Bodmershof. 60-98. Harries. – 1991. 2000. ‘Friedrich Willhelm Förster. Festschrift Hugo Ott. 1911). Stuttgart: Klett- Cotta. Frankfurt a. Hölderlin. ‘Contributions to Der Akademiker. M. . Michael Hamburger) (4th edition). no. 64 (May 31. Marbach a.: Verlag Herder. Friedrich. Autorität und Freiheit’ in Der Akademiker 2 (May): 7-8. Geburtstag von seiner Heimatstadt Meßkirch. ‘Kant. 58-63.: Deutsche Schillergesellschaft. – 1911a. 1969. 7. 1919. Günther). 1989. ‘Dem Grenzbot-Philosophen zur Antwort’ in Heuberger Volksblatt 13.. 42 (April 7. Freiburg i. M. ‘Der Rhein’/‘The Rhine’ in Hölderlin. – 2003b. Phänomenologische Interpretationen zu Aristoteles. 1911). Briefwechsel 1918-1969 (ed. Mit einem Essay von Hans- Georg Gadamer (ed. 2003a. 498-511. Immanuel’ in Wetzer und Welte’s Kirchenlexikon (2nd ed. Letter to Rudolf Otto from March 5. Frankfurt a. 1910–1913’ (tr. Edmund. 1891. no. Fritz. Husserl.). Bruno Pieger). Karsten. Hermann (ed. Martin and Bernhard Welte. London: Anvil Press Poetry. ‘Ein Geburtstagsbrief des Bruders’ in Martin Heidegger zum 80. 1996. 13. in Schütte (1969): 139-142. Poems and Fragments (tr. – 1910. Alfred Denker and Holger Zaborowski). 41-64. Briefe und Begegnungen (ed. John Protevi) in Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal (14-15): 486–519.Br. Friedrich. 2004. N. Storck). vol. – 1911b. 1969. ‘Herkunft als Zukunft’ in Schäfer. ‘Was hat der “junge unerfahrene Student” auf die oberflächlichen Ausführungen des römisch-katholischen Laien im Grenzboten zu sagen?’ in Heuberger Volksblatt.) Annäherungen an Martin Heidegger. Neumann.: Klostermann. Briefwechsel 1959-1976 (ed. A “Genuinely Religiously Orientated Personality” 17 Heidegger. Heidegger. 76-86. Ausarbeitung für die Marburger und die Göttinger Philosophische Fakultät (1922). New York: Campus. – With Elisabeth Blochmann. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta. Georg von. Stuttgart: Reclam.

1966/67. 2004. Heideggers frühe Luther-Lektüre’ in Enders. Sean. Lebenslüge und Lebenswahrheit (2nd edition). Weimar und Wien: Böhlau Verlag. M. – 1983. – 1963/64. Karl. 1992. Frankfurt a. ‘Sein als Ereignis’ in Pöggeler. McGrath. Markus and Holger Zaborowski (eds) Phänomenologie der Religion. Klimke. . Heideger und die hermeneutische Philosophie. Mein Leben in Deutschland vor und nach 1933. ‘Reformation und deutscher Idealismus.-28. ‘Heideggers Luther-Lektüre im Freiburger Theologenkonvikt’ in Denker (2004a): 185-86. 1986. ‘Das verborgene Anliegen von Sein und Zeit. English: 1993. and München: Verlag Karl Alber. New York: Campus. 2004. Löwith. 271-278. Johannes. ‘Christliche Geschichtserfahrung und ontologische Frage beim jungen Heidegger’ in Philosophisches Jahrbuch (74): 126-153. Mainz: Kirchheim. Lehmann. ‘Metaphysik.) Heideggers Zwiegespräch mit dem deutschen Idealismus (Collegium Hermeneuticum 7). 1990. Unterwegs zu seiner Biographie. Ein Bericht. Martin Heidegger. London: Basic Books. Stuttgart: Metzler. 1903.18 Zaborowski Jörgensen. Hugo. Otto. 1911. Friedrich. Papenfuss. Kempten and München: Kösel. Dietrich and Otto Pöggeler (eds). Otto. Zur philosophischen Aktualität Heideggers (Symposium der Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung vom 24. Zugänge und Grundfragen. 2003. Pöggeler. Frankfurt a. Die Hauptprobleme der Weltanschauung. – 1990. Riedel. Freiburg and München: Verlag Karl Alber. M. 71-138. Br. 15-24. Martin Heidegger: A Political Life (tr. Harald (ed. Manfred. Karl. Ott.. Köln. ‘Martin Heidegger – Mentalität der Zerrissenheit’ in Freiburger Diözesan-Archiv (110): 427-448. Freiburg i. April 1989 in Bonn-Bad Godesberg 2). Martin Heidegger zwischen Luther und Melanchthon’ in Seubert.: Vittorio Klostermann. Transzendentalphilosophie und Phänomenologie in den ersten Schriften Martin Heideggers (1912-1916)’ in Philosophisches Jahrbuch (71): 331-357. Allan Blunden).

John C. Schütte. 2004. 2003. – 2002. “Oberbadischer Grenzbote” und “Heuberger Volksblatt” im liberal-ultramontanen Streit’ in Weber (2003): 153-187.: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag. ‘Te lucis ante terminum.).). Chicago: Precedent. Sentroul. Berlin: Duncker und Humblot. – 2003. 71-100. 1988. Frankfurt a. Konstanz: UVK. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. Jahrhunderts’ in Denker (2004a): 159-184. Dordrecht: Kluwer. 1911. . 2000. Tod und Entscheidung. Schaeffler. Rüdiger. M. The Man and the Thinker. Martin Heidegger und das benediktinische Mönchtum’ in Edith Stein Jahrbuch (8): 281- 294. Zaborowski. Holger. Richard. Johannes. ‘Heideggers Lehrjahre’ in Sallis.und Kirchengeschichte des 19. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. und beginnenden 20. Martin Heidegger. Thomas. Frömmigkeit des Denkens? Martin Heidegger und die katholische Theologie. Vonberg. The First Ten Years (Phaenomenologica 108). Hans-Walter. ‘Heidegger’s Early Years. 1978. Meßkirch und der badische Seekreis zwischen 1848/49 und dem Kulturkampf (Heimatkundliche Schriftenreihe des Landkreises Sigmaringen 8). Schaber.. Ein Meister aus Deutschland. Sheehan. A “Genuinely Religiously Orientated Personality” 19 Safranski. Max Scheler. 77-137. 1981. 2003. Giuseppina Moneta and Jacques Taminiaux (eds) The Collegium Phaenomenologicum. Kempten: Kösel. Studien zur Geistesgeschichte der Weimarer Republik (Beiträge zur Politischen Wissenschaft 127). ‘Martin Heideggers “Herkunft” im Spiegel der Theologie. ‘“Herkunft aber bleibt stets Zukunft”. Stephan and Holger Zaborowski (eds) Leben. – (ed. 2004. Weber. Religion und Christentum in der Theologie Rudolf Ottos. – 1977. Renitenz und Genie. Edwin Ernst (ed. Kant und Aristoteles. Heidegger. Edith Stein und die Erzabtei Beuron’ in Loos. Charles. ‘Phänomenologie und Mönchtum. OSB. 1969. ‘Der Meßkircher Zeitungskrieg. Anmerkungen zur religiösen und theologischen Dimension des Denkweges Martin Heideggers bis 1919’ in Denker (2004a): 123-158. Fragments for a Philosophical Biography’ in Listening 3 (12): 3-20. Markus. Heidegger und seine Zeit (3rd edition).

1 His father was a cooper. His devout Roman Catholic parents were neither poor nor rich. and of his work in the field of the phenomenology of religion in particular. the financial support of Roman Catholic endowments was necessary to allow them to finish their high school educations. slow of step. They are still more inconspicuous than the furrows that the farmer. a father-figure to Heidegger and the . and later become priests. the seminary where Conrad Gröber was rector. This first part should give us some idea as to what kind of evidence of his struggle we should look for in the text of GA60. and the sexton of Saint Martin’s church. we will discuss key elements in Heidegger’s life and intellectual development until 1922. While visiting the Gymnasium. draws through the fields. Later we will take a closer look at these papers and see how Heidegger’s struggle with religion surfaces repeatedly. Heidegger left Meßkirch to continue his education at the Gymnasium in Constance. where Heidegger spent most of his holidays as a boy. In return they were expected to study theology. Martin Heidegger was born on September 26. When he was 14 years old. After a brief sketch of his early years. His mother was born and raised on a farm in nearby Göggingen. we will take a closer look at some of this evidence. in the south German town of Meßkirch. 1889. Gröber. thinking lays inconspicuous furrows in language. Martin Heidegger The different manuscripts and student notes of lecture courses that are published in volume 60 of the collected edition of Heidegger’s works. document five decisive years of Heidegger’s philosophical development in general. the Gesamtausgabe. For boys from modest families. Traces of Heidegger’s Religious Struggle in his Phenomenology of Religious Life Alfred Denker With its saying. Heidegger lived from 1903 until 1906 at the Konradihaus. where Heidegger occasionally served as an altar boy. In the second part of the paper.

the department of philosophy awarded the chair to Josef Geyser. entitled ‘The Doctrine of Judgment in Psychologism’. where he took courses in mathematics. In philosophy Professor Heinrich Rickert became his most influential teacher.2 On July 26. At this time he still thought his lifework would be taken up with a comprehensive presentation of psychology and medieval logic in the light of modern phenomenology. 1. however. This has all become common knowledge within the field of Heidegger studies. Heidegger received a doctorate in philosophy with his first dissertation. His future looked promising. In February 1911 a deteriorating heart condition forced Heidegger to abandon all plans to become a priest. physics and philosophy. it is important to remember that there was a strong Protestant and liberal .22 Denker later Archbishop of Freiburg. As planned. From 1906 until 1909 Heidegger lived in Freiburg. A grant from the Catholic Church enabled Heidegger to start work on his qualifying dissertation. 1915. In October 1911 he registered in the new department of mathematics and physics. he was dismissed for health reasons. graduating from the Berthold’s Gymnasium in the summer of 1909. After two weeks. philosophy professor Arthur Schneider and history professor Heinrich Finke began grooming the talented young scholar for the Freiburg University’s chair of Catholic philosophy. history. from which he slowly distanced himself from 1914 onwards. He subsequently moved to the seminary in Freiburg and continued his theological studies at the university there. he began his novitiate with the Jesuits of Tisis in September. gave the boy a copy of Brentano’s dissertation on Aristotle as a birthday present in 1907. On the advice of his mentors Heidegger decided to write on Duns Scotus’s doctrine of categories and meaning. From “Italian Salad” to a New Understanding of Christianity When discussing Heidegger’s intellectual biography in his student years. a year after he had successfully completed his qualifying dissertation and obtained his veni legendi on July 26. It therefore came as a great shock and bitter disappointment when. For our present purposes it suffices to establish that Heidegger came from a solid and devout Roman Catholic background. 1913. and we do not need to linger any longer on these well-trodden pathways.

Now. and how strong the influence of life philosophy on his thought has become. followed by a destruction of the history of ontology.4 The obvious question is. so that there can be neither . This would have considerably diminished his chances of obtaining further endowments and put his continued existence as a philosopher at risk. Heidegger had his first real taste of academic freedom. since he was financially dependent on grants from Roman Catholic foundations that would have had to take the papal guidelines into account. If the restriction imposed on theologians by the Motu proprio were extended to Roman Catholic philosophers. history. as a student of mathematics. students of theology were not allowed to attend any courses outside the department of theology. Heidegger would no longer have been allowed to pursue this line of thought. whereby those who have fallen away can correct their thinking by having their brains removed and replaced with ‘italian salad’”.3 In a letter that Heidegger wrote to his friend and colleague Father Engelbert Krebs on July 19. physics and philosophy. 1914. Heinrich Rickert and Edmund Husserl. Heidegger was no longer under obligation to attend specific lecture courses and seminars. while on the other he searched within that same tradition for solutions to modern philosophical problems. we find the first clear sign that he is moving beyond the strict anti-modernist world-view that he had defended in his earliest writings. After his decision to give up theology. In this book he followed a two-way strategy: on the one hand he used modern logic (developed by Emil Lask. why did this decree by Pope Pius X upset Heidegger so much? In the summer of 1914 Heidegger was still working on his qualifying dissertation on Duns Scotus’s theory of categories and meaning. Here we find already the famous structure of Being and Time: the systematic analytic of Being-there in the first part. Traces of Heidegger’s Religious Struggle 23 influence at Freiburg University. The notion of “deconstructing” shows how far Heidegger has come. In his 1911 review of Friedrich Wilhelm Förster’s book Authority and Freedom. he still celebrated “the eternal treasure of truth” (GA16: 7). and consequently the priesthood. the two people who exerted the greatest influence on his philosophical development. “The motu proprio was all we needed. The Roman Catholic Church’s authority is the guarantee of this treasure’s immutability and eternity. Rickert and Husserl) to deconstruct the petrified tradition of medieval scholasticism. Perhaps you as an ‘academic’ could seek a better way. were a Protestant and a non-denominational Christian respectively.

and had celebrated the marriage in the University chapel at Freiburg cathedral. 1919. they bring to light the fundamental historicity (Geschichtlichkeit) of human life. Nevertheless. and hoped to find faith with his help. I insisted on a Catholic marriage. they ultimately led to Heidegger’s break with “the system of Catholicism” (LEK 67). a continued re-appropriation of times past and an ever-new re-projecting of the future. and I have not found mine. the devil sleeps between”. it is also spoken in time. 1918. Elfride visited Father Krebs. but the result is that we both now think chiefly in a Protestant way. demonstrating that there cannot be an eternal and immutable truth. At the time of the visit Elfride was pregnant with her first child. Even logic and mathematics are not completed and finished sciences. they too have their history. thought. God’s Word is not only spoken to all times. on the history of medieval and scholastic philosophy. 1917. discussed. to whom he would dedicate the Gesamtausgabe almost sixty years later. Jörg. She was a student of national economics who had a strong interest in philosophy. are historical phenomena. attending Heidegger’s first lecture course. on the contrary. After her visit Krebs jotted down the gist of their conversation: My husband no longer has his Catholic faith. and Christianity in particular. On December 23.24 Denker development nor progress. who had mediated between Heidegger and his parents concerning his marriage to a Protestant. and his seminar on Kant’s Prolegomena in the 1915-1916 winter semester. In 1914 Heidegger had discovered that human life in all its facets is an on-going everyday transformation. I cannot go into all the details of this slow but sustained development of Heidegger’s basic beliefs and philosophical convictions.5 Suffice it to say that this transformation was accelerated by the most decisive event in Heidegger’s life. Thus each generation must breathe new life into the Word of God and find its own understanding of its meaning. who was later born on January 21. From here it is a small but decisive step to the insight that religion in general. An old German saying teaches us that “where two confessions share a pillow. he married a young Protestant woman by the name of Elfride Petri. we believe in a personal . We read. The long and intense discussions between the couple did not bring Elfride into the fold of the Roman Catholic Church. to baptize their first-born son. She and her husband had decided that they would not fulfil the promise. On March 20. made in their wedding vows. that is to say. As such. and prayed a lot together. At our wedding his faith was already undermined by doubts.

Heidegger returned to Freiburg in December 1918. In his philosophical autobiography. After attending a birthday party. Heinrich Ochsner.7 During his apprenticeship in Husserl’s phenomenological “school”. On January 9. 1917. and Schleiermacher. All of these different and apparently unrelated biographical fragments will fall into place when we add the missing piece of the puzzle. It contains the essence of Heidegger’s exposition” (Ochwadt 1981: 92). Simmel and Bergson. in the spring of 1920. From other sources we know also that Heidegger studied Protestant theology (Troeltsch. On April 1.6 There are no grounds for doubting the sincerity of Elfride’s statement. I have been impressed by it all week. among others) from 1915 onwards. after Armistice had been declared. Jaspers reminisces about his first meeting with Heidegger. provides us with an important clue in a letter written to an unnamed woman on August 5. 1916. though. and from May 1916 onwards. Heidegger had enough free time to attend lectures at the university and socialize with the theologian Deißmann and the phenomenologist Stumpf. he visited Heidegger’s study and was impressed by the intensity of the latter’s Luther studies (Jaspers 1995: 93). Kierkegaard. 1919. who was to be his life-long friend. One of Heidegger’s first students. Heidegger would learn daily through his close association and joint philosophizing with Husserl. he wrote his famous letter to Father Krebs: “Epistemological insights extending to a theory of historical knowledge have made the system of Catholicism problematic and unacceptable to me. Husserl came to Freiburg as Rickert’s successor. Evidence of all these interests can be found in GA60. during his training as a meteorologist in Berlin. “It is such a pity that you could not hear Heidegger’s exposition of the problem of the religious life. Traces of Heidegger’s Religious Struggle 25 God without any fixed dogmatic ties. Heidegger acquired the necessary tools with which to develop a phenomenology of religious life. Husserl and Heidegger had been corresponding since 1914. At the same time he pursued his interest in mysticism. in a new sense” (Van Buren 2002: 69). von Harnack.8 It . Overbeck. But perhaps we will read the second speech of Schleiermacher’s On Religion together. This is our first clear piece of evidence that Heidegger was studying Protestant theology at the time. but not Christianity and metaphysics – these. In the summer of 1918. but without Protestant or Catholic orthodoxy. and we pray to Him in the spirit of Christ. and also studied Nietzsche.

9 As we have seen above.10 However tremendous these irruptions may be. Heidegger had lost faith in institutional religion. he remained so attached to the Benedictine Monastery in Beuron. The last sentence of his letter to Krebs is noteworthy: “I believe that I have the inner calling to philosophy and. and scholasticism soon absorb and. Heidegger needs to scrape off layer after layer of solidified dogmatic statement to get to the beating heart of the underlying lived and immediate experience of the divine and the Holy. Instead of opening up the vista of immediate experiences of the divine and the Holy. in one of the places where people still cared for the inner life and preserved a milieu in which the divine and the Holy could be present. Here he could still experience authentic religious life. obsessed with clear and final answers. If we take a closer look at the lecture courses that he taught between 1919 and 1923. therefore. but because philosophy was his vocation. Heidegger is using the religious life as a vehicle for the development of his phenomenological method. For all his shouting. goes against the natural movement of life by offering an unchanging interpretation of religious experience. Heidegger did not become a philosopher because he needed to earn a living. be it of the Roman Catholic variety or one of the many different Protestant types. deform them. orthodoxy. It would perhaps not be an exaggeration to say that he felt that God had called him to philosophy. and so justify my existence [Dasein] and work ultimately before God” (LEK 68).26 Denker is important not to overestimate the importance of this sentence. through my research and teaching. and to do it for this alone. Dogmatism. Heidegger is searching for those pivotal moments in the history of Christianity when lived experience of the divine irrupts and is expressed immediately. dogmatism locks the door on any possible lived experience and throws away the key. it becomes evident that he was working out his phenomenological method through his development of a phenomenology of religious life. This should not blind us to the fact that his ultimate goal is a phenomenology of human life as it . Heidegger is breaking with the system of Catholicism. His need to justify his existence and his work before God clearly shows the influence of Luther. the dogmatist cannot hear the gentle call of God’s voice. This distinction explains why. throughout his life. to do what stands in my power for the sake of the eternal vocation of the inner man. To break through this barrier. dogmatism. not with Catholic faith. Heidegger started teaching again in the so-called “war emergency semester” of 1919.

content-sense. Hard work taught him that it is not enough to move beyond dogmatism. instead of proceeding along its own course. No text is wholly neutral. is specifically designed to meet these requirements. Heidegger’s phenomenological method. In the years that followed. nor does this suffice to clarify our own hermeneutic situation. phenomenology is not a method. It has now become obvious why Heidegger focussed on primordial Christianity. A phenomenological description of lived experience that keeps the experience alive is the proverbial needle that Heidegger tries to find in the hay-stack of phenomenology. however. Heidegger would free himself from this presupposition. Heidegger is convinced that the phenomenological method can be learned only through concrete phenomenological descriptions of phenomena. we can confine ourselves to a description of the traces left by Heidegger’s religious struggle. For our purposes. enactment- sense. Luther. Traces of Heidegger’s Religious Struggle 27 is lived and as it expresses itself. love. Human life has a tendency to fall away from itself and follow in the clear and familiar footsteps of the One. and sickness). Augustine. Heidegger and Jaspers share the conviction that human existence shows itself most clearly in the extremes of the limit situations (death. Human life. formal indication. his focus on religious life betrays the strong influence of Jaspers and his psychology of limit situations. which took him some six years to work out. of which the first step is the clarification of our hermeneutic situation and the second step is the destruction of the author’s hermeneutic situation. Philosophy should do justice to the fundamental historicity . faith. In Being and Time Dasein no longer shows itself first and foremost in limit situations. but in the averageness of everyday life. language and thought are historical to the core. we could say that he is trying to come to grips with his own religious life. Only by doing phenomenology can we learn what it is. because every expression of immediate lived experience mediates and thus transforms the experience. Even reading the New Testament or the works of Kierkegaard does not help much. medieval mysticism. What makes a phenomenology of religious lived experience so difficult is its double movement. it is philosophy itself. The key elements of his method (hermeneutic situation.11 This means that philosophy as Heidegger understands it is only possible as phenomenology. At the same time. and is a way of living one’s life. relational-sense. deconstruction and lived experience) are discussed in other essays in this volume. At the same time. and Kierkegaard.

and ‘The Philosophical Foundations of Medieval Mysticism’. both through abstract preparatory remarks on how to do phenomenology and through concrete examples of how phenomenology is done. In order to follow the inner movement of Heidegger’s thought and the development of his phenomenology of religion. The first part contains Heidegger’s lecture course from the 1920-21 winter semester. we should first study the third part. Secondly. searching for immediate lived experiences of the divine and the Holy. however. When reading the first part. Heidegger will have to emphasize pivotal figures in the history of Christianity. In GA60 we should look for three different kinds of traces. and not on a Heidegger manuscript. we should keep in mind that the text of the lecture course is based on student transcripts.28 Denker of human existence. and the third part notes for a lecture course planned for the 1919-1920 winter semester but never given. he is. and not all of them belong to the . in phenomenology and philosophy we circle the truth ever more closely. 2. The fragments collected in the third part under the general heading ‘The Philosophical Foundations of Medieval Mysticism’ pose other problems. and simultaneously clarify the hermeneutic situation of that tradition through a deconstruction of the present. but we never touch it. thus these disciplines reflect the finitude of human existence. Heidegger’s own notes and drafts are published in the appendix to the course (GA60: 127-156). we will take a closer look at the writings that make up GA60. In the second part of this paper. ‘Augustine and Neo-Platonism’. Heidegger will have to explain to his students what the phenomenological method is. Some fragments from the same folder were not published in this volume. which means that it must follow the two-way strategy mentioned above: it must clarify its own hermeneutic situation through a deconstruction of a tradition. the second part the course from the 1921 summer semester. In other words. Before throwing a child learning to swim into the deep end of the pool. From Schleiermacher to the Piety of Thinking GA60 is divided into three parts: ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’. Thirdly. we explain to them what swimming is and how one goes about it. after all. since his religious struggle was also an appropriation of Protestantism. As a teacher. we should expect to find evidence of his reading of Protestant theology.

‘The Absolute’ (GA60: 324-327). there are references in Ochner’s letter to Heidegger’s talk on Schleiermacher’s ‘Second Speech’ On Religion. ‘Historical Pre-givenness [Vorgegebenheit] and the Finding of Essence’ (GA60: 311-312). ‘Construction (Starting Points)’ (GA60: 309). ‘Irrationality in Meister Eckhart’ (GA60: 315-318). I dated the published fragments more precisely:12 1917 ‘On Schleiermacher’s Second Address “On the Essence of Religion”’ (GA60: 319-322). ‘Hegel’s Original. Traces of Heidegger’s Religious Struggle 29 notes for the planned course on mysticism. 1918 ‘On the Sermones Bernardi in canticum canticorum (Serm III)’ (GA60: 334-336). ‘Problems’ (GA60: 328). ‘The Religious a priori’ (GA60: 312-315). ‘Zu: Theresia von Jesu. ‘On Schleiermacher. Die Seelenburg’ (GA60: 336-337). ‘Religious Phenomena’ (GA60: 312). Earliest Position on Religion – and Consequences’ (GA60: 328). ‘Piety–Faith’ (GA60: 329-330). Das Heilige [The Holy]. “The Christian Faith” [Der christliche Glaube] – and Phenomenology of Religion in General’ (GA60: 330-332). 1917)’ (GA60: 332-334). ‘Irrationalism’ (GA60: 311). ‘Faith’ (GA60: 329). In my Historical Dictionary of Heidegger’s Philosophy. ‘Mysticism in the Middle Ages’ (GA60: 306-307). . 1919 ‘The Philosophical Foundations of Medieval Mysticism’ (GA60: 303-306). ‘Mysticism (Directives)’ (GA60: 308). In fact. ‘Phenomenology of Religious Experience and of Religion’ (GA60: 322-324). ‘Faith and Knowledge’ (GA60: 310). ‘The Holy (Preparations for the review of Rudolph Otto.

The first two are more superficial. In the third part of GA60 we find a fragment on Schleiermacher’s Speeches on Religion. Heidegger still shared Husserl’s supposition that all reality is based on consciousness. How can we access the pre-theoretical. he crossed out “consciousness” and replaced it with “life”. As Heidegger worked out his own phenomenological method. and how it can be described phenomenologically. The third kind of evidence is perhaps the most interesting. he tries to show that Schleiermacher’s reflections on the essence of religion are. 1917. a relic of the talk on Schleiermacher that Ochsner had heard on August 1. First of all. We can draw two conclusions from this change. by replacing “consciousness” with “life”. Heidegger distances himself from Husserl. in a . Secondly. Luther. Troeltsch. Augustine. As we have seen above.30 Denker One other important piece of evidence is provided by one of the editors in his ‘Afterword’ (GA60: 345). Since Heidegger is convinced that philosophy is only possible as phenomenology. and show themselves in the works and authors that Heidegger is studying and commenting on. In other words. On the one hand we find signs of his confrontation with Protestant theology (that of Schleiermacher. he had the insight that consciousness is not the fundamental phenomenon that Husserl had made it out to be. Later. Lived religious experience demands a phenomenological approach. we should expect to find three different kinds of evidence of Heidegger’s religious struggle in GA60.13 Heidegger titled his collection of fragments from his course on medieval mysticism ‘Phenomenology of Religious Consciousness’. since it shows how Heidegger understands the immediate religious lived experience. Otto. on the other traces of his reading of pivotal developments in the history of Christianity (primordial Christianity. Heidegger originally developed his phenomenology of religion from a Husserlian point of view: all phenomena are phenomena of consciousness. and Kierkegaard). It presents some interesting features. mysticism. What makes a phenomenology of religious consciousness so difficult to attain is the fact that religious consciousness is pre-theoretical. probably as he was preparing his course on the phenomenology of religion for the 1920/1921 winter semester. and von Harnack). immediate lived experience of the divine and the Holy without un-living it? This fundamental problem also explains why methodological questions and problems play such a dominant part in Heidegger’s phenomenology of religion.

direct his own religious life. In 1918 Heidegger was working on a review of Rudolf Otto’s book The Holy. Heidegger defines his objective. it is also “a way of acting” (GA60: 319). Here we find two basic ideas that will guide all of Heidegger’s work on the phenomenology of religion and. Heidegger’s preparatory notes for his planned course on the philosophical foundations of medieval mysticism continue in the same vein. Religion is not just “a kind of thinking”. which he and Husserl read as a phenomenology of our consciousness of God. Thus. Heidegger copied the entire passage in which Reinach makes this distinction (GA60: 326-327). He also closely examined a fragment by Adolf Reinach on the Absolute that was made available to him by Husserl. He is still struggling with methodological problems of phenomenology and its primordial understanding. His course . not in its historical objectification in religious forms. but it does not follow from this that theology as such leads us back to this primordial lived experience. in a sense. The other idea is Reinach’s distinction between explicit knowledge and experientially immanent knowledge. Feeling is the inner unity of life and personal consciousness. and can always be understood. Even if this fragment is still merely rhapsodic – Heidegger clearly lacks the phenomenological tools for his difficult task – it shows him trying to get to the lived experience that is at the base of institutionalized religion. a belief. This distinction points towards Heidegger’s hermeneutic transformation of Husserl’s phenomenology of pure consciousness. and the knowledge that we feel secure in the love of God and that God. As a kind of introduction to the course. a purely theoretical approach to religion will distort the phenomenon.14 Life is always expressing itself. therefore. must exist. therefore. There is a path that leads from this primordial lived experience of religion to theology. all of which are intertwined and rooted in genuine personal existence. We must. There is an essential difference between the immediate feeling of security in God’s love. Heidegger is chiefly interested in this innermost movement of conscious life itself. The most important goal of the phenomenology of religion is the discovery of an original domain of consciousness (or feeling) in which religion as a distinct form of lived experience is actualized. phenomenological descriptions. Traces of Heidegger’s Religious Struggle 31 profound sense. One is that living consciousness actualizes itself in different life- worlds. “get down into the innermost holiness of life” (GA60: 321).

all we can do is try to be ready when Christ comes again. while keeping his distance from Protestantism. It is historical because it can only get at pure consciousness through the latter’s concrete historical actualizations.15 His real objective is systematic: the living structures of lived religious experience must be described and clarified in their essence. because the Second Coming of Christ will come like a thief in the night (GA60. He is exploring the biblical roots of his own drive toward questioning. Heidegger is using both genetic and eidetic phenomenology. who had lost faith in institutionalized religion. forcing the possibilities of phenomenological primordial understanding (Urverstehen) to their limits. neither is he going to provide an historical overview of medieval mysticism (GA60: 303). Phenomenology is systematic because it describes pure consciousness and attempts to show how it develops into concrete situations and life-worlds. The way the Parousia stands in our lives determines their full temporal actualization. In order to phenomenologically describe and understand mystical phenomena. from the concrete fullness of their historical situations. in a very real sense. 105). Then these essences must be reduced to pure consciousness. In Christian life there can be no certainty. and to such an extent that students complained to the Dean of the Philosophy Department about the lack of religious content. After the Christmas break Heidegger embarks upon a thorough interpretation of Pauline letters. Heidegger intends to investigate the pre-theoretical foundation in pure consciousness from which it sprang. He is moving away from Catholicism. is searching for immediate lived experiences of the divine and the Holy. By examining the mystic’s written expressions of the lived experience of mysticism. Christian life draws it meaning from the necessity of this fundamental uncertainty. At the same time he is trying to find out how Christian life in its actualization is . so that their motivation and genesis become clear.32 Denker has nothing to do with the then popular forms of “constructive philosophy of religion”. In an interesting note he remarks upon the differences between Catholic belief (fides) and Protestant faith (fiducia) (GA60: 310). Heidegger and his students need to become. Methodological problems dominate the first half of his 1920-21 course on the phenomenology of religion. Christian religiosity lives temporality as such. mystics themselves: “only a religious person can understand religious life” (GA60: 304). Heidegger is using Paul’s apostolic proclamation to question his own Christianity. Heidegger.

9 For a complete overview of Heidegger’s writings. he can once again attempt to understand authentic Christian life in its actualization before the face of God. for instance. on Augustine and neo-Platonism. 4 Denker (2004b: 62). 1919. Heidegger attended lecture courses given by two Protestant professors. From time to time it reasserted itself in violent eruptions (as in Augustine. Heidegger also has much sympathy for Augustine’s famous remark “I have become a question to myself”. my translation. see Denker (2004b: 13-17). 10 See. For a complete list of the lecture courses and seminars that Heidegger attended. 6 Cited after Ott (1992: 108). see Chris Bremmers’s listing of his works in Denker (2004b: 419-598). 13 See also his letter to Blochmann mentioned on the same page. 11 See. Not only was Augustine a Neo-Platonist before he became a Christian. Heidegger focuses his attention on the clash between Christianity and Hellenism. we find in his work a tension inherent in his attempt to express his lived Christian experience in a vocabulary drawn mainly from Greek philosophy. John). GA59 (7). my translation. 5 For a full-scale interpretation of Heidegger’s life and work from 1909 until 1919. his phenomenology of religion reflects his own existential and religious self-questioning. see Ott (1988: 45-105). GA58 (205): “The ancient Christian achievement was distorted and buried through the infiltration of classical science into Christianity. for instance. 2 See also Denker (2002). Naturally. Richard August Reitzenstein (on Christianity and Hellenism) and Eduard Schwarz (on the Gospel of St. Traces of Heidegger’s Religious Struggle 33 grounded in primordial factical life as such. in Kierkegaard)”. courses. ‘Vita’. The meeting of these two worlds was to dominate Western history and medieval scholasticism. 3 According to his ‘Vita’. 8 For a penetrating exposition of the system of Catholicism. in Luther. 14 In the fragment on Bernard of Clairvaux. see Denker (2004a). in GA16 (41-42). In his next lecture course. 12 Denker (2000: 249-250). Heidegger calls his phenomenological analysis “hermeneutics” (GA60: 336). and seminars. 7 See for instance his letter to Elisabeth Blochmann of May 1. his feet still firmly planted in neo-Platonism and primordial Christianity. GA60 (22). lectures. See also Sheehan (1988). . It is precisely because Augustine stands only on the threshold of scholasticism. that Luther was able to draw so heavily on his work in an attempt to overthrow the “system” of Catholicism of his era. In other words. See Heidegger. With Augustine. in Heidegger (1989: 16). 1 For a complete overview of Heidegger’s student years. see Schabert (2004: 159-184).

Freiburg: Herder. Supplements: From the Earliest Essays to Being and Time and Beyond. Johannes. in John Sallis. Heidegger. Alfred. Troeltsch. 2004b. N.).).und Kirchengeschichte des 19. 1989.N. Curd and Erwin Tecklenborg (eds).: State University of New York Press. Frankfurt a. ‘Heideggers Lebens. und beginnenden 20. – With Hans-Helmuth Gander and Holger Zaborowski (eds). ‘Heideggers Lehrjahre’. ‘Martin Heideggers “Herkunft” im Spiegel der Theologie. Martin. References Buren. Hannover: Charis-Verlag. Hugo. 1988. Historical Dictionary of Heidegger’s Philosophy. 2002. and Fries. 1981.34 Denker 15 Constructive philosophy of religion formed an integral part of neo-Kantian philosophy in the early twentieth century. Das Maß des Verborgenen. Philosophische Autobiographie. Heidegger und die Anfänge seines Denkens (Heidegger- Jahrbuch 1).M. Marbach a. Joachim W.: Vittorio Klostermann. 2002. Martin Heidegger and Heinrich Rickert. 2004. Briefe 1912-1933. Storck).: Deutsche Schillergesellschaft.: Campus Verlag. Jaspers.M. Frankfurt a. Briefwechsel 1918- 1969 (ed. in Denker (2004b): 159-184. Heinrich Ochsner zum Gedächtnis. Denker.Y. Ott. Jahrhunderts’. Martin Heidegger: Unterwegs zu seiner Biographie. 2004a. Heidegger refers to Otto. Dordrecht: Kluwer. Ochwadt. John van (ed. Karl. Lanham: Scarecrow Press. Thomas. Sheehan. – 2000. München/Zürich: Piper Verlag GmbH. 1995. Giuseppina Moneta and Jacques Taminiaux (eds) The Collegium Phaenomenologicum: The First Ten Years. . – (ed. and Elisabeth Blochmann. Schabert. Albany.und Denkweg 1909-1919’ in Denker (2004b): 97-122. 1988.

the discipline that Heidegger has most impacted is theology – both Catholic and Protestant. It is important to recognize a reciprocal influence operating here: the question of how Heidegger’s thought influenced theology should be asked in the light of the import of theology for Heidegger’s path of thinking. But even earlier. This latter influence was openly acknowledged by Heidegger himself in the fifties in Unterwegs zur Sprache. Catholic theologians. He states that without his theological origins he would never have come onto his path of thought. in a like manner. in a letter to Karl Löwith on August 19. GA66: 415). the reason for (and the cause of) Heidegger’s subsequent impact on theology. His theological origins might then be. Fehér Martin Heidegger’s thinking has had a durable and powerful influence not only upon the philosophy of the Twentieth Century. . who. which is equally important for the purposes of the present paper. Religion. In Unterwegs zur Sprache Heidegger makes a further point. on a first approach. He mentions that it was also in the course of his early theological studies that he first came across and grew familiar with the term “hermeneutics” – a term he found somewhat later in Dilthey too. 1921.1 Protestant theologians have tended to draw upon the early Heidegger’s analysis of human existence and the later Heidegger’s philosophy of the language-event. Arguably. or theologically interested Catholic philosophers. have been primarily attracted by Heidegger’s coupling of ontology with transcendental philosophy and his incessant investigation of the question of being (Schaeffler 1978: X. but upon a number of disciplines within the humanities as well. Theology and Philosophy on the Way to Being and Time: Heidegger. a remark which echoes a recently published autobiographical passage from the late thirties (US: 96. Jäger 1978: 84). Heidegger made reference to his “intellectual and wholly factic origin” as a “Christian theologian” (Papenfuss 1990: 29). Dilthey and Early Christianity István M.

more especially. and Lebensphilosophie. I will sketch an outline of Heidegger’s development in the postwar years. I will elaborate my argument in two steps. I will argue that it is with an eye to his previous understanding of religion and religious life. the explicit program of Being and Time. Being and Time might even be claimed to attempt to bring together the Catholic and the Protestant traditions – the ontological perspective of neo-Scholasticism (Brentano’s dissertation. I wish to exhibit traits decisive for Heidegger’s path of thinking and his confrontation with the leading philosophical tendencies of the age. that Heidegger conceives of philosophy and its relation to human existence in Being and Time. against the background of this sketch I will focus more specifically on his 1920/21 course on the Phenomenology of Religion by selecting and highlighting some of the features I think are salient for Heidegger’s thinking. In particular. and Dilthey). historicism.2 Heidegger’s theological origins are then relevant not only for his becoming a philosopher in general. Kierkegaard. Specifically. Augustine. hermeneutics. but also. . My aim in this paper is to show the significance of Heidegger’s phenomenology of religion as an important step on his way to his magnum opus. the elaboration of a fundamental ontology in terms of an existential analytic of the human being. may be construed as an attempt to unite and forge both traditions. for the specific kind of hermeneutic attitude he was to adopt in philosophy. with Luther’s critique of Scholasticism. Fundamental ontology as the elaboration of the question of Being may be seen as Catholic in origin. the shift in focus from an ontological perspective upon the divine order to individually enacted faith (drawing upon Paul. especially phenomenology. Indeed. Von der mannigfachen Bedeutung des Seienden nach Aristoteles as well as Carl Braig’s Vom Sein: Abriß der Ontologie). Schleiermacher.36 Fehér discovered it in his own theological studies. whereas the existential analytic (a continuation and radicalization of his early hermeneutics of facticity) may be traced back to the Lutheran- Kierkegaardian theology of subjectively enacted faith. Seen in the perspective suggested by his Catholic theological influences. the provisional end point of his youthful itinerary. second. especially in the work of Schleiermacher. as well as the relation between faith and theology. First. Pascal.

Heidegger started out as a talented young student. This move marks the point of his becoming an original thinker: Heidegger ceases to be dependent on prior (and. even conflicting philosophical positions. 253). Educated in the Scholastic tradition. In his academic writings he showed a commitment first and foremost to the anti- psychologism characteristic of neo-Kantianism and phenomenology. as it were – in Heidegger’s thinking after World War I that he found his own voice and his way toward Being and Time..g. Instead.3 This outlook fades away soon after the war and gives way to a radical re-orientation. from the thematization of factical life and the Selbstwelt in the postwar years to Dasein’s Jemeinigkeit in Being and Time). naive) acceptance of philosophical positions whatsoever. Heidegger’s Philosophical Development After World War I It was due to a radical re-orientation – a veritable turn. which at first must necessarily be employed. quite the contrary. Theology and Philosophy on the way to Being and Time 37 1. at contributing to their further advancement – Heidegger embarks upon a radical re- examination of the roots of those tendencies. He begins a life-long engagement with the whole Western philosophical tradition.4 . Although anti-psychologism rested on purely logical grounds. the prevailing atmosphere of the early writings is nonetheless Platonic-wissenschaftstheoretisch (GA1: 203. it signifies precisely a positive appropriation of tradition” (GA24: 31). While we can identify several proto-hermeneutic motifs in Heidegger’s early academic writings (e. It is “not a negation of the tradition or a condemnation of it as worthless. Rather than continue to work as a devoted follower of contemporary philosophical tendencies – relying with confidence on their presuppositions and striving. by necessity. at best. a “primal determination of living reality”. but responsive to new logical-epistemological ways of philosophizing. are deconstructed down to the sources from which they were drawn”. “a critical process in which the traditional concepts. Heidegger’s early interest in the critique of psychologism can be connected to his interest in apologetics (Zaborowski 2004: 149). which clearly suggests a growing sense for individuality. it was harmonious with the Scholastic defence of the objectivity of truth and the apologetic tendency of anti-modernist Catholic thinking. Religion. This operation is given the name of destruction. Heidegger’s appreciation of Duns Scotus’s concept of haecceitas as indicative of a “proximity to real life”. his efforts are directed at a re-appropriation of the fundamental presuppositions underlying the most varied.

that is. its most original and decisive problem – is phenomenology itself” (GA58: 1). Heidegger’s devastating critique of contemporary trends of philosophizing first takes them seriously. last but not least. of being “unphenomenological”. exposition. historicism is called to account for losing sight of history. Heidegger strives to uncover what he perceives to be the common deficiencies inherent in the philosophical positions of the day – positions that often stand in sharpest opposition to each other. it shows from the very beginning a highly critical attitude prompted by the simultaneous assimilation of some leading motifs of life-philosophy. for . at their word. In a sense it might be said that the strategy of destruction itself is a radicalization of phenomenology’s innermost claim: Back to the things themselves! It turned out to be a tool which Heidegger turned against phenomenology itself.5 Phenomenology should. The Fundamental Problems of Phenomenology. and. or adherence to its basic tenets the postwar observations display a tendency toward a comprehensive confrontation with its basic concepts and theoretical fundaments. This point is worth developing in some detail. a problem that can never be extinguished. While Heidegger’s remarks on phenomenology in his academic writings scarcely amount to more than a faithful recapitulation. rather. The winter semester course of 1919/20.38 Fehér With the strategy of destruction Heidegger re-appropriated the philosophical trend he felt most close and committed to from the very beginning. Appropriation and transformation are apparently going on hand in hand – which fits Heidegger’s theory of the fore-structure of understanding in Being and Time. existential philosophy is charged with not seizing upon existence. phenomenology is accused of not being phenomenological enough – indeed. and then uncovers the extent to which they can be shown to fail to do justice to their own claims. as it were. 2. life philosophy is accused of failing to grasp life itself. The Hermeneutic Transformation of Phenomenology: A Reciprocal Radicalization of Phenomenology and Life-Philosophy Heidegger’s appropriation of Husserl’s phenomenology is far from a neutral assimilation. Husserlian phenomenology. begins with the following characteristic statement: “The fundamental problem of phenomenology its most acute problem. Epistemologically oriented scientific philosophy is criticized for not being scientific enough.

237). not just occasionally be concerned with itself. that he thereby sharply distinguishes between phenomenology as a way of doing philosophical research. Heidegger heartily welcomes the innermost effort of phenomenology to return to “the things themselves”. 145. that Heidegger found fascinating in phenomenology after the war. These remarks are woven into a criticism of epistemologically oriented neo-Kantian philosophy. the preference of description over construction. phenomenology thus conceived becomes for Heidegger identical with philosophy. but as expressive of the most original attitude (Urhaltung) of life itself. however. for Heidegger. Heidegger here interprets Husserl’s “principle of all principles”.7 It was precisely this character of open possibility. From the very beginning. one “standpoint” among many possible others. In the emergency war semester course of 1919 (KNS = Kriegsnotsemester). but to the domination of the theoretical in general (GA56/57: 87). but is equivalent with the innermost possibility of philosophy itself. as Husserl thinks. and brought to bear upon the whole metaphysical-ontological tradition back to Aristotle). he had serious doubts about Husserl’s transcendental approach. and phenomenology as practised by Husserl. that of remaining close . From the earliest postwar period up to his latest years he repeatedly maintains that phenomenology is not just a philosophical “trend”. as well as what it implies: the suspension of traditional philosophical strategies. Indeed.6 It is important to see that phenomenology. characteristic of and indeed indispensable for any kind of serious and autonomous philosophical inquiry. not as a theoretical principle. and appear in the form of an attack against the primacy of the theoretical (an attack that is motivated by Dilthey. life-philosophy and historicism. in short: the effort to bring out the phenomena by going back to the original sources of intuition. the dismissal of authorities. Theology and Philosophy on the way to Being and Time 39 Heidegger. Heidegger observes that the distortive representations of life and the environing world are due not simply to the prevalence of naturalism. primarily against itself (GA58: 6. We can understand phenomenology only by seizing upon it as a possibility” (SZ: 38). This is one of the reasons why he claims in Being and Time: “Higher than actuality stands possibility. On the contrary: if it is to be radical enough it should bring to bear its criticism also upon itself – indeed. is a possibility rather than an actuality. Religion. he shows some important reservations about Husserl’s actual phenomenology (and together with it the outlines of another possible phenomenology).

Over against the charges of dogmatism. nature).e. and not simply by taking over the leading idea of . all of which are ontological regions that are naively. the question of whether the linking of intentionality to pure consciousness.. of the character of a hidden theory.8 The principle of all principles expresses a fundamental attitude (Grundhaltung) rather than a scientific method. The basic issue is whether and how phenomenology gets access to its own research field. in other words. If we leap forward to Heidegger’s 1925 critique of Husserl’s phenomenology.. the self-concretization of phenomenological philosophy out of its own initial principle or maxim. Rather than an ultimate explanation of psychic reality. we see that its central theme is. but rather that to which intentionality gets tacitly bound. whether the procedure thereby employed is phenomenologically coherent or not. i. reason. or to the transcendental ego. to turn the sphere of living experience into something given (GA56/57: 111)?9 This doubt is one of the very first signs of Heidegger’s fundamental dissatisfaction with Husserlian phenomenology. Heidegger observes that intentionality is a way to overcome such traditional ontological realities as psyche. traditionally and therefore dogmatically assumed rather than phenomenologically discussed and delimited. To claim that phenomenology is a standpoint would be to restrict its possibilities. etc. intentionality is held to be the specific structure of the psyche. say. that which is built into the structure – in other words. is carried out phenomenologically.11 The question is whether access to that of which intentionality is declared to be the structure is attained in a phenomenological way. consciousness. Heidegger immediately asks. (rather than.40 Fehér to its own experiencing (GA56/57: 109). consciousness. reason.10 The world of lived experience knows of no such duality as that between object and knowledge. 178).e. The issue concerns the phenomenological delimitation of the “thing itself”. once again. that of which intentionality is claimed to be the specific structure. as formulated by Rickert. In fact. which will lead up to the 1925 critique in which Husserl will be charged with dogmatism (an unphenomenological attitude) regarding nothing less than the delimitation of the proper research field of phenomenology itself. i. But. Heidegger comes to the conclusion that it is not the notion of intentionality as such that is dogmatic. is it not already a deviation. the delimitation of the specific research field of phenomenology itself. transcendental consciousness (GA20: 159.

i. 178). Moreover. in any case. including the psychic processes going on in the minds of empirically existing people. is significant enough. symptomatically. he nevertheless tacitly links intentionality to an ontological region called transcendental consciousness. humans appear here merely as living beings. is this attitude indeed so natural? Is it not rather artificial or.. However. affected with metaphysical bias.e. present-at-hand as any other (GA20: 131ff. 172. SZ: 120)?15 It would indeed be hard to deny that it is not as zoological objects that we primarily do experience ourselves in the natural attitude. Religion. 162. i. theoretical? Do I really experience myself “naturally” as a living being. Theology and Philosophy on the way to Being and Time 41 modern Cartesian-Kantian philosophy – a doubt that proves to be well- founded (GA20: 147). the world is present as a spatio-temporal sequence of events. Insofar as the principle of phenomenology (“to the things themselves!”) requires suspension of every unwarranted construction. 178). 157ff. and a critical examination of the unquestioned domination of philosophical theories. he re-inscribes traditional distinctions..e. In order to experience ourselves in that way we must previously have shifted over into an attitude of a particular theory. 155ff. between being as consciousness and transcendent being. as erecting itself upon and replacing the experience of empirical reality is characterized by Husserl in terms of a change in attitude.12 Remarkably enough. . we may legitimately ask: does one really experience oneself in the manner described here in this alleged “natural attitude”? In other words. 178). Heidegger’s objection strikes home – it is preeminently phenomenological (GA20: 159. phenomenology tacitly commits itself to certain ontological positions – i. Heidegger objects. a zoological object. zoological objects among others. for example. the pure region of consciousness that we are about to enter... As opposed to the new realm.13 That phenomenology may be shown to be intrinsically incoherent or inconsistent..e. as well as the return to the original sources of intuition. “the most radical of all distinctions of being” (GA20: 155. out there. 157ff. which he calls. “unphenomenological”.. In the natural attitude. without thematizing the access to those positions phenomenologically (GA20: 140.. Although Husserl claims to suspend “assertions concerning being” and thereby leaves the being of intentionality obscure. while prohibiting ontological assertions.14 The access to the transcendental region of pure consciousness.

42 Fehér The (phenomenological) implications of this most phenomenological criticism of phenomenology are simple enough: an attempt should be made to experience the intentional being more originally. as an effort to come to terms with the significant tendencies of contemporary philosophy and. That to which philosophy had to find its way back. thereby making the distinctions empirical–transcendental. with what philosophy is really about. but life in its originality. more importantly. Bergson. 23. The Fundamental Problems of Phenomenology. . These were indeed very much in play in his confronting Husserlian transcendental phenomenology and contributed decisively to its hermeneutic transformation. The 1919/20 lecture course. Ursprungswissenschaft). Whatever the underlying motivation may be that catalysed this turn.e. Phenomenology thus conceived is repeatedly called pre-theoretical “primal science” or “science of the origins” (Urwissenschaft. In the course of this lecture Heidegger designates life as the “primal phenomenon” (Urphänomen) for phenomenology in general (GA59: 15. And. for Heidegger. Simmel... life. Dilthey. Heidegger’s postwar turn may comprehensively be characterized as an overall attempt at appropriation and re- appropriation. so Heidegger may be simply taking Natorp. starts with the call for phenomenology’s self-renewal and self-criticism. 18. it is as immanent a criticism as one may ever be claimed to be. his postwar motto is. In a sense. in its “natural” setting. not only superfluous. this is precisely what Being and Time will do with the title of existential analytic. What is required is to experience the natural attitude more naturally. 176). Jaspers. in a more unprejudiced way. i. Nevertheless. but indeed unphenomenological and empty.. it could never have been carried out had Heidegger previously not assimilated some basic motives of life-philosophy. thereby no longer taking the traditional definition of man as animal rationale for granted.e. when we look at the matter more closely. the tendency to gain a new access to life was widespread at the time and reflected the efforts of the age. Back to life in its originality! This was the way Heidegger came to understand Husserl’s principle of principles. 40. etc. Heidegger’s transformation and radicalization of Husserlian phenomenology rests on eminently phenomenological grounds. is. i. not transcendental consciousness. ideal–real. 39. the origin of all meaning.

23 It is in the course of his destructive efforts to penetrate behind the theoretical comportment and gain a fresh access to life that the hermeneutic problematic emerges in Heidegger’s early lecture courses. “theoretical”.17 We can hardly conceive of Heidegger’s historicist opposition to Husserl’s transcendental ego without Dilthey’s influence.19 What he objects to is the failure of life-philosophy to develop conceptual means adequate to its subject matter. a conception of the human as the rational being – one more reason why Heidegger strives to disengage himself from the notion of rational animal.16 In the midst of various devastating criticisms. and existence are irrational. and James seriously.22 The traditional concept of rationality stems from the theoretical attitude.24 The description of life. In claiming its objects to be irrational.e. the theoretical comportment has indeed gained mastery over the entire Western philosophical tradition.18 Heidegger suggests that the basic effort of life-philosophy is correct. Life-philosophy relies upon the tools of the adversary for its own concepts. When he speaks of the positive tendencies of life- philosophy he usually has Dilthey in mind. “this hegemony of the theoretical must be broken”. Theology and Philosophy on the way to Being and Time 43 Scheler. history. “hermeneutic”. more often than not Heidegger takes great pains to note that there is an original impulse inherent in life-philosophy – that he indeed does appreciate the impulse. one that conforms to its object. “Hermeneutics”. He shares the view that the object primarily to be approached and investigated is “life” (GA17: 112). Religion. becomes hermeneutic . The young Heidegger offers an alternative to rational concepts and theoretical knowing. so as to explore dimensions of human being underlying the theoretical comportment. what he calls “hermeneutic concepts”. it uncritically borrows the measure or concept of rationality from the adversary rather than elaborating a rationality or conceptuality of its own.20 That is also the reason why. or – over against pure or theoretical intuition – “hermeneutic intuition” (GA9: 32. life- philosophers tend to come inevitably to the conclusion that life. emerge as rival concepts to “theory”.. i. and together with it from the rational–irrational distinction. or “facticity”. The domination of it has been undisputed even where it has been bitterly opposed.21 The point Heidegger makes could be put as follows: irrationalist philosophy is really too rational. understood in terms of “theoretically neutral”. Phenomenologically seen. As he puts it in an early lecture. while what he is rejecting is its insufficient (parasitic) realization. GA56/57: 117). having realized that the tools are not equal to the task. “life”.

to some theoretically neutral (and. To sum up: the radicalization of phenomenology leads Heidegger to the thematization of factical life (to a kind of life- phenomenology) whereas the description of the latter. to be achieved by a hermeneutic attitude and conceptuality. in all kinds of seeing. i.26 All these efforts are in the service of seizing upon “life”. as well as the willingness to accompany it.28 . a kind of extension or annex. existentially (and historically) involved understanding (or pre-understanding) and interpreting – whereby knowledge becomes at best a subdivision of understanding. in its turn.44 Fehér precisely in virtue of the realization that interpretation cannot be regarded as something added on. PIA: 240). as it were. exactly the way we encounter and have to do with them (a hammer is primarily encountered as a tool for hitting nails into the wall rather than as a neutral thing out there having the property of weight). that is.27 This proximity to genuine life. to come along with it all the way (Mitgehen). allegedly “objective”) description of a state of affairs: rather. And in Oskar Becker’s lecture note of the course SS 1919 we read: “phenomenology. as well as the language that theory speaks. there is no pure description either. a disposition to remain as close to life in its originality as possible (since theoretical comportment means having distanced oneself from genuine life. What this insight implies for an adequate description of life or facticity is that theoretical concepts.25 If there is no “pure” theory (for “theory” is a derivative mode of being or comportment of one particular being called human). requires a conceptuality of its own. preliminary “interpretedness” is inherent in all kinds of description. Theoretically (and a-historically) neutral knowledge is opposed to. is an understanding science” (GA56/57: 216). The main character of the latter is claimed to be concern (Sorge) rather than knowledge (GA61: 89. having displaced oneself into a derivative attitude). and experiencing.. the primal science of philosophy. as such. The science which is destined to provide access to life in its originality is intrinsically interpretive. saying. hermeneutic – an insight which explicitly crops up in a note of the 1919/20 lecture course: “The science of the origins is ultimately the hermeneutic science” (GA58: 55). a hermeneutic perspective. and gives way to. should be abandoned in favour of a language growing out of everyday life and able to let things be seen in their interpretedness. is a disposition Heidegger semi-religiously calls humilitas animi (GA58: 23).e.

Religion. as it were. primarily religious life. when looked at more closely. the thing itself is not consciousness. that is. With respect to life-philosophy. primarily life. To put it bluntly: religion is religious life. doctrine or speculation. First. 3. but life. the approach to life is not life as it is being lived and enacted. Religious Life As a Paradigm of Facticity We are now in a position to assess the significance of Heidegger’s religion courses for his philosophical development. however. religion is for Heidegger. it is life that should be the matter for philosophy. when viewed more closely. the two phenomena. but life falsified by measures and conceptual tools alien to it.30 Therefore it was entirely appropriate that Heidegger collected his papers and notes pertaining to this problematic under the designation ‘Phenomenology of Religious Life’. as a phenomenology of religious life. The substitution of this single word alone characteristically exhibits Heidegger’s appropriation of and attitude to Husserl’s phenomenology: rather than consciousness. Second: it must be noted that in this formulation life is. and reveals itself. in accordance with his distancing himself from the Scholastic tradition and embracing the Protestant problematic. but that he later changed the last word with ‘Life’ (GA60: 345). and it was equally a happy decision that the editor chose this title for GA60. The phenomenology of life. life and religious life. With regard to Heidegger’s repeated rejection of conceiving either of life or of consciousness in regional terms – as object fields cut off from . or it is none.29 In this formulation two points must be stressed. With respect to phenomenology. It is also important to note that Heidegger’s original title was ‘Phenomenology of Religious Consciousness’. praxis. which Heidegger comes to elaborate understands itself. not theory. in a living manner. phenomenology of life and phenomenology of religious life. are not to be sharply distinguished. for Heidegger. Under the influence of life-philosophy Heidegger radicalizes Husserlian transcendental phenomenology and transforms it into a (hermeneutic) phenomenology of life. Religion can meaningfully be conceived of only in terms of religious life. Theology and Philosophy on the way to Being and Time 45 Both phenomenology and life-philosophy are accused of illegitimate prejudice. This significance may be spelled out in a concise way by summing up his path of thinking from the postwar years up to the early twenties as follows. Nor are the two disciplines.

That is one of the reasons why he focuses his investigations upon Paul’s letters. an “object” of study for phenomenological philosophy much like death becomes one in his main work. all-embracing phenomenology of life. Something such as eternal life or the immortality of the soul remain out of the question. The dialectics thereby in play is a kind of inverse movement. Thereby Heidegger understands life. the factical life of the earliest Christian communities and the inner dynamics inherent in the (this-worldly) life of the believers belonging to them. the way one becomes a Christian and lives it all the way through. as a phenomenologically meaningful philosophical) question. it remains even undecided whether any question concerning what comes after death can. in wholly this-worldly terms. for Heidegger. as a “theoretical” (that is. In this respect Heidegger remained for ever committed to Husserl’s “principle of all principles” – more specifically. and that it decides. Moreover. In full accordance with this principle he claims further in the work that his “analysis of death remains purely ‘this- worldly’”. or facticity.46 Fehér the whole of being – it would be misleading to think of a phenomenology of religious life as a kind of subdivision. wholly exempt from any other-worldly character. as long as it is to remain philosophy. that is. “a sense of a prohibition – the avoidance of characterizing anything without […] demonstration” (SZ: 35). To say that. prohibit itself to detach itself from that which shows itself in intuition. The term ‘description’ has in phenomenology. of some allegedly comprehensive. in this perspective. life is primarily religious life. nothing (either positive or negative) about the “other-worldly”. inclusive of religious life. Life is always already factical life. Religion is. ever be formulated at all (SZ: 248). or – to borrow Gadamer’s term – a fusion of horizons. It is the this-worldly living and enacting of faith. . accordingly. Heidegger argues in Being and Time. Religious life does become a paradigm of life for Heidegger on the one hand. or specification. as a concentration of it. that Heidegger is interested in and concentrates upon. amounts rather to saying that religious life displays for him in a concentrated way the characters of life – that it serves as a sort of paradigm for life. to the prohibitive character inherent in it: everything “offered to us in ‘intuition’ is to be accepted […] but […] only within the limits in which it is presented there”. but it is approached and viewed with an eye to factical life. Philosophy centering on facticity (and its hermeneutics) must.

Christian religiosity not only lies (is rooted or grounded or to be found) in factical life experience. with a phenomenological access – to factical life. 145. as far as I can see. his concern is with the phenomenological description of how faith is factically being lived. GA95: 59. although this is. or factical life experience. living enactment. as Heidegger states. in other words. a matter of praxis. in terms of his conceptuality of the early twenties. why. So it is still not clear why.32 The recognition that religion is primarily praxis. more terminologically put. Living the faith is in no way separable from living life. admittedly. and as experienced in. that religion is. life. namely. in short. An explicit consideration of this question is. Theology and Philosophy on the way to Being and Time 47 It is worth quoting Heidegger in more detail: “our analysis of death remains purely ‘this-worldly’ in so far as it interprets that phenomenon merely in the way in which it enters into any particular Dasein as a possibility of its being” (SZ: 248). Indeed faith as practical enactment remains forever the fundament of theology (more on this later) (GA60: 95. The way one does coincides with the way one lives. “facticity”). as well as his previous fusion of phenomenology and life-philosophy. for there may obviously be sorts of practices other than the religious. SZ: 10). primal Christianity) provides us with the key – or. with one’s becoming (having become) and remaining (becoming again and again) a believer. religious life (characteristic of. Now we should realize that his approach to religion in the early 1920s is quite analogous. For Heidegger’s more radical claim comes down to this: Christian religiosity is factical life experience. first and foremost.31 (“Being” should be read here. as “factical Being”. But to justify the claim that religion is primarily religious life is not to justify the claim that it is a paradigm of life. how one in fact lives one’s faith (whereby faith is a possibility of one’s factical being). In transforming phenomenology by shifting its focus from transcendental consciousness to life Heidegger repeatedly confronts the . 310. 61. rather than theory or doctrine. Religion. I propose the following explanation. In view of his elucidations of Paul’s letters. but is declared to coincide with it. one of the most central theses of the whole Phenomenology of Religion course. is clearly not sufficient to make the case that religious life is a paradigm of factical life. By acknowledging this we are brought back to the first point. in precisely what sense. religious life is a paradigm of life – why. nowhere provided by Heidegger.

By all means. at the very moment of becoming aware of itself. Christian experience of life is not only characterized by the fact that it has become what it is. Indeed. 63). i.. in terms of an experience of having become. by the fact that the event of having become is accompanied by some kind of a consciousness of having become. first of all. Indeed. What is characteristic of Christian life is indeed its having- become one (GA60: 93ff). gains awareness of itself in terms of a being that has become what it actually is. running ahead against it – that Christian life experience may reasonably be claimed to experience life in its facticity. Life is so self-sufficient that it is incapable of even seeing that very self-sufficiency (GA58: 41. of standing presently before God and reaching eschatologically forward toward the imminent future. therefore it is factical life experience. and with equal primordiality.35 It is a shift in being which. 61). Christian life experience is such that it owes its being to its having become. to its having superseded its previous (sinful.. a-theistic) state and been born to new life. the rebirth – a complete shift in one’s being – is entirely constitutive for Christian experience of life. one way to understand his repeated claim that life is characterized by self-sufficiency is that it does without philosophy (GA58: 29. Christian religiosity.e. it seems to exclude all appropriate access to it. opens up (a perspective or the perspective upon) factical life for the first time. but also. the character of having-become. a hermeneutic pre-understanding) – namely. of having become or been reborn by divine grace.33 After this preliminary remark we should call to mind some of the basic features by which Heidegger characterizes Christian life experience. Factical life gets thereby disclosed and becomes accessible for the first time as such . such that will not reduce it to a regional object.48 Fehér problem of appropriate access to the new subject matter. in other words. It is solely because it has become what it is that it is what it is – and it does also have a specific awareness of it. 30ff.34 The (so to speak) transcendental past of always already having become. 41. This much is clearly said by Heidegger. to be factical life experience. Life is however a phenomenon which is not at all easy to access. 35. or Christian life experience.36 Now it is my claim that it is because it is not possible to be a Christian without having this specific kind of “knowledge” (indeed. Precisely in virtue of its all-embracing character. no less than of the fact that this having-become has not been initiated and performed by itself (GA60: 121ff). its having-become belongs in an indispensable and irrevocable way to its present being.

It focuses on and centres around its having become. the very distinction itself – becomes first disclosed and accessible. And vice versa: to be authentic means gaining awareness of. For to be inauthentic means having no awareness of being inauthentic (just like the self-sufficiency of life works against its own becoming aware of it). It is not only in time but it is time (GA60: 80. as factical life. The idea that life and history belong intimately together – that life should primarily be seen as historical life – was central to Dilthey and life-philosophy in general. 104. 116). present and future – and thus lives temporality. Facticity. As has been noted. It is due to this having become (and. opens up access to the first birth.37 The state it has overcome remains. forever included in it. a specifically and definitely this-worldly life. 4. Christianity A point that is worth special attention in this context is Heidegger’s repeated claim that factical life or life experience is intrinsically historical. Only the rebirth. have no awareness of themselves. do not possess life experience because they simply do not experience life in its factical totality. although fundamentally changed. Historicity.38 Those who find themselves in a pre- Christian state are not “awake”. Indeed. inseparably from it. which in its turn erects itself upon. one’s inauthenticity as a past that has always already preceded it. the inadequate conceptuality rooted . Religion. 82. the inauthentic. Christian life experience does experience the whole of life – past. and assuming consciously. but criticized him for reasons analogous to those he formulated about his approach to life – that is. Heidegger appreciated Dilthey’s attempt to approach historical life very much indeed. one of the contemporary tendencies with which Heidegger engaged in in-depth confrontation from the very beginning was historicism. and has as its fundament. the awareness which accompanies it) that factical life is opened up. Theology and Philosophy on the way to Being and Time 49 – that is. The case is similar to what it will be with respect to the authentic-inauthentic distinction in Being and Time (which may be seen to be a specific subsequent elaboration on this state of affairs): inauthentic being always already precedes authentic being. as it were. and which therefore – in its specific quality as a past always already surpassed and overcome – belongs intrinsically and inextricably for ever to authenticity. It is only after having performed the passage from the inauthentic to the authentic that inauthentic being as such – and together with it.

or are history. and replaced by. In summary. is not a critique of the sources. living along with life (mitlebendes Leben). Geschehen.41 The way history becomes object for scientific investigation is decided from time to time by the primordial historicity of Dasein. its stretching along between birth and death (SZ: 19ff. 374ff). History. together with its claim to objective validity.50 Fehér in a one-sidedly theoretical comportment. the historical world – became for Dilthey an object of science. his endeavour came under the influence of neo- Kantianism and the erkenntnistheoretisch atmosphere of the age. Heidegger says for example in 1919/20. In his postwar lecture courses he notes frequently that by stressing the importance of history. so that he ultimately misunderstood his own undertaking: the attempt at a new and fresh access to historical life was reduced to. the primary relation is one of being – we are history. the main critical suggestion being that historicism strives for an “objective” knowledge of history (an impossible aim). What mattered. but historical knowledge. is dependent upon how we live temporality. Thereby he does not fail to acknowledge his indebtedness to Dilthey and to claim. History is primarily historicity. that is. but rather. whereby the subject of that knowledge was a de-situated timeless observer rather than historically rooted and existentially involved finite existence. To put it bluntly: our knowing relation to history is only a derivative one. Although Dilthey did tend to grasp historical life. The way we live history. Heidegger works out his all important concept of “das Historische” in his early lecture courses in sheer opposition to historicism. he has history primarily not as a matter of scholarship in mind.40 Against the background of this criticism Heidegger endeavours to re-appropriate the ontological dimension of historicism and to gain access to history in terms of historical being. eventually. was no more historical being.39 History – or rather. that his conception of history grew out of an appropriation of Dilthey’s work (SZ: 397). the attempt to attain possibly objective historical knowledge. 375. something that in its embarrassing richness of types and figures one takes pleasure in contemplating. rather than for an authentic historical “being” of humans – and that the first not so much promotes the second but instead suppresses it. and thus to elevate history to the rank of science (GA17: 301). of a specific being called Dasein – it is the movement of its erstrecktes Sicherstrecken. or – as he puts it in the . This position is clearly anticipated in the early lecture courses. life’s familiarity with itself.

it lives time. accounts for. But. he tends to identify the factical with the historical. Theology and Philosophy on the way to Being and Time 51 Phenomenology of Religion course in 1920/21 – “immediate liveliness” (unmittelbare Lebendigkeit) (GA58: 159ff. and partaking most intimately of. the innermost event that constitutes Christianity. to a large extent. what is characteristic of the system is that access to its living sense must be attained by working one’s way through a complicated. by virtue of its having become. 1919. is inherent in. that “have made the system of Catholicism problematic and unacceptable”to him. GA60: 33). 47. it is no wonder that the historical is thus ultimately brought back to religious life experience as well. “The entire task of a phenomenology of religion […] is permeated by the problem of the historical” (GA60: 34). it is time. the system is referred to in a highly negative tone in the lecture course on the Phenomenology of Religion. Religion. and intrinsic to. namely in terms of a kind of “pseudo- philosophy”. the historical. Dasein’s temporality is the fundament of its historicity (SZ: 376). In fact. anorganic. as has been seen. Although formulated in explicit terms in Being and Time. predisposed him favourably toward the theme of history in terms of a domain which – over against its dismissal by neo-Scholasticism – was very much pertinent to religion and religiosity. the meaning of the factical. what is particularly important for us. and leads up to. much in this vein. as he put it in his letter to Engelbert Krebs written on January 9. we should bear in mind that it is not because Dasein is historical that it is temporal.42 The sense of the factical points to. exempt and immune from all historicity. whereby Heidegger mentions parenthetically “Catholicism” as an example. wholly unclear and dogmatic complex of . this thesis is already present at the religion courses. and is the fundament of. To understand this point.43 The fact that. religious life offers a paradigm of facticity. extending as far as the theory of historical knowledge”. its entering into.44 Thereby the system he had in mind was most plausibly the official doctrine of neo-Thomistic Scholasticism. Heidegger repeatedly warns against the widespread habit of having access to the phenomenon of history as it is delivered to us by historical science (GA60: 32. that is. he says. it was “epistemological insights. Christian life experience becomes uniquely temporal. Heidegger’s gradual disengaging and distancing himself from neo-Scholastic thinking during the war and his concurrent turn to the Protestant tradition had obviously. This is confirmed by the fact that. 51ff). Since. but the other way round. The historical.

and to be religious.52 Fehér theses and proofs. that Heidegger literally excerpted this passage in his notes on Schleiermacher (GA60: 322).46 And in Schleiermacher. unites in itself the religious and the Lebensphilosophische – a tribute paid to the memory of Dilthey. as it were. and grow intimately fused with. Theology Shortly after Heidegger had accepted the call to Marburg. “Christianity is not a system. but plausibly a sign of approval.47 And somewhat later he notes: “The historical is one of the most significant founding elements in religious experience” (GA60: 323). was nevertheless able to preserve and even embrace and reinforce Heidegger’s religious impulse is shown by the following notes from Dilthey’s diary: “It is my vocation to grasp the inner essence of religious life in history”. we can read the following remark: “History. but a life-view” (Misch 1933: 140. and religion. 5. become mutually dependent upon. Gadamer recalls a remark Heidegger made during an evening discussion: “In order to come back to itself. Gadamer thinks that the real questions that . to be historical. it is the true task of theology to look for the word capable of calling one to faith and of preserving one in it” (Gadamer 1987: 197). to be factical. In precisely what sense (or the extent to which) the “theory of historical knowledge” – and the orientation towards the historical in general – though in sharp contrast to a-historical Scholasticism. facticity. Religion. it is with history that religion begins and it ends up with it as well” (Schleiermacher 1920: 63). From this perspective. Philosophy. is the highest object of religion. This formulation sounded. and we are history itself” [GA60: 173]) – then we arrive ultimately at a threefold identification. like a real assignment for theology. each other. in other words. Thereby the historical. and who attracted also Heidegger’s attention during the war. understood in the most appropriate sense. on the other hand. history. Facticity of Hermeneutics. to whom Dilthey dedicated no small portion of his life- work. Faith. 144). for Gadamer. It is certainly no mere incident. If we add to these remarks Heidegger’s central claim concerning the mutual identification of historicity and facticity (“history applies to/affects us. obviously points to Dilthey’s efforts to elaborate what he called a critique of historical reason (Dilthey 1979: 191ff). sanctioned by policy constraint of the church and oppressing the subject.45 The “theory of historical knowledge”.

the understanding of philosophy Heidegger is working out right after the war is interwoven with theological motives. function. a fairly precise formulation. This title. one another is characteristically shown by his urge. discovered at the end of the 1980s: ‘Heidegger’s Early “Theological” Writing’ (Gadamer 2002: 76). while (parallel with it) he embarks on an overall re-examination of theology too. It is precisely Gadamer’s story that may provide us with a key to understand the peculiar italicization. in his course on the Phenomenology of Religion. may even be said to emerge owing to the radicalization of theological or religious motives. in connection with the interpretation of Paul’s letters he speaks about elaborating the standards for “the destruction of Christian theology and Western philosophy” (GA60: 135). including its task. that is. to submit both of them to his central operation of destruction. The other side of this process is that Heidegger puts into question the traditional self- understanding of theology too. might well characterize. In his above cited letter to Karl Löwith on August 19. which he comes to adopt. and relation to religion. rather than a philosopher. it should be taken to mean someone searching for the proper logos. The self- interpretation and self-identification as a philosopher. in addition to this particular manuscript. Heidegger claimed to be. and as mutually permeating. As a matter of fact. The extent to which Heidegger views philosophy and theology in proximity of. of the Christian message. I think that Gadamer’s recollection concerning Heidegger’s understanding of the “task of theology” in terms of “looking for the word capable of calling one to faith and of preserving one in it” is highly creditable and is. is conditional upon an understanding of philosophy which is permeated by theological motives. 1921. . In fact. inclusive of its relation to philosophy. Religion. As a final consideration I propose to show this by a short interpretive reconstruction of how Heidegger came to view the relation of religion. a “Christian theologian”. or. together with his explanatory remark that it (no less than Hermann Nohl’s title for what he called Hegel’s Early Theological Writings) is both appropriate and inappropriate. indeed. no small portion of the young Heidegger’s work. word. The analogous view is expressed by Gadamer’s choice of the very title of his accompanying essay to the publication of Heidegger’s so called Natorp Report (or Aristotle Introduction). Theology and Philosophy on the way to Being and Time 53 were stirring in Heidegger from the very beginning were theological questions (Gadamer 1977: 37).

Heidegger claims. Against the background of his distancing himself from neo- Scholasticism and of his assimilation of decisive motives of life- philosophy and historicism. a conceptuality adequate to. rather than religious. held in the same year of the publication of Being and Time. Heidegger interprets theology. alienated from what it once belonged to and incapable of containing in itself and conveying living religiosity.48 What is needed is a theology liberated from the conceptual schemes of Greek philosophy (GA59: 91). that the ‘foundation’ on which its system of dogma rests has not arisen from an inquiry in which faith is primary. “is slowly beginning to understand once more Luther’s insight. Heidegger no longer views theology in terms of an objective theoretical science destined to provide a conceptual elaboration for religion by occasionally borrowing its conceptuality from philosophy. genuine religious experience and faith as a living enactment. Heidegger urges in his course on the Phenomenology of Religion “to sharply distinguish the problem of theology from that of religion”. and theology and of how these are related to philosophy and hermeneutics. and conforming to. Primal Christianity was thus fused with and indeed distorted by the conceptuality of Greek philosophy. Theoretical comportment. We find an important follow-up observation in Being and Time. The comportment it originates from is theoretical. much in the same vein. that is. Theology. where faith is conceived of in terms of a specific way of being of Dasein (GA9: 52) encompassing. Thereby Heidegger seems to subscribe to and join in with the then widespread thesis concerning the fateful hellenization of Christianity. Therefore.g.50 In his lecture ‘Phenomenology and Theology’. and that conceptually this ‘foundation’ not only is inadequate for the problematic of theology. suggested. as . goes back to the Greeks. as the “science of faith”. by Adolf von Harnack and maintained decisively by Franz Overbeck.54 Fehér faith. Theology is not a scientifically neutral and a-historical theory of Christianity. e. and that is how what we know in terms of theology today had come into being (GA59: 91).49 What it comes down to is – much along the lines of Dilthey’s linking of Erleben and Ausdruck – to find a proper logos. the “object”. in its turn.. inclusive of his overall attack against the theoretical (GA56/57: 59). what has been developed and come to be known as theology during the centuries is a reified mixture of dead formulae of the most heterogeneous origin. but conceals and distorts it” (SZ: 10).

Given this strict correlation. begriffliche Selbstinterpretation der gläubigen Existenz [GA9: 56]). within which alone. faith is the fundament of theology. The sufficient motives of theology. in general. as well as its justification. erecting itself upon and remaining forever grounded in it. Religion. may lie only in faith itself (GA9: 54. This may be summed up as follows: only what is understood can be interpreted. The way theology relates itself to faith exhibits structural analogies to the way philosophy relates itself to facticity. but only through faith itself (GA9: 56). The believing comportment (Gläubigkeit) can never originate from theology. Now.51 Faith is thus prior to God. and. i.e. understanding constitutes the fundament and the starting point of every interpretation. within the encompassing phenomenon of religion. Theology originates from faith (GA9: 55). God. Both theology and philosophy offer a conceptual elaboration of something previously enacted or lived (a sort of having-been). and it would be a serious mistake or a vulgarization to define theology. In this sense. for example. or horizon. and. makes sense only for faith (GA9: 61). the specific “objects” of faith. and the latter is but a conceptual articulation of the former. Theological knowledge must arise from faith and return to it. and they lie in faith’s attempt at a conceptual interpretation of itself (begriffliche Auslegung [GA9: 54]. faith anticipates and founds theology (GA9: 60). In this sense. bears conspicuous similarities to. the task of theology is to find a conceptuality adequate to faith. has its roots in faith. in doing so. and may be seen as a development or a radicalization of. Dilthey’s linking Erlebnis with Ausdruck or with Heidegger’s subsequent characterization of the relation between understanding and interpretation in Being and Time (§32) (GA9: 55. are at the same time meant to refer back to and reinforce what they grow out of – faith or factical life. 61). as the “science of God”. Theology and Philosophy on the way to Being and Time 55 it were. or the “speculative knowledge of God” (GA9: 59) – wherein God would be an object of the respective science in the same way as the animals are the objects of zoology. the believing comportment and existence. the whole domain. can appear (GA9: 55). and to contribute to developing and strengthening this attitude (GA9: 60) – a formulation which confirms and justifies to a great extent Gadamer’s interpretive recollection of Heidegger’s contribution to the discussion on theology in the postwar years. 55).52 The relation between faith and theology. it is no wonder that we find in Heidegger’s texts similarities between his characterization of . naively. the believer.

my italics). die […] das Ende des Leitfadens dort festgemacht hat. but it is a matter of participation. helping to interpretively illuminate. faith. that is. Woraus es entspringt und wohin es zurückschlägt and entspringt aus ihm und springt in ihn zurück show obvious parallels both conceptually and with regard to the matter itself. that is. as it were. becomes aware of itself. reveals itself to itself. affected by the revelation. gerade die faktische Lebenserfahrung als selbstverständliche Nebensächlichkeit abzutun. They are a re-enacting accompaniment of what they grow out of (factical life or rebirth by faith). and his existence. and both move in a hermeneutic circle. in the content of what the revelation is about. past or future. The self-interpretation of philosophy that Heidegger provides may be regarded as relying for its emergence on the self- interpretation of theological comportment as a model. ausgehend von der Hermeneutik des Daseins. theological motives (whereby theology becomes re- interpreted too).56 Fehér theology and philosophy. Both are Dasein’s ways of being. sie entspringt aus ihm und springt in ihn zurück” (GA9: 61). The well-known definition of philosophy in Being and Time goes like this: “Philosophie ist universale phänomenologische Ontologie. woraus es entspringt und wohin es zurückschlägt” (SZ: 38). in a state of forgottenness .54 This is an important early anticipation of what Heidegger will come to develop in 1927. Heidegger. obwohl doch aus ihr gerade das Philosophieren entspringt. and emerges as a radicalization of. that from which they originate. transposes the self-interpretation of the theological comportment onto the level of philosophy in a specifically modified and formalized form.53 It may be of interest to note that in the Phenomenology of Religion course we find an important anticipation of this definition: “Bisher waren die Philosophen bemüht. that is. Revelation is for Heidegger not just a matter of delivering or collecting positive knowledge about real occurrences. And the bond that links philosophy’s and theology’s self-interpretation together is a hermeneutic one: an always already having understood what one has become as a starting point for a subsequent interpretation. appropriate and re-appropriate. In this participation. und in einer […] Umkehr wieder in sie zurückspringt” (GA60: 15. taking part. while Phenomenology and Theology characterizes theology as follows: “Alle theologische Erkenntnis ist […] auf den Glauben selbst gegründet. Dasein gets placed in front of God. which I take to be a further illustration of my thesis that Heidegger’s understanding of philosophy is permeated by.

welche vom Verstande nicht als notwendig aufgezeigt werden kann”. see Husserl (1976: 159). GA24 (3). SZ (38). he says that he intended to rethink exactly this principle and. gains awareness of itself for the first time and it does so in terms of existing always already in an inauthentic way. GA9 (36). but merely freedom from phenomenologically unclarified. been presented for such examination. GA29/30 (534). unverified. On Husserl’s distinction. to reify it. In English: to give it a stamp of something given. see (Dilthey 1982: 348): “In der Struktur des Lebens äußert sich eine individuelle Tatsächlichkeit. for an interesting occurrence of the term haecceitas.). 1 “Surely. 180f. In precisely the same manner Dasein. used in the sense of facticity and Dasein. GA63 (72). effecting the passage from the inauthentic to the authentic. 8 On several occasions. 5 Cf. 13 Husserl’s claim concerning Voraussetzungslosigkeit should not be misinterpreted. that everything originally (so to speak. but also only within the limits in which it is presented there”. 3 Dilthey was to exercise a long-lasting influence on Heidegger thinking. It is important to see that Heidegger’s above criticism does. “in which the impulses coming from Heidegger proved to have the most decisive effects”. 2 As it turns out. see GA17 (105). or. rather than understanding intentionality on the basis of preconceived ideas about the subject”.). to seal it. as something given. the specific “matter” of phenomenology itself (cf. and unverifiable presuppositions that is involved” (Spiegelberg 1984: 77). See Bernet (1990: 143). Heidegger returns to interpret Husserl’s “principle of all principles”. in its ‘personal’ actuality) offered to us in ‘intuition’ is to be accepted simply as what it is presented as being. GA63 (107). GA61 (187). SD (90). “Die Phänomenologie behielt die ‘Bewußtseinserlebnisse’ als ihren thematischen Bereich bei” (SD: 84). His turn to “life” can be understood as a turn to “facticity” and to individuality. writes Otto Pöggeler. Religion. 10 For the same point in historical perspective going back to Descartes. GA20 (184). GA17 (117f. 12 Cf.). apply . See especially the following hints: “Die Phänomenologie bewußt und entschieden in die Überlieferung der neuzeitlichen Philosophie einschwenkte”. 9 Zu einem Gegebenen zu stempeln. Theology and Philosophy on the way to Being and Time 57 of God (“Gottvergessenheit” [GA9: 53]). It is thus not freedom from all presuppositions. 4 Cf. PIA (247). GA56/57 (110). GA17 (263). Herbert Spiegelberg writes: “In the sense of a total rejection of any beliefs whatsoever. 6 Cf. SD: 69f. GA59 (35. Heidegger was registered as participant of a course of Gottfried Hoberg on ‘Hermeneutik mit Geschichte der Exegese’ during the summer semester 1910. eine haecceitas. See also GA58 (221).). In retrospect. GA20 (62): “It is a question of understanding the subject on the basis of intentionality. theology was the discipline”. however. Pöggeler (1983a: 414). at least in principle. and of a program to start the philosophic enterprise from absolute zero […] [it] stands for an attempt to eliminate merely presuppositions that have not been thoroughly examined. See Husserl (1976: § 24): “No conceivable theory can make us err with respect to the principle of all principles: that every originary presentive intuition is a legitimizing source of cognition. 11 Cf. GA17 (264). GA24 (31). together with it. GA21 (32. see (Denker 2004: 14). 279f. 7 Cf. US (95).

wo doch die Worte als volle Ausdrücke zugeschnitten sein sollen auf unsere Umwelt. 18 For Heidegger’s stress on the historical see GA9 (31. 206). 16 This historical background is referred to by Heidegger several times in his early lectures. 20 See Heidegger’s use of the term Begriffssurrogat in GA9: 10. 15 See Sheehan (1983: 294): “Husserl tended to see man in the natural attitude. ob in ihr nicht doch. GA59 (12f. statt ursprünglich geschöpften Ausdrucksmitteln. Im Absehen darauf bewegt ich diese Kritik”. 14 The term unphänomenologisch crops up already in 1923 in a remark stating that it is unphenomenological to hold mathematics to be an ideal of scientificity. Aber das ist nur die Kehrseite des Rationalismus dieser Philosophie”.58 Fehér to Husserl. GA59 (154): “Die Lebensphilosophie ist für uns eine notwendige Station auf dem Wege der Philosophie. 25f. daß das faktische Leben dem Begriff gänzlich unzugänglich sei. GA56/57 (85. See GA58 (1f. Im Absehen darauf bewegt ich diese Kritik” [italics in original]. daraufhin.). e. GA61 (117): “Damit ist eine innerhalb der Lebensphilosophie unausdrücklich lebendige Tendenz ergriffen”. daraufhin. 21 Cf. hence as a thing-entity of nature. See also GA61 (7). ob in ihr nicht doch […] eine radikale Tendenz des Philosophierens vorwagt. diesen Begriff ursprünglich positiv zu fassen. Heidegger frequently spoke of Dilthey’s appreciation of Husserl. this may have led him to think that what he was called to do was to unite the impulses of both thinkers. vor allem eine solche von der Höhenstufe Diltheys […] muß auf ihre positiven Tendenzen befragt werden. auf den Raum”.. See. by Spranger] angegeben ist”. 38). in einem anderen Sinn aber nicht. GA20 (30). GA9 (4. SZ (46f. GA56/57 (165). See GA63 (72). GA9 (14): “So ist denn die Problematik der gegenwärtigen Philosophie vorwiegend um das ‘Leben’ als das ‘Urphänomen’ zentriert”. GA60 (50): “Der Begriff des Lebens ist ein vieldeutiger und von diesem ganz allgemeinen.. GA61 (82): “Kommt es nicht zur aneignenden Aufhebung der positiven Tendenzen der modernen Lebensphilosophie”.. See also Heidegger’s retrospective remark in GA66 (412). Heidegger considered the ‘natural attitude’ in Husserl not to be natural enough”. 13-14): “Die Lebensphilosophie.. GA9 (13-14): “Die Lebensphilosophie. where Heidegger suggests that the expression “philosophy of life” amounts to nothing more than “botany of plants” – really a pleonasm – and that in a genuine “philosophy of life” “there lies an unexpressed tendency towards an understanding of Dasein”. existential analytic (SZ: 46).).g. and precisely in the sense in which Spiegelberg reconstructs Husserl’s claim. GA17 (301. GA61 (1. sonst verkennt sie die eigentlichen Motive . 174. 69). im Gegensatz zur leer formalen Transzendentalphilosophie”. 107). 162). GA58 (3): “Was heißt: ‘Leben in Begriffe fassen’ […] ‘in Worte bringen’.). GA64 (7f. 111. simply in connection with psycho-physical and neurological processes. 189). 36. GA61 (117. ist eine Kritik berechtigt. 15. formalen Gesichtspunkt aus hätte eine Kritik der heutigen Lebensphilosophie einen Sinn. e. wenn auch ihr selbst verdeckt und mit traditionell aufgerafften. 163). that is.. GA63 (64. 159. GA63 (83. See also GA64 (40).g.. 320). In that regard.. 97). 32f. and passim). GA60 (31f. 117. vor allem eine solche von der Höhenstufe Diltheys […] muß auf ihre positiven Tendenzen befragt werden. eine radikale Tendenz des Philosophierens vorwagt. the empirical ego. 76. GA9 (231-2): “Es ist ein in der gegenwärtigen Philosophie viel vertretener Standpunkt. GA63 (42): “Die eigentliche Tendenz Dilthey ist nicht die. For an anticipation of this see GA9 (14f. 88f. 17 Cf. 19 That philosophy has life as its subject matter appears clearly in a passage of SZ also. als die sie hier [sc. Nur wenn es gelingt.

Although he had been working hard on it. Theology and Philosophy on the way to Being and Time 59 der Lebensphilosophie”. “faith” is understood in a negative sense mainly owing to the intellectualistic distinction between “knowledge” and “faith”. 162. vol. See GA56/57 (180). 185. GA63 (45): “Was heißt irrational? Das bestimmt sich doch nur an einer Idee von Rationalität. sieht den Gegenstand Lebens überhaupt nicht ursprünglich […] Deshalb ist die Polemik gegen Begriffslosigkeit rein negativ”. and gives a thorough elaboration to. 1983b: 155). 26 See GA64 (32): “Das primäre Erkennen […] ist Auslegung”. See Lask (1923. 1919. adding how much he owed to him. gave an account of his encounter with Heidegger in Germany in 1924 under the title: ‘A New Turn in Phenomenology: Heidegger’s Phenomenology of Life’. GA56/57 (59): “Diese Vorrherrschaft des Theoretischen muß gebrochen werden”. 25 See explicitly GA17 (294): “Wir sehen die Welt immer in einem als”. GA29/30 (296f. another basic impulse of contemporary philosophy. Religion.). By centering his destructive strategy around an overall confrontation with the theoretical Heidegger takes up once again. The proximity to life (Lebensnähe) was also an urge of the age which Heidegger has taken up and reacted upon. 22 Cf. 262).g. “logical and intuitive”. 190. 28 On Mitgehen. For more details see Fehér (1992: 373-405). Indeed. 23 Cf. This view of Heidegger’s was to be held through four decades up to the sixties. therefore in a letter to the faculty dated August 30. Heidegger did not fail acknowledge that Lask was “one of the most powerful [stärksten] philosophical personalities of the time”. SZ (169.. as represented primarily by Emil Lask. 97). See SD (79). Woraus erwächst deren Bestimmung?”. and been preparing to deliver. presumably the first to write on Heidegger abroad. 24 “Kategorie ist interpretierend und ist nur interpretierend. “theoretical and practical”. The “theoretization of a-theoretical comportment” also further affects all those distinctions we usually make between. 158. 264). See Pöggeler (1982: 57. obgleich die Grundlage ungenügend ist”. It is plausible to assume that at least part of the material Heidegger worked through and destined for the Mysticism course. Cf. SZ (147). See also GA56/57 (87. See also GA20 (75. What Lask called the “intellectualistic prejudice” gives preference to “thinking” in gaining access to the non-sensible. und zwar das faktische Leben. 27 Heidegger was reported by contemporaries to have developed a “phenomenology of life” in his post war lecture courses. 383). Heidegger has Rickert in mind. he asked for permission to cancel it and to transform instead his course on Selected Problems of Pure Phenomenology from a weekly one-hour into a two-hour course. angeeignet in existenzieller Bekümmerung” (GA61: 86). the occasional semi-religious character that this course . 416). and “scientific and religious” knowledge. See also GA59 (142): “Beherrschtheit [des heutigen Lebens] durch das Theoretische”. See GA60 (348). “theoretical and aesthetic”. 2: 204ff. 3: 235). vol. 255. see GA63 (64).. 89. infiltrated into the phenomenology course. a course on the Philosophical Foundations of Mediaeval Mysticism. GA58 (265). 208. Hajime Tanabe. It may be of some importance to note that the semi-religious tone that occasionally permeates this lecture course may be partly due to the fact that precisely in that semester (WS 1919/20) Heidegger had also announced. see GA58 (23. further PIA (241. GA63 (108): “Die Polemik gegen die Lebensphilosophie […] verfehlt alles. GA63 (69): “Die Tendenz der Lebensphilosophie muß aber doch im positiven Sinne genommen werden als Durchbruch einer radikaleren Tendenz des Philosophierens. For a fuller discussion of Heidegger’s treatment of rationalism and irrationalism see Fehér (1991: 43-70). due to lack of time he could not get ready with the preparation. e.

“Hinwendung zu Gott und eine Wegwendung von den Götzenbildern”. On this point see Fehér (2000: 200-223). sondern Leben. 38 See GA9 (63): “In der gläubigen Existenz das überwundene vorchristliche Dasein existenzial-ontologisch mitbeschlossen bleibt”. GA60 (93): “Wissen von ihrem Gewordensein”... See also GA9 (63). i. As such the tone is fairly different from the distress and fight that permeates the phenomenology of religion course one year later. 37 See GA60 (120): “Das christliche Leben ist nicht geradelinig. 49f. again. humble devotion. the course has a definite tendency toward mysticism. that between “historische Betrachtung” and “geschichtliche Besinnung” in GA45 (34f. 29 With an eye to Heidegger’s appropriation and transformation of Husserl’s phenomenology.e. how is history of science as science possible. see GA60 (72): “Die Explikation geht immer mit der religiösen Erfahrung mit und treibt sie”. 30 This was. 34 See “Gottvergessenheit” at GA9 (53).. Wir reißen die Faktizität und das Wissen auseinander. viz. 35 See GA60 (95): “absolute Umwendung”. see the distinction between “geschichtliche und historische Wahrheit” in GA39 (144f. daß ihr jetziges Sein Gewordensein ist. 32 See GA60 (82): “Urchristliche Religiosität ist in der faktischen Lebenserfahrung. while the term Selbstwelt disappears. der ‘Geburt Gottes’ in der Seele” (Natorp 1918: 87). 33 Heidegger makes the point that Christianity is a historical paradigm for centering life for the first time around the self-world. 39 Dilthey fell victim to the traditional question.60 Fehér displays is not just vaguely religious. 40 The term “das Historische” will be replaced in Being and Time by “das Geschichtliche”. a widespread tendency of the time. For a characteristic occurrence of Mitgehen in the Phenomenology of Religion course. Hieraus wird sich der Sinn einer Faktizität bestimmen. 88f. as Heidegger understood it at the time. die von einem bestimmten Wissen begleitet ist. Ihr Gewordensein ist ihr jetziges Sein”. ist sie eigentlich selbst”. in terms of immediate religious enactment and in opposition to the rigid conceptual schemes of Scholasticism. will lead up to Dasein’s Jemeinigkeit in Being and Time. For later. the individually centred character of life. die erlebte Tat-sache. Nachsatz: Sie ist eigentlich solche selbst”. The tone of this religiosity is submission. GA9 (53): “Glaube = Wiedergeburt”. on Hingabe see GA60 (322). see also GA60 (309). 36 See GA60 (94): “Das Wissen über das eigene Gewordensein stellt der Explikation eine ganz besondere Aufgabe. “Glaube ist nicht Lehre. This accent on individuality. See also GA60 (145): “Faktizität. his concentration on religion may schematically be put as proceeding along the following itinerary: phenomenology of transcendental consciousness à phenomenology of life à phenomenology of religious life.). The same point is made in an even more accentuated manner in GA60 (131): “Christliche Religiosität ist in der faktischen Lebenserfahrung. aber sie ist ganz urspünglich miterfahren […] Das Gewordensein ist nun nicht ein beliebiges Vorkommnis im Leben. or Geschichtlichkeit”. On humilitas. sondern ist gebrochen: Alle umweltlichen Bezüge müssen hindurchgehen durch den Vollzugszusammenhang des Gewordenseins”. 31 He also notes that something such as a “‘metaphysics of death’ lies outside the domain of an existential analysis of death” (SZ: 248).. sondern es wird ständig miterfahren und zwar so.) . See also GA17 (302). zu der ja das ‘Wissen’ gehört”.

. although “in a new sense”. in a new sense)”. of “religious explication”. primarily to do with finding the adequate “word. to Christianity and metaphysics. for it shows Heidegger’s continuing to be in the proximity. See also GA60 (80): “Die faktische Lebenserfahrung ist historisch. Religion. theoretisch völlig ungeklärtes. dogmatisches Gehege von Sätzen und Beweisgängen hindurch muß. 41 See SZ (375): “The locus of the problem of history […] is not to be sought in historiology as the science of history”.). 45 See GA60 (313): “Liegt es a priori in der Struktur des Systems. Heidegger refers to Harnack in GA60 (72). 493f. 42 See GA61 (76): “Die Faktizität des Lebens […] ist in sich selbst historisch”. as it does. 201). to be sure. Schleiermacher (1920: 63). Heidegger’s own subsequent formulation of what dogma is shows Harnack’s obvious influence. For the term Faktizität in Dilthey. see Fehér (1995: 189-228)..). die . Theology and Philosophy on the way to Being and Time 61 Further see also GA45 (11f. das selbst nicht einer organischen Kulturtat entwachsen ist. von dem aus der Sinn von Zeit gewonnen wird. ihre inhaltliche Sinnsphäre erst durch ein verwickeltes unorganisches. This is much in line with Gadamer’s interpretation that theology has.. To fulfil this task is in no way contrary to Christian faith. 40. See GA60 (112): “Das Dogma als abgelöster Lehrgehalt in objektiv-erkenntnismäßiger Abhebung kann niemals leitend für die christliche Religiosität gewesen sein. 47 The only change is that Heidegger italicizes “history” and this. claiming it is precisely the seemingly secondary problem of “expression”. 46 See the same claim in Dilthey’s main work (1990: 138f. see Denker (2004: 67ff). To say that the “system of Catholicism” has become “problematic and unacceptable” is to say that the theological-philosophical foundation which underlies faith – the fundament. daß der zu erlebende Wertgehalt der Religion als solcher. 151f. being renewed and refreshed. (159): “Das Historische im Sinn der Faktizität liegt”. Damit ist das Problem des Historischen gekennzeichnet”. The letter was first published in Casper (1980: 541). Caputo’s translation in Caputo (1982: 56ff). The term Lebensanschauung (life-view) in the above quotation is clearly of Schleiermacherian origin. I have adopted John D. see Dilthey (1990: 141). mit ihr hebt sie an und endigt mit ihr – denn Weissagung ist in ihren Augen auch Geschichte und beides gar nicht voneinander zu unterscheiden – und alle wahre Geschichte hat überall zuerst einen religiösen Zweck gehabt und ist von religiösen Ideen aus gegangen”. requiring. that is of decisive importance. for Heidegger. um schließlich als kirchenrechtliche Satzung mit Polizeigewalt das Subjekt zu überwältigen und dunkel zu belasten und zu erdrücken”. to express faith. For more detailed interpretation of this letter. See especially GA65 (153): “Die Historie […] ist ein ständiges Ausweichen vor der Geschichte”. the groundwork.e. 253f. This addition is surely not insignificant... upon which faith rests – has become obsolete and hollow. gives to the identification of history and religion more prominence. sondern umgekehrt. 48 See Harnack (1983: 20): “Das Dogma ist in seiner Conception und in seinem Ausbau ein Werk des griechischen Geistes auf dem Boden des Evangeliums”. 44 He finishes his sentence: “But not Christianity and metaphysics (the latter. 43 See GA60 (65): “Was ist in der faktischen Lebenserfahrung ursprünglich die Zeitlichkeit? […] unser Weg geht vom faktischen Leben aus. of course. conceptuality. for the “explication” goes hand in hand with the religious experience. ” i. Die christliche Religiosität lebt die Zeitlichkeit als solche”. 359. It may be of use to quote the full sentence of Schleiermacher: “Geschichte im eigentlichsten Sinn ist der höchste Gegenstand der Religion. 421f. GA65 (32f.

nicht folgerecht aus der im Christentum gegebenen Selbstgewißheit innerer Erfahrung vollzogen”. 124).62 Fehér Genesis des Dogmas ist nur verständlich aus dem Vollzug der christlichen Lebenserfahrung”. die Hermeneutik. Karl Suso Frank. 53 See GA60 (336): “Die Analyse. 50 Cf. GA60 (8. Alfred. 51 For a detailed reconstruction of this lecture. And he adds significantly: “Die Theologie hat bis jetzt keine originäre theoretische Grundhaltung der Ursprünglichkeit des Gegenstandes entsprechend gefunden”. Festschrift für Wolfgang Müller. 2004. The thesis of the unhappy connection of Christianity with Greek philosophy was far from unknown to the previous generation of liberal theology. Dilthey. Charles (ed. ‘Heidegger and Theology’ in Guignon. – 1982. ‘Martin Heidegger und die Theologische Fakultät Freiburg 1909-1923’. (eds) Kirche am Oberrhein. New York. Gethmann-Siefert (1974: 36): “Religion requires a way of treatment adequate to its logos”.g. Hans-Helmuth Gander and Holger Zaborowski (eds). Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften. Freiburg: Herder. e. John D. 49 See GA60 (310): “Scharf zu trennen: das Problem der Theologie und das der Religiosität”. Caputo. in Bäumer. to Ritschl.h. Wilhelm. 54 Cf. Remigius. Rudolf. Casper. Heidegger und die Anfänge seines Denkens (Heidegger-Jahrbuch 1). Bernhard Groethuysen) (Wilhelm . See also Dilthey (1990: 25): “So war die Entwicklung dieses Gehaltes im Dogma zugleich seine Veräußerlichung”.) The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger. GA20 (6). d. Heidegger and Aquinas: An Essay on Overcoming Metaphysics. arbeitet im historischen Ich […] In allem ist die spezifische Sinnbestimmtheit herauszuhören”. ‘Husserl and Heidegger on Intentionality and Being’ in Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology (21): 136-152. Denker.Y.: Fordham University Press. and Hugo Ott. 1993. (274): “Hat sich die Entwicklung der Formeln. Freiburger Diözesan Archiv 100 (1980): 534-541. Versuch einer Grundlegung für das Studium der Gesellschaft und der Geschichte (ed. Cambridge University Press. 52 Cf.. 1990. welche die religiöse Erfahrung in einer Verknüpfung von Vorstellungen abgrenzen und gegen andere Formeln innerhalb derselben Religion wie gegen andere Religionen rechtfertigen sollten. 1980. N. Bernhard. 1990. References Bernet. see Kockelmans (1984: 85-108).

Phänomenologische Interpretationen zu Aristoteles. Lukács. Paderborn: Schöningh. – 1987. Husserl. Stuttgart and Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Jacobs (eds) Gottes. – 1982. ‘Die Marburger Theologie’ in Gadamer. Freiburg and Munich: Alber.und Religionsbegriff in der neuzeitlichen Philosophie. Fehér. – 1995. Gadamer. 76-86. – (ed. ‘Heideggers “theologische” Jugendschrift’ in Heidegger. Theology and Philosophy on the way to Being and Time 63 Dilthey Gesammelte Schriften 1). Hegel. Mit einem Essay von Hans- Georg Gadamer (ed. Tübingen: Mohr. 1991. M. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot. Ausarbeitung für die Marburger und die Göttinger Philosophische Fakultät (1922). ‘Heidegger und Lukács. István M. – 1979. 1.) Martin Heidegger: Critical Assessments. Heidegger: The Problem of Irrationality and the Theory of Categories’ in Macann. Eine Hundertjahresbilanz’ in Wege und Irrwege des neueren Umganges mit Heideggers Werk. ‘Lask. Stuttgart: Reclam. Günther). der Gesellschaft und der Geschichte (ed. Annemarie. Hans-Georg.). Frankfurt a. Philosophische Lehrjahre. and Religion in his Early Lecture Courses up to Being and Time’ in The American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 69 (2): 189-228. Christopher (ed. Der Ausbau der geschichtlichen Welt in den Geisteswissenschaften (ed. Heidegger (Hans-Georg Gadamer Gesammelte Werke 3). Stuttgart and Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. 2000. ‘Heideggers Kritik der Ontotheologie’ in Franz. Neuere Philosophie. Gethmann-Siefert. Das Verhältnis von Philosophie und Theologie im Denken Martin Heideggers. Bernhard Groethuysen) (Wilhelm Dilthey Gesammelte Schriften 7). Grundlegung der Wissenschaften vom Menschen. Albert and Wilhelm G. Hans Johach and Frithjof Rodi) (Wilhelm Dilthey Gesammelte Schriften 19). 2003. Martin. Hans-Georg. Neumann. – 1977. – 1992. 1974. Theology. Religion. ‘Heidegger’s Understanding of the Atheism of Philosophy: Philosophy. .: Klostermann. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

The Hague: Nijhoff. Buch.) Zeit und Zeitlichkeit bei Husserl und Heidegger (Phänomenologische Forschungen 14).). Pöggeler. Herbert. Eugen Herrigel). Freiburg and Munich: Alber. Schleiermacher. 1976. Kockelmans. Mohanty (eds) Thinking About Being: Aspects of Heidegger’s Thought. 1992. Ernst W. ‘Zeit und Sein bei Heidegger’ in Orth. Die Weltalter des Geistes. Schelling. Allgemeine Einführung in die reine Phänomenologie (ed. 1933. The Hague: Nijhoff. Der Junge Dilthey. Norman. Deutscher Weltberuf. Robert W. 1918. Lask. and Jitendranath N. Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph. Richard. Hamburg: Meiner. Berlin: Teubner. 1978. 1984. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. Alfred. The Hague: Nijhoff. Ideen zu einer reinen Phänomenologie und phänomenologischen Philosophie. Nochmals Martin Heidegger Tübingen: Mohr. (ed. Spiegelberg. Über die Religion. Jäger. Heidegger und die hermeneutische Philosophie. Sheehan. 1920. Okla. 1984. Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte (3 volumes). . Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. Husserl. 1923. Otto. ‘Heidegger on Theology’ in Shahan. – 1983b.) Philosophy of Mind (Contemporary Philosophy: A New Survey 4). 1983a. 152-191.64 Fehér Harnack. Emil. Tübingen: Mohr. ‘Neue Wege mit Heidegger?’ in Philosophische Rundschau (29): 39-71. Natorp. 1983. 1983. Ehrhardt). Paul.: University of Oklahoma Press. Misch. I. Friedrich Daniel Ernst. Clara (ed. – 1982. Ein Lebensbild in Briefen und Tagebüchern 1852-1870. I. Edmund. Rudolf Otto) (4th revised edition). Adolf von. Joseph J. Schaeffler. Geschichtsphilosophische Richtlinien. ‘Heidegger’s Philosophy of Mind’ in Fløistad. Guttorm (ed. 1978. Walter E. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Frömmigkeit des Denkens? Martin Heidegger und die katholische Theologie. Reden an die Gebildeten unter ihren Verächtern (ed. Jena: Eugen Diederichs. The Phenomenological Movement: A Historical Introduction (3rd edition). Gesammelte Schriften (ed. Urfassung der Philosophie der Offenbarung (ed. Thomas. Leipzig. Gott. Karl Schuhmann) (Husserliana III/1).

April 1989 in Bonn-Bad Godesberg 2). . Anmerkungen zurreligiösen und theologischen Dimension des Denkweges Martin Heideggers bis 1919’ in Denker (2004a): 123-158.: Vittorio Klostermann.M. Zur philosophischen Aktualität Heideggers (Symposium der Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung vom 24. Dietrich and Otto Pöggeler (eds).-28. 1990. Religion. ‘“Herkunft aber bleibt stets Zukunft”. Zaborowski. Holger. Frankfurt a. 2004. Theology and Philosophy on the way to Being and Time 65 Papenfuss.

Heidegger applied. anti- traditional and anti-humanistic thought. Heidegger and the Ascesis of Thought Franco Volpi A discussion of the relationship between philosophy and religion in our time cannot leave Heidegger out of consideration. while on the other. Coincidentia oppositorum: After Hegel. his work forms the most significant context in which the Twentieth Century received the classical philosophical inheritance. however. Heidegger reverses it. For Heidegger. by taking the Greek- Western idea of philosophy to its final and most extreme implications. On the one hand. to the point where it is reversed in the opposite extreme of the inspired vision and of the reopening to the sacred and the divine. with systematic coherence. The following paper seeks to bring to light the strange interactions of Heideggerian thought with religion (particularly with theology. the logic of philosophical questioning even to the subjects of faith and revelation. transforming it into anti-metaphysical. Therefore. As a matter of fact. it is not a question of a cupio dissolvi – of an inclination to decadence. the problems associated with the sacred and the divine in the Twentieth Century are concentrated in a paradigmatic way. The idea of philosophy as a . In his thought. the Heideggerian interrogation of metaphysical categories and concepts ended by disputing the possibility of talking about God and the religious in traditional terms. On the contrary. his acceleration of nihilism is directed towards an overcoming of such a movement. mysticism and gnosis) in order to emphasize Heidegger’s strong inclination toward the Greek idea of philosophizing. After Nietzsche Heidegger’s attitude toward the philosophical tradition is torn by a profound ambivalence: on the one hand. 1. his thought opened the door to the most corrosive form of nihilism. his questioning ceases to be a simple disputing of every pre-constituted meaning and becomes a “piety of thinking” which sets itself to wait for an “other beginning” of history. without being concerned that he might be precipitating an acceleration of the decline.

In fact. thought without any filter of theological or mystical categories. every human intention to escape the nihilism of technology is condemned to become increasingly entangled in such a destiny. nobody did more to neutralize the moral determinations of existence. in which the extremes of disenchanted deconstruction and abandon to inspired vision meet. The same evidence calls for another interpretative key – that of nihilism. emphasized the practical-moral character of human life and the necessity to live life in accordance with the modes of authenticity. the more we find ourselves obliged to interrogate the problems involved in the latter. the mirage of the ineffable. In considering the beginnings of Heidegger’s thought on the sacred and the divine. an “ascesis” of thought. lingering on research into possible virtues or writing an ethics no longer makes sense.68 Volpi question of presupposition is seldom realized as radically as in Heidegger. religion and nihilism? The outlook opened up by Heidegger is interpretable neither in exclusively religious terms. How are we to explain the fact that Heideggerian thought can be associated with two opposing traditions. what Heidegger practices is a “rigorous exercise”. And no one did more to revive the preoccupation with the existential task of making concrete choices – as a preoccupation of man. Nobody more than the young Heidegger. rarely appears so near as in the Heideggerian reflection. but at first as a preoccupation of Being. it is indisputable that an incomparable lesson with regard to lucidity. except the attitude of “abandon” and of “letting be”. according to Heidegger. If with regard to the ultimate realities of our time. for example. nor as a simple apology for nihilism. mystical and gnostic conclusions are only apparently the outcomes of a contiguity of his thought with these traditions. is derivable from his deconstruction of the foundational structures of metaphysics. Rather. And the more we cling to the former reading. and nothing is of value anymore. nobody more than the later Heidegger pointed out the responsibility associated with thought. In fact. But his insistent interrogation of the categories of the metaphysical and humanistic tradition ended by . Analogously. not only with regard to the problems of the sacred and the divine. An alchemy of opposites enlivens his work generally. Heidegger’s theological. depriving them of their specific ethical meanings. we do not have to lose sight of such ambiguities. an invitation to critical vigilance which cannot be refused. At the same time. Equally. On the other hand. then “only a God can save us”.

the Twentieth Century filled his visions and prophecies with real life and pains. 2. Heidegger and the Ascesis of Thought 69 disputing and dissolving them of every content and value. surprising at first sight in view of its paradoxical nature (Löwith 1986). as an alternative to it – out of an awareness of its impracticability and the exigency of preserving some of its gains all the same – a thinking of Being which assumed. The autobiography of an illustrious witness to the experiences of those years. truth. Heidegger succeeded in also examining these questions from the “post-Nietzsche” point of view. Despite differences of style. but an acceleration of the process which it describes. the finitude of existence in its unavoidable facticity. reviving this comparison. not only of dialectics. Heidegger is most comparable to Max Weber. In this sense. But he so tenaciously and furiously criticized metaphysical certainties that he sapped the foundations. His reflections must be placed in the historical-cultural context of the early twentieth-century crisis in which they matured. and goals. Heidegger is the thinker who. as its point of departure. but of every formulation of meaning. In answering the questions of the “post-Hegel” period. contributing with his diagnosis to their decline. but also by developing. Nietzsche diagnosed the crisis of the traditional values of God. The Nietzschian consideration of this crisis is not a neutral description. Heidegger confronted the problems of the “post-Hegel” era not only by confronting the dialectical thought of the Absolute and its claims to attain the whole. Karl Löwith. embodied by Weber. The Passion of Disenchantment Heidegger is not alone in this situation. good and evil. and led to the most dismal nihilism. interpreted the role of thought in the crisis of philosophy in the face of the issues raised in the “post-Hegel” and “post-Nietzsche” periods. confronting problems that still characterize and trouble the self-representation of our time. better than others. corresponds to the mood in which . subjects. associates the two names in this historical perspective. the comparison receives a confirmation in Heidegger’s writings of the period.1 The passion of disenchantment. Moreover. and it is not by chance that his name has been raised on the banners of all kinds of anti- dialectical thought. As for Nietzsche. in which his acknowledgments of Weber contrasts with his criticisms of philosophers such as Karl Jaspers or Heinrich Rickert. strategies.

either into the transcendental realm of mystic life or into the brotherliness of direct and personal human relations” (Weber 1982: 612). a situation which offered the prospect of “a polar night of icy darkness and hardness” rather than a “summer’s bloom”. in his dedication to his everyday tasks. a conflicting presence of opposite demands which. precisely as they clash in their truth claims. eating at the tree of knowledge.70 Volpi Heidegger’s deconstruction is stubbornly carried out in the 1920s. above all. and subsequently radicalized in his plan for an overcoming of metaphysics. The ones unable to do so would leave behind the “sacrifice of the intellect” and return to the ever mercifully-opened arms of the ancient . Precisely the ultimate and most sublime values have retreated from public life. Rationalism had begun a process of secularization of the ancient perspective on life originating in mythology and religion. how the rationalism determining the historical development of modernity had produced decisive consequences for every formulation of meaning. Instead he must follow. Weber summoned up the idea of the intellectual’s responsibility to vigorously live their destined confrontation with this diversity of conflicting values. Weber wrote. This simultaneous clashing of several values causes the devaluation of all values. this is possible only as a personal. invalidate their capacity to be meaningful in a rational. with the cultural relativism and nihilism of our age. Humanity. shared. by the disenchantment of the world. Under the “iron grip” of nihilism. a secularization which was producing what he called the “disenchantment of the world”. eventually producing a cacophony of options and decisions. he offered an illuminating diagnosis of the new conditions in two famous lectures given during the severe crisis that followed the First World War. and to clearly identify the“heroism of reason” necessary in such a predicament. “The fate of our time”. the daemon which guides his existence (Weber 1980: 559). “is characterized by rationalism and intellectualization and. universal way. with a few brush-strokes. Reason alone is possible only as a polytheism of values. subjective choice. loses its original innocence and becomes. Max Weber was among the first to lucidly outline the new historical-cultural situation which was looming. from the point of view of reason alone. without irrationally indulging in eschatological expectations or in romantic nostalgia. immune to every faith and incapable of developing a rational foundation for the meaning of life. In this situation of crisis. At the end of a vast reconstruction of modern rationalism.2 He succeeded in grasping and describing.

atheism” originate? (GA61: 197-198). and. . inclined towards the presupposition and “uncritical” assumption of their object? An eloquent document written in 1919. he expresses the conviction that his renunciation of Catholicism’s doctrinal system is inevitable if he is to follow his philosophical vocation. his father confessor. did the conviction. that philosophy is “in principal. Now. if not from here. the distinction later included in the lecture ‘Phenomenology and Theology’ between philosophy as “critical” knowledge. if not that of this renunciation of any positive transcendence. it legitimates the renunciation of every transcendental value (in spite of its recognition of creatureliness) because it presupposes worldliness as the only dimension in which the success or the failure of existence is measured. and his accompanying detachment from theology and Catholic faith. illustrates the young Heidegger’s anguished but resolute conversion to philosophy. if not this passion of disenchantment? In what context was his hermeneutics of facticity developed. In the 1919 letter addressed to Engelbert Krebs. The virtue of a worldly asceticism lies in its value as an explicative paradigm for the cultural self-representation of the disenchanted world. which considers existence itself as the only dimension in which the success or failure of existence is measured? From where. notwithstanding this. in his early university courses. which are inevitably detached from the values of religious salvation. in other words. the rational sobriety which withstands the assimilation of any content and is as lucid as long as it remains empty: the power of the rational consists in dissolving everything substantial. that is. The Sacrificium Intellectus What was the atmosphere in which Heidegger thought and elaborated his destruction of the history of ontology during the 20s. and thus contemporaneous with Weber’s lectures. professed by the young Heidegger. if not here. in fact. of the recognition of Dasein’s radical finitude? The world-view.3 3. Where. knowledge able to dispute every positum. and the sciences as positive knowledge. Heidegger and the Ascesis of Thought 71 churches: let the disciple come back to the prophet and the believer to the redeemer – soWeber concluded – but this is the age of science and reason. the only virtue possible in a world of disenchantment is. is the foundation of Heidegger’s insistence on underlining.

During the 30s this endeavour was further radicalized. which. they are quasi-transcendental structures.4 The confrontation with Nietzsche was decisive in this regard. Even when. categories. which he saw as handicapped by oblivion of Being (Sein) in favour of Being (das Seiende). which originates with “Platonism” and is fulfilled in the will to power of modern technology. With the idea of the overstepping (Überwindung) and overcoming (Verwindung) of metaphysics. an analysis of existence is shaped and proposed alongside the deconstruction of traditional ontology. together with the attempt to think the historical-epochal conditions of nihilism. until it is realized in the essence of modern technology. they are “empty”. of which Aristotelian First Philosophy represents the paradigm. and “onto- theology”. The tenacity with which Heidegger disputed the contents of traditional metaphysics shows the features of a real asceticism of thinking. an oblivion which restrains and prevents the possibility of an “other beginning” for history. In other words. which he carried out during the 20s.72 Volpi Throughout his work. Heidegger intended to depart from traditional philosophy. on the subject of filling them. Kant. as in Being and Time. . Hegel and Husserl. at least from the philosophical point of view. of a rigorous exercise of questioning which consciously precludes itself from any “positive” result. in Heidegger’s view. remaining faithful to a philosophical interrogation of the tradition’s representations. And wherever the impression of a positive meaning creeps in – as in the case of the qualification. Heidegger always refused the “sacrificium intellectus” with rigorous coherent argumentation. The project of a phenomenological destruction of the history of ontology. is permeated by this critical coherence. but also Descartes and Leibniz). consciously and deliberately. the obtained “positive” determinations always have the features of “formal indications”. and the “metaphysics of Dasein” of the 1929 Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics became impossible. until even the “fundamental ontology” of Being and Time. through a monumental and in-depth reading of the pivotal moments in the history of metaphysics (Aristotle. begins with Plato and extends across the history of the European thought as its hidden cipher. From this point on he devotes his criticism to the two archetypal structures of metaphysics: “subjectivity”. in a moral sense. and Heidegger does not pronounce. concepts and presuppositions.

do not imply either the pure and simple presumption of the negative.5 This is the reason why the Heideggerian destruction of the tradition does not leave nothingness behind itself. after the work of deconstruction of Being and Time. is totally committed to a propositive thought based on the idea of Being (Sein) as Ereignis. as the comparison with Max Weber might incline us to think. and on its destining itself to man. an absence. yes. Divinities and Mortals in das Geviert. is clear: it is a real itinerarium mentis in nihilum. Is this the reason why Heidegger’s “nihilism” in the end approximates a theism? Is this the reason why his itinerarium mentis in nihilum resembles. a thought founded upon the co-belonging of Earth and Sky. which. In the Beiträge zur Philosophie (1936-1938). and the diagnosis of the essence of modern technology as Gestell. if the passion of disenchantment and the refusal of the sacrificium intellectus. or an apology for nihilism. the function of remembering thought (Andenken). as the listeners of the inaugural lecture ‘What is Metaphysics?’ certainly understood. . precludes the possibility of the opening to Being (Sein). Heidegger and the Ascesis of Thought 73 of the conceptual pair authentic/inauthentic – he meticulously makes sure that it is rejected as an ontic misinterpretation. But if nothingness is where Heidegger’s analysis leads him. an itinerarium mentis in Deum? And why his meditations suggest analogies with theology. and renunciation of any positive content. has the most complete form of nihilism as its outcome? This would probably be the state of affairs. and therefore an uneasiness and a need. The outcome of this procedure. Heidegger thinks and writes against empty rationalism and intellectualism. such as the view of language as the “house of Being”. to an impressive extent. there is the first realization of a project which. as it is shown in primis by his impassioned interpretive appropriation of the primordial Christian experience of existence. The ascesis of thinking. but a vacuum. must we also think that it remains his final destination? Must we conclude that his speculation. were characterized by mere intellectualism and rationalism. But this is not the case with Heidegger. On the contrary. immanent to a being (Seiende). mysticism and gnosis? We can say tentatively. in the course ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’ of 1920-21. following the dynamics of philosophical questioning which he himself implemented. together with all the themes which spring from this. from which the Heideggerian itinerary starts.

Finally. by the study of medieval mysticism. the influence of this existential analysis on Bultmann himself. 3) The structural analogies between Heidegger and gnosis. by following the Heideggerian example. since they are marked by the influence of the theologian Carl Braig (who taught Heidegger the importance of Hegel and Schelling for speculative theology). which leads to a nihil. It would then be necessary to investigate the role played by Heidegger’s relationship with Rudolf Bultmann in the elaboration of the analysis of existence and. by the analysis of Rudolf Otto’s book on The Idea of the Holy. 2) The convergences between Heidegger’s thought and certain types of mysticism with regard to fundamental themes. and the various points at which they appear in it. To do so. during this period. as an itinerarium mentis in Deum. The years of his early education would provide enough material for a separate study. and by impassioned interpretations of Paul. claimed to be a “Christian theologian”. Augustine and Martin Luther. Theology The relationship between theology and Heideggerian thought has been so continuous and deep that we could not illustrate it here in a sufficient way even if we wanted to. freed themselves.74 Volpi At this point. All these influences explain why Heidegger. 4. which. we would have to examine the different ways in which theological problems manifest themselves in Heidegger’s work.6 . which led to a vast and fruitful reception both in the Catholic and in the Protestant world. in their reflection on the divine. in turn. as an approximation to the sacred and the divine? There are some powerful arguments to legitimize this reading of Heidegger: 1) The close connection between Heidegger’s thought and theological questioning. by the in-depth reading of Schleiermacher’s Discourses on Religion. This and many other aspects of the influence of Heidegger’s thought on theology have been widely investigated. from the passive and uncritical acceptance of metaphysical categories. we are reaching the heart of our examination: is it possible to interpret Heidegger’s speculative itinerary. we would have to explore the vast topic of Heidegger’s reception by both Protestant and Catholic theology.

for Heidegger. Consequently. In the lecture ‘Phenomenology and Theology’. which he had previously considered a specific component of theology’s positive scientific nature. we are here interested solely in the principled attitude which. Heidegger attacks the book Was ist der Mensch? written by Theodor Haecker. as against the positive disposition of theology. such as belief in God itself or in the immortality of the individual soul. according to Heidegger. theology is.8 Notwithstanding this clear subordination of theology to philosophy. but it alone must indicate the conditions of possibility of religious phenomena.. By presupposing its own object as a given. a form of critical knowledge because it calls everything into question. Heidegger assigns to philosophy a “corrective” task with regard to the positive concepts of theology. His severe criticism of the idea of “Christian philosophy”. Philosophy is. does not weaken Heidegger’s criticism: theology’s scientific nature is of a positive kind. one of the leaders of the Catholic . this attitude is unequivocally defined as a critical disposition. In line with this criticism. without questioning the fruitfulness of the historically established or possible relationships between Heidegger’s thought and theology.e. In the 30s and 40s he adopted instead a more rigid attitude. Heidegger and the Ascesis of Thought 75 Now. The presupposition of faith. cannot presuppose anything. The fact that he underlines the scientific nature of theology. is founded on an intense affection for the Greek idea of philosophizing as total questioning. he now stigmatized as a behaviour requiring the renunciation of thinking. and it is only on this basis that a relationship and a hierarchy between the two is possible. and therefore. on the other hand.7 The tasks of philosophy and theology are therefore clearly separate. without questioning it. rather than the confessional aspect emphasized by Franz Overbeck’s Christian skepticism. a positive science like any other. The relationship is indeed possible: philosophy must not pass judgement on the truths and the contents of faith. implying that it is oxymoronic by comparing it to a “wooden iron” during the 1935 course Introduction to Metaphysics. philosophy must assume towards theology. and nurtures a definitely anti-Catholic attitude. in the 20s Heidegger kept open the possibility of a fruitful relationship between philosophical and theological work. neither philosophical nor critical. The reason for this hierarchical subordination lies in the different kinds of knowledge which philosophy and theology respectively realize. such as the existence of God or the immortality of the soul. i.

he answers: I am asked this question at least twice a month. that I have retained an old love for it and that I know a little about it. We can cite as examples two statements made at the beginning of the 1950s. praises such a book. which is the “thing of thought” (die Sache des Denkens). I believe that the experience of God and of its revealing (as this revealing deals with man) happens in the dimension of Being. made in the conciliatory tone of one who wants to have a dialogue. because he is unwilling and unable to inquire. If I had to write a theology (and sometimes I am tempted to do that). there are books today entitled: What is man? But the title merely stands in letters on the cover. Luther understood this […] I believe that Being cannot ever be thought as the foundation and the essence of God. among others. perhaps. This does not ever mean that . it would not be faith anymore. the other during a colloquium at the Evangelical Academy in Hofgeismar. There is no questioning. even the blindest among us know where we stand (GA40: 151). If a man believes the propositions of Catholic dogma. to the point that. Heidegger re-opened his dialogue with theology on a larger scale. that I come from theology. as ‘an extraordinary. one during a discussion with students in Zurich. and God. To the question of whether it is licit to identify Being (Sein) with God. If it needed to do so. But the origin always comes to meet us from the future” (GA12: 91). he has not abandoned the clear demarcation between philosophy and theology. that is his individual concern. magnificent and courageous work’. but because the writers already posses an answer and what is more an answer that forbids questioning.9 Without ever mentioning Haecker. But how can we be expected to take a man seriously who writes ‘What is man?’ on the cover of his book although he does not inquire. which question merely on its cover. recalling his theological education. In the first statement. he affirmed that “without this theological background I should never have come upon the path of thinking. because (understandably) it worries the theologians […] Being and God are not identical and I would never be tempted to think the essence of God through the concept of Being.76 Volpi opposition to National Socialism. the word “Being” should not appear in any way. Faith does not need to think Being. Nevertheless. Some people know. Nevertheless. Not only because people have been so busy writing books that they have forgotten how to question. Heidegger clearly separates Being (Sein). Heidegger writes: To be sure. we shall not discuss it here.10 But after the war. And when the Frankfurter Zeitung. and in the final phase of his thought. who is the object of theology.

n. Since his early years. from 1953. or contribute to. Duns Scotus’s Doctrine of Categories and Meaning (1915). distinctions and demarcations completely new would be needed (GA15: 436). The other statement. Heidegger announces a study (never published) on the philosophical meaning of the Eckhartian mysticism in relation to the “metaphysics of truth” (GA1: 402.12 An important reference to Meister Eckhart is found in the course for the summer semester 1927. drawn from Meister Eckhart’s German sermon Consideravit domum (Quint. and Johannes Tauler. eternity keeps simple” (GA1: 415). he placed a quotation. 30): “Time is what changes and multiplies. quoted by Hermann Noack. Basic Problems of Phenomenology. it is impossible to carry out anything which can prepare for. notes to which can be found in GA60. pure act. It is possible to establish a relationship between Heidegger’s thought and mysticism. this distinction is the sign of an .11 At the end of his Habilitationsschrift. In the ex ergo to the opening lecture for the university teaching qualification. a well-known scholar of the topic. Heidegger had a lively interest in medieval mysticism. 5. Again: for the winter semester 1919-20. In private. what happens in faith and grace. Here. he meditates again and again on the Imitatio Christi. Heinrich Suso. 2). Heidegger and the Ascesis of Thought 77 Being can count as a possible predicate of God. spirit. the reading of which he was directed to by Engelbert Krebs. each time. etc. is so clear that it leaves no doubt at all: “In thinking. Heidegger praises Eckhart’s ontological awareness in the definition of the transcendent principle as “deity” (Gottheit. As an attempt to approach the transcendence by overcoming any conceptual mediation. finding holds both in Heidegger’s intellectual biography and in his writings. If faith ever touched me in this way. n. person. According to Heidegger. as substance. I would close up shop” (Noack 1954: 30-37). mysticism avoids the metaphysical categories on the basis of which God is thought. especially Meister Eckhart. deitas) rather than “God”. he announces a course on ‘The Philosophical Foundation of Medieval Mysticism’. Mysticism Mysticism contains an approximation to the subject of the divine more consonant with Heidegger’s thought. it evades the Heideggerian deconstruction. Seemingly. ‘The Concept of Time in the Science of History’.

To conclude this list. Another significant remark on Meister Eckhart appears in the lectures of the summer semester 1931. God. A last noteworthy judgment. Heidegger carries out an exhaustive analysis of the question of the multiplicity of the meanings of Being and of their unity. To introduce the topic of the course. is the reference to the Eckhartian concept of “thing” (dinc) in Vorträge und Aufsätze (GA7: 175). in virtue of which Eckhart refers first to the mode of being of God. which is not a solution but a formula. which affirms that “nothing is without reason” (nihil est sine ratione) – in the Swabian mystic . deitas. to which the divine principle is relegated when it is designated with the term “God”. into what is properly actual. the only one who sought a solution. and the plane of ontological awareness. its essence. among the many which should be quoted. Heidegger includes the German mystic in the history of the problem. which is an ontological determination of a being. This remarkable alteration of essence into a being is the presupposition for what is called mystical speculation (GA24: 127-128). which are dedicated to the analysis of the early chapters of book Nine of Aristotle’s Metaphysics. in an ideal line from Heraclitus to Hölderlin (GA34: 123). says: ‘God “is” not at all. taking the Eckhartian conception of Being as a starting point. peculiar because it transforms the idea of essence in general.78 Volpi attention for the difference between the plane of the merely ontic. Meister Eckhart. In this regard. although it remained alive in his thinking in another respect)” (GA33: 46-47). and therefore discusses the medieval solution of the problem through the doctrine of analogia entis. Heidegger rejoices to find a confirmation of his own criticism of the founding thought of modern metaphysics – which is based on the Leibnizian principle of sufficient reason. the essentia entis. in the lecture course of the Winter Semester 1934-35 on Hölderlin. we cannot forget how in The Principle of Reason. and only then to God itself. into a being and makes the ontological ground of a being. in His very essence. A few years later. using precisely the term Gottheit. because “being” is a finite predicate and absolutely cannot be said of God’ (This was admittedly only a beginning which disappeared in Eckhart’s later development. Heidegger writes: It is the characteristic quality of medieval mysticism that it tries to lay hold of Being ontologically rated as the properly essential being. its possibility. In this attempt mysticism arrives at a peculiar speculation. he notes: “They rescued themselves from this dilemma with the help of analogy.

asks not if one can see her. Second. Heidegger himself considers the problem of eternity. alias Angelus Silesius. the eternal instant.13 Yet these analogies and similarities.e. First. but rather as an exhortation to meditation and reserve (Verhaltenheit). corresponding to the way in which Being gives itself as an “event” (Ereignis). Heidegger and the Ascesis of Thought 79 Johannes Scheffler. i. do not touch the inner core of Heidegger’s thought. Heidegger comments upon the couplet. according to Heidegger. “Without why” of the Cherubinic Wanderer (GA10: 68-69): The rose is without why. therefore between “history (configuration of values)” and “philosophy (validity of values)” (GA1: 410). such analogies and similarities risk binding that thought to a dimension which. as far as it represents the declared renunciation of thinking (therefore. aspires to escape from time. must not be interpreted as a “mutism”. Such “silence”. instead. but in order to grasp its connection with temporality. It is true that. She blooms because she blooms. world and God”. but intends. he declares the necessity of thoroughly analysing the relationship between “time and eternity. which. however. These and other aspects of the relationship between Heidegger and mysticism have already been investigated. praised also by Hegel. however revealing and interesting.. thought has to be placed in the dimension of historicity and of epochality. Mysticism. Heidegger mentions a “sigetic”. privileges the non-conceptual and the non- linguistic. She pays herself no heed. On the contrary. into an ultra-temporal ecstasy. and only in it. Precisely on this basis it is necessary to underline the deep differences which separate Heidegger’s thought from mysticism. In the conclusion of his Habilitationsschrift. He does not want to overstep the temporal dimension. Of course. a doctrine of silence. particularly in the Beiträge zur Philosophie. in his mature reflections. thought is for Heidegger indissolubly bound to the experience of language. is the possibility of corresponding to Being and “bringing it to language” given. in its peculiar experience of the divine. is heterogeneous to the philosophical questioning which Heidegger never ceases to claim and to practice. in comparison with mysticism. . variation and absolute validity. the sacrificium intellectus in an eminent sense. and the invocation of a more radical experience of the divine).

mostly originating from neo-Platonism. every philosopher worthy of this name could be defined as gnostic. especially on Carl Gustav Jung’s initiative. Gnosis The subject of Gnosticism in Heidegger’s thought. to show how the conditions for the mystical experience are given in it. accomplished the . and the absoluteness of God. not a solution. and the idea that the divine transcendence can be grasped and. and has recently shown further developments. such as the hierarchy of Being. mysticism. interpreted its genesis and its historical evolution as the triumph of gnosis. 6. that Heidegger was a “mystic without God”. Voegelin argued. the fundamental opposition between the creatureliness of the being (Seiende). and yet only recently.15 If Heidegger’s gnosis consisted in this only. attracted by such movement. Jung. if it was reduced to the simple fact that he could have drawn on the three gnostic questions par excellence: “Who are we? Where do we come from? Where do we go?” in accordance with the famous Valentinian slogan quoted by Clement of Alexandria. remains bound to metaphysical categories and concepts.80 Volpi on the contrary. was identified early on. so to speak. has it been given the importance which it deserves. later published in the Eranos-Jahrbuch. particularly in its speculative variety. promoted in Ascona a famous series of meetings among the greatest experts in the field. with the revival of gnostic positions. touched in a pure presence. The establishment of a relationship between Heidegger and gnosis has its roots in the development of the debate on gnosis originating in the 30s. The debate came to a head after the Second Word War. particularly Eric Voegelin. it is perhaps possible to say. Modernity. If one wants. nevertheless. whereas Heidegger is interested in deconstructing every metaphysical element and remaining in thought. But this is a slogan. attacking the legitimacy of the modern epoch. Heidegger’s gnosis would be too generic and devoid of interest.14 Of course. using an expression coined by Fritz Mauthner. to make a comparison between Heidegger’s thought and mysticism. in spite of the lack of explicit references to gnosis in his work.16 In the 1950s. Third. gnosis was disconnected from its historical location in late antiquity and used as a palimpsest for an interpretation of modernity. In such readings.

a student of Heidegger’s and Bultmann’s in Marburg.22 Focussing more on the late Heidegger. it would represent the second defeat and the definitive overcoming of gnosis (Blumenberg. as in gnosis. Karl Jaspers also meditated on the structural analogies between Heidegger’s thought and . the privilege granted to the “pearl” of Dasein. in which God and the spiritual life are sacrificed to civilization and all human energies are devoted to the task of salvation through the immanent action in the world. Gnosis would be an ancient anticipation of nihilism and existentialism. whereas these would be modern forms of gnosis. whose mode of being is crossed by a dualistic tension between inauthenticity and authenticity. it is possible to discover surprising gnostic themes in Heidegger’s thought: for example. one should remember that the connection between Heidegger and gnosis was initially suggested by Hans Jonas.19 In his work on Gnosis and the Late Ancient Spirit. published a passionate defence of modernity. Heidegger and the Ascesis of Thought 81 immanentization of the Christian eschaton in a nihilistic view. the annihilatio mundi and the negation of the quotidian.21 Following such a hypothesis. 1966). in which he asserted that it is characterized not so much (though also) by the secularization of Christianity. still present in the late medieval theological absolutism. establishing an explicit connection among Gnosticism.17 This thesis provoked the reaction of Hans Blumenberg who. the realization of the authentic existence only occurs with the conquest of the true Self. and it would tend to an absolutization of the world. Consequently. Jonas assumes the existential analysis developed by Heidegger in Being and Time as an hermeneutic key to interpret Gnosticism. suggesting the existence of a latent structural (though not historical) affinity between the tragic outlook on existence peculiar to ancient Gnosticism (particularly its acosmism and its metaphysical and moral negation of the world) and the question raised by Heidegger’s “existentialism” (Jonas 1934.18 Without going deeply into an interpretation of the modern transformations of gnosis.20 The theme of an affinity between these two philosophical views. but rather by the self- affirmation of man in anti-thesis to the late medieval speculation. was taken up by Jonas after the war. Modernity would question instead the gnostic dualism. modern nihilism and Heideggerian “existentialism”. 1954). Moreover. and this conquest implies in Heidegger. a decade later. which radically separates world and God. distant in time from each other and apparently incommensurable.

I live in the assimilation of a philosophia perennis. 3) our own position: what is shown as decision of existence and perhaps is shown inadequately in thinking and in what is thought (Jaspers 1978: 62).82 Volpi gnosis. shepherd of Being?” (Jaspers 1978: 52). “The interpretation of the ‘modern epoch’. but of the reference to transcendence to the speculation which remains (devoid of content) gnostic” (Jaspers 1978: 209). 2) it is necessary to indicate its consequences: God or daemon and also God or gnosis. he notes: “To be studied in Schelling. to bring it to light. We could continue ad libitum the list of passages. about the late Heidegger: “It is an analogon of the Christian faith – it should be described in detail – not an analogon of the content of faith. he recognizes in a gnostic way a historical process of Being. And again. – If he dares to carry out the project. In another note. we can note that Voegelin is instead convinced of the contrary. Again.. then of the West. The fact that Heidegger defends himself saying: “The idle talk about the truth of Being and the history of Being” is not of much use.e. coherently leads to a kind of gnosis” (Jaspers 1978: 60). but Jaspers’s criticism is clear: more than in the “early” Heidegger’s existential analysis. as in Schelling” (Jaspers 1978: 53). that the early and not the late Heidegger’s thought . Referring to a passage from the ‘Letter on Humanism’. underlying the differences between Heidegger and himself. Jaspers asks. moving from the roots of metaphysics. the outcome is the gnosis. Referring to another passage from the Letter. to a progress and to earnings” (Jaspers 1978: 72). the structural affinity with gnosis has to be sought in the “late” Heidegger’s attempt to think Being as “event” (Ereignis) and “history” (Geschichte) as epochs and destinations (Geschick) of Being. I do not assign any value to the innovation. he underlines (ever since 1949) that the coherent development of the existential analysis inevitably leads to a gnostic conception of the “happening” and “falling” of Being which gives rise to history (Jaspers (1978). i. on the history of Being and its epochal destinations. “What lies behind? A gnostic tale? The man thrown from Being to be guardian of Being. published posthumously in 1978. all the reversals returning in Heidegger. In his critical notes on Heidegger. and drawing it from the history of Being. A subsequent note is entitled “What can be said about Heidegger’s gnosis?” with the following program: 1) It is necessary to show it. in grand style. Jaspers writes: “He pretends something completely new. In passing.

with the difference that in Heidegger the tale is deprived of its antecedent and conclusion. it clings to the world because of the curiosity (the polypragmosyne. from Eckhart onwards. Let us remember the outline of the gnostic novel. is the obstacle to thinking. formulates this problem with astounding intransigence: ‘He who does not believe cannot think’. ‘rationalism’. Expressing his opinion on this topic in a side- note to a letter addressed to his friend Alfred Schütz in 1953. who in his work of recent years has moved far away from existentialist beginnings and from Romanticism. 3) Subsequently. Heidegger and the Ascesis of Thought 83 presents gnostic features. Heidegger’s analysis of existence has a structure analogous to the gnostic tale of the fall of the soul in the most unfathomable finitude. he watches a tragedy without origin or solution and which. as he calls it. As many other works in German philosophy. without yet returning to the compactness of experiences. numbering the episodes: 1) From the primordial abyss. and here is the mistake and the sin. but in him the novel is deprived. Sein und Zeit presents the form of a gnostic novel (here is the profound sense of the “historicity” of existence in Heidegger). hypostases emerge. of the final episode. In Bréhier’s view. which seems to correspond well to Heidegger’s Sorge). 2) One of them wants to become independent. Immanent speculation on being has for Heidegger come to prevent the knowledge of being. Heidegger. in particular they are designed to make it socially impossible to raise transcendent questions. he observes: The gnostic variants are concretely characterized by the need to prevent conceptually the differentiation of experiences and concepts. This is a striking formula for the problem which I discussed in my preceding letter under the title of sacrificium intellectus. nevertheless. written by Émile Bréhier in 1942-43 in Revue philosophique de la France et de l’Étranger. The result is a singular case of thought prevention. They remain attached to their origin and are oriented towards it. of Alphonse De Waelhens’s book La philosophie de Martin Heidegger (Bréhier 1942-43: 165-169). and because of such a fall. then. on the other hand. the creation of the world happens and then the creation of time. This confers to the romanticized life described there its dramatic feature. . Bréhier suggests reading Being and Time as a gnostic novel.23 But the subtlest remarks on Heidegger’s gnosis are found in a review. it forgets its origin. of its origin and. as if a member of the audience arrived too late to the theatre and left too early. on the one hand. grasps only the tragic anguish of the characters. to which the declined being is closely connected. is known as such only by the philosopher.

insisting on the finitude of existence. Heidegger is neither a theologian.84 Volpi 4) Nevertheless. although based on structural analysis only. precisely. Heidegger. some of these beings overcome the forgetfulness through reminiscence. the non-foundation (Ungrund): moreover. the assumption of finitude and facticity as an insurmountable horizon. arbitrarily prolonging the gnostic novel. nor a theorist of nihilism. something of the origin and of the end of the novel. but a radical and rigorous interpreter of the exercise of philosophical thought. the analysis of finitude assumes a dramatic and desperate tone. like the theological. Sein und Zeit belongs. the mystical. 7. and the nihilistic reading. with a surprising exactness. whether he likes it or not. but it is also necessary to admit that this explanation does not assign to the different modes of existence the value they assume for the philosopher. suggests this dimension beyond the world. As many people think. nor a gnostic. In this sense. from Heidegger’s stubborn and obstinate will to “think in a more Greek way than the Greeks”. One could probably say that such remaining episodes form precisely the datum. On account of the chosen point of departure. to the history of religious thought (Bréhier 1942-43: 168-169). the succession of inauthentic and authentic life. Remove from this novel the first. And yet. emphasizes an important theme in Heidegger’s thought. the gnostic reading of Heidegger does not go far enough to grasp the inner spirit of Heidegger’s thought. . thus deprived of God and redemption. We even say that […] this something is expressly present in Heidegger: it is the “being” (das Seyende) irreducible to Being (das Sein): this mysterious Being is indifferently the abyss (Abgrund). if not as he maintains. which constitutes the destiny of the human existence. we could indeed compare Heidegger’s existential analysis with an eschatological history. In the absence of a theological-religious light illuminating fallenness and promising the possibility of liberation. Questioning as the “Piety of Thinking” The spirit of Heidegger’s speculation comes directly from the Greek idea of philosophizing. The strength and life animating Heidegger’s thought lies elsewhere. The connection of Heidegger with gnosis. in the background. deprived of the transcendent which provides it with sense and intelligibility. that is. the origin (Urgrund). susceptible of a phenomenological description. the second and then the fifth episode: the remaining episodes furnish. 5) They become aware of their own origin and of the reason why they are in the world.

in the sense of the Greek askein. which consists in the removal of every presupposition. If on the one hand the ascetic exercise of thinking and questioning can only produce a further erosion of the tradition. mystic or nihilistic sense. We know. One could say. In short. after all. more than in a theological. freeing it from the subsequent minglings. for the realization of the potency of this thinking lies in questioning every positum and in dissolving every substantial image. even in the awareness that in the age of technology there are no possible virtues or morals anymore. suitable to the epoch “of the fled gods and of the new god to come”. that is the “ascesis”. of that form of thought inaugurated by the Greeks. therefore. in rising to that point of view which allows us to see what lies as the ground of all points of view. In other words. Demanding these attitudes. to an acceleration of nihilism. the most Western of Western thinkers. to what this askein. which makes him refractory to the assumption of every positum and of every content. he wants the greatest coherence and radicalism in combatting presuppositions and getting to the root of every pre-constituted conceptual horizon to try to reach that formally perfect coherence of the philosophical discourse. Thus it is not by chance that. the two extremes of nihilism and mysticism coexist and come to meet. of course. means calling attention to the necessity of a new heroism of thought in the face of impending nihilism. and precisely the presupposition of Western philosophy as it was born among the Greeks. It leads. In this horizon. the demand that every revealed God flee. Nevertheless. Gelassenheit or Verhaltenheit. He is. and because he strives to practice and to carry to extremes the exercise. Heidegger and the Ascesis of Thought 85 of the interrogation which questions everything. this “ascesis” or exercise of thought leads: it leads to the consumption of every traditional image. Heidegger’s thought is not an apology for nihilism. Greek) form of philosophical interrogation. even from the Christian one.. This cannot be denied. in a double sense: because he intends to remain faithful to the original (i. that exercise so rigorous and caustic. on the other hand the fulfilment of this process issues in the opening of thought . Heidegger is on the same wave-length as the tradition of Western thought: he shows himself everywhere to belong to it and he contributes to keeping it alive precisely when he criticizes it. that even this attitude is a presupposition. similar to the exercise of looking through the glass trying to look at the glass itself. we should read Heidegger’s theorization of the “virtues” of thinking. in Heidegger’s work. of course. Heidegger looks for that “ascesis”.e.

24 Translated by Paolo Diego Bubbio 1 For example. is that absolute point which Meister Eckhart called (with almost blasphemous description) the point “where the angel. 21:11-12. and not in the possible relationship with National Socialism. on the one hand. likewise joining the National Socialist Movement was not a philosophical act. “world”. Martin Heidegger. the real substance of Heidegger’s thought is to be found elsewhere. the substance vivifying Heidegger’s thought is the questioning which is the “piety of thinking”. is the negation of every determination and every content. ‘Sentinel. inquire. and “God”. cited in Weber [1982: 613]). Analogously. what of the night?’ The sentinel says: ‘Morning comes. just as Being and Time is not a political work. Heidegger (1987: 467-67). In this last passage. New Revised Standard Version. Divines and Mortals. Both lectures are published in English in Weber (1946). “logic”. Heidegger’s work spans two opposite extremes: dragging with him large cohorts of contemporaries. by which he signifies the co-belonging of Earth and Sky. and also the night. Max Weber. in Weber (1982: 582-613). as pure speculation. was also debased on the philosophical plane. Heidegger defends his criticism of the traditional concepts of “humanism”. See GA9. in Weber (1980: 505-560). we can affirm that. The criticism of the metaphysical concepts and categories opens the possibility of experimenting with new words and symbolical resources. “value”. The latter work was influenced by Weber but did not testify to a similar critical awareness. If you will inquire. Without going too deeply into this sensitive question. In any case. which Heidegger treats in the last part of the Beiträge zur Philosophie. such as those actually invented by Heidegger. 5 Cf.86 Volpi to a radically different expectation. rejecting the idea that the criticism of a certain position means eo ipso the assumption of the opposite . there is a significant contrast between the positive tenor of the consideration of Max Weber in the review of Jaspers (1919-1922) and the severe criticism of Jaspers’s Psychology of World Views. Max Weber ‘Politik als Beruf’. In carrying out the ascesis of thought. Cf. ‘Post-Scriptum’ to ‘What is Metaphysics?’ and ‘Letter on Humanism’. in GA9. 3 The famous quotation from the Bible with which Weber concluded his first lecture in Munich emblematically illustrates this conviction: “One is calling to me from Seir. but. it reaches that nothingness which. come back again’” (Isa. on the other hand. ‘Wissenschaft als Beruf’. In this divarication. first of all das Geviert. 4 The fact that Heidegger fatally focussed his critical attention on political matters when he joined the National Socialist Movement does not imply that his thought. 2 Cf. what of the night? Sentinel. “the whole of the four”. the fly and the soul are the same thing”. the flight of the gods prepares the space for the possibility of the last God.

18 Cf. 14 One of Heidegger’s rare references to the Valentinian Gnosis can be found in GA63 (25). Cf. They recognize and accept these things as positive. 1927. of ‘logic’. and so consummates nihilism. see Volpi (2005). see Schaeffler (1978). together with the first of Nietzsche’s Untimely Meditations. see Sloterdijk (1991). For a philosophical introduction to the problem. 12 Löwith remembers: “He [Heidegger] gave me The Imitation by Thomas à Kempis as a Christmas present in 1920. It was published for the first time in Archives de Philosophie 32 (1969): 355-415. such as Johannes B. Eine philosophische Studie zum pelagianischen Streit (Jonas 1965). and finally in GA9: 45-78. and Voegelin (1959). They hear something about opposition to these. he saw spiritual substance in theology alone. The lecture was republished as a booklet with the significant dedication ‘To Rudolf Bultmann. Pöggeler (1982: 65-92). and ‘God’. Noller (1967). Cf. From the perspective of Catholic theology. 9 See Haecker (1933). Culianu (1985). Heidegger and the Ascesis of Thought 87 position: “What’s going on here? People hear talk about ‘humanism’. Voegelin (1952). But with hearsay – in a way that is not exactly deliberative – they immediately assume that this is “negative” in the sense of destructive […] With the assistance of logic and ratio often invoked. Excerpta ex Theodoto. see Vannini (1999). people come to believe that whatever is not positive is negative and thus that it seeks to degrade reason and therefore deserves to be branded as depravity. Ott (1988: 255-267). 2. of ‘world’. . 16 As a first introduction. Krebs (1921). 11 See. Following this logical course we let everything expire in a nihilism we invented for ourselves with the aid of logic. From the perspective of Protestant theology. free from presuppositions. with happy memories of the Marburg years 1923- 1928’ in 1970. We are so wiled with ‘logic’ that anything that disturbs the habitual somnolence of prevailing opinion is automatically registered as a despicable contradiction. 19 Hans Jonas graduated in 1928 from Marburg. where Heidegger and Rudolf Bultmann had acted as supervisors on a dissertation which Jonas presented on Augustin und das paulinische Freiheitsproblem. ends in nothing. For a general introduction. see Ruggenini (1997). Moretto (1987: 147-178). see Robinson (1963). 78. Gethmann-Siefert (1974). which negates everything. We pitch everything that does not stay close to the familiar and beloved positive into the previously excavated pit of pure negation. in Barth and Gogarten”. for example. 15 Clement of Alexandria. But does the ‘against’ which a thinking advances against ordinary opinion necessarily point toward pure negation and the negative?” (GA9: 264). 6 For a general introduction to the problem. of ‘values’. 8 Heidegger cites Overbeck’s famous essay ‘On the Christianity of Theology’. For an in-depth bibliography. Coriando (1998). Cf. 7 The lecture was held in Tübingen on March 9. and repeated in Marburg on February 14. 17 Cf. see Jäger (1978). Sebba (1981: 190-241). Lotz and Gustav Siewerth. Even in 1925. 10 The judgments expressed by Heidegger in these years on the works of his Catholic disciples. imply that someone who is bound to a faith cannot develop philosophical interrogation in a really radical way. 1928. 13 See particularly Caputo (1977). 20 Some significant opinions of the work are collected in Rudolph (1975). Faber (1984). Löwith (1986: 29/30-31).

M. 1977. continues Voegelin. Coriando. It is rather a necessary addition to it. 1997. Gnostische Elemente im Denken Martin Heideggers? Eine Studie auf der Grundlage der Religionsphilosophie von Hans Jonas. he wonders: “Why has Husserl stubbornly maintained this mistake? Why has he continuously relapsed into this with his new attempts at construction?” The “theme of construction” seemed to him to be the following: “The annihilatio mundi and its re- creation in the solitude of the philosopher and. Jonas (1960: 155-171). republished with the title ‘Gnosis.: Klostermann. The much- debated passage of Unterwegs zur Sprache (now in GA12: 169) in which Heidegger puts listening before questioning does not. Caputo. in Jonas (1963: 3-25). References Baum. 24 “Denn das Fragen ist die Frömmigkeit des Denkens” (“Therefore questioning is the piety of thinking”) – Heidegger’s conclusion to his famous lecture in Munich (November 18. . is “a case of Averroistic speculation”. Frankfurt a. but. he acknowledges that The Crisis of the European Sciences is “the most important epistemological achievement of our times”. and yet. Frankfurt a. The individual soul is a part of the world-soul. Wolfgang. 23 The letter is published in Opitz (1981: 460-462). ‘The Question Concerning Technology’ (GA7: 40). constitute a retraction of this pronouncement. in the meditation of the sect community. and Baum (1997). by Alphonse de Waelhens’ in Revue philosophique de la France et de l’étranger 133. 1966. Neuried: Ars Una. Existentialismus und Nihilismus’. 22 Among those who have developed these considerations. 1943). The Mystical Element in Heidegger’s Thought. Voegelin also views Husserlian phenomenology as a modern form of gnosis. but it is not a radical philosophical enterprise yet” (from a letter dated September 17. in the best of cases. Bréhier. Blumenberg.88 Volpi 21 Cf. John D. presupposing the existence of a world-soul. 1998. Herkunft aber bleibt stets Zukunft. which he sees as based on a premise that. Athens. Ohio: Ohio University Press. Émile. Paola-Ludovika (ed. even as it follows an epistemological direction. Also in the correspondence with Alfred Schütz. in the end. Martin Heidegger und die Gottesfrage. is “a philosophy of progress” the proclamation of which overflows with “messianic elements” that make phenomenologists the “last sect”. 1942-43. ‘Review of La philosophie de Martin Heidegger.: Suhrkamp Verlag. in my opinion. 1953). Die Legitimität der Neuzeit. Voegelin criticizes in particular the Husserlian reconstruction of history. see Taubes (1954: 155-172). it cannot grasp either “the objectivity of the philosophical knowledge of the world” or “the fundamental subjectivity of the ego”. Husserl’s thought. it remains “a preface to philosophy. according to him.). In a letter dated 31 May 1957. Hans. M. But this is precisely gnosis”.

1986. Zwischen Nichts und Ewigkeit. Theodor. Giovanni. Franco Volpi). Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck GmbH. ‘Gnosis. Vol. Notizen zu Martin Heidegger (ed. 1974. Ioan P. Gethmann-Siefert. Vol. 1933. Milano: Adelphi. Karl. – 1952. 1921. 1984. Martin. Freiburg i. Zur Kritik der Politotheologie Eric Voegelins und Hans Blumenbergs. Br. Grundfragen der kirchlichen Mystik. Englsh: 1994. Gnosis und spätantiker Geist. Gnosticismo e pensiero moderno: Hans Jonas. Zur Lehre vom Menschen. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Gott. Sulla traccia del religioso. Jäger. Krebs. Elizabeth King). Richard. Existentialismus und Nihilismus’ in Hans Jonas. My Life in Germany Before and After 1933: A Report (tr. Augustin und das paulinische Freiheitsproblem. Moretto. Würzburg: Verlag Königshausen und Neumann. Jonas. 1978. Naples: Alfredo Guida Editore. Alfred. Heidegger and the Ascesis of Thought 89 Culianu. 1.: Herder. 1987. Jaspers. – 1963. . Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Löwith. Was ist der Mensch? Leipzig: Hegner. 1987. 377-400. Das Verhältnis von Philosophie und Theologie im Denken Martin Heideggers. Haecker. Freiburg i. Eine philosophische Studie zum pelagianischen Streit. Mein Leben in Deutschland vor und nach 1933. London: Athlone Books. – 1954. Nochmals Martin Heidegger. Engelbert. 2. ‘Gnosis und moderner Nihilismus’ Kerygma und Dogma. Metzler Verlag. Br: Verlag Karl Alber. Gnosis und spätantiker Geist. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Karl. 1985. Der Prometheus-Komplex. Rome: “L’Erma” di Bretschneider. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Hans. Von der Mythologie zur mystischen Philosophie. Stuttgart: J. Die mythologische Gnosis. – 1934. Heidegger. – 1960. Segnavia (ed. München/Zürich: Piper Verlag. Hans Saner). ‘Gnosticism and Modern Nihilism’ Social Research (19): 430- 452. 1965. 1978. Annemarie.B. Faber. Zeitschrift für theologische Forschung und kirchliche Lehre (6): 155-171.

Heidegger und die Theologie.). Gnosis und Gnostizismus. (eds). Hugo. Ruggenini. 2005. Wissenschaft. Maria Shrady). Mario. 1967. Weltrevolution der Seele. Gregor Sebba (eds). Martin Heidegger. and Thomas H. Jr. Modernity and Gnosticism’ in Opitz (1981): 190-241. Silesius. Ott.). Rudolph. Taubes. Franco (ed. Gerhard (ed. University of Chicago Press. 1959.). 1986. Frömmigkeit des Denkens? Martin Heidegger und die katholische Theologie. The Cherubinic Wanderer (tr. Pöggeler. Macho (eds). Schaeffler. Unterwegs zu seiner Biographie. Susan A. 1991. . La filosofia e l’esperienza del divino. Meister Eckhart. Käte. Angelus. München: Kösel-Verlag. Die Neue Furche 53 (2): 65- 92. Sebba.90 Volpi Noack. ‘Gespräch mit Martin Heidegger’ in Anstöße. Volpi. 1975. Robinson James M. Richard. Eric. Stuttgart: Klett- Cotta. Frankfurt a. – 1952. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. Kurt (ed. Il volto del Dio nascosto. Oltmann. The Later Heidegger and Theology. München: Kaiser. Gregor. Beginn und Fortgang der Diskussion. Guida a Heidegger. ‘History. Otto. ‘Mystische Elemente im Denken Heideggers und im Dichten Celans’ in Zeitwende. 1999.und Arbeitsbuch der Gnosis von der Spätantike bis zur Gegenwart. Noller. Zürich/München: Artemis & Winkler./New York: Campus Verlag. Rome-Bari: Editori Laterza. M. Milano: Bruno Mondadori. Milan: Bruno Mondadori.. Voegelin. Sloterdijk. 1997. Opitz and. ‘The Gnostic Foundation of Heidegger’s Nihilism’ in The Journal of Religion (34): 155-172. Cobb. Il Dio assente. Ein Lese. Marco. 1982. Frankfurt a. M. Peter. Berichte aus der Arbeit der Evangelischen Akademie Hofgeismar 1. 1935. Politik und Gnosis. The New Science of Politics. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. Consciousness and Politics. 1978. Vannini. New York: Paulist Press. and John B. 1963. 1981. New York: Harper & Row. 1954. 1954.: Klostermann. Peter J. Hermann. 1981. The Philosophy of Order: Essays on History. 1988.

– 1946. and ed. Gerth and C. From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology (tr. Gesammelte politische Schriften (4th edition). Max. Hans H. Wright Mills). 1982. Oxford University Press. Tübingen: Mohr. Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Wissenschaftslehre (5th edition). Heidegger and the Ascesis of Thought 91 Weber. Tübingen: Mohr. – 1980. .

At a time when Heidegger himself. Bultmann examined theological themes in light of Heidegger’s contemporary analysis of the “problem of history” which. which became particularly acute after the emergence of historical understanding of the Bible” (Bultmann 1966: 49-50). called into question the approach to the past proposed by contemporary theorists of history such as Ernst Troelstch. If Heidegger’s approach to the “problem of history” was significant for the reflection of theologians – Bultmann in particular – . is still more revelatory since it evokes a lively debate in which both Bultmann and Heidegger were engaged during the 1920s. Rudolf Bultmann expressed the opinion that the theologian might legitimately profit from the analysis of existence (Existenz-Analyse) elaborated by Martin Heidegger insofar as. in a context in which he mentions Ernst Troeltsch. in his words.2 In Troeltsch’s writings. the “problem of history” corresponded to the weighty methodological difficulty of attaining coherent criteria of judgment in view of the radical historicity of truth. especially since Troeltsch.Theology and the Historicity of Faith in the Perspective of the Young Martin Heidegger 1 Jeffrey Andrew Barash In an article originally published in 1953. Bultmann’s reference to this concept is highly significant. it is “through the latter that the same problem that has occupied and motivated theology is grasped. had ceased to employ the term “Existenzanalyse” (or the related term Daseinsanalyse – analysis of human finitude). in its manner of interpretation. And. His appeal to Heidegger. the problem of history. that is. “history of spirit” or “history of culture”). Heidegger’s analysis of Dasein – as Bultmann also comprehended it – attributed the emergence of this problem to the absence in contemporary theory of a proper foundation for historical understanding. and more generally in the contemporary field of the human sciences (whether defined as Geistesgeschichte or Kulturgeschichte. in the decades following the publication of Sein und Zeit (1927). In this period in particular.

94 Barash this was also because it was nourished by Heideggger’s lively interest in theology. where Bultmann also taught. 2) We will then focus on the critical reception of the presuppositions concerning history common to liberal theologians and . Heidegger engaged in an open critique of Ernst Troeltsch and of two other authors whose theories of history were particularly influential in Germany: the theologian Adolf von Harnack and the philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey. as it was commonly termed. During his time teaching as an assistant at Freiburg (1919-23). during the period of World War I. In this course. During these years prior to the elaboration of the Daseinsanalyse in Sein und Zeit. the principal aspects of historical interpretation that came to light in this work were adumbrated in the young Martin Heidegger’s investigation of theology. We will briefly deal with three themes: 1) We will first examine the presuppositions of theologians such as Harnack and Troeltsch concerning the purpose of historical reflection. Taking the young Heidegger’s course lectures on St. This will enable us to set in relief the common ground which these presuppositions shared with the broader current of “historical” or “liberal” theology. This relationship between the young Heidegger’s theological and historical reflection is particularly evident in a course taught at Freiburg in 1921. entitled ‘Augustinus und der Neuplatonismus’ (‘Augustine and Neo-Platonism’). Heidegger had distanced himself from the Catholic theological circles in which he had moved as a student at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau (1909-16). this study will examine the relationship between historical thought and theological interpretation in Heidegger. emanating from the different perspectives of Sören Kierkegaard and Franz Overbeck. he began an intensive study of Luther’s works along with critiques of recent forms of Protestantism as they came to expression in university life. Previously. which began well before the period of his direct collaboration with Bultmann following Heidegger’s appointment in 1923 to the position of associate professor (Extraordinarius) at the University of Marburg. Augustine and neo-Platonism as our point of departure. and to show the relation between these presuppositions and the general theory of history presented in Wilhelm Dilthey’s conception of Geisteswissenschaft. which was first published in Heidegger’s collected works (or Gesamtausgabe) in 1995. as in theories of the Kulturwissenschaften proposed by Wilhelm Windelband and Heinrich Rickert.

1. liberal theology emphasized the necessity of an objective analysis of religion. theology. The vigorous authority of Hegel or Schelling. As Adolf von Harnack wrote in his celebrated work Das Wesen des Christentums (1900) [The Essence of Christianity]: What is Christianity? . and with the life-experience (Lebenserfahrung) that has been acquired from lived history (von Harnack 1977: 16). In this work Harnack asserted the possibility of an inductive discovery of the essence of Christianity through empirical investigation of its progression in history from the first Christian communities up until modern Protestantism. placed the significance of all theology ever more radically in question. which constituted for him the veritable prism . At this time. like other disciplines. The Historicity of Religion and the Secularization of Religious Culture The presuppositions of the theological current generally designated as “liberal Protestantism”. by means of historical science (Wissenschaft). As a means of systematizing this Christian essence.Here we want to attempt to answer this question only in its historical sense: that is. the powerful earlier fascination with metaphysical idealism was on the wane among the German intelligentsia. may be placed in a clear light when they are set in the context of German academia beginning roughly in the middle of the nineteenth century. shifted its focus towards investigation of the historical manifestations of culture. Harnack attributed the status of normative truth to Jesus’ teaching in the Gospel. Theology and the Historicity of Faith 95 historical theorists by the movement of post-World War I neo-orthodox or “dialectical” theology. to which the young Rudolf Bultmann lent his support. Without abandoning the idea of a transcendent source of faith. At the same time. beginning with his interpretation of the ontological roots of finite human existence. empirical research and inductive methodologies rose to preeminence in the natural and human sciences. as in other disciplines. which became particularly influential at the end of the nineteenth century. 3) Finally. based in history. we will examine the theological implications of Heidegger’s conception of history which. Corresponding to this tendency. had begun to fade. and the controversies which their philosophies had fueled in theology.

Wrede. however. he nevertheless excluded any extra-scientific or apologetic motive from an investigation bearing on religion. That is why. since he attributed a more fundamental significance to the historicity of theological interpretation.96 Barash defining Christianity throughout its history. In the same way Ernst Troeltsch. insofar as the latter was the object of historical study (von Harnack 1977: 16). J. far from discerning a uniform continuity in interpretation. however fruitful it might be. took into account a panoply of heterogeneous perspectives that had come to expression over the course of its development. the application of historical methods to the study of religious phenomena. If Harnack continually argued for the existence of a supernatural and supra-historical origin of this norm. he recognized the paradox inherent in the methodology of . for his part. a comparative analysis of the different stages of Christianity could not succeed in distilling its essence on the sole basis of a univocal message presented in the Gospel. was more radical in this regard than Harnack. These authors centered their interest on its expression within a given cultural context. Troeltsch. subjected this choice to sharp criticism. Nevertheless. But as Troeltsch stipulated in his commentary on Harnack’s Das Wesen des Christentums. such as W. sought to study Christianity principally as an historical movement. in order to render systematic the varieties of historical interpretation of the Gospel. Harnack saw himself obliged to emphasize a particular kind of interpretation – that of modern Protestantism – by means of which he was then able to define a Christian essence. instead of approaching it in terms of what they took to be its purely transcendent source. encounters a multiplicity of interpretations and of historical forms of Christianity. Christianity had changed in relation to its ways of interpreting this message. which may at times contradict each other. was also fraught with difficulties. and historical analysis (as Harnack himself admitted). like the members of the religionsgeschichtliche Schule. Troeltsch. in so doing. Bousset. as Troeltsch was ready to admit. In different periods. Weiss and W. Historical investigation. It is true that Harnack never went so far as to assert that historical methods of research might verify the absolute meaning of the Christian faith (von Harnack 1977: 22). by insisting on the fact that the objectivity claimed by such a procedure requires on the contrary a more elaborate appreciation of the polyvalence of possible interpretations of the Gospel’s normative message (Troeltsch 1903: 386-451). animated by the search for a Christian “essence”.

even if the deeper sources of this cohesion remain obscure. shied away from any attempt to attribute an absolute foundation to this source. in keeping with an epistemology anchored in the human sciences. Windelband and Rickert. which confer meaning on the particular moments of cultural and national development.. accentuated through his historical research. since the search for its essence reveals a continuity in the Gospel’s reception that “runs throughout like a red thread in the cloth [which] at times [. This absolute basis might be postulated even if it could never be made fully apparent. the essence of Christianity was more obscure than for Harnack. in conformity with the Kantian inspiration of their orientation. Troeltsch subsequently submitted this conviction to increasing doubt. and corroborated by the investigations of the secularization of . under the eyes of God and by the power of God” (Harnack 1977: 16). This presupposition is revealed in their common conviction that the diversity of values and standards that emerge over the course of human development express an inner continuity and cohesion (Zusammenhang) underlying human history.. This presupposition inspired Harnack’s firmest theological convictions. what purpose might historical methods then serve for theological reflection? The answer to this question places in relief the key presupposition common to liberal theologians. This accounts for the particular importance of the neo-Kantian philosophy for liberal theology. there could be no question in his eyes of denying its source in the ultimate cohesion of history (Zusammenhang der Geschichte) as an objective process (Troeltsch 1902: 52-3). Theology and the Historicity of Faith 97 liberal theology itself: if. Where Dilthey. for Troeltsch. If. according to which the Christian religion signifies “eternal life within time. while also highlighting an affinity they shared with certain contemporary philosophical orientations during the decades prior to the First World War: the Baden school of neo-Kantianism of Wilhelm Windelband and Heinrich Rickert. the Christian faith requires an absolute foundation which historical knowledge is not capable of providing. since the theologians were able to argue on this basis that the plurality of religious norms of truth. It also supported his assumption concerning the permanence of Christianity.] reappears and manifests the links which retain it” (Harnack 1977: 174). and also – in spite of his disagreement with neo-Kantian-inspired epistemology – Wilhelm Dilthey. postulated its ultimately transcendent origin. indeed. rather than expressing a limited validity entirely relative to the periods in which they emerged. pointed toward an absolute foundation.

The questioning of such assumptions in the years after World War I was vigorously advanced in the universities by the movement of Protestant theology known as “dialectical” theology. Inspired by Karl Barth’s epoch-making work. stipulating that the cohesion of history emerges in the continuity situated at the junction (Zusammenschmeltzung) of belief in God in Christ. and above all the idea that the norms of historical truth emanate from an opaque absolute foundation. Historical and Dialectical Theologies Following the catastrophe of World War I. Troeltsch never abandoned his initial conviction: in his 1910 essay on the future of Christianity – to take an example from this pre-World War I context – he reaffirmed his belief in an absolute foundation for history. and into the possibility of identifying objective processes of development of culture or of world history as its fundamental source. Theologians such as Rudolf Bultmann (in company with Karl Barth. lost all plausibility. in their eyes. and “the belief in logos in the world” (Troeltsch 1910: 862). this broad assumption shared by earlier historical theorists. This then accounts for their refusal of what they took to be a glorification of religious works in the field of cultural . 2. In applying to Christianity theoretical models borrowed from the human sciences. Friedrich Gogarten and Eduard Thurneysan) sharply attacked attempts to associate the significance of the Christian faith with history as an objective process of development. 1919). with their focus on human cultural and national development. concurrently with Heidegger. liberal theologians such as Harnack and Troeltsch had. For many thinkers of the younger generation. religious or national development constituted the source of meaning in history. forsaken the transcendent aim of theology for what proved to be mere anthropomorphism.98 Barash religious culture conjointly undertaken by his colleague and friend Max Weber. Epistle to the Romans (Römerbrief. However. this new “dialectical” orthodoxy re-asserted the conviction that theology was principally concerned with the theme of God’s radical transcendence of this world. This movement. launched a renewed inquiry into the meaning of history. a number of young thinkers of various intellectual orientations reexamined the presupposition that the objective cohesion of values and standards manifested in different periods of cultural.

Theology and the Historicity of Faith 99 or national development and of any quest for the meaning of the Christian faith in the cohesion of history as a process. Heidegger explicitly questioned the assumption that an objective analysis of Christianity’s various periods of historical development might provide the key to understanding the Christian faith. in a polemic directed against Troeltsch. The identification of this affinity. and it may be traced to their concurrent critical examinations of the assumption that the meaning of Christianity might be found in historical expressions of the Christian faith. die christiche Antike und das Mittelalter (Augustine. Adolf von Harnack and Wilhelm Dilthey as representative of the methodology of the historical sciences in its application to the study of religion. On the basis of this harmony. his analysis centers on the respective ways in which each of these authors interpreted St. Augustine. We will set aside this question. Augustin. Heidegger’s rebuttal of this assumption took to task the works of Ernst Troeltsch. to examine the profound affinity between the respective positions of the philosopher Heidegger and the theologian Bultmann. In his course ‘Augustine and Neo-Platonism’ (1921). Each of them ascribed to historical analysis the task of unearthing the manifest significance of the Augustinian heritage for the subsequent development of Western culture. Thus Troeltsch’s book. Bultmann did not deny that empirical methods might legitimately investigate religious phenomena as they appear in the field of history. however. Christian Antiquity and the Middle Ages. The question concerning Heidegger’s reception of this neo-orthodox current of Protestant theology has been a topic of much interest. which we will have occasion to examine further on. should not obscure important divergences in their respective positions. denounced what seemed to him to be a vindication of the objective manifestations of faith in history as an expression of the “historical pantheism of liberal theology” (Geschichtspantheismus der liberalen Theologie) (Bultmann 1933b:5). But he also stressed that this should not overshadow the essential character of theological inquiry. however. 1915). At the beginning of this course. Augustine . This affinity becomes apparent even before the period of their direct collaboration as colleagues at the University of Marburg. emphasized Augustine’s achievement in harmonizing the religious fervor of the primitive Church with the requirements of secular life. In line with this conviction Rudolf Bultmann. which concerns the irreducible essence of faith that cannot possibly be made an object of empirical verification.

Heidegger no longer sought to comprehend the reasons for the saint’s objective influence. which permitted the primitive Christian community to adapt religiosity to its practical needs within the Hellenistic context. Harnack’s conception of the saint’s importance for the historical development of Christian dogma. For Dilthey. and later its interpretation by Martin Luther. In his critical treatment of this assumption. Here St.3 This exemplarity of Paul’s epistle. focused on the saint’s role in the establishment of a dogmatic system for the Church. Troeltsch’s idea of the role of Augustine in the constitution of a specifically Christian ethics. Augustine accomplished one of his most singular achievements: the reinforcement and systematization of the dogmatic basis of the Christian faith. historischer. but to test the soundness of the Augustinian conceptual system which.100 Barash was able to erect a powerful ethical system. represent three kinds of argument which. ordnungsmässiger Entwicklungszusammenhang). in the Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften (Introduction to the Human Sciences. attempted to interpret and to reinforce the Christian experience of faith (Glaubenserfahrung) (GA60:168-72. Harnack’s investigation of Augustine in the third volume of his Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte (Treatise on the History of Dogma. GA59: 90-91). 1883). Augustine opened the way to the advent of historical consciousness in its modern sense (GA60:159-166). for Heidegger. With this breakthrough. Heidegger emphasized the exemplary role of the apostle Paul’s message to the original Christian communities. redemption and last judgment gave birth to a new idea of the historicity of sacred truth. and Dilthey’s interpretation of Augustine’s contribution to the emergence of historical consciousness. Augustine’s profound reflection on the unique conception of history inspired by the historical articulation of revelation. on the basis of philosophical ideas predominant in late Antiquity. from Heidegger’s standpoint. and to a wholly original kind of historical awareness unknown to Antiquity. 1886-92). insisted on the epistemological innovation contributed by Augustine’s interpretation of Christianity. but from a wholly different source: its fidelity to “factical life-experience” (faktische . does not derive from its value as a theoretical norm. which contributed in an exemplary manner to the cultural survival of Christianity beyond the limits of the Hellenistic world. As the touchstone of this analysis. all depend upon an identical presupposition: each of these thinkers assumed that the meaning of history lies in its cohesion as an objective order of development (objektiver. Dilthey.

its quest for the meaning of the Christian faith in an opaque cohesion of the historical process betrayed a speculative motif which. Heidegger examined the ancient philosophical traditions that inspired Augustine’s metaphysics to draw from this examination implications for a critique of historical methodology in contemporary theology. 1:20. and in spite of other divergences in their respective orientations. following the publication of Karl Barth’s Epistle to the Romans. reveals the impotence of all forms of metaphysical speculation when faced with fundamental questions concerning God and the meaning of human existence (“Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”) (1 Cor. conveyed by a series of themes proposed in Paul’s epistle (GA60: 67-156. GA58: 61. which can never fully grasp or “have” itself . also inspired the theology of Luther. Precisely this experience. Theology and the Historicity of Faith 101 Lebenserfahrung). according to Heidegger.4 While his analysis stepped well beyond the boundaries of theology. evinced a similar suspicion regarding the claims of metaphysical speculation which placed God and man in the same conceptual realm. for Heidegger. Heidegger not only intermingled theological and philosophical themes. If. his way of drawing on Paul’s and Luther’s distrust of metaphysical speculation parallelled a comparable interpretation of the teachings of the Apostle and the Reformer. Arguing on the basis of a parallel critique. an experience which fulfills itself (sich vollzieht) in the intrinsically disquieting movement (Bewegung) of existence. he explicitly refrained from making a distinction between philosophy and theology. As we will illustrate more closely in what follows. one indeed finds in Augustine’s work a powerful inspiration drawn from “factical” life-experience. Pöggeler 1963: 36-45). even if contemporary theology distrusted all claims of metaphysics in the name of empirical investigation. Heidegger set in relief what he took to be the weakness inherent in Augustinian metaphysics: the speculative idea – borrowed from neo-Platonism – of the fruitio Dei conceived as delight in the eternal and immutable considered as summum bonum (GA60: 270-72. tended toward a similar inclusion of sacred and human phenomena in the same field of inquiry. Bultmann in particular. Pöggeler 1963: 38-45). This original insight. In his elaboration of this theme in ‘Augustine and neo-Platonism’. no less than traditional speculative metaphysics. by the proponents of “dialectical theology”. 205). In ‘Augustine and Neo-Platonism’. Cf. the experience of life in its constant movement (Bewegung) which is radically irreducible to any speculative system of conceptualization.

This hierarchy of values encloses God and man within the same speculative system. namely. The young Luther. 192-99). 214-215. an aspect of the . reaching well beyond the theological framework in which it originated. not in worldly creations. 272. especially in the contemporary era. in however limited and opaque a form. Heidegger. going on the contrary in the direction of an assertion of divine transcendence manifested. Pöggeler 1963: 41). If Luther strongly opposed any attempts to comprehend God on the basis of the phenomena of a created world. Luther examined the sense of this statement and decided in favor of a reinterpretation of Paul. Heidegger’s emphasis on Luther’s critique of the theological claims of speculative metaphysics revealed the deeper motives for his implacable hostility toward contemporary historical methods in the study of religious phenomena. for example. was able to retrieve the pristine sense of early Christianity as revealed. Here. as Heidegger indicated. Augustine. played a preponderant role in the constitution of Western intellectual traditions. which proposes to “grasp” the sense of existence by fixing it in terms of a predetermined definition. which found powerful expression in the claims of speculative metaphysics. In the first part of the course on St. Augustine imposed on the “unrest” (Unruhe) of factical existence a set of fixed and static categories (GA61:110-119. Pöggeler 1963 38-45). has been clearly perceived in the things that have been created” (GA60: 281-8.5 Augustine’s reception of Platonic and neo-Platonic metaphysics. Rom. in his interpretation of a passage drawn from Paul’s Epistle to the Romans: “Ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature. His eternal power and deity. In presupposing a hierarchy of values culminating in the speculative idea of the summum bonum. this aspect of his teaching – as Heidegger emphasized – had most often been forgotten. vehemently took to task a central presupposition shared by Harnack and Troeltsch: the idea that historical research in the field of theology brings to light religious values which incarnate. as we have seen. Augustine’s speculative system at the same time betrays a very different tendency. 1:20). in launching his polemic against the speculative metaphysics that found a particularly elaborate expression in scholastic theology. The attempt to deflect the disquiet at the heart of factical life-experience becomes clearly evident where Augustine conceived of its ultimate aim as a quest for “beatitude” (vita beata) and “quietude” (quies) in the light of the eternal Divinity (GA60: 192-202.102 Barash as it possesses a thing. as Heidegger noted. but in “the Cross and the Passion” (GA60: 282.

which steadfastly rejected the presupposition that the cohesion of history might admit of an absolute foundation. indeed. Such reflection aimed toward self-fulfilment (Vollzug) in the movement of a factical experience. other texts and course lectures of this period illustrate Heidegger’s conviction that such presuppositions ultimately originate in the same Platonic and neo-Platonic heritage which initially nourished Augustine’s speculation (GA9: 3-4). From Heidegger’s perspective. For Heidegger. postulated in terms of an ultimate cohesion (Zusammenhang) of the historical process. such truth could no longer find objective anchorage in the cohesion of general forms of cultural. Besides his lectures on Augustine. From different standpoints. such questions concerning the cultural prerequisites for the emergence of historical consciousness had little bearing on genuine reflection on the originary experience of the “historical” (das Historische). continuity.6 Moreover. Dilthey. each of them had charted out the relation between this new awareness and the historical perspective in which it emerged. but from a source beyond all experience. involving specific ways of understanding temporality. Against this general tendency in the contemporary human sciences. anticipating in this manner a central theme of Sein und Zeit. and the interplay between consciousness and world. however. the emergence of historical consciousness involved insight into the radical historicity of all values and all truths that human understanding might apprehend. but called rather for illumination of factical . Dilthey and Troeltsch had each proposed accounts of the development of historical consciousness in the broad field of culture. it set out to burst the framework of conceptual structures inherited from the past in their ready-made ways of leading the self to overlook the radical implications of its own life-experience. speak of a “historicity of truth”. intellectual or national development. however. For each of these thinkers. even Dilthey’s theoretical approach.7 If one can therefore. Theology and the Historicity of Faith 103 eternal and the absolute. diverted historical reflection from this genuine basis in his identification of the meaning of history with its cohesion as an objective process. such values draw their meaning not from the restless disquiet of factical life-experience. Heidegger aimed to radically reconsider the meaning of historical understanding and historical existence. was hardly able to appreciate the fundamental rootedness of all theory in the facticity of life-experience (Lebenserfahrung). Its development depended on a whole network of conceptual attitudes and assumptions which were themselves relative to a given cultural context. with Heidegger.

spirit. primitive Christianity no longer served to guide interpretation of factical life-experience. In the wake of this shift. the ‘I’. conjointly. these modern and contemporary currents have also thoroughly neglected the problem of the finitude of Dasein which. shifted its focus: in this later framework.104 Barash life-experience through a retrieval and “repetition” (Wiederholung) of meaning implicit in the past: this is what Heidegger found in primordial Christian faith. Heidegger’s Transformation of Theology In Sein und Zeit Heidegger’s polemic against Western intellectual traditions and. in accordance with the thoroughgoing way in which the question of being has been neglected. into ongoing presence or permanent subsistence. all theoretical pursuits nevertheless presuppose: In the course of this history certain distinctive domains of being have come into view and served as the primary guides for subsequent problems: the ego cogito of Descartes. reason. the subject. Indeed. . against the methodology of contemporary historical reflection. is intrinsically related to an understanding of being. derived from the Platonic and Aristotelian traditions – and transmitted through the various currents inspired by these traditions during the Middle Ages – but it also molded the great modern metaphysical systems as well as contemporary theoretical movements. for explicit theological themes receded into the background as the ontology of finite human existence – Dasein – became the basis of analysis. This “diversion from finitude” (Wegsehen von der Endlichkeit) expressed itself not only in the determination of being in terms of an immutable idea or permanent substance. that is. It is rather the case that the categorical content of the traditional ontology has been carried over to these entities with corresponding formulations and purely negative restrictions. person.8 3. But these all remain uninterrogated as to their being and its structure. or else dialectic has been called in for the purpose of interpreting the substantiality of the subject ontologically (SZ: 22). this tradition presupposed that Dasein – as well as every being it may encounter – is to the extent that it is transposable into what is most alien to finitude. who raises the question of being. as a basis of questioning of the sense of being. the celebrated argument of Sein und Zeit brought into question what Heidegger took to be the central presupposition of Western intellectual traditions: rather than consider that the finite being of Dasein.

which the age-old speculative affirmation of eternal. of spirit. in invoking eternal truth. incarnates inauthenticity: it maintains the belief in Dasein’s participation in an undying continuity. which a petrified tradition has most often set aside. depend upon the way in which it chooses to be. the finite meaning of Dasein “each time my own” (je meines) was excluded by systems of conceptualization which tacitly effaced any implication of finitude. The choice of a finite mode of being makes possible a given way of approaching the past – and of situating finite existence in the context of culture and world history. in light of finitude. far from emanating from what tradition considered to be a self-sustaining realm of cultural or national continuity. authentic choice seeks to unveil. absolute truths had steadfastly maintained. finds its ultimate source nowhere else than in a continuity interwoven in the perspective of finite existence. In the final analysis. from the Cartesian cogito to the Kantian ‘I think’. And. the authority of traditional theology served as a formidable bulwark to sustain this age-old assumption: But the contention that there are ‘eternal truths’. as Heidegger asserted in Sein und Zeit. Heidegger’s celebrated argument aimed to exhibit the manner in which Dasein’s mode of temporal and historical existence. According to Heidegger’s well-known conception. Heidegger’s articulation of a more elaborate philosophical argument in Sein und Zeit than that presented in his earlier course lectures thus brought into question a whole range of intellectual expressions of the forgetting of Dasein’s finitude. at the very heart of his analyses. the “cohesion of history” (Zusammenhang der Geschichte). And tradition. and therefore its possibilities of comprehending the past. and thereby masks the radically provisory character of any meaning which may emerge before Dasein’s mortal eyes. up until the modern attempt in the human sciences to locate an objective cohesion in the historicity of life. In emphasizing the fundamental role of finitude in Sein und Zeit. or of culture. Theology and the Historicity of Faith 105 Each time. . And. originary possibilities implicit in the past. it is this traditional forgetting of the finite foundation of Dasein’s temporal and historical existence that Heidegger proposed to bring to the fore. belong to those residues of Christian theology within the philosophical problematic which have not as yet been radically eliminated (SZ: 229). and the confusion of Dasein’s phenomenally grounded ‘ideality’ with an idealized absolute subject.

leads – if anywhere at all – to confusion. it is clear that Heidegger could no longer appeal to the model of primitive Christianity in Sein und Zeit. is left unthematic and followed by a question mark. me from the philosophical side – ontological and critical – whereby the ontic. while arguing that the ontology of finite Dasein must play the fundamental role as it is presupposed by the different ontic disciplines.106 Barash Such ‘elimination’ concerned not only the residues of metaphysics within theology but questioned. in dealing with concrete and comprehensive knowledge. Heidegger attempted to sketch a possible link between philosophy and theology. as Heidegger explained elsewhere (GA9: 49). In spite of Karl Barth’s intransigent refusal of what he took to be an illegitimate intrusion of philosophy into the domain of theology. and of the heated controversies that Bultmann’s existential orientation provoked in theological circles. To toss around in the intermediary zone without a solid basis on which to stand. while remaining unthematic. in the sense of the positivity of Christianity. In his discourse ‘Phänomenologie und Theologie’ (1927) (‘Phenomenology and Theology’). Heidegger summarized the relation between their approaches in the following terms: We can only make matters finally move when we work forward from the most extreme positions: you from the theological side – positive and ontic – whereby ontological themes by no means disappear but. Bultmann acknowledged the distinction between fundamental ontology and the positive disciplines in his use of the Daseinsanalyse in the field of theology. the re-elaboration of theology as a positive science thus depended on the Daseinsanalyse which was to provide a preliminary analysis of the existential possibilities of interpretation in all ontic disciplines as such. Heidegger’s . here or there. are only in this regard punctuated by a question mark. the claim of Christian theology itself.9 For his part. philosophy as the fundamental discipline intended to disengage theology from an age-old tradition that had obscured its authentic concern. dedicated to Rudolf Bultmann. In a letter to Bultmann sent in the same year as his presentation of this lecture and the publication of Sein und Zeit. It is on the basis of fundamental ontology that the positive or ontic disciplines must proceed in their interpretative work. For Heidegger at this later date. And in view of this critique. particularly in his essay ‘Die Geschichtlichkeit des Daseins und der Glaube’ (1928) (‘The Historicity of Dasein and Faith’).

In reality. Theology and the Historicity of Faith 107 philosophy might at first glance seem to harmonize with Bultmann’s theological aims. Bultmann also rejected traditional Christian theology. against the methods of the historical sciences voiced in his earlier critique of liberal theology. Thus. he did not hesitate to refer to the “eternity of God”. Bultmann criticized these presuppositions. Heidegger’s position was more radical than that of Bultmann. which liberal theology had hardly brought into question. In his critical approach to the idea of “absolute” and “eternal” being. in the framework of Sein und Zeit. in which The being of man is constituted by logos. Bultmann thus refused the traditional connotation of terms such as the “absolute” and the “eternal”. in conformity with ancient and classical traditions. ideas of the ‘eternal’ and the ‘absolute’ became for Heidegger ontological symptoms of Dasein’s inauthentic quest to neglect the finitude of its existence.10 Indeed. to think God and the absolute together. according to him. Indeed. during this period of his work in the late 1920s. from an idealist theology. while specifying that “the eternal God absolutely does not form a part of the domain of the possibilities of seeing” (Bultmann 1931: 8. An idealist theology believes itself to speak simultaneously of God and man because it is accustomed. In an article dating from 1928. reason. Bultmann not only reiterated the protest. and its relation to Christian theology was therefore wholly ambiguous. running parallel to that of Heidegger. Yet. This ambiguity could hardly be resolved by the claim of setting theological concerns aside in ontological interpretation. for such concepts as ‘absolute’ and ‘eternal’ came directly into question in the ontological analysis of the modes of existence of finite Dasein. it only speaks of man (Bultmann 1933c: 118). the eternal and the absolute. like Heidegger. it is also crucial to stress that. Bultmann 1928: 143). for its manner of invoking the ‘absolute subject’ and ‘eternal truths’. . which derived. the claim of eternal and absolute truth could indicate nothing beyond Dasein’s tacit everyday need to mask its finite temporality as being-toward-death (Sein zum Tode). entitled ‘Die Bedeutung der “dialektischen Theologie” für die Wissenschaft des neuen Testaments’ (‘The Significance of “Dialectical Theology” for New Testament Science’). as a theologian.

he left behind the investigation of the temporality and historicity of Dasein in light of its finite existence. they extend and deepen the principle tendency of traditional metaphysics in that. science and technology in the broad sense are contemporary expressions of metaphysics. in view of overcoming metaphysics (Überwindung der Metaphysik) (ID: 40). like this earlier theory of Being. Here the question of truth was posed at a different level: following initial analysis of the modes in which Dasein. Even more . Daseinsanalyse thus no longer served as a point of departure for his critique of traditional notions of being and truth. In Heidegger’s later perspective. but also the tacit conceptions of what ‘is’ that predominate in the intervening epochs no longer ostensibly concerned with ‘metaphysical’ issues. Nonetheless. could such a “destruction” of these modes of conceptualization simply extract them from a pristine Christian religiosity without demolishing. indeed. and he subsequently articulated this critique less in terms of the being of Dasein. but Christianity as such? Might one shake the presuppositions of traditional metaphysics in which Christianity had been rooted without overturning the very foundation of the Christian faith itself?11 In the decade following the publication of Sein und Zeit. during which Heidegger’s orientation again shifted its focus. the so-called Kehre. At this time. Heidegger’s concern changed perspective to center on the historicity of truth that Being elicits in its movement through the diversity of its epochs. Heidegger’s interpretation of the tacit inauthentic motives behind Dasein’s quest for eternal and absolute truth concern the all too unproblematic way in which an age-old tradition had presupposed the possibility of bringing them into the realm of human thought. Heidegger’s subsequent shift in focus. in its decision concerning the meaning of being. not only Christian theology. unveils truth in a finite temporal and historical horizon. they place man and Being in the same universe of discourse in assuming that all that ‘is’ may be adequately grasped on the basis of human representations. his reflection on Christianity overcame its initial ambiguity. involved a “stepping back” (Schritt zurück) of reflection toward the unified historical cohesion (Geschichtlicher Zusammenhang) linking together the epochs of Being. than in reflection on the different epochs in the “history of Being” (Seinsgeschichte). “metaphysics” designated not only the explicit ways in which Being is named by a metaphysical tradition. For Heidegger.108 Barash On the face of his analysis. Beyond his earlier interpretation of Dasein’s existential choices in light of possibilities discerned in the past. In this regard.

Heidegger cites the eloquent words of Hölderlin to evoke this movement in the historicity of faith: “Only at times can man bear the fullness of the sacred” (Nur zu Zeiten erträgt der Mensch göttliche Fülle) (Hölderlin. did not renew the presuppositions entertained by earlier historical theory in company with liberal theology. indeed. as all that truly ‘is’ is equated with what conforms to human representations and can be mastered by technical means. for Seinsgeschichte might only seem to redeploy the idea of a revelation of truth mediated by an historical context. in spite of its speculative bent. Truth thus reveals itself according to the epoch in which it is configured. the movement of the history of Being in the technological era no longer has recourse to such conceptions of transcendence. contemporary science and technology leave out of consideration all that is beyond the purview of human representation which. the resolution of this ambiguity nonetheless opened the way to a still deeper paradox. Where pristine religiosity and. ‘Brot und Wein’.13 Heidegger. which he designated by the word “historical cohesion” (Geschichtlicher Zusammenhang). As Heidegger writes: “Wherever theology emerges. and the cohesion of epochs brings together the manifestations of truth in a unified historical movement. conceived of a transcendent God beyond the purview of human representation. traditional theology. sacred truth. Theology and the Historicity of Faith 109 radically than traditional metaphysics. And herein lies the paradox. cited in GA4: 48). which is transformed and weakened in the succession of Being’s epochs. Heidegger so resolutely criticized in his earlier work of the 1920s. Heidegger returned to the theme of sacred truth that had intensely preoccupied him in his early course lectures. however. as we have seen. In its different periods. faith engenders profound religiosity.12 If the elaboration of Heidegger’s later conception of the eclipse of the Christian faith in the technological epoch overcame its earlier ambiguity concerning the status of religious truth. In this later period. indeed. Throughout the movement of the history of Being. the historicity of truth amid the diversity of the epochs of Being articulates a unity. and which Sein und Zeit had held at a distance. For him. like all expressions of truth. theology occupies an exemplary place. is the province of Being as Heidegger interpreted it. manifestations of the sacred in the history of Being are . In his reflection on the articulation of the epochs of Being. God has already begun to depart” (GA52: 132). In the history of Being. thus identifying meaning in history with the “objective” cohesion of a process which. is open to a radical historicity.

it does point toward the waning of its specifically Christian expression. This having been acknowledged. of the “withdrawal of the gods” which. previous to Christ himself.2: 144) could not but generate a certain unease with regard to its “future possibility” (Zukunftsmöglichkeit). see chapter 4 of Barash (2003). and of any form of “objectification”. and to this end of elaborating a more radical conception of the historicity and the finitude of human Dasein”. indeed. As in his earlier work. Gadamer (1983: 146): “In the friendship between Heidegger and Bultmann during the Marburg years it was above all a matter of settling accounts with ‘historical’ theology. “lost its capacity to constitute history” (GA6. it must be said. regarded as a world historical phenomenon. in the essay ‘Die Zeit des Weltbildes’ (1938) (‘The Age of the World-Image’). In Heidegger’s interpretation of the poem of Hölderlin previously cited. Being. Thirty years after the investigations of Troeltsch and of Max Weber on the problem of the historicity of religion. after the Kehre. . Heidegger. lies beyond the possibilities of human representation. the later Heidegger rejected the anthropocentric focus of the human sciences. the paradox nevertheless abides when his thought is considered in view of his earlier critique of liberal theology. Translated by Isabel Taylor and reviewed by the author. Although this notion does not imply the disappearance of the sacred as such. for he is only the brother of Heracles and Dionysus who. directed at the tangible dimension of religious phenomena as they appear in the human world. have “left the world” (GA5: 248). even if. should have. Ernst Troeltsch was one of the principal proponents of “historical” theology. 1 This article is a translation of the revised version of chapter 4 of Barash (1995: 71-90). Christ does not permanently incarnate the sacred. that Heidegger’s later interpretation of the “cohesion” of history led him to face a dilemma anticipated by theologians like Ernst Troeltsch. Heidegger began to evoke the theme of Entgötterung.110 Barash hardly to be sought where earlier historical theory had located them: in cultural and world history. to use a term brought into currency by Ernst Troeltsch. which elicits the historicity of truth and elaborates the cohesion of its different epochs. As we shall see further on. never denigrated individual belief in the Christian religion. he perceived to be an essential characteristic of modernity (GA5: 70). in his words. It is paradoxical. Heidegger never seems to have reconsidered Troeltsch’s penetrating insight. Yet the fact that Christianity. 2 Cf. For a more detailed discussion of liberal theology and of Heidegger’s relation to this movement.

mistake authentic futurity and with it temporality as such. he nonetheless had still affirmed his nuanced support of it: “What still shows some ‘life’ is the Barth-Gogarten movement. Rickert. GA61 (73-78). for what he took to be residual Platonism in their thought. is produced by an everyday comprehension of time and is circumscribed by the orientation toward an ‘abiding’ presence. Barth (1971: 118). 4 In a letter addressed to Karl Löwith. If. Noller (1967). then this could only be understood as a more primary and ‘infinite’ temporality” (SZ: 427n). 11 Heidegger considered this problem in a footnote in Being and Time. 9 “Wir bringen die Sachen nur von der Stelle. Im Zwischenfeld sich herumtummeln[. dated 19 August 1921. He added (unfortunately without developing his analysis) that neo-Platonism is interwoven into the fundamental structure of Christianity (GA60: 281). umfassende Kentnisse zu haben. aber unthematisch u[nd] nur jeweils mit Fragezeichen versehen abgehandelt wird – ich von der philosoph[ischen] Seite – ontologisch-kritisch –. 6 Heidegger criticized contemporary historical theorists of history. However. is elucidated above all in the course given by Heidegger the preceding term. GA61 (80). 10 Cf. However. for example in GA60 (281-82). wobei das Ontische im Sinne der Positivität des Christlichen unthematisch bleibt u[nd] seine Fragezeichen hat. Heidegger asserted that philosophy can only be atheistic (GA61: 197). bringt. Heidegger described himself as “factically a Christian theologian” (Heidegger 1990: 28-29). Wohl aber liegen Ansätze u[nd] Absichten in ihr auf einer ontologischen Grundlegung der chr[i]stl[ichen] Theologie als Wissenschaft” (“My work finds its purpose neither in the area of a world-view or even of theology. where he writes: “That the traditional concept of eternity. since Heidegger could also write: “Inauthentic temporality of fallen-everyday Dasein must. GA59 (19-23). In the 1921-22 lecture course ‘Phänomenologische Interpretationen zu Aristoteles’. Sie von der theolog[ischen] Seite – positiv – ontisch [. and Troeltsch. But there are starting points and aims in it toward an ontological foundation of Christian theology as a science”) (Bultmann 2009: 48). which is evoked in Heidegger’s lectures on Augustine. in a letter addressed to Karl Löwith two years prior to the publication of this work. as such distraction from finitude [Wegsehen von der Endlichkeit]. Heidegger writes: “Meine Arbeit hat weder weltanschauliche noch gar theologische Absichten. Heidegger explicitly took a certain distance from dialectical theology. wenn überhaupt etwas – lediglich Verwirrung” (Bultmann 2009: 23). see in this regard. GA58 (61-64). 8 Cf. 7 Cf.] wobei das Ontologische gar nicht verschwindet. grasped in the sense of the abiding now (nunc stans). requires no detailed commentary. I permit myself also to accompany this movement. which is represented in a prudent and independent way by Bultmann – and since I am always subject to being counted among theologians. Theology and the Historicity of Faith 111 3 This notion. ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’ (GA60: 97-105). philosophy can only be resolutely atheistic to the extent that it remains open to the question of God. these comments hardly attenuate the ambiguity of Being and Time with regard to Christianity. And when indeed everyday understanding of .] ohne dort – noch hier fest zu stehen u[nd] konkrete. GA60 (38-49). above all Windelband. 5 In his course on Augustine. following the period of Sein und Zeit. Heidegger observed that one cannot simply extract neo-Platonic ideas from the Augustinian edifice in order to obtain a purely Christian message. wenn wir von den extremsten Positionen her endlich arbeiten. If the eternity of God can be philosophically ‘constructed’. although during a recent debate I expressed my skepticism in a sufficiently clear manner” (Heidegger 1925). In another letter written in the same year.

49-59. 3: Das Gespräch mit der Philosophie. Berndt (ed. Jeffrey Andrew. ‘Die Bedeutung der “dialektischen Theologie” für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft’ in Bultman (1933a): 114-133. du divin et des dieux. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. – 1966. 25 August 1925.112 Barash Dasein is oriented by das Man. ‘De l’être. 27 May 1931. in Jaspert. 1977.1).) Barth-Bultmann Briefwechsel (Karl Barth Gesamtausgabe 5. Heidegger’s Wege: Studien zum Spätwerk. Property of Madam Ada Löwith. Hans-Werner (ed) Kerygma und Mythos Vol. Briefwechsel. Hans-Georg. Martin Heidegger and the Problem of Historical Meaning. – 1933a. Gesammelte Aufsätze (vol. Tübingen: Mohr Verlag. Birault. Rudolf and Martin Heidegger. ‘Die Eschatologie des Johannes-Evangeliums’ in Bultmann (1933a): 134-152. temps de l’histoire. 1971. . 2003. Heidegger et son siècle: Temps de l’Être. – 1995. Paris: Cerf. then the self-forgetful ‘representation’ of ‘infinity’ of public time can first gain its hold” (SZ: 424). – 1958. Karl. – 1931. 2). 2009. ‘Krisis des Glaubens’ in Bultmann (1958): 1-19.C. 1925-1975. 1). Heidegger. Tübingen: Mohr. ‘Zur Frage der Entmythologisierung: Antwort auf Karl Jaspers’ in Bartsch. Barth. 513-550. ‘Die liberale Theologie und die jüngste theologische Bewegung’ in Bultmann (1933a): 1-25. Unpublished.B. Gesammelte Aufsätze (vol. Henri. Zürich: Theologischer Verlag. Letter to Rudolf Bultmann. Adolf von. 1983. Glauben und Verstehen. Letter to Karl Löwith. Tübingen: J. 12 Cf. Das Wesen des Christentums. du Divin. Bultmann. Martin. Andreas Grossmann and Christof Landmesser (eds). des dieux chez Heidegger’ in De l’être. Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck and Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann. Glauben und Verstehen. References Barash. New York: Fordham University Press. Rudolf. – 1928. Harnack. – 1933b. Gadamer. 13 On this point see especially Krüger (1950: 157). 1925. Birault (2005: 513-550). Gütersloh: Gütersloher. – 1933c. Mohr. 2005.

Otto. 2). 1963. Gerhard. Der Denkweg Martin Heideggers. Frankfurt a. Krüger. .). Religionsphilosophie und Ethik (Gesammelte Schriften 2). – 1910. Troeltsch. – 1902. Heidegger und die Theologie. Ernst. Munich: Kaiser Verlag. 1913. Die Absolutheit des Christentums und die Religionsgeschichte. Tübingen: Mohr Verlag. – 1903. Pfullingen: Neske. Noller. ‘Die Zukunftsmöglichkeiten des Christentums im Verhältnis zur modernen Philosophie’ in Troeltsch (1913): 837-862. Pöggeler. Reprinted in 1969. Munich and Hamburg: Siebenstern Taschenbuch Verlag. ‘Martin Heidegger und der Humanismus’ in Theologische Rundschau 18 (1): 148-178. ‘Was heisst “Wesen des Christentums?”’ in Troeltsch (1913): 386-451. Zur religiösen Lage. 27-39. M. 1967.: Klostermann. 1950. Gerhard (ed. ‘Drei Briefe Martin Heideggers an Karl Löwith’ in Zur philosophischen Aktualität Martin Heideggers. Im Gespräch der Zeit (vol. Theology and the Historicity of Faith 113 – 1990.

A Historical Note on Heidegger’s Relationship to Ernst Troeltsch Sylvain Camilleri After a brief period of time in a Jesuit seminary. attests to this fact (Vigliotti 2001: 323-350). for the first time. Thomas Aquinas. His interest in two atypical Catholic theologians. while familiarizing himself with the canon of medieval theology (Bonaventure. whose theology of the cross (theologia crucis) seemed to Heidegger to be an . Hence. and Eckhart) and becoming formed in systematic theology. Heidegger was aware of the contemporary theological debates. he was still studying medieval theology. rather. and neo-Kantianism (Lotze and Rickert). In tandem with this renewed attention to medieval thought. particularly mysticism (in which he would remain interested). Eckhart. is tantamount to a final attempt of reconciling his respect for Catholic theology with his ever-growing attraction to the liberty offered to him by philosophy. exegesis. as is shown by his phenomenological analyses of Bernard of Clairvaux. Here. Heidegger immersed himself in the major works of Protestant theology. Heidegger abandoned his theological studies and turned definitively toward philosophy. and the history of Christian dogma. the beginning of the Denkweg was never exclusively theological. In 1916. Heidegger entered the Faculty of Theology at the Catholic University of Freiburg in 1909. as a student. Even so. It is clear that. phenomenology (Brentano and Husserl). Carl Braig and Hermann Schell. Heidegger’s interest in theology did not completely disappear. the rupture between Heidegger and the Catholic Church with its anti- modernist theology (formally recognized in the 1919 letter to Krebs1 ) seemed already inevitable. hermeneutics (Dilthey). Starting from 1911. His Habilitationsschrift on Duns Scotus. he encountered. He especially absorbed himself in Luther (GA63: 5). it found itself in a continuous discussion with the philosophy of its time. Nevertheless. and Teresa of Ávila. both of which offer alternative approaches to the then-contemporary conservative neo-scholasticism. defended in 1915 and published in 1916 (GA1).

This essay aims to (1) set out some already established facts concerning Heidegger’s relation to Troeltsch and his work. But Heidegger was also interested in Luther’s posterity and assimilated. these are autonomous disciplines. we find the systematic theologian Albrecht Ritschl and two of his most famous disciples. in several parts of the textual corpus attached to the first of the Freiburg courses. Kierkegaard. 1. both implicitly and explicitly. If one is to believe his curriculum vitae of 1922. the historian of dogma Adolf von Harnack and the dogmatic theologian Wilhelm Herrmann. it is Ernst Troeltsch who appears to most retain Heidegger’s attention. Heidegger – Troeltsch: The Facts It is hard to pin down the precise date when Heidegger discovered Troeltsch’s work. against every expectation. (2) unfold and develop the sketch of the intellectual biography of Troeltsch proposed by Heidegger at the start of §5 of his Einleitung in die Phänomenologie der Religion. aspects of the theology of Schleiermacher. not without exercising a certain deconstruction. the extent to which Heidegger not only knew well the path of Troeltsch. Although a student of Ritschl at the University of Göttingen. Nonetheless. Among the representatives of this last movement. and (3) outline the contours of a confrontation between the two thinkers on the question of the ‘goal’ of the philosophy of religion. it is possible to uncover a certain parallel between their respective trajectories – and this notwithstanding the severe critique to which Heidegger subjects Troeltsch. and above all of the so-called “liberal” evangelical theology of the nineteenth-century. written to obtain a position at the University of Marburg. Nevertheless both are animated by a similar problematic which serves as a stimulus to theology. but also how. Troeltsch set out on his own path in order to devote himself to two directions of fundamental research that the teacher never fully explored: the philosophy of religion (Religionsphilosophie) on the one hand. From the perspective of theology.116 Camilleri authentic reiteration the core values of primitive Christianity. by way of an overview. The paper approaches these three aspects in an essentially historical manner: the point is to show. Heidegger would have very early – probably during his studies of Catholic theology – become aware of the work of the School of the History of Religions (Religionsgeschichtliche Schule) of which Troeltsch was . and the history of religions (Religionsgeschichte) on the other.

but that he henceforth envisaged developping “a truly living and free understanding of Christianity in the sense of Troeltsch” (Heidegger 2002: 42) This simple formula shows that the young philosopher felt himself close to the freien Christentum proposed by Troeltsch since 1910. on the one hand. It is remarkable that in 1917 Heidegger. left unfinished. The observation of a parallel trajectory is very likely that which pushed Heidegger to make contact with Troeltsch. without renouncing one’s first loves. including the phenomenologist Carl Stumpf. Wilhelm Bousset. Paul Wendland. or Richard Reitzenstein (GA16: 41). but this does not reveal what it is he found in the work and how he judged it. the sociology of religions – which would inspire him to produce a significant number of works. The evidence indicates that Heidegger followed the development of this thought closely. Der Historismus und seine Probleme (Troeltsch 1922). destined to facilitate his work on a ‘philosophy of religion’. and. He was thus led to accept the Chair of Philosophy at the University of Berlin. which bore a strange ressemblance to his own: from theology to philosophy. notably the philosophy of history – the inspiration for the final opus of 1922. philosophy.3 toward which Husserl himself was also drawn. A Historical Note on Heidegger’s Relationship to Ernst Troeltsch 117 recognized as the leading ‘systematic’ or ‘dogmatic’ theologian. a thinker already well-known amongst academic circles for quite some time. the . What is undeniable is that he was intrigued by Troeltsch’s trajectory.4 Troeltsch defines this free Christianity as a kind of ‘personalism’ in which philosophy and religion reunite with each other through a single belief in the ‘Logos’ (Troeltsch 1913c: 862). wrote to his Doktorvater Rickert that he had not abandonned his religious studies. a work that he would never write but of which one can find the traces scattered among diverse publications of the 1910s and 1920s. it had not escaped anybody’s attention that from the start of the 1910s Troelstch had somewhat moved away from systematic theology in favour of. Mobilized during World War I. since become classics. expressing himself on his turn toward philosophy after his break with Catholicism and confessing his uneasiness regarding his academic future. on the history of Protestantism (including the monumental Soziallehren der christlichen Kirchen und Gruppen of 1912 [Troeltsch 1912]) –. where in July 1918 he managed to find enough free time to visit several local professors.2 It is difficult to imagine that while discovering the works of Hermann Gunkel. he found himself working as a meteorologist in Berlin. Moreover. Heidegger could have avoided stumbling across Troeltsch. on the other hand.

it would equally be in the course of WS 1920-1921. Heidegger is thanked for having sent his Scotusbuch. The tone is all around critical. described as ‘enlightening’ (klärend) and ‘instructive’ (belehrend) (Denker 2004a: 75). Troeltsch emphasizes that he finds Heidegger’s work on medieval spirituality from the perspective of modern philosophy important. he got along quite nicely.5 According to the most up-to-date research. It is a different story concerning the fragments of their correspondence that have been preserved and recently published. it would seem. who was then very close to Dilthey. to Hegel. as you will see in the work which I am currently penning. and he encourages him to continue on this path. and that of Heidegger. was working on a Religionsphilosophie auf religionsgeschichtlicher Grundlage. The tone of the second letter is even warmer and Troeltsch goes so far as to remark upon a closeness of thought: “I would like to tell you that your analyses touch me deeply. respectively dated the 4th and 23rd of Februrary 19187 . I think similarly to you on all these matters. ‘Über historisch Dialektik’” (Denker 2004a: 75). one can deduce that the two thinkers conversed on the subject of the philosophy of history. 1919b: 393-451). In the first letter. only two documents remain: two letter-responses from Troeltsch to Heidegger. written by Troeltsch for the second edition of the famous encyclopedia Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart. just. several months before their meeting in Berlin. Heidegger was particularly interested in sections III (‘Dogmatisch’) and IV (‘Glaube und Geschichte’) of the article ‘Glaube’. as well as to Marxism (Troeltsch 1919a: 373-426.118 Camilleri theologian Adolf Deissmann. as we will see. dated 20 July 1918 and formulated under the influence of courses taken under Troeltsch in Berlin6 : ‘Frömmigkeit – Glaube’ (GA60: 329-330). who. He is alluding to a study published in two parts in the Historische Zeitschrift essentially devoted to neo-Kantianism. since 1917. This first confrontation would be followed by another note. From this information. Unfortunately. and Ernst Troeltsch. drawing inspiration most notably from Rickert. with whom. it appears that Troeltsch and Heidegger corresponded by post since at least Februrary 1918. was debating one of the most famous axioms of Troeltschian thought in a note entitled ‘Das religiöse Apriori’ (GA60: 312-315). It is presumed that this correspondence began on the initiative of the young philosopher who. which was at once the Schwerpunkt of Troeltsch. and he questioned the personalism mentioned above (Troeltsch 1910a). From what follows . Troeltsch’s tone reveals more than mere formality.

but was satisfied to say a word on it in his Der Historismus und seine Probleme. although we tend to think that he read much more of Troeltsch through the first-hand text. but not once Heidegger (Troeltsch 1922: 596-617). such that his students might understand the evolution of this complex thought from its diverse influences. Did they continue to correspond? It is more likely. he made use of the thinker as his privileged interlocutor. we learn that phenomenology was equally up for discussion: “With phenomenology I am not yet up to date. Heidegger starts by attaching Troeltsch’s . and Lotze. Did Heidegger draw inspiration from this? It is possible. I have the impression that here in many respects is something allied to my work. At this time. more particularly with the hermeneutical phenomenology that he had been sketching since the conclusion of his Habilitationsschrift. no real historical synthesis existed. numerous studies endeavoured to note how Troeltsch passed from theology to philosophy8. The Intellectual Biography of Troeltsch as Told by Heidegger Heidegger occupied himself seriously with Troeltsch’s thought since at least 1917. I have not yet studied enough. citing Husserl and Scheler. entrusted by Husserl in 1918 to take possession of the terrain of the phenomenology of religion. yet it goes without saying that he did not restrict himself to the output of this period. but there is nothing to confirm it one way or the other. I must look into it. In reality. At the moment of the two thinkers’ correspondence. Heidegger did not miss the opportunity to put Troeltsch’s presentiment to the test in his course of WS 1920-1921 and to ask the question whether his thought has some link or another with the phenomenological enterprise. In the first moment of this intellectual biography. Did the two men continue to meet after the war? There is no way to know. Kant. Presuming that Troeltsch is the most emblematic representative of contemporary philosophy of religion. It was not until 1921 that Troeltsch would examine his own path and explain the different phases of his development (Troeltsch 1921: 161-173). 2. A Historical Note on Heidegger’s Relationship to Ernst Troeltsch 119 in the letter. Ritschl. Nevertheless. This should happen shortly” (Denker 2004a: 75-76). Heidegger took it upon himself to begin his report with a kind of ‘intellectual biography’. It is however certain that Heidegger did not cease to read Troeltsch and that. Troeltsch had already written the majority of his œuvre. Troeltsch would never fully invest himself in the study of phenomenology. nevertheless. Schleiermacher.

Kant is praised for numerous philosophical qualities to which Troeltsch unabashedly makes claim. which in turn implies the stamp of Kant. Ritschl taught that science is ‘knowledge’ (Erkenntnis) of reality. to unite epistemology and psychology. Ritschl argues that the concept of knowledge as such should not be reserved for science and that it can be imported into theology. With him. and Lotze. The equilibrium in question must allow the philosophy of religion. It is in the works of 1904-1905 that his significance is most noticeable. while faith is the ‘religious comprehension’ (religiöse Deutung) of reality. as Troeltsch explains in 1908-1909 whilst speaking of Ritschl. Troeltsch underlines the perfect equilibrium in Kantian philosophy between empiricism and rationalism (Troeltsch 1905: 25). This idea would be expanded upon in Psychologie und Erkenntnistheorie (1905). and. to accomplish the most perilous but equally the most authentic operation: to find a priori laws in phenomena and lived experiences (Troeltsch 1905: 26). how to think them together? At this time. a study devoted to the possibility of a contribution from Kant to religious science. In these two works of 1904 and 1905. is what prepares us for an ‘access to the real foundations of life’ (Troeltsch 1913c: 200). Troeltsch had been a student of Ritschl at Göttingen University between 1886 and 1888. above all.120 Camilleri initial philosophical stance to the school of Ritschl. But one equally sees that Kant is in points of . and. This practical- confessional nature. One can here recognize two fundamental influences: Kant and Schleiermacher. he relies precisely on the notion of history. Kant’s importance for Troeltsch’s philosophical position was constant. In Das Historische in Kants Religionsphilosophie (1904). He notes nevertheless that this epistemological framework goes part and parcel with a psychology of religion. Troeltsch encountered for the first time the problem that would occupy him throughout his entire career: how to think the relation between Christian tradition and modern science. just as religious science. Troeltsch emphasizes the epistemologic framework of Kantian thought. Schleiermacher. so long as one admits. should serve as the prolegomena to any future philosophy of religion (Troeltsch 1904: 21). that Troeltsch also describes as ‘practice- conforming-to-feeling’ (praktisch-gefühlsmäßig). ‘the impossibility of exact and adequate knowledge in the religious sphere’ and hence the practical-confessional (praktisch-bekenntnisartig) nature of what one can accordingly call ‘religious knowledge’ (Troeltsch 1913c: 200). Nevertheless. according to him. which.

in particular the biography by Dilthey. Troeltsch’s evaluation of Schleiermacher is in many ways similar to Heidegger’s. 1911) and Georg Wehrung (Die geschichts- philosophische Standpunkt Schleiermachers. The question regarding the extent to which the two thinkers influenced one another had not been well elaborated. who allowed Troeltsch to glimpse the stakes of an actualization and extension of the Kantian heritage. in his Die christliche Lehre von der Rechtfertigung und Versöhnung (1870). all the while preserving its own nature and philosophical potential. more precisely. Schleiermacher had not been radical enough. It was now necessary to strictly separate history and religion in order to rethink and rejuvenate their relationship. attached himself to Kant. toward whom? Toward Schleiermacher. A Historical Note on Heidegger’s Relationship to Ernst Troeltsch 121 fact surpassed. spoke of Lotze as his philosophical mentor (they had taught together for 16 years at . but also the works of Hermann Süskind (Christentum und Geschichte bei Schleiermacher. Both simultaneously found good and bad parts of the Rede as well as the Glaubenslehre. like Ritschl in theology. He was undoubtedly impressed by the finess that Schleiermacher displayed in linking the idea of a religious a priori to a historical theology. Schleiermacher showed how it is possible to incorporate this heritage into a theological framework and bring it to fruition. But he of course had his own role in the intellectual development of Troeltsch. Schleiermacher’s dismantlement of the primacy of the theologico-theoretical pushed Troeltsch to discriminate between spheres more elaborately than had done his teacher. To Troeltsch. Schleiermacher had separated religion and piety (two synonymous terms) from metaphysics and morality. Troeltsch effectively considered him as the most capable to develop the Kantian program and to offer a strong philosophical response to the demands of modern thought (Troeltsch 1913c: 480). The question is: toward what? Or. But all things considered. 1907)? All of this indicates that the vital point of contention between Heidegger and Troeltsch is situated elsewhere than in their respective receptions of Schleiermacher. Among all the representatives of German Idealism. Schleiermacher first represented the link between Kant and Ritschl. and they would have perhaps not refused to sign a joint-declaration stipulating exactly these points. Lotze is a philosopher who. how could it be otherwise when we know that they were both reading and admiring the same literature on Schleiermacher. On this point. The fourth central figure of this first series established by Heidegger is Rudolf Hermann Lotze. It is probably because Ritschl.

Since 1897. the philosophy of religious values. Since 1909. Troeltsch reproached Dilthey for “his antimetaphysical point of view” (Troeltsch 1897: 526). we cannot ignore a fundamental point of disagreement. it takes into account the individual as well as psychic creation. Reading Lotze ignited some spark in Troeltsch. as found in the Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften (Dilthey 1914: 386-408). leading him to construct for the very first time his own philosophico-theological position. Dilthey and the philosophy of history. But it is not until around 1900 that he became acquainted with Dilthey’s philosophy of history. Troeltsch would use Lotze in order to show that the philosophy of religion. the impression that the Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften (1883) made on Troeltsch should not be neglected – another point in common with the young Heidegger. Nevertheless. From the point of view of the Geschichtsphilosophie. must be the means of attainment of the Selbständigkeit of religion. Let us conclude on this point by saying that Lotze’s Metaphysik and Religionsphilosophie played for the young Troeltsch the role that Lotze’s Logik played for the young Heidegger (GA1: 23). Troeltsch spoke of Dilthey as his ‘master’ (Lehrer) (Troeltsch 1913c: 754). Despite this proximity. but equally in his writings on psychology and on individuality.10 Troeltsch applauds in each of these texts ’a . With his psychological analyses. Dilthey is as such considered as an ally in the quest for understanding the facticity of historical events. but rather as the mark of a partially shared heritage. both of which were seriously threatening the independence of spiritual life and accordingly the core of all religion. From this we may in turn infer that the link binding Troeltsch to Lotze does not reveal itself as the crux of the Heideggerian critique of Troeltsch. Heidegger maintains that Troeltsch held himself under Dilthey’s influence. Troeltsch’s interest in Dilthey cristalized around the latter’s psychology since. On this matter. Troeltsch saw in Dilthey’s Einleitung a theory which simultaneously allowed one to escape the disasterous consequences of naturalism and of positivism. it is through the neo-Kantians that he would in due course be led to rediscover him. or.122 Camilleri Göttingen University9) that Troeltsch became very seriously interested in him. respectively dated 1894 and 1895. in a manner almost identical to that of Lotze. Troeltsch marshalls Dilthey’s works on the history of philosophy in one of his first theological articles: ‘Die christliche Weltanschauung und die wissenschaftliche Gegenströmungen’ (1893-1894). more precisely.

but until 1895 at the earliest the systematic framework had still been constructed around Lotze and Dilthey. It is true because the two thinkers held. Windelband. Rickert. positions regarding the necessity of a historical method in theology which prove to be very similar. but by way of a certain idea of the philosophy of history (Troeltsch 1913c: 739). Heidegger specifies that he limits himself to Troeltsch’s philosophy of religion. Did he do it intentionally? In our opinion. Windelband and Rickert openly pick up Dilthey’s project of the valorization of the ‘sciences of spirit’ (Geisteswissenschaften). The next moment of Heidegger’s reconstruction concerns the influence that Windelband and Rickert’s value philosophy had exerted on Troeltsch’s thought since the start of the 1890s. can one still imagine a geschichtsphilosophisch connection? Heidegger’s assessment reveals itself to be at once true and false. They intend to thereby establish a part of their value philosophy. without further explanation. Dilthey did it in the capacity of a historian and a philosopher while Troeltsch did it in the capacity of a theologian. This disagreement taken into account. but he also stresses that they represent to him something else than they do for Dilthey. which they prefer to call the ‘cultural sciences’ (Kulturwissenschaften). it is evident that Troeltsch owes a debt to Dilthey’s historiographic works. Moreover. Troeltsch had been consulting Windelband’s work since his 1891 thesis on Melanchthon. this alternative is not to be foreclosed. Heidegger simplified this fact. without citing one another. But it is no secret that this philosophy only acquires its full meaning when brought together with theology and the history of religions. Heidegger somewhat antedates this encounter. The Heideggerian assessment is equally false however because. Indeed. and value philosophy. when closely examined. A Historical Note on Heidegger’s Relationship to Ernst Troeltsch 123 contribution to the foundation of the method equally capable of servicing religious science’ (Troeltsch 1897: 527). allowed Heidegger to pass over the form that this same meaning of history was taking in Troeltsch’s system of the history of religions. Troeltsch no longer directly refers to Dilthey when he positively constructs his own philosophy of history and his own history of religions. namely the possibility to confront metaphysical questions equipped with an at last adequate philosophical arsenal. To attach the meaning of history at work in Troeltsch’s philosophy to Dilthey. But they reject the leftovers of positivism which in Dilthey still accompany the understanding and study of these sciences. Indeed. The methodological and philosophical controversies between the neo-Kantians and Dilthey bring .

as they cast new light on a multitude of notions that philosophy and theology must necessarily rediscover in order to continue to progress: individuality. is what a letter from Toeltsch to Adolf Jülicher dated 4 November 1901 leads us to believe11. But when closely examined. more generally. in spite of a few . who had rallied Kaftan in his critique of Troeltschian positions. It is certainly not by mere chance that when reworking the text for the second volume of the Complete Works Troeltsch flouted the chronology of his own works and inserted an updated version of his ‘anti-Niebergall’ (the name given to his 1900 essay on the historical and dogmatic method of theology) after the long study ‘Moderne Geschichtsphilosophie’ (1903) devoted almost exclusively to Rickert’s philosophy of history. against Julius Kaftan (his earlier professor. value. This becomes even clearer in the 1900 essay ‘Über historische und dogmatische Methode der Theologie’. the history of religions. the notion of Typus. Let us conclude this general survey of Troeltsch’s link to the neo- Kantianism of Heidelberg by saying that his appraisal. he repeats in several spots that Rickert’s endeavours must be ‘enlarged and completed’ (Troeltsch 1913c: 719) in order to become truly beneficial. Troeltsch alligned himself with Dilthey’s camp in order to consider Christianity as a historical phenomenon. notably the need to displace the study of Christianity and. in particular on the necessity to historicize theology. in favour of that which Windelband calls the science of the necessary and universal determinations of values.124 Camilleri us directly to the heart of Troeltschian thought and notably of his treatment of the question of history. But Troeltsch does not satisfy himself with a passive reading. and this on the basis of essentially philosophical postulates (Troeltsch 1913c: 738). In the eyes of Troeltsch. in which the former returns to his essay ‘Geschichte und Metaphysik’ and implicitly specifies that it is at this moment that he fully commits himself to the neo-Kantian path. causality. the notion of development. In the 1898 study ‘Geschichte und Metaphysik’. at least. etc. an orthodox follower of Ritschl) who thought it of vital importance to accord to it an ad hoc status in virtue of a certain supernaturalism (Troeltsch 1898: 52). a science operative in the sphere of culture where it finds the meaning of historical phenomena of which religion is an integral part. this time directed toward Niebergall. This. Rickert’s works constitute a major breakthrough. it is possible that the debate with Kaftan already integrates elements inherited from neo- Kantianism.

Troeltsch does not hesitate to express his ‘lively approval’ (lebhaft Zustimmung) of Rickert’s work (Troeltsch 1913c: 719). He certainly consulted it while preparing his lectures on Spengler held at Wiesbaden in April 1920. and still less concerning Hegel’s role in the matter. it is not insignificant that. nor to characterize the effect of the Windelband-Rickert duo on the philosophico-theological thought of the time as a ‘redemption and deliverance’ (Erlösung und Befreiung) (Troeltsch 1913c: 714). 46-47. of which the first volume appeared in 191813 . is the only document to which there is no doubt that Heidegger had access. the scenario is practically the same in each instance: he is most often brought up within a note in order to illustrate latest developments in philosophy. in a letter to Rickert dated 22 November 1915. Contrary to what is affirmed by Heidegger. the concept of intuition. This hypothesis is furthermore supported by the fact that he will himself linger on the first volume of Spengler’s book in the chapter devoted to the historical which follows his introduction to the phenomeology of religion – a chapter in which Spengler is brought closer to Simmel for motives that ressemble those developed in Troeltsch’s recension (GA60: 38. Simmel. that is to say that which. at the end of the 1910s. this review still does not indicate anything concerning Simmel and Bergson’s influence on Troeltsch’s thought. and Hegel. was to a great extent positive. linked Troeltsch to Simmel—Bergson and equally entailed a certain proximity to Hegel. The first time that the names of Simmel and Bergson are found next to each other in Troeltsch’s writings is in a review of Oswald Spengler’s Der Untergang des Abendlandes. With regards to Bergson. and Troeltsch refers almost exlcusively to the same works. Troeltsch’s attachment to Bergson seems to have been partially motivated by a certain anti-Hegelianism (Troeltsch 1922: 290 – . Matter and Memory (1896). Bergson. Ultimately. Nevertheless. This recension. and the concepts of which he makes the most use are none other than those which made Bergsonian thought so successful in France. A Historical Note on Heidegger’s Relationship to Ernst Troeltsch 125 reservations. namely the personally experienced flow of time. 43-44. and Creative Evolution (1907) are those privileged by Troeltsch. Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness (1901). published in 1919. Let us finally evoke the last moment of Heidegger’s reconstruction. Indeed. Troeltsch goes so far as to consider himself as an integral part of the School of Windelband and Rickert by speaking of ‘our group of Heidelberg’. 49- 51). and the concept of the élan vital.12 for which he wishes a long and fertile prosperity.

The objective is to discover the inherent laws of development in religious life. Even so. as Troeltsch remarks. What must be retained here is that. Given that Simmel never openly laid claim to Hegel and that Troeltsch never made inventory of . but if it is his formulation of the question that ultimately seduced Troeltsch. from a universal law he makes an individual law (Troeltsch 1922: 463). In effect. etc. 832). since the chaotic richness of historical events finds itself thought according to its necessary order. Nevertheless. on the other hand. Troeltsch criticizes Simmel and thereby Hegel in that the highest moment of their respective thought is not the Christian religion as such but is rather a super-confessional mysticism for the first and an absolute knowing for the the second. There is certainly something of Hegel in Simmel. and discussing Simmel for several years. Bergson appears as one of the viable alternatives to the rationalist schemata presented in Hegel’s historical monism. he helped complicate the problem of history according to new exigencies of modern thought. began in earnest from 1910 onwards. If their mutual scientific exchange. Simmel is without doubt more important than Bergson for Troeltsch’s intellectual development. perhaps without realizing it. Troeltsch himself detected traces of Hegel in this same dynamic. just as they exist elsewhere in other cultural spheres. but are in a real sense intuituve and metaphysical (Troeltsch 1913c: 822. notably with regards to sociology. are precisely those which Simmel labours to bring to work in his essays. science. Troeltsch had already been reading. The ‘thrust of life’ (Auftrieb des Lebens) (Troeltsch 1913c: 726) is in word and concept that which allows Troeltsch to see Bergson as possessing ‘a most penetrating and discerning mind’ (Troeltsch 1913c: 364) and accordingly as an ally in the construction of his historical method. reviewing. Through his conception of duration. Bergson is not the first to make this observation. Troeltsch found in Simmel a support for his thesis on the independence of religion.126 Camilleri Troeltsch speaks of Bergson as a ‘counterweight’ to Hegel). which is to say that they are in a sense ‘incontestably religious’ (Troeltsch 1922: 638). such as art. to which Troeltsch gives the generic name of ‘dialectic’. The question thus becomes whether we can still say that the historical dynamic elaborated by Simmel can be categorized as Hegelian on the one hand – which Heidegger seems to say – and if. Simmel effectuates a kind of recovery of the Hegelian principle of reason in history. Indeed. These laws. it is probably because with him the motives are no longer speculative (Hegel) or logical (Rickert). law.

we can remind ourselves of what Heidegger says of Troeltsch in a 1921 letter to Rickert: he is a “formidable adversary” (Heidegger 2002: 54)! Is this not an obvious sign of an undeniable respect. one must. an exercise during WS 1915/16. these two questions remain without answer. and finally his flirtations with Simmel. One cannot reasonably believe that he would have had first-hand knowledge of all the Troeltschian texts on which we have commented. Bergson. of admiration? 3. In all evidence. It is for this reason that Heidegger made him his target. his frustrated affection for Dilthey. The Goal of a Philosophy of Religion At the end of his intellectual biography. but he clearly knew enough to situate the decisive turns in Troeltsch’s development. . and Hegel. This brief overview of Heidegger’s intellectual biography of Troeltsch suffices to show the extent to which the former knew the latter well. although in a much more compact way. The evidence is adding up: the philosophical and theological references intersect in part those that shapped the Troeltschian œuvre (GA56/57. GA59. his diverse works on Kant (GA1: 49-54. A Historical Note on Heidegger’s Relationship to Ernst Troeltsch 127 an understanding of Simmel through or starting from Hegel. On this subject. more simply. This is all the more true given that each period of the Troeltschian œuvre finds an echo in the proto-Heideggerrian œuvre. and a seminar on Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der blossen Vernunft with Ebbinghaus in 1923) and Schleiermacher (his notes and presentations of 1917-1919). GA60). this answer makes reference to two of Troeltsch’s well-known writings: ‘Was heisst “Wesen des Christentums”’ (1903) (Troeltsch 1903) and above all ‘Wesen der Religion und der Religionswissenschaft’ (1906) (Troeltsch 1906: 461-491). Heidegger asks: ‘What goal does Troeltsch give the philosophy of religion’? To this question. It is not however necessary to conclude on a hidden ancestory. GA58. an act that retrospectively can be interpreted as an honour. We know the young Heidegger’s interest in Lotze’s Logik. he offers this terse response – supposed to encapsulate the response of Troeltsch himself: ‘the working out of an academically valid determination of the essence of religion’ (GA60: 20). just as we know his engagement first for and then against the Wertphilosophie. his lectures on Ritschl (GA58: 61). be content to note that Heidegger found in Troeltsch one of the most learned and open of both philosophers and theologians of his time.

Troeltsch thinks a realm of scientifically valid ideas under the notion of religious life. Herrmann criticizes the fact that Troeltsch ‘returns religion to the realm of Ideas (Herrschaft von Gedanken)’ and that he in the end does not know how to apprehend “the insight according to which religion is an act of living (Erleben)” (Herrmann 1912: 245-246. In effect. but equally those of Scheler and Reinach and even of Husserl. as it is in Harnack. quasi-phenomenological question. Between the lines one again finds the debate between Troeltsch and Herrmann. It is on very similar terms that Heidegger evokes the Platonic path and refers to the holders of the ‘Reich der Ideen’ for which the ‘historical’ has finally ‘become secondary’ (GA60: 39-40). it is because Troeltsch makes use of the different significations of ‘essence’ in a careless manner. In the eyes of Heidegger. In this debate. lived time and history (GA58: 61). while Herrmann. It must accordingly be admitted that Troeltsch has asked a decisive. Troeltschian thought on the essence of religion was not as dramatic and dangerous as Herrmann and Heidegger made it out to be. Let us now move to the 1906 text ‘Wesen der Religion und der Religionswissenschaft’. 1967: 282-283)14 . But things become more complicated once Troeltsch begins to present “the concept of essence as ideal concept” (Troeltsch 1913c: 423-432). but instead from the philosophy of religion. It would however be false to say that the article in question is nothing but reactive. Yet Heidegger had never hid the fact that this dimension was dear to him and that it had an unforeseen phenomenological potential insofar as it recalled the way in which the first Christians. the famous work of Harnack published in 1900 (Harnack 1900). When Troeltsch writes that the “concept [of essence] is not only an abstraction from phenomena. notably Saint Paul. in line with the most pure religious tradition and in particular with Ritschl. . is born in response to Das Wesen des Christentums. On the contrary. Heidegger saw clearly that the Wesenbestimmung thought by Troeltsch was no longer drawn from theology. refers to the kingdom of God. at least one that revealed itself as essential to the phenomenology of religion – that of Heidegger. but is at the same time a critique of these phenomena” (Troeltsch 1913c: 407). Heidegger has nothing to add. But if Heidegger in the end remains on the defensive regarding the Troeltschian question. Heidegger seems to have chosen his camp: he incontestably aligns himself on the side of Wilhelm Herrmann and this latter’s severe assessment of Troeltsch. the study is just as much programmatic in nature. we know.128 Camilleri The first text.

was aware of the dangers of confusing metaphysics and philosophico-theolgical thought15. All the same. epistemology. he would not have been radical enough in a double sense: on the one hand. The Troeltschian partition and articulation of psychology. These sentences lead us to believe that Troetlsch. the philosophy of history. but this logic is not exempt from presuppositions. and metaphysics are as such succintly ordered and detailed in an effort to respond to the crucial prerogatives of the philosophy of religion. and thus in the end proved himself to be more of a theologian than Troeltsch himself. Even so. Heidegger chose he who was more religious. and metaphysics is accomplished according to a certain logic. theory of knowledge. This is why Heidegger reviews each of these dimensions in order to bring to light the preunderstandings that guide . that is to say Herrmann. The expression is fair and pertinent if we at the same time convey the deplacement of the method of a metaphysical observation of religious objects or of concepts of God by a search for religion as a phenomenon of consciousness (Troetlsch 1913c: 488). Psychology. It is easily verifiable that Heidegger refers to this text (in its first version of 1906. between Troeltsch and Herrmann. his commentary in places approaches paraphrase. notably those cited above. Troeltsch insists that we may so understand the Wesenbestimmung: We habitually define religious science as a search for the essence of religion. which are none other than the question of the essence of religion (Troeltsch 1913c: 492). In addition. In summary. this does not keep him from delving into the other fundamental writings. A Historical Note on Heidegger’s Relationship to Ernst Troeltsch 129 In the 1906 text. The other point of interest of the 1906 text on the essence of religion and religious science is that it is to the best of our knowledge the only text to methodologically detail Troeltsch’s four directions of the philosophy of religion which Heidegger examines point by point in his commentary. he was still too complaisant toward metaphysics as the structure of history. on the other. he maintained an approach that was not religious enough. but the 1906 text remains a reference for the articulation of the four complementary dimensions or directions of the philosophy of religion. and. but also in the reworked text of 1909 and the bibliographically expanded version of 1913). the philosophy of history. in a manner exactly analogous to Herrmann and Heidegger.

130 Camilleri Troeltsch’s path. Weltkongress für freies Christentum und religiösen Fortschritt. they both belonged to the Religionsgeschichtliche Schule. more globally. the conference ‘Über die Möglichkeiten eines freien Christentums’ delivered in 1910 to the 5. It should be remembered that Troeltsch and Otto were close colleagues. in addition to Tuesday morning. Husserl's letter to Otto was republished in Husserl (1994: 204). We may go no further here. Husserl (1969: 141): “Ich habe auf den Übergang Heidegger und Oxners auf den Boden des Protestantismus nicht den leisten Einfluss geübt. Cassirer (a course on the Greeks). 2 Cf. der bei diesem Wort ein ideales Ziel religiöser Sehnsucht vor Augen hat und es für sich im Sinne einer unendlichen Aufgabe versteht. Karol Holl (a course on the history of dogma). 4 Cf. and Riehl (a course on Kant). see Troeltsch (1913b: 500-524. as well as a seminar on 2 Peter and a cursory reading of the Letters of Paul). Harnack (a course on Einleitung in das Neue Testament. Once completed. especially 500). Troeltsch (1913a: 1-21) The text was slightly modified for another volume of the same year. He also intended to offer one seminar: Über Geschichtstheorie Wilhelm Wundts (privatissime and gratissime) – the slot was reserved as an office hour. but also Hans von Soden (a course on the New Testament). gathering together a very diverse cast of personalities. The first version of the conference was published in English as ‘On the Possibility of Free Christianity’ (Troeltsch 1911). 6 In the summer semester of 1918. Stumpf (a course on modern philosophy). Dessoir (a course on the philosophy of art). last but not . Troeltsch. obschon er mir als freiem Christen (wenn sich Jemand. It is Troeltsch’s merit to have sought to rationally structure its principles and tenets. ‘Free Christianity’ began as a trans-confessional and ecumenical movement. It is found in its definitive version by the same title in Troeltsch (1913c: 837- 862). Hugo Gressmann (a course on the Old Testament). Teaching in this same Faculty at the University of Berlin this semester were such other notables as Erdmann (a course on psychology). and another on Alte Kirchengeschichte). (2) the impact of Protestant theology on his phenomenology of religion. of which the final text was published in the journal under Rickert’s direction as Troeltsch (1910b). gave only one course: Einleitung in die Philosophie (privatissime). this analysis will allow us to clearly delimit: (1) the role that Troeltsch played in the Denkweg of the young Heidegger and. but we may nevertheless point out that we have reached the end of the task of the historico-critical presentation and the beginning of the task of a systematico-comparitive analysis. There were equally big names to be found in the Faculty of Theology: Adolf Deissmann (courses on Erklärung des Römerbriefes and on Neutestamentliche Theologie. then teaching in the Faculty of Philosophy. Translated by Steven Joseph Woodworth 1 See the letter to Engelbert Krebs dated 9 January 1919 (Heidegger 2004: 67-68). It goes without saying that behind his analysis hides a will to critique or destruct. 5 As reported by Denker (2004b: 121). so nennen darf) und als ‘undogmatischen Protestanten’ nur sehr lieb sein kann”. Leopold Zscharnack (a course on the Reformation) and. 3 Cf.

7 Cf. Heidegger und die Anfänge seines Denkens (Heidegger-Jahrbuch 1). 1978. Julius Kaftan. München. 15 On this point. Die geistige Welt: Einleitung in die Philosophie des Lebens. V. Vol. 8 See for example Günther (1914). but he was conscious of passing through a Berlin still aglow with philosophy and theology. Graf. republished in Denker (2004a): 75-76. republished in Herrmann. Wilhelm. 10 See Dilthey’s ‘Ideen über eine beschreibende und zergliedernde Psychologie’ (1894) and ‘Beiträge zum Studium der Individualität’ (1895/1896). . Mitteilung der Ernst-Troeltsch- Gesellschaft. in Graf (1991: 113). when Ritschl was named to the University of Göttingen. Weltanschauung und Analyse des Menschen seit Renaissance und Reformation: Abhandlungen zur Geschichte der Philosophie und Religion.und Denkweg 1909-1919’ in Denker (2004a): 97-122. Leipzig & Berlin: Teubner. Dilthey. the sworn enermy of Troeltsch. A Historical Note on Heidegger’s Relationship to Ernst Troeltsch 131 least. Troeltsch (1919c). to 1880. – Lotze had been there since 1844. – 2004b. Sommer-Semester 1918. 6. Our italics. 14 On the debate between Troeltsch and Herrmann. 11 This letter is mentioned in Apfelbacher (1978: 211). All of this information may be found in the Verzeichnis der Vorlesungen. 1991. (1966: 1-80). see the thoroughly absorbing work of Sockness (1998). Wien and Paderborn: Schöningh. II. 1924. Gesammelte Schriften. 12 See the letter from Troeltsch to Rickert dated 22 November 1915. Königliche Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität zu Berlin. both of which are republished in Dilthey (1924). – 1914. 2004a. Friedrich-Wilhelm. 13 Cf. Troeltsch (1997): 279-281. Bd. 9 From 1864. Bd. References Apfelbacher. Denker. Heidegger could neither have attended all these courses nor met all of these men. Herrmann (1876). not to mention studies in specialized journals too numerous to count. just one year before his death. Hans-Helmuth Gander and Holger Zaborowski (eds). Freiburg: Karl Alber. having succeeed Herbart –. then charged with the course on Dogmatik (Apologetik). cf. ‘Heidegger Lebens. Leipzig & Berlin: Teubner. Karl-Ernst. Alfred. Frömmigkeit und Wissenschaft: Ernst Troeltsch und sein theologisches Programm. Gesammelte Schriften. republished in Troeltsch (1913c: 677-684). when Lotze accepted the Ruf of the University of Berlin (upon suggestions from both Zeller and von Helmholtz).

: Klostermann. 1967. Herrmann. – and Heinrich Rickert. Edmund. 1919’ in Schutz. Bd. vol. Sockness. . Bd. II. Husserl. 1994. I. Sechzehn Vorlesungen vor Studenten aller Facultäten im Wintersemester 1899/1900 an der Universität Berlin. Das logische Problem der Geschichtsphilosophie. München: Kaiser. Brent. 373-426. ‘Briefe Heidegger an Rickert vom 27. 161-173. ‘Die Bedeutung der Geschichtlichkeit Jesu für den Glauben. III. 1998. Eine Besprechung des gleichnamigen Vortrags von Ernst Troeltsch’ in Theologische Literaturzeitung 37(8): 245-249. Schriften zur Grundlegung der Theologie. II. Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck. Hans-Helmuth Gander and Holger Zaborowski (eds) Heidegger und die Anfänge seines Denkens (Heidegger- Jahrbuch 1). I. Bd. Jena: Dissertation. – 1966. Die Grundlagen der Religionsphilosophie Ernst Troeltsch. ‘Briefe Martin Heideggers and Engelbert Krebs (1914-1919)’ in Denker. Against False Apologetics: Wilhelm Herrmann and Ernst Troeltsch in Conflict. Heinrich Rickert. 1917’ in Martin Heidegger. Hamburg: Meiner. Die Metaphysik in der Theologie. Bd. Halle: Niemeyer. IV.M. Briefe 1912 bis 1933 und andere Dokumente (ed. – 1921. – 1919a. Peter Fischer-Appelt). – 1922. Leipzig: Hinrichs. ‘Briefe Edmund Husserl an Rudolf Otto vom 5. Heidegger. Erstes Buch. Ernst. München: Kaiser. Gesammelte Schriften. 2-18. Freiburg: Karl Alber. Das Wesen des Christentums. ‘Über den Begriff einer historischen Dialektik.132 Camilleri Günther. Religion und Christentum in der Theologie Rudolf Ottos. Dordrecht: Kluwer. 61-68. 1900. Frankfurt a. 1925. Martin and Engelbert Krebs. Bd. Alfred Denker).41-42. II. 119. (ed. 1969. Wissenschaftlerkorrespondenz. III/7. Adolf von. Alfred. Walter. Husserliana-Briefwechsel. Raymund (ed. – 1912. 3. Windelband- Rickert und Hegel’ in Historische Zeitschrift. – 1876. 2004. Aufsätze zur Geistesgeschichte und Religionssoziologie. Hans-Walter. Berlin: De Gruyter. Bd. – and Rudolf Otto. 2002.) Die deutsche Philosophie der Gegenwart in Selbstdarstellungen. Wilhelm. Tübingen: Mohr. ‘Mein Bücher’ in Schmidt. 1914. Der Historismus und seine Probleme. Schriften zur Grundlegung der Theologie. Troeltsch. Republished in Gesammelte Schriften. Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck. Harnack.

Bd. Religionsphilosophie und Ethik. Berlin/Leipzig: Teubner. Reworked and republished in Troeltsch (1913c): 452-499. II. III. Die christliche Religion mit Einschluss der israelitisch-jüdischen Religion. I. Religionsphilosophie und Ethik. Zur religiöse Lage. ‘Wesen der Religion und der Religionswissenschaft’ in Hinneberg. .: Gestalt und Wirklichkeit. Internationale Zeitschrift für Philosophie der Kultur. I/IV. Heft 2. Die Kultur der Gegenwart.’ in Historische Zeitschrift. 120. Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck. vol. Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck. Paul (ed. – 1919c. ‘On the Possibility of Free Christianity’ in Proceedings and Papers. 1447-1456. Wien & Leipzig: Wilh. 500- 524. II. ‘Glaube: III. Die Soziallehren der christlichen Kirchen und Gruppen. Tübingen: Mohr- Siebeck. C. 165-185 – 1906. Zur religiösen Lage. August 5-10 1910 (ed. Friedrich Michael and Leopold Zscharnack (eds). Psychologie und Erkenntnistheorie in der Religionswissenschaft: eine Untersuchung über die Bedeutung der Kantischen Religionslehre für die heutige Religionswissenschaft. Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart. – 1913b. Bd. – 1913a. A Historical Note on Heidegger’s Relationship to Ernst Troeltsch 133 – 1919b. Bd. Glaube und Geschichte’ in Schiele. Der Untergang des Abendlandes. Tübingen: Mohr. Der Marxismus’ in Historische Zeitschrift. 233-249. ‘Über den Begriff einer historischen Dialektik. Teil 2. Wendte). Dogmatisch. Berlin. – 1910a. I. 393-451.). – 1910b. vol. – 1912. Systematische christliche Theologie. Braumüller. Bd. ‘Rezension von Oswald Spengler. 461-491. Berlin-Schönberg/London: Protestantischer Schriftenvertrieb/Williams and Norgate. W. Fifth International Congress of Free Christianity and Religious Progress. Bd. 1918. Umrisse eine Morphologie der Weltgeschichte. I. Gesammelte Schriften. Bd. ‘The Dogmatics of the “Religionsgeschichtliche Schule”’ in The American Journal of Theology 17(1). – 1905. XVI + 639 p. Gesammelte Schriften. II. ‘Die Dogmatik der “religionsgeschichtlichen Schule”’ in Gesammelte Schriften. – 1913c. Tübingen: Mohr. ‘Die Zukunftsmöglichkeiten des Christentums im Verhältnis zur modernen Philosophie’ in Logos. 120. Bd. – 1911. IV.

– 1903. Bd. I. ‘Religionsphilosophie und theologisches Principienlehre’ in Theologisches Jahresbericht (6): 498-557.134 Camilleri – 1904. 8 (1898): 1-69. vol. ‘Was heisst “Wesen des Christentums”?’ in Die Christliche Welt 17 (19): 443-446. – 1897. Das Historische in Kants Religionsphilosophie: zugleich ein Beitrag zu den Untersuchungen über Kants Philosophie der Geschichte. ‘The Young Heidegger’s Ambitions for the Chair of Catholic Philosophy and Hugo Ott’s Charge of Opportunism’. ‘Geschichte und Metaphysik’ in Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche. Robert. Vigliotti.). 279-281. 2001. Friedrich Wilhelm (ed. (3-4): 323- 350. – 1898. 1997. in Studia Phaenomenologica. . 17 (21):. Mitteilungen der Ernst-Troeltsch-Gesellschaft. Berlin: Reuther & Reichard. 17 (29): 678-683. VIII. – and Martin Heidegger. 17 (28): 650-654. Reworked and republished in Troelsch (1913c): 386-451. 483-488. 17 (25): 578-584. Vol. ‘Briefe Ernst Troeltsch an Martin Heidegger’ in Graf. 17 (23): 532-536.

II. Phenomenological Method in the Early Heidegger .

the . and ‘Augustine and Neo-Platonism’ (1921). but because it “arises from factical life experience. For Heidegger it is necessary at whatever cost to maintain the dynamic. This statement constitutes the “proto-circle” which includes all the versions of the “hermeneutical circle” that we will find in Heidegger’s later writings. in some sense “interactive”. which was entirely dedicated to Book X of St Augustine’s Confessions (GA60: 3-156. And within factical life experience philosophy returns back into factical life experience” (GA60: 8). of which we will again find echoes in two key passages of Being and Time: philosophy is “hermeneutical” not because it interests itself in the problem of interpretation. So long as the self-understanding of philosophy is not clarified. Life experience is never reducible to what Heidegger calls a process of “taking-cognizance-of”. The title of the first course confirms the programmatic aim of the Heideggerian endeavour: it is to “the phenomenology of religion” as such that he wants to introduce to his listeners. philosophy will only be able to ask false questions of religious experience. that is to say. meaning of this notion. Everything depends on the meaning that one gives to the term “experience” in the construction “factical life experience”. GA60: 157-299). What is true of philosophy in general is equally true of the philosophy of religion: it too must arise from factical religious life and return back into it. To do this he elaborates at length (and in a way far too tedious for the taste of some of his listeners) his revolutionary idea of philosophy and of the relation between philosophical concepts and factical life. which forbids us to separate “knowing subject” and “known object”. Heidegger’s Methodological Principles for Understanding Religious Phenomena 1 Jean Greisch The methodological preoccupations and guiding intuitions that underlie the ‘Working Papers and Notes for a Cancelled Lecture Course’ (GA60: 301ff) are evident in the only courses on the phenomenology of religion that Heidegger actually gave. the ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’ (1920-1921). From the very beginning Heidegger introduces us to a circle.

and not the way in which he relates to them. The self-sufficiency of factical life – at whatever concrete level that it manifests itself – explains why the subject does not care about anything other than the “significances” with which he has to do. forms the leading thread of the phenomenology of religion that Heidegger seeks to elaborate. The relationship of “I” to “myself” does not constitute an exception to this fundamental rule: experience of self could not possibly be confused with a “reflexive action” – we are in complete opposition to Nabert here – nor with an internal perception (GA60: 13). Instead of bringing us back to causal explication. which no historical knowledge can fathom (GA60: 42). What retains his interest are particular contents. This singular “indifference” attests to the innate self-sufficiency and significance of life. Heidegger does not pronounce in detail on the sources of this disquietude. But. Far from being reducible to a simple ‘taking-cognizance-of’. factical life experience ‘designates the whole active and passive pose of the human being toward the world’ (GA60: 11). But he reproaches the philosophers of history of his era . prior to any cognitive activity (GA60: 12).138 Greisch accumulation of a certain number of items of information that can be integrated into a knowledge structure (GA60: 14). All these indications converge towards an expression as central as it is difficult: “self-sufficient concern for significance” (selbstgenügsame Bedeutungsbekümmerung) (GA60: 16). This confirms the manner in which Heidegger places the phenomenon of history at the centre of his approach. In the same context. Wirkungsgseschichte. Recognizing that “the historical” (das Historische) is a “core phenomenon” in no way means a return to the presuppositions of “historicism” (GA60: 31). the term connotes an innate and irreducible historicity. Historical knowledge can be an effective means of taking refuge in the concretely real influence that history exerts upon us. Heidegger warns against any epistemological reduction of the concept of “facticity”. which I propose to translate by “concern”. No doubt this escaped commentary at a time when the traumatism of the Great War was still in all minds. that is to say. in the Gadamerian sense. lived experience renders the manner in which we react to that which comes towards us opaque. “To experience” means to confront and perceive that which comes towards us. paradoxically. while distancing himself from the different “philosophies of history” of his era. The term Bekümmerung. The concrete experience of our historical being is characterized by an innate “disquietude” (Beunruhigung).

Heidegger’s Methodological Principles 139 (Spengler. inspired by the Regulae of Descartes. because the theory of the religious a priori. GA60: 67). that I will approach this first course on the phenomenology of religion. How can phenomenological understanding be directed in order to comprehend religious life? Heidegger establishes from the start that it is not a matter of an elaborate phenomenology of religion but of a simple Anleitung. one could ask oneself whether this suspicion could not equally be applied to the philosophy of religion of Heidegger’s era (GA60: 19-30). “they fight with weapons that they themselves do not understand and which belong exactly to that which they are fighting against” (GA60: 53). a “phenomenological explication of concrete religious phenomena” (GA60: 34. To those who . The idea of philosophy of religion that Troeltsch constructs is phenomenologically inadmissible. Simmel. in the present case. But hermeneutical phenomenology will have to deconstruct the “objectivist” categories with which the historian of religion works. This is a question. with “fighting with”. of primordial Christian experience. Concerning the interpretation of religious phenomena. an inchoative expression of an attempt to understand primordial Christianity as it understood itself. The Heideggerian interpretation concentrates principally on the Letter to the Galatians and the two Letters to the Thessalonians. It is within this “methodological” optic. faithful to the spirit of neo-Kantiansm. and that this revolutionary conception of philosophy alone succeeds in clarifying the tasks of a phenomenology of religion which would be at the same time authentically philosophical. which found its literary expression in the Pauline letters. the only philosopher of religion whose positions he explains in detail. Convinced that the self-understanding of philosophy has its source in the factical experience of life. In view of his very severe judgement of Troeltsch. Troeltsch nevertheless obliges Heidegger to ask himself the question of the recourse to the history of religion as phenomenology of religion. the decisive question is: “How does the living Dasein as distressed by history conduct itself to history itself?” (GA60: 53) The difficulty of determining the exact meaning of the term “historical” in the sphere of factical life leads Heidegger to introduce the key concept of “formal indication”. arguing that. Heidegger sketches in the rest of the course. and Rickert). a kind of Regulae ad dirigendum ingenium phaenomenologicum. avoids the most fundamental task: to describe religious phenomena in order to elucidate their original meaning.

In the case of the anticipation of the imminent Parousia to which the Letter to the Thessalonians attests. This requires that one take into consideration the “situation” of Paul and his readers. It is. Gehalt-. Rule II: The phenomenology of religion must clarify the pre- understanding which renders possible access to phenomena. Understood in the phenomenological sense. it identifies the “things” to which it relates. A situation can be in turn “stable”. co-determined by fundamental experiences”. and even “explosive”. Such an understanding transcends the opposition of the “static” and the “dynamic”. Bezugs. for example. In dialogue with the religious historian. can. it seems to me. of the phenomenological equivalent of the durée concrête in Bergson: “something that belongs to understanding in the manner of enactment” (GA60: 90). which guide all Heidegger’s analyses. “Going to the things themselves” of religious life does not equal a “historical interpretation”. to reconstruct the “historical […] context” of the Letter to the Galatians (GA60: 78). be characterized by means of the fourteen following rules (GA60: 137): Rule I: “Factical life experience has its own genuine explication.and Vollzugssinn: these three dimensions of intentionality. which is in reality simply a “phenomenology of Pauline proclamation”.140 Greisch would suspect such a more Cartesian reading of not doing justice to Heidegger’s intentions. which it is important not to reduce to “doctrinal” contents (GA60: 145). it is evidently the latter aspect which prevails. as Heidegger makes clear. and it analyses its own modes of enactment. this term is not a synonym for “context” or “objective situation”. it is important to return from Bezug (which. must equally prove their fruitfulness for interpretation of the first Christians’s religious experience. The method that Heidegger advocates in his phenomenology of primordial Christianity. relation to the history of religion. on the contrary. Elucidation of the phenomenon of primordial Christianity takes place within a triple perspective: it describes the “contents” which convey Christian religious consciousness. if isolated. questions of method” (GA60: 88). a matter of explicating the latter’s own meaning. Here too. the main accent bears on the “meaning of enactment”. I will cite his own declaration: “All questions of philosophy are. which would seek. This implies a critical. Rather it is a matter. at bottom. Everything depends on the relationship that factical life maintains with time. but indispensable. questions about the How – strictly understood. “grave”. would correspond to the .

It is a matter of following the movement of self-enactment of life itself. “Is then the material of the history of religion usable for phenomenology?” – a question which comprehends equally my reading of the “classics” of phenomenology of religion (GA60: 77. Christian religiosity lives temporality as such” (GA60: 80). Heidegger devotes a whole paragraph to a discussion of the difficulties posed by the coincidence of the phenomenology of religion and the history of religion (GA60: 76-78). which they have welcomed “in spite of persecution […] with joy . which give the impression that philosophy can draw its “material” and “illustrations” from the works of historians. Factical life experience is historical. it actually is this itself” (GA60: 131). They are what they have become solely through the proclamation of the Good News. One can place under the aegis of this rule the fundamental thesis around which all of Heidegger’s reflections in this course revolve: “Christian religiosity is in factical life experience. Postscript: It is such experience itself. in the Letters to the Thessalonians. he asks himself. 2. In opposition to non-phenomenological philosophies of religion. more explicit formulations of it: “1. Primordial Christian religiosity is in factical life experience. Nothing shows better what is at stake in these abrupt theses than the way in which Paul. far from betraying history. without which it is impossible to discover “the basic determination of primordial Christian religiosity” (GA60: 78). does not cease to remind the latter of their “having-become” (genesthai). Rule III: Hermeneutical explication of religious phenomena necessarily has recourse to formal indication. He proposes two. Whoever says Vollzug says self-enactment and re-enactment. the manner in which primordial Christian experience constituted itself as an ensemble of distinctive elements contributing to the functioning of a unit. Heidegger’s Methodological Principles 141 referential-objective approach of the historical sciences) to Vollzug. in the present case. Factical life experience is historical. Or again: “1. Greisch 2002b: 163-240). Primordial Christian religiosity is in primordial Christian life experience and is itself such. Postscript: Christian experience lives time itself (‘to live’ understood as verbum transitivum)” (GA60: 82). seizes the latter in its centre. to the enactment that. 2. The fact that Heidegger requires that the history of religion be subjected to a “phenomenological destruction” does not mean that this is a case of condemnation without appeal (GA60: 78). The important thing is to pay attention to the tacit presuppositions which underlie the works of historians of religion.

The uncertainty is not coincidental. The sense of the Being of God can be determined first only out of these complexes of enactment” (GA60: 117). Not only would it be impossible for Christian hope to be reduced to a particular form of belief in immortality. The relation to the time of primordial Christianity is marked by the two vocables “tribulation” (tlipsis.“The meaning of temporality determines itself out of the fundamental relationship to God – however. understood in the radical sense of anticipation of the Parousia. it relates to an event which does not let itself be circumscribed by the question: “When will it happen?” Here.142 Greisch inspired by the Holy Spirit” (1 Thess. a term which Heidegger translates as Bekümmerung) and “hope”. On the one hand. They have adopted a whole “standard of living” (peripatein) in “turning-toward God”. it could not be described as expectation turned towards the future. in such a way that only those who live temporality in the manner of enactment understand eternity. as pagan philosophers were able to be. GA60: 67). far from substituting itself for the intellectus fidei. For Heidegger. Phenomenological understanding. phenomenology must put its own life experience in parentheses.” Rule IV: The phenomenologist must remain conscious of the limits of phenomenological explication developed under the aegis of formal indication. In holding that it is not only decisive for factical Christian life. Regarding anticipation of the Parousia. “the eschatological problem is the centre of Christian life” (GA60: 151). fully respects the rights and specificity of the latter. it renounces “the last understanding that can only be given in genuine religious experience” (GA60: 84. one is dealing with a time which does not pertain to the linear order of succession and objective chronology. The first term emphasizes that the Christian is not securus adversus Deum. “There is no security for Christian life. rather it is necessary” (GA60: 105). . furthermore. on the other hand. This means two things. This is the seed of a problem that Heidegger will later seek to resolve by invoking Hölderlin’s “God of Time. but also “for problems such as that of the eternity of God”.1:6). Heidegger poses a problem which one will also recognize in his subsequent writings (GA60: 104). “in great despair” and “joy” (GA60: 94-95). the constant insecurity is also characteristic for what is fundamentally significant in factical life.

Rule VI: It is necessary to totally renounce the categorical pair “rational-irrational”. For Heidegger. Expression is not “a technical problem. separate from religious experience. and drives. rather the explication goes along with. his proclamation. the Pauline text becomes a pretext. The link between the Apostle’s vocation. which has only a very limited authority. for example. lies entirely outside of this opposition. Phenomenological interpretation is constantly exposed to the double peril of Hineindeuten and Wegverstehen. Heidegger’s Methodological Principles 143 Rule V: All the concepts must be understood with reference to the fundamental attitude of nascent Christian faith. it becomes an object of study which no longer touches me in my existence itself. Everything that is said of the indissoluble residue that supposedly remains for reason in all religions. precisely in that it radically lets the latter be in its incomprehensibility” (GA60: 131).2 This thesis supposes that one accepts that philosophy has nothing in common with the scientific consideration of an object or a subject. In the first case. For Heidegger. the religious experience” (GA60: 72). if at all. for the following reason: Phenomenological understanding. the phenomenologist has more to fear from the second temptation than from the first. in the second. Otto gravely deceived himself in supposing that the best way of respecting religious phenomena is to insist upon their irrational aspects. his doctrinal teaching and his moral . in the explication. while avoiding projecting modern or contemporary problematics on to it. Rule VII: Do not separate the phenomenon from its expressions. so that he would have had to ask himself what idea of the “rational” is presupposed in the concept of the “irrational”. one must not infer that his mode of presentation then has nothing to do with the Christian phenomenon (Acts 17:18). he retorts that “every understanding modernizes insofar as it. is merely an aesthetic play with things that are not understood (GA60: 79). Paul speaks a language which evokes in the minds of the Athenians the Stoic and Cynic itinerant preachers. To those who accuse him of “modernizing”. of false actualization and historicizing reconstruction (GA60: 130). If. according to its basic meaning. inherited from Rudolf Otto. uncovers something new that lies ‘in the sense’” of the phenomenon (GA60: 135). phenomenological understanding succeeds in understanding even “the incomprehensible.

proclamation is “a religious phenomenon. which is to be analysed in all phenomenological directions of sense” (GA60: 79). for example from Paul’s particular epistolatory style. one must depart directly from their very form.144 Greisch admonishments has its original source in Christian religiosity itself. expressed more technically. The term “drawing out an understanding” (Herausverstehen) shows that. For Heidegger. one must seek to understand the connection to it of all original religious phenomena” (GA60: 73). In other words. To elucidate the Pauline proclamation means to ask oneself questions of the type: “Who proclaims? How is proclamation done? What is proclaimed? etc”. or. while respecting its “arch-ontic […] fundamental phenomenological dynamic!” (GA60: 127) This supposes that one credits Christianity with a power of self-explication and of existential self-appropriation. it works with a methodology which does not do justice either to the requirements of historical science. or to those of phenomenology. Although it has not finished producing results. grow up in the language that belongs to it” (GA60: 128). the fundamental religious experience must be explicated. Instead of applying to New Testament texts a typology borrowed from literary analyses of world literature. according to Heidegger. remaining in this fundamental experience. In this respect. the founding fathers of Formgeschichte Biblical scholarship explored a path of indisputable fruitfulness. “Rather. in this phenomenon. phenomenological description and hermeneutical interpretation are . It would not be possible to be unaware of the fact that “Religiosity and religion grow into a factical life-world. viewing his letters as the expression of “the basic phenomenon of proclamation” (GA60: 81). Rule VIII: The phenomenological approach to the Pauline corpus must avoid a double temptation: assembling a catalogue of its “fundamental concepts”. the phenomenologist must surmount the narrow pass between two symmetrical pitfalls. to the point of being constitutive of its meaning. The first is that of overestimating the semantic innovations produced by primordial Christianity. or crediting it with a cut and dried “theological system”. the phenomenological interpretation must draw “out an understanding [Herausverstehen] of the direction of sense” of the experience. the “self-world” of Paul enters into a relationship with the “surrounding world” and the “communal world” of the communities to whom he addresses himself (GA60: 80). to show how. The second is that of forgetting that a new understanding can express itself within conceptual frameworks inherited from an obsolete tradition. and. For Heidegger.

Rule XI: Any phenomenological approach is guided by some “foreconceptions”. Only when he is weak. The extraordinary in his life plays no role for him. which in truth is the relational sense of Parousia. Life for Paul is not a mere flow of events. by treating it as a simple example serving to construct “general religious phenomenological assertions” (GA60: 88). . Rule IX: The religiosity belonging to primordial Christianity constitutes an historical fact sui generis which is not a simple exemplification of a more general typology. Heidegger’s Methodological Principles 145 inseparable. Not mystical absorption and special exertion. the phenomenological approach involves some increased risks. the description necessarily being accompanied by an “explication”. citing his ecstasies and raptures. rather withstanding the weakness of life is decisive. One must not at any price allow “dissipation of historical facticity”. ignores the real “situation” of the Apostle. (Vorgriffe) (GA60: 81) In contrast to the “foreconceptions” with which the religious historian works. Understanding is not authentically phenomenological unless it takes into consideration the ensemble of the phenomenon’s modes of giving. it is only insofar as he has it. The “mystical” interpretation of Paul. This fundamental requirement of having-God is the opposite of all false mysticism. phenomenological foreconceptions are determined by the “enactment” of phenomenology itself (GA60: 82). is radically different from all expectation” (GA60: 102). can he enter into a close connection with God. His life hangs between God and his vocation (GA60: 100). “It is not the ideal of a theoretical construction that is aimed for. Compared with “objective” study. instead of only interesting itself in the “states of soul” of religious subjects. to the extent that it requires “a familiarity with the phenomenon” which easily exposes itself to mistakes (GA60: 82). “The structure of Christian hope. when he withstands the anguish of his life. but the originality of the absolute-historical in its absolute unrepeatability” (GA60: 88). Example: the Christian anticipation of the Parousia is not a particular case of a “protentional consciousness” turned towards the future. Rule X: The phenomenologist must resist the temptation to reduce phenomenon to a particular form of “consciousness”.

before taking into view the “situation” in which the phenomenon arises. For Heidegger. It starts with facts provided by history. It is to be gained only in a concrete life-context. for example that of the Thessalonians. grasping determinations. The enactment of the explication is a dynamic process. but of familiarizing oneself with a “tradition”. that is to say. It is not a matter of projecting one’s self into an individual psyche. “Step by step. One can thereby also. The important point is not so much to collect information relating to this or that community.146 Greisch One of these mistakes is the excessive recourse to the concept of empathy (Einfühlung). Instead of reducing the latter to a question of “psychological intuition” (similar to the divinatory hermeneutics of Schlegel and Schleiermacher). We can always understand the situation that was his. It opens onto horizons of meaning which only unveil themselves progressively. it will have to pronounce on what. “articulating the phenomena gives rise to the necessity of setting aside any psychological schema. as well as the accentuations of meaning that characterize this situation. This is also true of the relationship to the “communal world”. In this way he avoids imprisoning himself within the following alternative: either to “re-actuate” a tradition (re- enact in Collingwood’s sense) by identifying himself with the past. we must recognise that “today the environment of Paul is totally foreign to us” (GA60: 85). But the radical impossibility of becoming the Apostle’s contemporaries does not mean that Paul has become totally incomprehensible to us. writing to this community. Of course. it involves an original- historical phenomenon that cannot be resolved without the phenomenon of tradition in its original sense” (GA60: 85). or to distantiate himself from the past (Foucault). . which does not allow itself to be mechanically undertaken. have the directions of sense that are ‘not seen’” (GA60: 86). that is to say the manner in which he relates to his “environment”. Finally. but of understanding Paul’s situation of enactment. Rule XIII: “The enactment of the explication is not a separated succession of acts. Rule XII: Phenomenological explication effects itself by stages. One must allow the phenomena to present themselves in their originality” (GA60: 121). that is to say with “historical-factical life experience” (GA60: 89). in an originary way constitutes phenomenon. at the same time. Heidegger postulates that “empathy arises in factical life experience. the explication becomes more and more individual and grows ever nearer to the peculiar historical facticity” (GA60: 84).

such as that described by Benjamin and Derrida. Here. playing a decisive role in understanding. Christian facticity does not at all abolish worldly facticity and the constitutive structures of the surrounding world. and that to which they refer. Far from projecting the Christian into “another world”. but rather originates from God”. too. Christian life is not straightforward. it is more a programme of research than a detailed investigation that unfolds under the reader’s eyes. of sense-complexes” that are inseparable from the factical experience of life in which they inscribe themselves (GA60: 134). A certain “mood” (Stimmung) equally forms part of this context. the phenomenologist must equally occupy himself with the “phenomenon of the effects of grace” (GA60: 121). if it is not a question of “saturated phenomenon” (Greisch 2002a: 324-330). according to which “Christian factical life experience is historically determined by its emergence with the proclamation that hits the people in a moment. which concludes with a brief sketch of “characteristics of early Christian life experience” (GA60: 116-125). with Jean-Luc Marion. a rupture not without analogy with messianic temporality. are in no way touched. but the relations themselves. This will perhaps lead him to wonder. should grasp it (GA60: 120). the key word of this tonality is “tribulation”. It is directed by the “Pauline” thesis. Since the Pauline Christian “is conscious that this facticity cannot be won out of his own strength. One of the “Pauline” characteristics of this Christian enactment of life is that it “exceeds human strength” (GA60: 122). but is rather broken up: all surrounding- world relations must pass through the complex of enactment of having- become. and then is unceasingly also alive in the enactment of life” (GA60: 116-117). But the imminence of the Parousia introduces a decisive rupture in factical life. but with expressions which form a “‘cluster’ of relations. These fourteen rules sum up the first course on the phenomenology of religion. . so that this complex is then co-present. In relation to primordial Christianity. Who can grasp it. Heidegger’s Methodological Principles 147 Rule XIV: The phenomenologist is not concerned with “representations” or “concepts”. from the phenomenological point of view (GA60: 134-135). This determination of the “relational sense” of Christian life anticipates Heidegger’s conclusive thesis: “The conversion to Christian life experience concerns the enactment” (GA60: 121).

Paris: Cerf. 1. see Greisch (2000: 135-154). Paris: Cerf. 3. References Greisch. – 2002c. Paris: Cerf. Vol. 2. 2 For more on this. Les approches phénoménologiques et analytiques. Le Buisson ardent et les lumières de la raison: L’invention de la philosophie de la religion. 2000. – 2002b.148 Greisch Translated by Isabel Taylor. Le Buisson ardent et les lumières de la raison: L’invention de la philosophie de la religion. Paris: Cerf. 1 Originally published in Greisch (2002c: 540-552). Vol. 1919-1923. L’arbre de vie et l’arbre du savoir: Le chemin phénoménologique de l’herméneutique heideggérienne. Vers un paradigme herméneutique. Vol. Héritiers et Héritages du 19e siècle. – 2002a. . Jean. Le Buisson ardent et les lumières de la raison: L’invention de la philosophie de la religion.

1. With the growing literature on the subject of Heidegger’s relationship to theology and the philosophy of religion we have an elaborated variety of interpretations of the relationship between metaphysics and theology. Martin Luther. Denker 2003). a poet standing bareheaded in the storms of the divine. Baum 1997. Ozankom 1994). Heidegger has effectively questioned the totalitarian thinking of metaphysics and onto-theology. Richardson 1965b: 86-100. Greisch 2000. and Being and God (Prudhomme 1997. Capelle 1998. theology and faith. Savarino 2001. Richardson 1965a: 13-40. Weber 1997. which to this day affect my way like underground earthquakes (GA66: 415). Heidegger’s companions on his way to the nearness of the divine were Paul. onto-theology and Christian theology. Schaeffler 1978. Meister Eckhart and the German Mystics. an argument. Bultmann 1967: 72-94. The young Heidegger’s hermeneutics of facticity and the late Heidegger’s fundamental ontology address the question of the divine as a decisive philosophical topic. Thomä 2003. Nevertheless he has neglected the thinking that thinks back to its own origins which in turn could allow for a new proximity of philosophy and theology. Augustine. and later Nietzsche. Coreth 1954: 107-16. Schleiermacher and Hölderlin. Heidegger’s Atheology: The Possibility of Unbelief Andrzej Wierciñski And who would want to conceal that on the whole of my previously travelled path the argument with Christianity continued silently. Only he who is as deeply rooted in a truly lived catholic world can imagine something of the necessity of my interrogations. What Lawrence . but a question about the appropriation of one’s origins – the parents’s house. which is not and was never an abstract problem. the homeland and the youth – and the painful separation from it all. The Onto-Theological Context The question of God in Heidegger has been a subject of passionate debate from the first critical examinations of the author who was born as a son of a sexton in the conservative Catholic farmlands of the Black Forest and became the thinker of Being (Coreth 1955: 153-56. Duns Scotus.

10:15): “Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom. ‘Einleitung in die Phänomenologie der Religion’. Or is Heidegger’s rejection of metaphysics as onto-theology a regression into gnosticism (Sacchi 2002)? . For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom” (1 Cor. and ‘Augustinus und der Neuplatonismus’ has substantially changed the understanding of Heidegger’s transition from the neo-Scotistic phenomenology of his Habilitationsschrift to the hermeneutics of facticity of Sein und Zeit. but Being itself remains concealed in the search for a-letheia. is foolishness that exalts itself against God (2 Cor. Is Heidegger supporting New Testament humility or ridiculing the Christian intellectual tradition when he states: “Christian theology. but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.2 As such it is a proper inquiry into Being. and thus an anticipation of a “divine God”. especially the young Heidegger’s interest in the phenomenology of religious life. both Jews and Greeks. and the anthropology always also growing out of these contexts all speak in borrowed categories that are foreign to their own domains of being” (PIA in S: 139).150 Wierciñski Hemming calls “Heidegger’s refusal of a theological voice” is a destruction of the metaphysical God.1 The development of Heidegger’s understanding of the question of God is the theme of two major publications: Heidegger et la question de Dieu (Kearney 1980). a result of a 1979 international symposium at Collège des Irlandais in Paris. Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Christian theology utilized Greek philosophy for the interpretation of the original experience of the first community of believers. and “Herkunft aber bleibt stets Zukunft”. The wisdom of the world .the essence of philosophy. the philosophical ‘speculation’ standing under its influence. acting somehow against the admonition of the Apostle Paul: “Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Cor. 1:20). Martin Heidegger und die Gottesfrage (Coriando 1998a). a 1997 Martin-Heidegger-Gesellschaft conference in Meßkirch (Greisch 1998). but to those whom God has called. The onto-theological nature of metaphysics is based on the experience of being as being.óïößá ôïØ êüóìïõ . 1: 22-25). The archives reveal new aspects of Heidegger’s relationship to theology. The 1995 publication of the 1920/21 lectures on the phenomenology of religion.

Heidegger’s essential development is to a large extent not understandable without a reference to Christian experience as a sui generis genus loci. His academic development began in philosophical theology. . Heidegger himself says in On the Way to Language. Already as a high school student. Marking himself as a Catholic philosopher. from which he was dismissed for health reasons. Heidegger was originally faithful to the faith of his upbringing. Heidegger was fascinated by the ontological questioning discovered in Franz Brentano’s On the Several Senses of Being in Aristotle (Brentano 1981). Hugo Ott claims that this detachment was primarily biographically motivated. it is only answerable through the resolution of the problem of historical coherences [der geschichtlichen Zusammenhänge]. I would never have come onto the path of thought. which attempts to uncover the ontological ground of any philosophical question. which is to be explicated through our own historical situation and facticity. Heidegger set his sights on the hermeneutic- phenomenological retrieval of the Middle Ages. It is a question of understanding what the sense of history can mean for us [was der Sinn der Geschichte für uns bedeuten kann]. so that the “objectivity” of the historical “in itself [an sich]” disappears.5 Thematizing the problem of addressing the Christian experience Heidegger admits: Genuine philosophy of religion does not arise from preconceived concepts concerning philosophy and religion. Heidegger’s Atheology 151 2. 1991: 9-22). “Our Origins Always Lie Before Us” Heidegger spent six years as a high school seminarian. It is rather from a determinate religious devotion – for us Christian devotion – that the possibility of its philosophical comprehension emerges. But our origins always lie before us (Herkunft aber bleibt stets Zukunft) (GA12: 91). whose life goal was to develop the enormous intellectual and spiritual potential of Scholasticism. Heidegger’s fundamental training in theology allowed him to appropriate speculative theological tools into philosophical discourse. Why precisely Christian devotion lies at the centre of our consideration is a difficult question. Heidegger’s intellectual career began with his enthusiasm for Scholastic ontology and thinking. however complex and problematic. followed by a short Jesuit novitiate. His theological origins doubtlessly determined his philosophy.3 Seeing Catholicism as a legitimate synthesis of metaphysics and religion.4 Others see essentially intellectual motives (Kettering 1987. yet with time he disengaged himself from theology. “Without this theological start. The task is to achieve a genuine [echtes] and original relation to history.

The contradictory relationship between Heidegger’s thinking and his religious roots has been often noted. who never succeeded to overcome the faith he received in baptism and his pious education: he hated the church just as much and just as often as he loved her. Martin: nomen est omen. Bultmann’s note on Heidegger’s religious outlook offers the insight of an insider: This time the Seminar is especially instructive for me. Heidegger. adhered to the practice of bending knee. Whenever Heidegger visited his native Meßkirch. participated in the first Mass celebrated by his nephew. philosophy and theology. Müller never doubted that Heidegger was a deeply religious man. Augustine and Kierkegaard. According to Müller. In the secondary literature there is a dominating conviction that Heidegger’s Catholic roots were critical in the development of his a- theology. Through Luther Heidegger reads Paul. Aristotle. “a square circle”. Heidegger was tremendously deep. which he called a total misunderstanding. St. he apparently attended the Mass in the parish church. Kierkegaard spurred me on and Husserl gave me eyes to see” (GA63: 5). Heidegger’s polemic against the Catholic dogma. This he demonstrated recently during a debate after one of Hermelink’s lectures on Luther and the Middle Ages. was my model.7 At the beginning of his 1923 lecture course Ontology: The Hermeneutics of Facticity Heidegger writes: “Young Luther has been my companion through my search. He comes from Catholicism. but an internally tormented and disrupted human being.152 Wierciñski History emerges only out of the present. whom Luther hated. but always hesitated to classify him as a Christian or a Catholic (Heidegger 2003). due to the participation of our new philosopher. Only as such is it possible to comprehend the possibility of a philosophy of religion (GA60: 124-125). This contradiction is highlighted by Heidegger’s lasting proximity to the Catholic rite. against a Christian philosophy. given the ups and downs of their relationship. In this statement Heidegger summarizes the intellectual heritage of his concept of facticity. The ambivalent judgment of Max Müller seems convincing. He used holy water. seems to contradict his view of thinking as a “way” and “being on the way”. a student of Husserl. He . against the mixture of faith and thinking. With the monks in the monastery in Beuron he always prayed the liturgical “Night Prayer”.6 Yet some recent interpretations claim that Heidegger’s denominational convictions had no substantial influence on the development of his phenomenology. but is entirely Protestant.

In the lecture on Luther given in Bultmann’s seminar.9 It is this “disgrace of worldliness”. he became a Protestant through indignation. a renegade . as well as the even more essential relationship between human beings and God. he values exactly as I do. “A Jesuit by education. You can imagine how important it is for me that you come here to join in on the discussion. “the principle of Protestantism has a special presupposition: a human being who sits there in mortal anxiety – in fear and trembling and great spiritual trial” (S: 110). but also of Luther. when a representative of its principle degenerates into worldliness. then “surface sanctity” arises – if Protestantism degenerates. because in Catholicism the universal presupposition exists “that we human beings are really scoundrels”. then “spiritless worldliness” arises.8 Puzzled to clarify the relationship between theology and philosophy. The former. Heidegger is concerned with the possibility of establishing a necessary correspondence between theological conceptualization and the specific contents of the New Testament. In the process. which prompts Heidegger to re-think the fundamental relationship between philosophy and theology. For in the latter. a scholastic dogmatician by training. Heidegger’s Atheology 153 not only has an extraordinary knowledge of Scholasticism. It is of interest that Heidegger – also familiar with modern theology and having special respect for Herrmann – knows Gogarten and Barth as well. If Catholicism degenerates. just as Luther is Luther only on the spiritual basis of Catholicism. and he somewhat embarrassed Hermelink by conceiving the question more profoundly than this latter thinker. what would appear in Protestantism is a refinement that cannot develop in Catholicism. And this is the case. then he brings upon himself the odium of worldliness – when a representative of Protestantism degenerates into worldliness. Heidegger argues that: Protestantism is only a corrective to Catholicism and cannot stand alone as normative. a theologian by tradition. Diatribes of an Apostate: Against a “System of Catholicism” Karl Löwith summed up Heidegger’s shift from Catholicism to Protestantism in these dramatic words. 3. he became an existential pragmatist through experience. The older generation is unable to participate because its members no longer even understand the problem to which we are lending our efforts (Bultmann Lemke 1984: 202). above all. discovering structures of the soul which do not originate in itself. he became an atheist in his research. then he is praised for his godliness and frankness. In the Paul and Augustine Lectures. Heidegger examines early Christian experience in terms of the attachment to life as facticity.

putting aside every special academic assignment in order to do so. with Engelbert Krebs. That being so. Elfride said that they would not baptize the child as promised (even though it was she who pushed for a Catholic wedding) because her husband had lost his institutional faith and she still has not found it. and that by answering the call through research and teaching I am doing everything in my power to . i. perhaps. believing in a personal God. Epistemological insights applied to the theory of historical knowledge have made the system of Catholicism problematic and unacceptable for me – but not Christianity per se or metaphysics. I think that my phenomenological studies in religion. a friend and professor of Catholic dogmatic theology in Freiburg. Dear Professor. the latter albeit in a new sense. with no fixed dogmatic ties. It is hard to live the life of a philosopher. 1918. It therefore means a very great deal to me – and I want to thank you most warmly for this – that I do not have to forsake the precious gift of your friendship. The chronologically first known statement regarding Heidegger’s problems with Catholicism comes from his wife Elfride. and we are still a long way removed from any true assessment or interpretation. I believe I have felt too keenly – more so. who also married them. to the peevish and intemperate diatribes of an apostate. My wife (who has informed you correctly) and myself are anxious to maintain our very special relationship with you.. In a conversation on December 23. Early in 1919 Heidegger wrote a letter to Krebs announcing that the “system of Catholicism” had become problematic and unacceptable to him. which will draw heavily on the Middle Ages. I shall continue to seek out the company of Catholic scholars who are aware of problems and capable of empathizing with different points of view. The past two years. I could not have guaranteed the necessary independence of conviction and doctrine. have led me to conclusions for which. I believe that I have an inner calling for philosophy. will do more than any argument to demonstrate that in modifying my fundamental position I have not allowed myself to sacrifice objectivity of judgment. the inner truthfulness towards oneself and those for whom one is supposed to be a teacher demands sacrifices and struggles that the academic toiler can never know. praying to him in the spirit of Christ. or the high regard in which I hold the Catholic tradition. had I been constrained by extra- philosophical allegiances. than its official historians – what values are enshrined in medieval Catholicism. “We have both ended up thinking along Protestant lines.e.154 Wierciñski to his tradition cloaked in the mantle of its historian” (Ott 1993:120). but outside any Protestant or Catholic orthodoxy” (Ott 1988: 108). in which I have sought to clarify my basic philosophical position.

assumed a divine and absolute legitimacy. My wife sends her warmest regards (Ott 1988: 106-107). Martin Heidegger. Heidegger’s counter position redresses both aberrations: Divinity is strictly a topic for theologians. scientia. to a thinking which guards against obscuring and violating by verbal constructions and conceptual illusions the primordial intuitions which necessarily determine the sense of all rational thinking. provisional. never absolute or divine. In a letter to Rudolf Otto from March 5. one particular way of relating to beings. science is historical. objects to the authoritarian governance of the Church. theoretical science. and relative. as an infinite task). Your deeply grateful friend. Heidegger’s departure from his Scholastic formation was inspired by his conviction that the heart and soul of the Scholastic tradition was the inscription of the divine into metaphysics. Catholics become Protestant. where and how the theologian accesses the divine is not for philosophy to judge. In arch-Catholic Freiburg I do not want to stand out as a corrupter of the youth. in a true Lutheran spirit. as an enemy of the Catholic Church. for his part. which suppresses the original factic sources of religious life and prevents an original and genuine experience of religious value. I want nothing more than to educate the youth to a radical honesty of thought. For the rest. even though it can only be very pleasing to me as a “non-dogmatic Protestant” and a free Christian (if one may call himself a “free Christian” when by that he envisages an ideal goal of religious longing and understands it. At that point he rejected neither Christianity nor metaphysics. But I do not think about Catholicizing and Protestantizing. Heidegger. Edmund Husserl referred to the possibility of his influence in Heidegger’s changed religious views: My philosophical effect does have something revolutionary about it: Protestants become Catholic. on the other hand. Secondly. Heidegger’s Atheology 155 further the spiritual life of man – that and only that – thereby justifying my life and work in the sight of God. Protestant or Jewish (Sheehan 1981: 25). Scholasticism had two effects: on the one hand. The “God . as a proselytizer. I am happy to have an effect on all sincere whether Catholic. His motives were purely philosophical: he wanted to be a philosopher unrestrained by outside influences (Sheehan 1993: 70-96). I have not exercised the least influence on Heidegger’s and Oxner’s migration over to the ground of Protestantism. 1919. The “system of Catholicism” is an ersatz religion. God becoming the first principal of thinking. reason presumed the power to access divinity. That I am not. It is a deterioration from an authentic religious life into an organized religion based on the legal and dogmatic rules.

“Scholasticism. In Identity and Difference Heidegger argues that dogmatic theology is inseparable from the whole tradition of Western ontology.13 Only faith has eternity given to it in advance. The Task of Thinking God and The Relationship Between Philosophy. which describes a new proximity to the divine. Theology has departed from its existential origins in the New Testament (hence Heidegger’s fascination with St. If the philosopher asks about time.322).156 Wierciñski of the philosophers” is the God of metaphysics. In his 1924 lecture The Concept of Time to theologians in Marburg. Heidegger said: “The philosopher does not believe. 4. eternity or the transcendent. Paul’s letters). severely jeopardized the immediacy of religious life and forgot religion for theology and dogmas. This theorizing and dogmatizing influence was exercised by church authorities in their institutions and statutes already in the time of early Christianity” (Kisiel 1993: 74). As a mode of thinking it privileges the activity of human subjects in objectifying knowledge and temporal presencing over alternative categories of Being and ecstatic time.10 His views on the subject range from the critique of secularized theology. Onto-theology treats God as the efficient and knowable foundation.11 After 1917. which is a causa prima (in the sense of Leibniz’s first cause which metaphysically grounds every ontological proposition). to the preparedness for the appearing of the last god. Heidegger vehemently criticized Scholasticism for confining philosophy and theology to the region of prevailing theoretical consciousness. within the totality of the medieval Christian lifeworld. a causa sui. Within the philosophia crucis a philosopher is not concerned with God. the epistemological delimitation of the two disciplines. and Christianity Heidegger’s preoccupation with the relationship between philosophy and theology has been interpreted in a variety of ways. then he has resolved to understand time in terms of time” (CT: 1). Patristic theology perpetuated the metaphysical tradition of the Greeks. Theology.12 To understand time in terms of temporality means to think time temporally. At a different occasion Heidegger makes his position even more explicit: “Within thinking nothing can be . through the theological deconstruction within Christian theology. not in relation to eternity (Di Vitiis 1995. 1998: 309. a univocal concept contained within and grounding metaphysical speculation.

Heidegger writes. formally indicative ontological corrective of the ontic and. positive sciences (GA9: 66). This brings Heidegger to the now famous metaphor of Christian philosophy as a “square circle”: There is no such thing as a Christian philosophy. Phenomenology is always only the name for the procedure of ontology. Philosophy engages in a kind of thinking of which man is capable on his own. of course. Faith is so absolutely the mortal enemy that philosophy does not even begin to want in any way to do battle with it” (GA9: 66). or axiological. Philosophy can be genuinely helpful for theology as science. Heidegger’s Atheology 157 achieved which would be a preparation or a confirmation for that which occurs in faith and in grace … Within faithfulness one still thinks. though not in the sense of being a science of faith (Wissenschaft vom Glauben). theology is for philosophy anything else but a help. On the other hand. just as there is no phenomenological mathematics. in which he thematizes the relationship between philosophy and theology. is in its innermost core the mortal enemy of the form of existence that is an essential part of philosophy and that is factically ever-changing. Phenomenology and Theology. there is likewise no such thing as a neo-Kantian. in particular. Heidegger specifically encourages theologians to “abide in the exclusiveness of revelation” (Noack 1976: 64). Faith and thinking cannot be made to coincide” (Noack 1976: 65). On the other hand. But philosophy can be what it is without functioning factically as this corrective” (GA9: 65). The existentiell opposition between faithfulness and the free appropriation of one’s whole Dasein means that theology must be the “mortal enemy” of philosophy. or phenomenological theology. . as a specific possibility of existence. a procedure that essentially distinguishes itself from that of all other. In 1970 Heidegger republished his 1927 lecture. of the pre-Christian content of basic theological concepts. Faith must be alert to the claims of thinking and the danger of possibly “watering down its own claims. John Caputo calls Phenomenology and Theology “Heidegger’s farewell to Christian theology as a matter of explicit and personal concern” (Caputo 1993: 276). but thinking as such no longer has a task. This stops when he is addressed by revelation” (Noack 1976: 64). “Philosophy is the possible. that is an absolute “square circle”. “This peculiar relationship does not exclude but rather includes the fact that faith.

In the Introduction to Metaphysics he writes: Anyone for whom the Bible is divine revelation and truth already has the answer to the question ‘why is there anything at all and not rather nothing?’ before even asking the question. even though its statements and procedures of proof formally derive from free operations of reason” (GA9: 59-60).158 Wierciñski Heidegger defines his understanding of theology as an academic discipline: As conceptual interpretation of itself on the part of faithful existence. God himself ‘is’ as the uncreated creator … Anyone who stands in the soil of such faith … can only act ‘as if’… but on the other hand that faith. but only a convenience and a set-up to hold fast to a commonly accepted doctrine. if it does not remain constantly in the possibility of unfaith. “The Christian experience is something so completely different that it has no need to enter into competition with philosophy. perhaps with a great show of interest even with faith as in much the same way they do with questioning (GA40: 8-9). theology needs to return to its origins in New Testament faith. “theology is not speculative knowledge of God … Theology itself is founded primarily by faith. insofar as everything that is not itself God. To take God seriously means to be called from out of the divine essence: . Among Catholics who experienced a hostile treatment were two talented students of Martin Honecker. and to grasp it solely as it is testified to in faith and for faith. is the task of systematic theology” (GA9: 56-57). After returning to Freiburg in 1928 as Husserl’s successor. Striving for God does not mean reaching Him. is no faith. Heidegger’s colleague at the University of Freiburg. but an indifference which can busy itself with everything. that is. According to Heidegger. faithfulness itself. the ways part” (Noack 1976: 65). When theology holds fast to the view that philosophy is foolishness. in the face of the final decision. As a self-interpretation of faith. as historical knowledge. Heidegger was deeply antagonistic to Christianity in general and to Catholicism in particular (Caputo 1993: 270-288). Gustav Siewerth and Max Müller. Therefore. the mystery-character of revelation will be much better preserved. theology aims solely at that transparency of the Christian occurrence that is revealed in. That is neither faith nor questioning. Thus the goal of this historical science is concrete Christian existence itself … To grasp the substantive content and the specific mode of being of the Christian occurrence. Heidegger’s philosophical critique of Christianity is based on his distinction between faith and metaphysics. is created through him. and delimited by.

at least as He has been conceptualized in the history of metaphysics. are not thinking very divinely about the essence of the divinity. Heidegger’s Atheology 159 It is possible. receive heaven as heaven. Before the god of philosophy.14 “A divine god” is a god “beyond” the god of Christian philosophical theology. something far eerier happens. metaphysically thought. Welte 1975: 258-280. await the divinities as divinities and are capable of death as death. cannot be the theoretical subject of metaphysics (Welte 1964: 177-192. the essence of which we have scarcely begun to reflect upon. god as causa sui. is proper to God is the region of causal effectivity and the preservation of beings as created beings. Heidegger describes mortals as they save the earth. an acknowledgment of the reality of God in His voluntary disposition toward the world and of a religious experience of reality as such? Would a reflection based primarily on the act of faith satisfy a philosopher? Can theology be completely free of any metaphysical distortions? Heidegger demands “a more divine god”. On the contrary. “Mortals dwell in that they await the divinities as divinities. Is biblical theology. compared with that impossibility. a possibility for an encounter more genuine than a theological reflection: “Man can neither pray nor sacrifice to this god. The Catholic notion of faith and the fundamental presuppositions of Christianity embrace the theoretical formulations of the divine in a metaphysical conceptualization. Siewerth 1971a: 280-293. a chance for theology to become theology. In ‘Building Dwelling Thinking’. i. or. Siewerth 1971b: 264-279. Heidegger rejects the divinity of the Christian God. The divine is not Being. This region for God can remain empty (GA5: 255). In hope they hold up to the divinities what is unhoped for.e. to believe that Nietzsche’s word mastery over beings passes from God to man. “A divine god”. Kušar 1985: 2-5). man can neither fall to his knees in awe nor can he play music and dance before this god” (ID: 72). Those who take it that way. The place which. Welte 1977: 249-252.15 . thinking crudely. Heidegger’s divinity is a god of hope and anticipation. They do not make their gods for themselves and do not worship idols. Nietzsche sets man in the place of God. however. They wait for intimations of their coming and do not mistake the signs of their absence. In the very depth of misfortune they wait for the weal that has been withdrawn” (GA7: 152). nurtured by the New Testament. This speculative appropriation of philosophy in theology endangers the experience of personal faith. Man can never be set in God’s place because the essence of man never attains the essential realm of God.. even more crudely that.

its spontaneous self-interpretation of life cannot be theistic. as the factical how of the interpretation of life..16 In a footnote to the word “atheistic” we are given a following explanation. i. Any philosophy that understands itself in terms of what it is. philosophy is a hermeneutics of facticity. in acquiring it as an object for itself. must know – and know it precisely if it also has an “intimation” of God – that this throwing of life back upon itself which gets actualized in philosophy is something that in religious terms amounts to raising one’s hand against God. This position is understandable in the context of the early Heidegger’s antagonism regarding natural theology. not as a personal belief system. if philosophy is in principle atheistic and understands such about itself – then it has resolutely chosen factical life with a view to its facticity and. as research. i. which clarifies that “atheism” is meant here. and if secondly philosophy is set on bringing into view and conceptually grasping factical life in terms of the decisive possibilities of its being. Committed to research and not to generalities and worldviews.. And here. If in the first place philosophy is not an artificial occupation that merely accompanies life and deals with “universals” of one sort or another and arbitrarily posited principles but rather is as a knowing that questions. if relying upon its own resources and not looking to the hustle and bustle of worldviews. it has radically and clearly resolved to throw factical life back on itself as this is possible in this factical life itself and to let it fend for itself in terms of its own factical possibilities. it has preserved it in its facticity (PIA in S: 121). Philosophy’s preoccupation with God stands in a clear opposition to its own true vocation to question knowledge by following reason alone.e. The Necessity of Atheism in Philosophy In his 1922 “Phenomenological Interpretations in Connection with Aristotle: An Indication of the Hermeneutical Situation”. Heidegger clearly rejects the possibility of any synthesis of Christianity and philosophy. But philosophy is thereby only being honest with itself and standing firm on this. simply the explicit and genuine actualizing of the tendency toward interpretation that belongs to the basic movements of life in which what is at issue is this life itself and its being. but as a fundamental hermeneutic principle: “Atheistic” not in the sense of a theory such as materialism or the like. that is. it is comporting itself in a manner that is fitting to the only possibility of standing before God that is available to it as such. Could it be that the very idea of a philosophy of religion. and . that is.160 Wierciñski 5.e. “atheistic” means: keeping itself free from the temptations of that kind of concern and apprehension that only talks glibly about religiosity. that is.

since faith cannot ask philosophical questions. atheism is not a method but a substantive philosophical position. Pre-philosophical belief in a God disturbs the authenticity and radicality of thinking. Philosophy is this very foolishness. Precisely in this atheism. Genuine philosophical thinking is atheistic thinking: As long as phenomenology understands itself. Not only will it allow itself as much. they can supply no answer to our question because they are in no way related to it. Philosophy being concerned with the question of Being is true thinking. philosophy becomes what a great man once called the ‘joyful science’ (GA20: 109-110). In a philosophical theology. who has no natural experience of God. they cannot even be brought into relation with our question. In the 1946 ‘Letter on Humanism’ Heidegger summarizes his philosophy of religion and gives us a hint of his personal religious convictions. Philosophical research is and remains atheism. From the standpoint of faith our question is ‘foolishness’. this arrogance is the inner necessity of philosophy and its true strength. the fundamental definitions of human being are dogmatically theological and as such they have to be excluded from a philosophical reflection on the human being. the theological uncertainty implies a circular movement from the unknown to the known: God is the beginning and end of that circle: What we have said about security in faith as one position in regard to the truth does not imply that the biblical ‘In the beginning God created heaven and earth’ is an answer to our question. Responding to Sartre’s atheistic appropriation of his . Quite aside from whether these words from the Bible are true or false for faith. 193-4)? Philosophy cannot seriously engage faith. it will adhere to this course of investigation against any sort of prophetism within philosophy and against any inclination to provide guidelines for life. A ‘Christian philosophy’ is a round square and a misunderstanding (GA40: 9. though giving thought to faith. According to Heidegger. whereas theology. A philosophy of religion based on a theological presupposition is a pure nonsense: factic life experience is non-theistic. is pure nonsense (PIA in S: 121. faith as the disposition of a human being who already has his answers. cannot be authentic thinking. which is why philosophy can allow itself ‘the arrogance of thinking’. “In the sense of a theory”. Therefore. Polt 1999: 130-134). hinders radical philosophical inquiry. which is philosophy’s proper datum. Indeed. Heidegger’s Atheology 161 especially if it does not take into account the facticity of human being. abandoning factic life.

transcending it somehow or other. The negation of the possibility of Christian . that is. when he has above all neglected to think into the dimension in which alone that question can be asked? But this is the dimension of the holy. Heidegger’s question of God is situated in his seinsgeschichtlichem thinking. Insofar as thinking limits itself to its task it directs man at the present moment of the world’s destiny into the primordial dimension of his historical abode. Further in the letter Heidegger argues that a thinker can be neither theistic nor atheistic: But with this reference the thinking that points toward the truth of Being as what is to be thought has in no way decided in favor of theism. With respect to God. Being and God. which indeed remains closed as a dimension if the open region of Being is not lighted and in its lighting is near man. Heidegger positions his Being and Time beyond the description of atheistic or theistic: The thinking that thinks from the question concerning the truth of Being questions more primordially than metaphysics can. indeed set by what gives itself to thinking as what is to be thought. Perhaps what is distinctive about this world-epoch consists in the closure of the dimension of the hale [des Heilen]. Thinking does not overcome metaphysics by climbing still higher. Not. however. Only in the light of the essence of divinity can it be thought or said what the word ‘God’ is to signify. The thinker cannot call God by His name. Or should we not first be able to hear and understand all these words carefully if we are to be permitted as men. yet the answer is clearly determined by the unpassable limit. but out of respect for the boundaries that have been set for thinking as such. Perhaps that is the sole malignancy [Unheil] (GA9: 352). With that the question of God remains a question. by the truth of Being.162 Wierciñski phenomenology. The contemplation of the Holy is an essential prerequisite for Heidegger for elaborating the question of God and the relationship between the Holy. because of an indifferent attitude. surmounting it. Only from the essence of the holy is the essence of divinity to be thought. When thinking of this kind speaks the truth of Being it has entrusted itself to what is more essential than all values and all types of beings. Heidegger’s a-theological philosophy is a philosophy that does not philosophize about faith. It can be theistic as little as atheistic. to experience a relation of God to man? How can man at the present stage of world history ask at all seriously and rigorously whether the god nears or withdraws. thinking reaches its limits. The concept of the Holy is for Heidegger a central-category for his phenomenology of religion. Only from the truth of Being can the essence of the holy be thought. as eksistent creatures. thinking overcomes metaphysics by climbing back down into the nearness of the nearest (GA9: 352).

It cannot presume to have and to define God. factically taking up one’s worldly historical work in conduct and a concrete context of action. Being exposed to the theological context. Heidegger’s silence of God is often interpreted as the best way to address the unspeakable God. The possibility of a divine god beyond Christian reference can be thought only in the disclosure of Being. A methodologically atheistic philosophy does not refer to a personal conviction of an atheist philosopher. Silence on the topic of theology is what Heidegger meant by the methodological stricture that philosophy must be atheistic: Questioning is not religious.18 One of Heidegger’s Marburg students remembers Heidegger saying. he remains open for religious experience which eludes philosophical formalization. A philosopher can lead a Christian existence. In its radical self-directed questioning. of the God. He can legitimately talk about his faith. philosophizing and. philosophy is a way from God. Sum. a. who is ipsum esse per se subsistens: ex quo oportet quod totam perfectionem essendi in se contineat (Aquinas. even though as a philosopher I may be a religious man. q. Incidentally. I am not religious. indem wir von ihr schweigen) (Vetter 1995: 65-80). remaining genuinely religious. not in religious ideology and fantasy. A philosopher is not concerned with personal faith. at the same time. 1a. it has its own work to do (GA61: 197). philosophy is not on that account poorer in speculation. Heidegger reads Nietzsche’s thesis “God is dead” as the preparation for a new arrival of the God Hölderlin speaks of: . The divine god discloses itself as the ever present transcendence of Being and the diffusion of Ereignis. theol. More radically and determinately.17 The negation of a philosophical concept of God does not exclude the possibility of the existence of God. with its own difficulties. but can lead to a situation of religious decision. this is not his topic. a “being-near” God. and in its radical enactment of its “way”. The divine god does not reveal itself as a revelation of the Revelation. Heidegger’s Atheology 163 philosophy and a philosophical theology does not necessary lead into atheism. in philosophizing. Heidegger’s atheology is a careful way of preparing a space for a “divine God”. nevertheless. “The art lies in this”. philosophy must in principle be a-theistic. his philosophy has to be in principle atheistic. In philosophizing. that is. 2). Heidegger’s critique does not question the possibility of a theology within the realm of Revelation and authentic religious experience within the Church. 4. “We honor theology by keeping silent about it” (Die Theologie ehren wir.

This means asking about the way in which these gods are. then the question of whether or not Heidegger’s thought is atheistic will have to ask whether that which is ultimate and single for Heidegger. For its sake history up to now should not terminate but rather must be brought to its end. 6. . in which Heidegger describes himself as “a Christian theologian ?”21 Gadamer interprets this statement as a genuine attempt to tackle the true call of theology: “to find a word. by virtue of which alone man succeeds in restoring beings (GA65: 411). The multitude of gods cannot be quantified but rather is subjected to the inner richness of the grounds and abgrounds in the site for the moment of the shining and sheltering-concealing of the hint of the last god. all theisms collapse. In case both of these questions are answered in the negative. which can call to faith and preserve in fath”. then the conclusion that Heidegger’s thought is atheistic follows if and only if it is decided that “atheism” is equivalent to “not believing in the existence of an omnipotent entity called God”. and in what way. is an existent entity. The Holy as the Object of Poetry Shall I name the High One then? No god loves what is unseemly.22 Such a personal vocation is the highest challenge for a thinker. which has metaphysics as its intellectual presupposition. “Monotheism” and all types of “theism” exist only since Judaeo-Christian “apologetics”. and if believing in the existence of God can mean believing in the existence of gods. Being or the event. namely.20 How are we to balance this sense of atheism with an early letter to Karl Löwith. We must bring about the transfiguration of its essential and basic positions in crossing and in preparedness. “pan- theism”. so that a sense of the Holy as the overpowering which does not lead to belief in the existence of an omnipotent entity in any ordinary sense amounts to atheism. and “a-theism”. With the death of this god.164 Wierciñski The last god has its most unique uniqueness and stands outside those calculating determinations meant by titles such as “mono-theism”. The last god is not the end but the other beginning of immeasurable possibilities for our history. If it is decided that God is necessarily an all-powerful and ultimate entity. To grasp him. which I believe they must be unless the terms existence and entity are being used in an extraordinary way. If God need not be single.19 Deciding whether or not Heidegger’s analysis is to be deemed “atheistic” requires an elaboration of such texts. Preparation for the appearing of the last god is the utmost venture of the truth of being. the question might be asked whether the “gods” which the event sends can be said to “exist”. our joy is scarcely large enough.

without themselves being able to be a thinking (GA9: 312). In his 1946 essay ‘Why Poets?’ Heidegger grapples with the question of the Holy in Hölderlin’s elegy ‘Brott und Wein’. Presumably thanking and poetizing each in their own way spring from originary thinking. and subject to important changes in the course of the development of his philosophy. Heidegger’s statements on God. thanking. and the relationship of philosophy and theology are multilayered. Heimkunft)23 For Heidegger the Holy emerges in poetic language. disparate. The poet names the holy. In the conversation with poetry the Holy discloses itself to thinking. must be left open here. The now famous statement. The later Heidegger no longer addresses the question by thematizing the relationship of faith and knowledge but by turning to the Holy and the flight of the gods. The relationship between thinking and poetry is particularly emphasized in Heidegger’s engagement with Hölderlin’s poetry. In the 1943 published postscript to his inaugural lecture at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität at Freiburg. the poet attempts: […] to grasp the Father’s lightening-flash And to pass on. the Holy. And yet the manner in which – thought from out of the essence of being – poetizing. ‘What is Metaphysics?’ Heidegger writes: The thinker says being. If God has withdrawn Himself from the world. Our duty is to “name the Holy. (Hölderlin) “Dwelling poetically on the earth” is the universal vocation of every human being. thus creating space for God’s return: “It is the time of the gods that have fled and of the god that is coming. which they need. and thinking are directed toward one another and are at this same time different. which is also the title of Heidegger’s 1966 Der Spiegel interview. “And what is the use of poets in an impoverished age?” An impoverished age is for Hölderlin the night of the world determined by the absence of God. ‘Only a God Can Save Us’ . holy names are lacking. wrapped in song The divine gift to the people. It is the time of need because it lies under a double Not: the No-more of the gods that have fled and Not-yet of the god that is coming” (Heidegger 1967: 289). Hearts beat and yet does speech still hold back? (Hölderlin. Heidegger’s Atheology 165 Often we must keep silence.

We are always going home. whether and how in the upsurgence of the holy an epiphany of God and the gods can begin anew. Perhaps the best we can do is strive to break a passage through it – along the narrow paths that do not stretch too far” (cited in Sheehan 1981: 65). In the ‘Letter on Humanism’. Calculative thinking is a mode of being in the realm of homelessness in a world devoid of God. We are here in the vicinity of Hölderlin. Homesickness is the absolute determination of philosophy. but we cannot deceive ourselves that we have finally arrived. In such nearness. A homesickness that is never satisfied is part of our essence. whether and how the day of the holy dawns. Heidegger’s last remark in this interview was. the wish to establish one’s home in the Absolute. 7. on a journey home. Only a god can save us. Heidegger echoes the question addressed by Novalis: “Where are we going?” For Novalis philosophy is homesickness. Between Homelessness and Home-Coming Overcoming metaphysics means opening up new avenues to a deeper nearness to Being. Homecoming means rediscovering our essence in our primordial relationship to Being: The homeland of this historical dwelling is nearness to Being. Philosophy will be unable to effect any immediate change in the current state of the world. This is true not only of philosophy but of all purely human reflection and endeavor. the greatness of what is to be thought is [all] too great. Heidegger understands the human being as being essentially underway. A human being experiences the alienation from Being and is on a constant search for Being. some kind of directional inspiration. in search of the essence of dwelling. which alone is the essential sphere of divinity. insofar as in view of the absent god we are in a state of decline (cited in Sheehan 1981: 57). But the holy. We need a footpath. if at all.166 Wierciñski (published some ten years later) addresses a “god”. Heidegger describes homelessness as the symptom of oblivion of Being. Throughout the history of Being’s concealment and disclosure a human being is on the path away from home. a decision may be made as to whether and how God and the gods withhold their presence and the night remains. “For us today. which in turn alone affords a dimension for the gods and . who is yet to be revealed. or for the absence of the god in [our] decline. The only possibility available to us is that by thinking and poetizing we prepare a readiness for the appearance of a god.

the latter for the former. Heidegger’s Atheology 167 for God. And again the need for a lingering darkness within the waiting light (Heidegger 1976b: 287). In this poem written in 1971. because man cannot avoid having some notion of Being. Homelessness is for Heidegger the condition of a human being painfully exposed to the Wirkungsgeschichte of the forgetfulness of Being. When they turn again. and questioned only the beings in the world. destined to renunciation -- slackening the pace from out of the harmony of trustworthy fate. rather than a philosopher. never attained. At the same time “Being” has long stood for “beings” and. is to overcome metaphysics itself because it failed in the history of its forgetfulness of Being to address Being. suddenly closed. comes to radiate only when Being itself beforehand and after extensive preparation has been illuminated and is experienced in its truth. later on. Poetic thinking uses the metaphoric path: the path of responding that examines as it . what do they show us? Paths. the ultimate ground of all beings. vanishing. Once pointing out the way. a homelessness in which not only man but the essence of man stumbles aimlessly about. Only thus does the overcoming of homelessness begin from Being. Heidegger’s purpose as a thinker. thus restoring our essence and our dignity. Homelessness is the symptom of oblivion of Being. formerly open. Even so. it is explained merely as what is “most general” and therefore as something that encompasses beings. Only as true “shepherds of Being” do we reduce our distance to Being. or as the product of a finite subject. Being remains concealed (GA9: 338-9). Paths of thought. Heidegger meditates on the paths of thought. The oblivion of Being makes itself known indirectly through the fact that man always observes and handles only beings. Homelessness is a call to dwelling. Heidegger replaces the traditional philosophical discourse with a poetic meditation on Being. Paths Paths. which manifest themselves in the poetic. Homelessness so understood consists in the abandonment of Being by beings. going by themselves. or as a creation of the infinite being. going by themselves. inversely. As the destiny that sends truth. Because of it the truth of Being remains unthought. the two of them caught in a curious and still unravelled confusion.

which thinks meditatively rather than calculatively. This darkness can be perceived as the absence of God. but the mere fear of going astray can not stop us from practising our responsibility. Metaphysics has ended. is the conscience” (SZ: 315-316). Responding is always risky. Poetry allows truth to happen (GA5: 1-74). He admits. This call.168 Wierciñski listens. Heidegger’s reverence for “the Holy” determines his religious duty: clearing “the clearing of Being”. Heidegger calls God neither a Being nor a non-Being. since it has exhausted its . “That which. yet he remained interested in the idea of divinity. “has the character of an appeal (Anruf) to Dasein by calling it to its ownmost potentiality-for-Being-its-Self” (SZ: 269). Heidegger postulates emptying human hearts and minds and awaiting to be filled with a God understood as an ecstatic event. While theology and philosophy belong to different domains with distinctively different kinds of discourse. which is a mode of discourse. the call (Ruf). In the inter-play between listening and responding the essence of human being in its relationship to Being is disclosed. and that I harbor an old love for it and that I have a certain understanding of it. who is light (1 Jn 1:5). gives us to understand. “The lingering darkness” is the existential context of the lyrical subject. In his poetic meditation Heidegger overcomes the traditional sense of homelessness as a lost relationship with God. The path to Being is the path to aletheia. In the language of Meister Eckhart and Jacob Böhme. In its attentiveness it can recognize the nature of its true vocation: to think what calls for thinking.25 Particularly in an apophatic style in his Contributions to Philosophy. by calling in this manner.26 Heidegger’s thinking of God does not fit into the traditional discourse of the confessional Christian faith nor into the Western tradition of metaphysical speculation. Heidegger preserves the possibility of thinking religion. Heidegger never pursued writing a theology. The voice of conscience. breaks through the noise of the inauthentic self’s chatter and recalls Dasein to the self whose voice Dasein has failed to hear because of its “listening away” to the they (das Man). If I were yet to write a theology – to which I sometimes feel inclined – then the word ‘being’ would not be allowed to occur in it” (cited in Hemming 2002: 292). who is waiting for the light. “I came out of theology.24 The lyric subject can only listen to this self-revealing and disclosing path. but a unique and indescribable divinity who needs Being in order to be God. The religion thought by thinking is a religion determined by the radically indeterminate and undeterminable. unconcealment.

4 Hugo Ott argues that the Catholic roots of Heidegger’s thinking remain to be fully uncovered in Ott (1988). we are to move toward the star. There is no cross on Heidegger’s gravestone. Robbins argues that ontotheology is the very condition of Being and thought. Welte. The message: that the goal is still before us. On May 28. summed up Heidegger’s way as: […] anxiously awaiting the epiphany of the divine God […][Heidegger] walked his own path and had to go his own way and follow his call. particularly 59- 116. Fehér (1991). . 3 On the relationship of Heidegger to Scotus see McGrath (2006: 88-119). “origins always lie before us”. rather a star. But Heidegger’s question about the relationship between faith and thinking remained the old crux. would one day come to fulfilment..27 1 For an elaboration of the development of Heidegger’s understanding of the concept of transcendence and the world prior to Being and Time see Enders (1999). Heidegger surprised many of his followers and critics when near the end of his life he confessed that he had never left the Church. despite the widespread conviction that he became Protestant or even an atheist (Sheehan 1993: 72). 23-51. thus making room for the “divine god”. 6 See for example. Ott (1992b: 87-115). a fellow countryman and a honorary citizen of Meßkirch. who was Gröber’s personal secretary from 1934 to 1948. Heidegger’s post metaphysical thinking was concerned with opening the question of Being. the Freiburg Archbishop Conrad Gröber had never failed to hope that the promising motto of his pupil. Gudopp (1983). not a discourse to be overcome. 2 See Westphal (2001). By appropriating the language of negative and mystical theology Heidegger deconstructs the onto-theological tradition and initiates a theology that is still to come (Volpi 1989: 239-264). Robbins (2003). 5 See Schalow (2001). And in the usual sense of the term one could not call this path Christian without some qualifications. Ott (1995: 137-156). Professor Bernhard Welte was asked by Heidegger to hold the speech at the burial. 1976 Heidegger was buried in his native Meßkirch with a Christian burial. especially chapter two: ‘At the Crossroads Between Hermeneutics and Religious Experience’. it is quite clear that Heidegger never intended to make a future arrival his final goal. He calls for a radical rethinking of contemporary philosophical theology. 102f. Heidegger’s Atheology 169 possibilities. See also Ott (1992a). A close friend from the University of Freiburg. suggesting an alternative relationship between faith and thought. But it was the path of perhaps the greatest seeker in our century (Welte 1981: 74-75). However true it is that the origin is our future. von Balthasar (1940: 1-8). Heidegger’s early mentor and promoter.

He found real support in Nietzsche and Hölderlin. Jung (1999). See also Helting (1999). and it would point to the religious dimension of the ‘understanding of being’ (GA9: 63) instead of claiming that with this theology of the last god a ‘purely rationally conceivable content’ is brought to bear. . sind Attribute wie ‘katholisch’ oder ‘protestantisch’ in solchem Umfang einer kritischen Neuaneignung ausgesetzt. and this is a contribution to the hermeneutic task that. See also Jung (2000). This correction would show the ‘understanding of being’ (Seinsverständnis) that occurs in religious experience and theological conceptualization. Heidegger’s investigation may be understood as a clarification of the ‘between’ of god and humans. especially 195-198. but in renouncing theology and onto-theology Heidegger was seeking for the new language for the religious dimension. das nicht nur umfangreiche Einsichten in die Entwicklung der christlichen Konfessionen vermittelt hat. Heidegger has not grasped a possibility that would have lent itself from an earlier work and that at the same time could be understood as a correction of the earlier conception. 12 See also O’Meara (1986: 205-226). Hemming reads Heidegger’s pious atheism as a vibrant pedagogy. Am Ende eines Jahrhunderts. He fails to address other interpretations that include the Wirkungsgeschichte of the problem. In his recent book. 14 See also Seop Shim (1990). McGrath (2006: 151- 184). 16 According to Gadamer.170 Wierciñski 7 See Ruff (1997: 14): “Der in der Auseinandersetzung mit Heidegger immer wieder mit grossem Elan nachgegangenen Frage nach den ‘katholischen’ Wurzeln oder der Verwendbarkeit seines Denkens im Rahmen fundamentaltheologischer Überlegungen der ein oder anderen Konfession soll hier kein eigener Raum gegeben werden. McGrath regards Heidegger’s Lutheran assumptions as a “hidden theological agenda” that determines the Daseinanalytik of Being and Time. 11 See Figal (2001: 210): “Viewed from this perspective. See Hemming (2002). Casper (1980: 534-541). and O’Meara’s commentary on Heidegger in his new book O’Meara (2002). 9 Here Heidegger refers to a passage from Kierkegaard. dass sie vorläufig wenig zur Bezeichnung phänomenologischen Denkens beitragen können”. 8 For a development of the notion of temporality in the Freiburg lectures on Paul and Augustine see Ardovino (1998). according to Plato’s ‘Symposium’. When one orients oneself less according to the historical ‘situation’ of the book than according to the structures revealed in it. For the development in later discussions see Jung (1990). For an alternative reading see Jüngel (1977: 37-45). Paul as a meeting point between philosophy and theology. 10 For a summary of the literature on the problem prior to 1972 see Gethmann-Siefert (1974). with his theology of the last god. sondern diese selbst erheblich zu wandeln vermochte und sich zugleich der Vielfalt christlicher Lebensformen in den unterschiedlichen Kulturen immer bewusster wird. On Heidegger and Luther see van Buren (1994: 159-74). But in principle there is no impediment to reading the philosophical theology in Contributions in this sense. philosophy has to accomplish according to the demon that enlivens it: to mediate between gods and humans”. For a short commentary on The Concept of Time see Brejdak (1996: 124-127). See Kierkegaard (1975: 669- 672). 15 See Casper (1968/69: 315-331). 17 The variety of interpretations of Heidegger’s atheism would require a separate study. 13 Brejdak interprets Heidegger’s preoccupation with St. an understanding of Heidegger as an atheistic thinker can be based only on a superficial appropriation of his work (Gadamer 1987: 308-319). Gadamer emphasizes that not with the help of theology.

27 A few days before his death. See Kisiel (1993: 78). Of course. Contributions to Philosophy were written during the late 1930s when Heidegger became disillusioned with the Nazi Party. 3:17-21. a path. that God might speak. sense). but an entirely immaterial. This involves a particular radical personal concern. For the elaboration of similarities and differences in addressing the question of God by Eckhart and Heidegger see Helting (1997: 66-78). we must nevertheless demythologize Heidegger. Sikka (1997: 269). 19 See also Gall (1987: 70). this would be a holy atheism”. that I say nothing of God. God-given. Heidegger writes: “I work concretely and factically out of my ‘I am’. Cf. Creating a new language to address the relationship between the human and the divine. milieu. Kisiel (2002: 1-35). 23 Cited in Heidegger (1967: 241). 22 Cf. See Caputo (2000: 85-100). a strict objectivity in the facticity. or even nothing. Paola-Ludovica Coriando (1998c). nothing intervenes between God and me. What I describe are not techniques of saying something. Pöggeler (1994). into the speaking. life-contexts. and not to characterize the standpoint of the writer. 1921. Nevertheless. is a being underway to God. Thurnher (1998: 183-197). 24 Cf. which. Heidegger’s Atheology 171 18 Cf. but for preparing the questioning access to the topic of thinking. a particular radical scientificity. . into words. it is completely useless” (GA1: 437-438). Heidegger asked his brother to publish it only after his death. To say nothing. the babbling that being is. Gadamer (1987: 315). and whatever is available to me from these as a vital experience in which I live … To this facticity of mine belongs what I would in brief call the fact that I am a ‘Christian theologian’. no thing. that no objects. at every step along the path. especially in the information age. To come to my-self and seek union with God demands. to abandon the self I have become for the sake of what else I might divinely myself become. and not to fit it into the series of other historically determinable philosophical standpoints. in it is to be found the historical consciousness. Heidegger composed a motto for his collected edition: “Ways. Safranski. but a way. believing that poets know more about Being than philosophers. 1 Jn 1:1-10. And I am all this in the life-context of the university” (Papenfuss 1990: 29). and I become open to who the God is. Jn 1:1-5. He chose ‘collected edition’ over ‘collected works’ (Gesamtausgabe versus Gesammelte Werke) explaining: “The collected edition should indicate various ways: it is underway in the field of paths of the self-transforming asking of the many-sided question of Being […] The point is to awaken the confrontation about the question concerning the topic of thinking […] and not to communicate the opinion of the author. August 19. out of my intellectual and wholly factic origin. 25 John Caputo has consistently argued that while we must respect Heidegger’s claim that he is not writing an onto-theology. Every entry into this silence collapses. This could be taken within Heidegger’s atheism: indeed. Heidegger was afraid that his critics would dismiss the book as pure mythology. To come to myself requires that I exceed myself: to come to myself means to seek union with God. of God. God and the soul (understanding soul here in no supersensory. Heidegger let himself be inspired by poetry. To come to myself means I both discover my separation from God. This silence is therefore one to which I must return again and again. Figal (1994: 89-107). the consciousness of ‘intellectual and cultural history’. 26 According to Heidegger’s biographer. not works”. such a thing is always possible. Hemming (2002: 290): “To say nothing. Gadamer (2001). 20 Cf. 21 In the letter to Karl Löwith.

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1981. Heidegger and the Quest for the Sacred: From Thought to the Sanctuary of Faith. ‘Reading a Life: Heidegger and Hard Times’ in Guignon. Robbins. Albany. Der nachmetaphysische Gott: Überlegungen zur Problematik des Verhältnisses von Gott und Metaphysik in den Entwürfen von Martin Heidegger. 2003. Schalow. Zur Gottesfrage bei Hegel und Heidegger. Düsseldorf: Patmos Verlag. – (ed. Richard. Heidegger and Medieval Mystical Theology. Wilhelm Weischedel und Bernhard Welte. Charles (ed. Zur Gottesfrage bei Hegel und Heidegger. N. Thomä. ‘Heidegger and Theology’ in Theological Studies (26): 86-100. 280-293. – 1971b. Frank.1927. Va.). Sikka. Savarino.: St. .). B. Schaeffler. 264-279. Luca. 2003. Siewerth.Werk - Wirkung. 1997. ‘Martin Heidegger und die Frage nach Gott’ in Stockhausen. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. South Bend. Gerhard. Metzler. Ind. Frömmigkeit des Denkens?: Martin Heidegger und die katholische Theologie. 1971a. Heidegger. Alma von (ed. 1993. 2001.: University of Virginia Press.) Gott in der Geschichte. The Apocalypse of Being: The Esoteric Gnosis of Martin Heidegger. Sacchi. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic. Am Ursprung der Zeit. Jeffrey. Heidegger e il cristianesimo: 1916 . 1978. Ruff. ‘Martin Heidegger und die Gotteserkenntnis’ in Stockhausen. 2002. Mario Enrique. Napoli: Liguori Editore. Sonya. Kwang. Cambridge University Press. Forms of Transcendence. Thomas. Sheehan. Seop Shim. 2001. Gustav. Bielefeld: Kirchliche Hochschule Bethel. Heidegger-Handbuch: Leben . Studie zu Martin Heideggers phänomenologischen Zugang zur christlichen Religion in den ersten ‘Freiburger Vorlesungen’. Chicago: Precedent Press. Dieter (ed. Alma von (ed. Augustine’s Press. Düsseldorf: Patmos Verlag.Y. 1990. the Man and the Thinker. Between Faith and Thought: An Essay on the Ontotheological Condition. 1997. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot. Heidegger’s Atheology 177 – 1956b.: State University of New York Press.) Gott in der Geschichte.) The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger. Charlottesville. Stuttgart: J.

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Kisiel 1993: 171-3). the notion of formale Anzeige (“formal indication”. When he finally figures out what he is doing he drops the language of FI. semantically impoverished and existentially charged discourse. The speaker/writer renounces a certain degree of control of meaning in the interest of maieutically exhorting the recipient to discover the theme for himself. and the Risk of Saying Nothing S.2 Like irony. FI is a deliberately deflective way of speaking. The early methodological discussions in the frühe Freiburger Vorlesungen would then be merely significant for . From the terse and sketchy nature of Heidegger’s methodological discussion of FI in GA60. Mt. a presentation as elliptical and under-determined as FI itself. and the virtual disappearance of the concept in Sein und Zeit. Of course. The most sustained discussion of the notion is a few pages in the 1920 ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religious Life’ (GA60: 58- 64). J. nor do they understand. we can conclude one of two things: Either (1) Heidegger is reaching for an understanding of method that is still eluding him. FI risks saying nothing. the centrality of FI for Heidegger’s phenomenology can no longer be denied. Formal Indication. Heidegger was forced to cut the 1920 discussion short when the students complained to the Dean that their Privatdozent was holding a lecture course on religion that appeared to have nothing to do with religion (GA60: 65. 13:13 NRSV Long overlooked as an apparently tangential term in Sein und Zeit. hereafter FI) has emerged as the most important methodological principle in Heidegger’s early work.1 With the publication of the frühe Freiburger Vorlesungen (the lectures Heidegger gave at Freiburg between 1919 and 1923). Irony. McGrath The reason I speak to them in parables is that seeing they do not perceive. Because it makes the meaning of the expression contingent upon the way it is received. the invitation may be declined. an under- determined. and hearing they do not listen.

Indeed. some light is required from outside the texts. while working it out for himself. In irony a strategic tension between form and content is built into the discourse. more than anywhere else in Heidegger. he comes to conclude (perhaps wrongly) that some methodological issues are better left undiscussed S shown rather than said. Prior to the publication of the frühe Freiburger Vorlesungen. At work in the frühe Freiburger Vorlesungen is a not-so subtle polemic with Husserl.3 Context is crucial here: FI emerges as a technique whereby the young Heidegger hopes to correct the theoretical and objectifying nature of Husserl’s phenomenology. which has. an effort he understands as continuous with phenomenology’s maxim. we were in the dark about how to understand the key existentiellen of Sein und Zeit. Jemeinigkeit. The recipient is left with no information. come to be known as indirect communication. Zu- Sein. 1. Or (2) Heidegger is articulating the basic methodological principle which governs his mature philosophy. a crisis that drives him into performative comprehension. An elaboration of this analogy between FI and irony can help us see the risk Heidegger took in introducing FI into phenomenology. the risk of saying nothing. Hence these early discussions are an indispensable key to understanding Heidegger’s phenomenology. I believe that FI is “the very heart and soul of the early Heidegger” (Kisiel 1993: 172). Here. Meaning is deferred when an initial. I follow the second of these alternatives. However. they would not change our understanding of Sein und Zeit. Husserl’s phenomenology is oriented towards Evidenz. etc. context alone is not enough. to stay with the things themselves. Existenz. Irony is the most common example of this structure. although it will be years before Husserl realized that Heidegger was diametrically opposed to him on many essential points. as it were. common understanding of the speech act is deflected by an incongruous tone or some other surprising gesture of the speaker. Intentions are characterized as empty or filled on the grounds of the absence or . since Kierkegaard. He never again returns to the topic because henceforth he assumes the method without adverting to it.180 McGrath understanding Heidegger’s development. FI has an important resonance with a well-known (if not always well-understood) rhetorical structure. With Theodore Kisiel. on the fly. such as Dasein.

Heidegger elaborates three moments in every intention: content-sense. they vary according to every historical application or enactment. Life as we live it is not made up of ‘intuitions’ of physical things. the a priori constitutive noesis. define them in categorical terms and express them scientifically. enactment-sense is as determinative of the how of the intentional act. For Heidegger. respectively). The result of this crucial shift of emphasis is a radical de-centring of intentionality. a dislodging of the ego from its constitutive transcendentality. this emphasis on the concrete is correct. Heidegger’s structure of intentionality is circular: the how and the what are re- configured by the enactment. Enactment-sense is the difference history makes (Risser 2002). noema. However. and the enactment-sense. anchoring meaning in factical life. which determines both the relational and content-senses. or as Heidegger describes it. Formal Indication. In order to do justice to what Heidegger believed Husserl had overlooked (facticity). for Heidegger the enactment differentiates the structure in a decisive way. Time determines the shape and structure of all experience. I can think about the Freiburg train station without being there. and the Risk of Saying Nothing 181 presence of “intuitional fulfilment”. which determines the noema and is fulfilled in the intuition.4 These three moments have analogies in Husserl (noesis. For Heidegger. the intention is filled when the train station is before me bodily. The presence of the object to the indifferent gaze of the subject – the theoretical attitude (Vorhandenheit in Sein und Zeit) – is privileged as the criterion of phenomenological truth. Heidegger’s analysis begins with the situation. the how or form of a tendency (Bezugssinn). Husserl’s way of setting up the phenomenological paradigm restricts experience to a certain intentional mode. the actualization of the tendency in a concrete situation (Vollzugssinn). Irony. the what of an intention. however.5 More exactly.6 Husserl aims to lift noetic structures out of their factual situation in order to isolate a priori essences. it enacts itself in a fore-theoretical understanding of the whole. Noemata not only vary with noeses. the intuition of physical objects is still a derivative mode of experience. as the how is determinative of the what of an intention. Heidegger does the opposite: . a life-tendency (Gehaltssinn). Husserl’s intuition–intention relation is reversed in Heidegger’s enactment–content. relational-sense. Where for Husserl intuition does not alter the intention it fulfills. an understanding which is contemporaneous with living. and intuitional fulfilment. the subject’s intending a physical object. the enactment-sense. Husserl’s intentionality analysis begins with the subject.

generalization and formalisation. The hermeneutics of facticity does not need to invent words to articulate that which has never before been said. it listens to the way things . First. Not all language is objectifying. FI uses language in such a way as to thwart the de-worlding typical of theory. the concrete to the abstract. will disfigure the intended meaning of the statement. FI is thus a reversal of the directional flow of theoretical thinking. Experience always already has the structure we associate with language – that is what it means to be ‘in a world’. The phenomenologist “stills the stream” of life that he or she intends to describe (GA56/57: 100-101). Natorp mistakenly assumes that factical life prior to objectification is originally wordless. it is primordially expressed. the fore-theoretical may never be defined. The phenomenologist presumes to express immediate experience without objectification or distortion. Primordial meaning is hidden by theoretical talk. he attempts to restore the factical context of the act of meaning. it is no longer immediate but mediated by language. FI requires context. Secondly. FI achieves this by exacerbating the living and fore-theoretical meaning of philosophical terms. in language that de-constructs itself. as it were. Yet the instant immediacy is expressed. points away from any objectified meaning towards a non-objectifiable fore-theoretical factical-sense. and thus to allow it to be historically refracted by the facticity of our situation S haecceitized. Natorp notes. Formally indicative discourse must be applied to our own individualized. it only emerges out of enactment. incommunicable experience of being-in-the-world.182 McGrath through FI. from the singular to the universal. Rather. suspension or neutralization of enactment-sense. FI invites us to live the subject-matter for ourselves. existence to essence. a context which can only be supplied by the recipient in an unforeseeable and indefinable way. it is a deliberate and strategic restoration of the factical roots of thinking. in such a way that any suppression. but its structure can be indicated in indirect language. and to that degree. if it is to be understood.7 Heidegger’s response to this critique was twofold. The theoretical intention moves with the native tendency of language toward generalization. Relational- sense is questioned not prescribed. such as is typical for the two principle modes of theoretical discourse. shown rather than said. Before life is objectified in theoretical language. Paul Natorp’s critique of what he thought was a fatal flaw in phenomenology spurred Heidegger’s re-thinking of phenomenological method. to think it through in terms native to our own lived experience.

i. This is a position that Heidegger maintained as early as his 1916 Habilitationsschrift.e. but rather the reverse. are the ones who are put into question when facticity is questioned.8 In 1919. i. What is primary and original here? It is not so much that we see the objects and things but rather that we first talk about them. not in the sense of logicification” (GA60: 63). The questioner experiences a re-direction . the so-called Natorp Bericht (PIA). the questioners.und Bedeutungslehre des Duns Scotus (GA1: 189-401). In the 1922 text written at Paul Natorp’s request. In 1925 he repeated the position: It is also a matter of fact that our simplest perceptions and constitutive states are already expressed. and the Risk of Saying Nothing 183 originally express their sense.. are interpreted in a certain way. Insight into existence itself can be gained only through that kind of actualizing in which facticity is rendered questionable. the primordial words arising from the original expressedness of life. even more.e. What does it mean “to make facticity questionable”? Heidegger wishes to break the theoretical glass that encases the philosophical thinker.. we see what one says about the matter (GA20: 75/56). and what is available to it (PIA: 245/120). logos in the sense of verbum internum. We. and speaks with itself (êáôçãïñåÃí) in such temporalizing (PIA: 246/121). the modes in which factical life temporalizes itself. through a concrete destruction of facticity at some particular time with respect to the motives of its movement. It only shows itself when facticity itself is thrown into question. To put it more precisely we do not say what we see. unfolds itself. Irony. it gives the logos of the phenomenon. Heidegger put it thus: “Phenomenology is the explication of the meaningful whole. the wall that renders him or her personally invulnerable to the matter in question. Heidegger writes: The how of its [philosophy’s] research is the interpretation of the sense of this being with respect to its basic categorial structures. The primordial logos is never to be disengaged theoretically or in universal terms. Die Kategorien. Facticity is not ineffable in the sense of unexpressed or unstructured. its directions. ‘Phenomenological Interpretations with Respect to Aristotle (Indication of the Hermeneutic Situation)’. Formal Indication.

We never cognized the singular as such. Existenz. It meant that the mode of thinking constituted by defining and judging – the theoretical – had definite limits. Life has not been comprehended by theoretical philosophy. To pursue phenomenology as an ‘apriori science of universal essences’ (Husserl. in all of its ‘ineffable’ singularity. to his apprenticeship to Husserl. we are called to think Existenz. 1976. According to the Aristotelian tradition. It is “primal science” (Urwissenschaft) in both the objective and subjective genitive senses. In ‘Die Idee der Philosophie’ Heidegger lays the groundwork for such a phenomenology by arguing that the subject matter of genuine philosophical research. It thematizes the primal.9 Heidegger was disturbed to see that Husserl’s phenomenology (the Husserl of Ideas) failed to question this traditional view. and it does so in a primal way. which he had already. historical life. Primal language is used to evoke the fore-theoretical sense of things. The region of objectified essences isolated in Husserl’s phenomenological epoché is a founded phenomenon: it presumes . we cognized the singular only insofar as it was an instance of an intelligible and universal essence. §1) only complied with the prejudice against history. the historical. As Husserl’s assistant Heidegger was intent upon finding a solution to the dichotomy of historical experience and knowledge. through his neo-Kantian revisionary readings of Scotus and Erfurt. for as singular it was unintelligible. That the “understandable oneness and onceness of life” (GA1: 42) eluded a certain kind of universal analysis did not therefore mean that it was in itself unintelligible. The Aristotelian-Scholastic problem of the ineffability of the singular was a central concern. the fore-theoretical. to some degree.184 McGrath of inquiry. life as it is lived by us. language could performatively and exhortatively point to that which could not be defined. while sensation grasped only singular existence. Where definitions were not possible. which Heidegger carried forward from his seminary days. To make facticity questionable is to resist the substitution of general ideas for concrete experience. begun to question in the Habilitationsschrift. The hermeneutics of facticity aims at nothing less than that which has always eluded philosophy. the impartiality of a theoretical inspection is no longer possible. The thematization should match the subject matter. the term of intellection was universal essence. Primordial truth is distorted by the objectifications of theoretical science. Rather than substitute some generic concept in its place. is hidden and inaccessible to theoretical understanding.

By 1921 Heidegger had introduced the notion of “comportment” (Verhalten) into his lectures as a term for the fore- theoretical directedness of care. living ‘from’ something. We define the ‘something’ […] with the term ‘world’” (GA61: 53. Every life- tendency is directed towards a certain content. without presuming to describe and delimit it in analysis. 85-86). “The objectified something” (das objektartige Etwas). intentionality is now understood to be itself indicative of life and its motivational tendencies. living ‘with’ something. contains a “formal” or structural moment. In the 1919-1920 ‘Basic Problems of Phenomenology’ Heidegger’s simmering critique of Husserl bubbled up into a full scale revision of the notion of intentionality. Something is affirmed of something. which points to the “foundational moment of life as such”. names this unnameable ground “the fore-theoretical something” (das vortheoretische Etwas). fore- theoretically determined and historically situated something. Philosophy as primordial science thematizes the hidden ground by tracing its contours in the grounded. The situational connotation of the German word Verhalten corrects the worldlessness of Husserl’s intentionality. living ‘for’ something. Rather the term of a tendency is a concretely determined. borrowing from Lask. living ‘towards’ something. No longer understood as the convergence of subjective acts with intended objects. FI is structured by a threefold logic of affirmation. it is always en-worlded: The intransitive-verbal meaning of ‘to live’ explicates itself […] always as living ‘in’ something. living ‘against’. Irony. a primal ground that “motivates” and enlivens thinking. it does not reflectively possess itself. underscoring the factical involvement of the self with its world. a meaningful-whole. deflection and a deferral. and the Risk of Saying Nothing 185 ‘something’ that cannot be expressed on the level of theory. A comportment occurs in a determinate life-context. The historical self is not a “transcendental subject”. Heidegger.10 The Etwas indicates pre-categorial structure. historically singularized life-world. The affirmation presumes the recipient’s initial understanding of the affirmation. Formal Indication. living ‘out of’ something. Verhalten is an attitude. but this is not originally an object. a behaviour adopted under particular circumstances. This initial affirmation is then deflected. a thing with a distinct essence. but enacts itself in living. a specific. for it inevitably leads understanding . the “primal something” (das Ur- etwas). uncovering that which does not show itself by interpreting that which does.

12 Let us give an example. As in medieval negative theology (for instance Aquinas’s). But FI is more precise than a metaphor. Certain phenomena cannot be directly spoken of but must be lived or understood existentially. The third move is not to provide an alternative concept of ‘in’ which can be theoretically grasped but to defer the meaning of the term to an existential context. FI is not a license to say anything whatsoever: FI is dependent upon a rigorous adherence to the rules of the theoretical discourse that is being transcended. does not lead to another affirmation. rather the factical meaning of the term is deferred to an existential act of fulfilment which can only happen beyond theoretical discourse. like all claims are proximately determined by ordinary sense (SZ § 12). a way that cannot be directly expressed. In the third moment. The deflection and deferral of the affirmed meaning . Unlike a metaphor. it is the ground of all other senses of ‘in’. he first of all affirms something of Dasein. The primordial sense of ‘in’ is derived from the fore- theoretical experience of the care-structure of Dasein. postponing our understanding of the term “being-in-the-world” until the ineluctably singular (Jemeinig) enactment of sense becomes possible. When Heidegger says. FI is characterized not by a juxtaposition of content but by a withholding of content. the term is relocated in a realm of primordial experience. Dasein is a “being-in-the-world”. which. We defer to the primordial sense of existence. forced to abandon the safety of the theoretical structure which brought them that far if they are to progress further into the subject- matter.11 Heidegger leaves his reader in crisis. is also distinctive of FI. One is tempted to say he uses a metaphor: Dasein is ‘contained’ by its world as a body is ‘contained’ by a room. however. The revision of meaning built into Aquinas’s act of naming the divine. to which the formal indicator gestures. the way in which the claim doubles back unto itself and takes back with one hand what it offered with the other (‘God is good’/‘God is not good’). which is deferred to as the ground from which the derivative sense first emerged. To speak of them at all entails using an expression with a provisional and derivative sense of significance. the understanding which in fact initially animates the claim.186 McGrath away from the factical enactment-sense of the term. including the spatial sense. The FI “being-in-the-world” summons the thinker to a performance of thought that would engage the phenomenon of in-ness in a more original way. an intention necessary in the first moment but necessarily deflected in the second. Heidegger’s second move is to deflect us from understanding the ‘in’ in spatial terms. The deflection.

Irony. outlining without defining the range of possibilities of meaning. The early Husserl. whom Heidegger studied carefully. if only “roughly and in outline”. Like the Aristotelian ethicist. the existential enactment of the primordial sense of ‘in’ at (3) retroactively determines the authentic meaning of “being in”. that could turn out random interpretations. Heidegger intends to exert some kind of semantic control over the direction of thinking evoked by FI. Heidegger is endeavouring to speak precisely without saying anything precise. the formal indicator must know something about the subject-matter at issue. Upon the risk of this venture. “Dasein is being- in” (1) directs us to the spatial sense of ‘in’ (2). with each FI he frames a specific kind of semantic puzzle. the whole of Being and Time depends. It would be false to suggest that Husserl knew nothing of FI. and the Risk of Saying Nothing 187 generates a triangulation of intentions: the expression. The phenomenon of “categorial intuition” proves the need for formally indicative language. Formal Indication. is indeed aware of the phenomenon of fore- theoretical formal structure. He does not simply confront the reader with koans. which is to be solved in a specific way. In the analytic of Dasein. If the given is structured prior to categorial objectification then a level of meaning that .13 FI projects a silhouette of content. the Husserl of the Logische Untersuchungen. (3) existential ‘in’ (primordial sense—deferred) b (1) ‘Being-in’ (affirmed) 8 ` (2) spatial ‘in’ (derivative sense—deflected) Notwithstanding the radical lack of determination structured into FI. the deflection of the spatial sense of ‘in’ at (2) (“Dasein is not a thing that could be inside another thing”) redirects us to a primordial sense of ‘in’ (3). and to say precise things without speaking precisely.

the situation is the unstated supposition of the expression. which I may therefore drink. The essentially occasional expression does not say everything that theoretically can be said. it is nested in the context of my home at the moment. For example. the fridge in fact contains beer. The essentially occasional expression is inextricably bound up with the speaker’s situation. I cannot understand the expression in abstraction from the situation. which although left unexpressed. The expression draws me into a fore-theoretical context. ‘that’. 1: § 26-27). do not communicate content that can be fully grasped independent of the situation of the speaker.188 McGrath eludes objectification announces itself.16 The expression cannot be understood in the abstract.15 The former have a universal validity that can be grasped independent of the occasion of their use. Heidegger begins by distinguishing FI from the central . is essential to the meaning.14 Husserl touches upon the possibility of FI when he draws a distinction between the “objective expressions” of science and the “essentially subjective and occasional expressions” of ordinary life (Husserl 1970. 2. One needs no factical context to understand the phrase. I grasp that at this moment. The expressions ‘I am’. if I would like. for what could it mean? In which fridge is there beer? Am I to understand that the beer is always there? The expression arises out of the situation and gestures obliquely toward it. vol. The essentially occasional expression is an everyday speech act. ‘this’. In the methodological section of the ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’. which draws thinking into what Heidegger calls a circumspect (umsichtich) overview of a whole situation. The expression is economical. it leaves much unexpressed. which she and I alone can understand. my wife greets me from the living room. ‘here’. by calling out ‘there is beer in the fridge’. It is an invitation into a situation. I am drawn to consider the situation in which the expression has arisen in its immediate and unsurveyable contextuality. “water boils at 100 degrees Celsius at sea level”. Essentially occasional expressions are inextricably contextual. a context which necessarily exceeds the signifier. without getting up. ‘now’. for the totality of details are redundant to the purpose of the expression. which lies before me to explore further. I arrive home in the evening. It has a personal context. their significance is bound up with a factical situation. When I understand what she means.

Husserl 1976: § 13). it brings the phenomenon of intentionality into view. it shows how every content is intentionally structured. It is bound to a particular content- sense. “The stone is an object”. The subjective relation to the subject matter. is assumed.17 The whatness of the predication is not content-determined but attitudinally determined. which founds the intentional act. the . its indifference to content. Generalization orders things according to genera and species. The determination of meaning comes. we have left the order of generalization behind. We can continue further into more formal levels of universality. They are to be distinguished from generalizations. not from content but from the attitude (relational-sense). Because it is content-free (sachhaltig frei). is also its weakness: formalisation obstructs the disclosure of the factic. Formal Indication. breaks with the order of generalization. When we move from the above generalizations to the formal claim. “Red is a colour”. and the Risk of Saying Nothing 189 methodological feature of Husserl’s language. formalisation (GA60: 57-62. An ‘object’ is not a species of the genus ‘thing’. the relational-sense or attitude. the semantic weight falls on the content-sense. But the formal structure of thinghood in general is not in any way brought out by the classification. The enactment-sense is entirely hidden – of no apparent relevance to the constitution of meaning. if not all philosophical language. Formalisations are universalisations of formal structure. the how of the phenomenon. it is a way of being an essence (GA60: 58). by contrast. Rather. even if it assumes an over-arching relational-sense of subject/object. Heidegger points out that sense quality does not determine ‘essence’ the way ‘red’ determines ‘colour’.18 The strength of formalisation. formalisation suspends content-sense and defines relational-sense. In the 1920 religion lecture Heidegger gives the following example: “The stone is red”. With each step in the progression of generality. “sense quality is an essence”. Irony. the object is subsumed into a wider context of things. ‘Sense quality’ is not a member of the class ‘essence’. for example. It suspends content and defines the how or relational- sense. The relational-sense assumed in formalisation neutralizes the enactment- sense precisely to better determine and define the relational-sense. Heidegger agrees with Husserl that formalisation has an important role to play in phenomenology. Where the generalization proceeds by way of defining and delimiting content-sense. In generalization. “Colour is a sense quality” (GA60: 58). Formalisation. It is for this reason that enactment-sense is not an issue for Husserl. without being defined or thematized. by bringing the relational-sense into relief.

Formalisation neutralizes enactment by prescribing the way of viewing the matter. In formalisation the meaning- determinative structure of intentionality itself becomes explicit. Only in FI is the enactment-sense permitted to be determinative of meaning. It makes no difference where. Husserlian phenomenology articulates the multiplicity of ways in which the theoretical attitude can determine an object. The enactment-sense is neutralized by virtue of the assumption of the relational-sense of content-indifference (the theoretical attitude). The following chart shows how FI highlights relation. Its ambiguity on both fronts serves to highlight the enactment-sense (overlooked in generalization. by suspending content. the varieties of ways of intending a thing. intentionality remains hidden. It does not describe content or prescribe a relational-sense. By distinction from both generalization and formalisation. not to define it and thereby neutralize enactment. The semantic weight falls on the relational-sense. defining precisely how the phenomena is to be experienced. As a formalising phenomenology. breaking with the language of subject / object and bringing the enactment-sense to the fore as the factical root of meaning.190 McGrath relational-sense is assumed. the formalisation holds for all possible acts. but to leave it open in such a way as to activate the enactment-sense. which allows for a concreteness not possible in either generalization or formalisation. This could only be done by re-thinking intentionality from the ground up. and neutralizing enactment. The functional differences between generalization. Its strength is its under-determination. . unconsciously as it were. but differently than formalisation. and therefore. FI does not progress in the order of universalization. neutralized in formalisation) as the locus of meaning. when and by whom the intention is fulfilled. highlighting relation. Husserl never places the basic relational- sense of the theoretical attitude itself into question. and FI hinge on the enactment- sense. formalisation.

language that has enough determination to prevent it from dissolving into merely rhetorical suggestion.19 FI is neither indifferent to content. the enactment which alone anchors it in the factic. and the Risk of Saying Nothing 191 mode of content-sense relational. The enactment-sense. To understand a FI. which must be infinitely variable. although it guides the consideration. FI aims to be the most non-invasive use of terms possible. It must be understood in a methodological sense how the formal indicator. nor is it content-determined. for everything now hinges upon it. enactment- discourse sense sense generalization defined and assumed overlooked determinative without being defined formalisation suspended defined and neutralized determinative FI suspended left-open. Irony. nor suspended if the expression is to be fulfilled. and which yet remains under-determined enough to allow things to show themselves as they are in themselves. can neither be assumed. I must break out of the self-forgetfulness of theoretical speculation and enact it. FI is a negative indication of relational-sense. A formal indication is not a complete statement but “a way of approach toward bringing to fruition the original fulfilment of what is indicated” (GA60: 58-59). determinative highlighted as but not locus of defined meaning Where formalisation determines relational-sense by suspending content. Formal Indication. The fulness of meaning is in some way withheld and factical contextuality (what Heidegger calls Umsicht or “circumspection” in Sein und Zeit) highlighted as the locus of significance. It says only as much as must be said in order to direct thinking to the site where the event of meaning can occur. FI puts relational-sense into question by under-determination. What the formally indicative meaning bears within itself is the way of viewing the phenomena. brings no predetermined opinion into the problem […] The formal predication is not bound to any . a withdrawal of relational- determination that exacerbates enactment and forces it into the open as the determinative-sense.

All of the existentiallen can be regarded as formally indicative. attitudinally determined (GA60: 55. and instead see that the given content is given. 58-9). which therefore always slips under the theoretical radar. “The being of this being [Dasein] is in each case mine” (Das Sein dieses Seienden ist je meines) (SZ: 41). FI highlights enactment- sense. it is senseless without a performance. It is not a universalization of formal structure. The theoretical attitude. It is rather an indicator of ‘something’ which itself has no whatness to disclose. It requires appropriation. theoretical. which one must perform for oneself if one is to understand. I do not look from the what determination to the object. however it must be motivated somehow. The je in jemeinigkeit resists theoretical consideration in much the same way that poetry demands an affective and personal response in order to be appreciated. “being in each case mine”. I must look away from the given what-content. But both are left undefined. Take. other than negative claims. FI has no meaning to give apart from the meaning given it in enactment. in order to be understood. Jemeinigkeit is neither a generalization nor a formalisation. of the expression? A pointing to an enactment of meaning. How is it motivated? It arises from the meaning of the attitudinal relation itself. within which a variety of whats could be given. The hermeneutics of facticity does not indifferently reference a realm of objects that are similarly accessed by all thinkers. The existential “jemeinigkeit” delivers no information about Dasein’s being. The way of thinking the phrase je meines (the relational-sense) is both under-determined or suspended (how are we to understand it?) and highlighted as essential to understanding the expression. but brings about something new. cannot access this relational-sense. By rendering relational-sense questionable. What remains. that it is not generic. The phrase cannot be thought in an indifferent manner. Jemeinigkeit draws attention to . the existential of Jemeinigkeit. a performance. then. We must do something with FI if we are to understand it. which does not re-incarnate an intended meaning.192 McGrath content. Where is FI in Sein und Zeit? In short. everywhere. for example. Everyone who would make sense of it must apply it to themselves in such a way that the ‘mine’ becomes their own. like the objects of mathematics or physics. a fore-theoretical and performative comprehension. etc. rather I view the object in a manner of speaking in its determinateness. but my life in its incommunicable uniqueness. with its existential neutrality and methodological detachment.

presentations. In the discussion of “reference and signs” in chapter three. Appearance means that “something makes itself known which does not show itself. Why? The failure of the 1921 religion lectures may have led Heidegger to conclude that methodological discussions are best kept to a minimum. propositional judgment. This is the structure of signs and symbols: “All indications. Instead it acquires an orientation within the surrounding world” (SZ: 79). Heidegger further develops the way of being of indication. Irony. and symbols have this fundamental formal structure of appearing” (SZ: 29). The logos apophansis. the original aletheic understandability of a being. it is fundamentally worded. what Heidegger means by “appearance” in SZ is at least structurally related to FI (SZ: 28-31). for the withheld does not seem to be other than it is. “Circumspect overseeing does not comprehend what is at hand. Methodology is no longer regarded as an effective entrance into phenomenology. “The sign applies to the circumspection of heedful association in such a way that the circumspection following its direction brings the actual aroundness of the surrounding world into an explicit ‘overview’ in that compliance” (SZ: 79). even the method of FI must be formally indicated. the methodological discussion of FI seems to have dropped from Heidegger’s agenda by 1927. and the Risk of Saying Nothing 193 the how without determining or disclosing the character of the enactment. presupposes a more primordially logos. Formal Indication. In a . The sign allows for a non-invasive access to the world. The withholding of the being of the phenomenon in appearance is to be distinguished from seeming. hides itself. by means of the appearance. Notwithstanding the ubiquity of FI in Sein und Zeit. symptoms. A further residue of FI in SZ is Heidegger’s two meanings of logos (SZ § 32-34). rather the withheld is what does not appear in the appearance. It makes itself known through something that does show itself” (SZ: 29). The sign interests him because it points without defining. This original showing is not grasped in a wordless seeing. On the contrary. A phenomenon that indicates the appearance of something points to that which. it gestures towards a whole that is not itself comprehended. It gestures to the whole without transposing it into a theoretical configuration of objects. Heidegger speaks of the symptoms of illness. Yet traces of the early methodology of FI remain scattered throughout the text of Sein und Zeit. “occurrences in the body that show themselves and in this self-showing as such ‘indicate’ something that does not show itself” (SZ: 29). For example.

‘death’. has isolated the essential content communicated among a variety of individuals. it has no content apart from these applications. ‘man’. the mode of the proper name (modus appropriati). expresses the mode of singularity as such. Countless men answer to the name ‘John’. Kisiel describes FI as “a distributive universal” by distinction from a “generic universal” (Kisiel 2002a: 67). The mode of the proper name is the intention of a thing as a singular. Much light can be shed on the structure of FI by retracing some of the steps Heidegger took towards articulating the concept. As an appearance of life. For those who can read the signs. But as a symbol. it can only send forth appearances of itself. This is precisely what the FI seeks to preclude: abstraction. I can point to anything I like with the pronoun ‘that’. which in an Aristotelian model of abstraction.194 McGrath similar way FI is language that belongs essentially to the thing that it indicates. As a sign. In his 1916 Habilitationsschrift Heidegger examines a grammatical structure in Thomas of Erfurt’s fourteenth-century Grammatica Speculativa. as a scent belongs to the animal that leaves it on the ground where it passed. that which is denoted by common names and definitions. Facticity cannot show itself directly in expressed language. FI. It gives nothing for the theoretical gaze to consider in indifference to concrete content and context. The mode of the universal is the intention of a thing as an instance of a class. but rather. On this reading FI is universal in the sense that it is multi-applicable. the generic universal is indifferent to context. the mode of the universal (modus communis). It is a use of language that can only be grasped concretely. the appearances are replete with suggestions of primordial experience. The meaning of a distributive universal varies according to context. FI is multi-applicable. FI gives expression to the thing by allowing language to be shaped and determined by the thing rather than some preconceived notion. to be sure. Erfurt distinguishes the intention of the generic. it does not define this singular in its singularity. ‘animal’. one must still distinguish the universal that communicates essential content from the universality of FI. It means only what it can mean in a given situation. which is in fact a medieval forerunner to FI (GA1: 353-4). The former is the generic. according to Kisiel. in much the same way that pronouns and proper names are in some sense universal. has this minimum universal structure. from the intention of the individual. Even if one concedes this point. The proper name displays the thing “sub ratione . Heidegger points out that the modus appropriati does not express the content of an individual essence.

Heidegger discerns a mode of indirect communication in the mystic’s effort to communicate the incommunicable unio mystica. the mystic uses language. She achieves this by becoming herself free of attachment and distraction. Formal Indication. It is equally necessary to the hermeneutics of facticity. From a theoretical perspective. to which he turned in the years immediately following the publication of the Habilitationsschrift. transcending every genus and species. Therefore. However. too. primarily to guide them in the mystical life. that God is unnameable and undefinable. to Eckhart. Yet it was a central tenet of medieval theology from Augustine.24 FI emerges in Heidegger’s early phenomenology as a promise – perhaps unfulfilled and unfulfillable – that philosophical thinking can overcome the abstractions of the theoretical attitude and return to the . The unio mystica is a fusion of the will with the divine at a level of experience so interior and private that any effort to theorize it is in some sense a distortion. the effort is doomed to fail. the how. and driving the neophyte into enactment. The negative way is required in medieval theology because of the trans-categorical and infinite nature of the subject-matter. that is. connotes by withdrawing rather than applying predicates. and the Risk of Saying Nothing 195 propria. with the consciousness that its content belongs to this and only this individual” (GA1: 364). indicated by the text. the how of God’s goodness. He seeks to express that which is closest to his life. Heidegger’s early interest in indexical language motivated his study of medieval mysticism. the what content of the mystical treatise is secondary to the way of understanding. Proper names do not define but point. not only because of the non-definable and historical nature of life. It.20 The mystic wishes to share her experience of God with others. frustrating the intellect’s craving for information. As absolute being.23 FI is an analogous via negativa. in a mode of experiencing beyond objectification. but also because of the tendency of language to objectify. through Maimonides. as simple as the absolute being (simplicitas Dei).21 The medieval mystic’s experience of God does not consist in sensations and visions (although these may accompany it). God is without names. but to elicit a change of view in those who have ears to hear. not to define. free of all determination. The mystical treatise withholds both content and relational- senses. Irony.22 The mystic wishes to experience. in whom there is no distinction. there is no object here that could be either generalized or formalised.

it is impossible for the recipient to say directly which is which. While the terminology is new. Kierkegaardian irony is a self-abnegating mode of discourse. It is no direct communication. but as he is guessing the riddle. what dwells within him is disclosed by the way he guesses. simply because the one communicating does not directly communicate either jest or earnestness. to enact the meaning in a certain way. through contradiction. The relational-sense of every ironic statement is held in suspense. modern (Hegelian) philosophy. Kierkegaard regarded himself as a maverick in the modern context.. not a philosopher. what dwells within him must be disclosed. in particular. Is the ironist serious or is he joking? The understanding of irony is only achieved by self-transposition: we see the expression through the eyes of the one who uses it and only then grasp its meaning. It is a riddle. Irony is a mirror. The ambiguity in the ironic statement. While he will abandon the technical language of FI. double-meaning. startles us into application. and as he is choosing. under- determination. drawing attention to it. but a religious poet (Kierkegaard 1991: 289). But to ‘see something through the eyes of another’ is to see it through our own eyes. the idea of problematising the concrete meaning of an expression. The promise held Heidegger accountable to the end of his career. is not. Therefore the earnestness in this communication lies in another place. together with what he chooses. 3. as he is forming a judgment. etc. his later work manifests an even more resolute determination to remain faithful to the primordial origin of thinking. or somewhere else. iconized as Ereignis.196 McGrath primordial origin of thought in factical life. that is. driving him into self-disclosure: A communication that is the unity of jest and earnestness is thus a sign of contradiction. making enactment- sense unignorable. . it risks trying to mean something while saying nothing meaningful. The contradiction confronts him with a choice. Kierkegaard tells us: by framing a contradiction between form and content.25 Philosophy. like the semantic gap in FI. lies in making the recipient self-active […] A contradiction placed squarely in front of a person – if one can get him to look at it – is a mirror. irony reflects the recipient back into himself. he himself is disclosed (Kierkegaard 1991: 125-127). presumed to translate the richness of existence into a system of terms. Irony was for Kierkegaard the only possible way of communicating existence.

How is the text to be understood? Is this yet another transcendental deduction of Christianity? Is this another crypto-theology masquerading as philosophy? Climacus’s annoyed interlocutor interjects at various points in the text to remind the narrator that he sees through his game. and the Risk of Saying Nothing 197 I emerge from the barber shop newly shorn. the Christian model must come from outside subjectivity. Irony. If it could be deduced a priori by reversing the Socratic. rather. The Fragments are meant to elicit a radical change in view in the reader. Christianity could not possibly be ‘deduced’ a-historically (as Climacus himself pretends to deduce it). Climacus finds himself in a situation in which the Gospel cannot be preached. but because . placed into a state of radical self-questioning through an event that annuls its anticipations. which drives me to enact the relational-sense for myself. it would confirm it. It is not only that the Socratic and the Christian are diametrically opposed. saying “Hey! Nice Haircut!” He seems to be complimenting me. enacting the possibility that my ironical acquaintance is ridiculing me. I must try out a less than pleasant perspective. The whole of Kierkegaard’s Philosophical Fragments is structured by the contradiction between form and content typical of ironic speech acts. but the change could only be brought about by the reader himself. and of boring plagiarism at that. If it truly breaks with the Socratic. But to grasp his point in this way. revelation would not at all contest recollection. a suspension of both. The self- sufficiency of recollection must be disturbed. precipitating a crisis of meaning. from an experience of rupture. The heterogeneity of philosophy and Christianity is indirectly demonstrated by the absurdity of Climacus feigning a transcendental deduction of the Christian notion of truth (“revelation”) through an apriori reversal of the Socratic model of truth (“recollection”). analogous to the suspension of content and relational-senses in FI. The impossibility of this situation places the relational-sense of the text in question. and an acquaintance flashes me a greasy smile. When content and relational-senses are suspended. The contradiction between form and content results in a nullification of both. the enactment-sense emerges as the ground of meaning. Yet the content is the Gospel narrative. Formal Indication. not because of unbelief and heathenism. or more precisely. accusing him of plagiarism. The tension between the form and content of the ironic speech act (he says something earnest in a jesting way) nullifies both the content and relational-senses. suggesting to my discomfort that he means exactly the opposite. but the way he expresses himself puts me in doubt. The form of the Fragments is speculative philosophy.

Climacus sets about making the understanding of Christianity difficult again. therefore. FI disburdens the recipient of traditional concepts. who formalise common human experiences. which disallow Existenz in all its factical richness to come to thought. to show itself. a language that is so intimately bound up with the factic that it brings it to appearance through the mediation of a sign. but by allowing the expression to enlarge the horizon of his self-understanding. unprecedented. not by projecting his beliefs onto the expression. I only ‘know’ the factic in living the factic (GA63: 5). while not . FI deflects the natural tendency of thinking to exchange the abstract for the factical. In Husserl.26 Christianity has been fully assimilated into the system of speculative idealism. the essential for the existential. It does not await detective work on the part of the recipient.198 McGrath everyone already ‘knows’ too much about it. no longer the Gospel. what Heidegger calls “primal understanding”. As such. The task for the hermeneutician of facticity is to find a way of using language that allows the fore- theoretical intelligibility of historical life.27 The recipient understands himself in front of the expression. the phenomenological analysis. an “objective truth”. We must reach for a language that expresses the factic or better. demanding that they apply the expressions to their lives and thus enact their meanings in singular. and restores language to its fore-theoretical context. Husserl invites the thinker to abstract from the haecceity of existence and participate in a communion of meaning. The meaning of FI does not lie behind the expression but in front of it. but a performative act which applies the expression to life and thereby brings new meaning into existence. neutralized into a theoretical content. Rather. it is only disclosed in living. it is. it no longer has the power to incite faith or offence. who must divine the speaker’s/ writer’s intention. In an analogous sense FI does not inform the recipient of features of his life to which he has hitherto not adverted. and ultimately un- shareable ways. quite the reverse. in Heidegger. driving the thinker back into the factical. while Heidegger frustrates the anticipation of common meaning and thrusts his hearers back upon themselves. Heidegger forbids any such self-abstraction. the phenomenological analysis downplays difference and highlights sameness in order to unite the community of researchers. We will not abstract from our historical existence. Where Husserl struggles to arrive at a language transparent enough to serve as a lexicon of universals for his community of phenomenologists. Heidegger must use FI in his analysis of Dasein because the singularity (Jemeinigkeit) of the being that we are is never theoretically thematised.

drives the researchers apart. declaring that one doesn’t have any knowledge of something. Kierkegaard was frustrated that the public did not understand the point of the pseudonymous writings. The . whenever a thematisation of some dimension of existence was called for. If one FI is discernible from another. which always leaves the recipient groping for meanings that have not been given: Speaking in order not to say anything or to say something other than what one thinks. Dasein would be the only existential. He notes with some consternation that the irony of the Fragments was entirely missed. Formal Indication. ostensibly renouncing a claim to knowledge of what the phenomenon in question actually means to whoever it is who might be listening to him or reading him. to have someone or something […] speak or think. according to the principle of the identity of indiscernibles. and the Risk of Saying Nothing 199 ignoring common meanings. They did not get the joke. which can only happen in the first person. Irony is speaking not to say anything. Irony. The first review of The Philosophical Fragments (under the pseudonym Johannes Climacus) assumed that the text was nothing more than what it appeared to be. But like Socratic irony. ‘positive’ philosophy. Climacus’s response to the review appeared in the sequel. all existentials would converge. it would be repeated inscrutably and cryptically. The goal of the hermeneutics of facticity is to jump into life. speaking in such a way as to intrigue. question. FI cannot mean just anything. mid-stream as it were. notices that the ironist in fact does not say anything. in particular Socratic irony. like a mystical icon of an unspeakable truth. Irony. disconcert. but doing that in order to interrogate. Eironeia dissimulates. If they were not. to live phenomenologically. He pretends not to know. consists of not saying anything. The contemporary master of indirection. The Concluding Unscientific Postscript. a deflective deferral of meaning. FI is a specific and focussed ignorance. it is the act of questioning by feigning ignorance. by emphasizing their existential isolation. Heidegger speaks without saying in FI. by pretending (Derrida 1995: 76). The method is FI. Derrida. a didactic treatise in anti-Hegelian. or have someone or something else speak […] means speaking ironically. 4. they must be to some degree semantically determined prior to enactment.

In philosophy. A residue of this embarrassment has survived the student transcription and editorial work. He was using religion as a springboard into methodological issues of much wider significance. . the few pages in the 1920 religion lecture. from the beginning on: in art history lectures he can see pictures. They came to sit at the feet of the new master whose revolutionary neologisms and violent readings of the canonical authors of the history of philosophy bespoke a rare courage to create meaning in the wake of the post-war collapse of philosophical and theological traditions. Heidegger was not yet there. Within a few years of the 1920 lecture course. in others he gets his money’s worth for his exams. is in a difficulty. I would. with a bitter remark to his students. take a particular concrete phenomenon as the point of departure. Since it deliberately forgoes final control of meaning in the interest of inciting a performance of the enactment-sense. on history. when he was still struggling to find his footing in academia. Not only can FI not preclude misconstrual. however for me under the presupposition that you will misunderstand the entire study from beginning to end (GA60: 65). Heidegger concludes the first half of the lecture course.28 It is in light of the intrinsic emptiness of FI that we should interpret the dramatic interruption of Heidegger’s only developed methodological treatment of FI. pointing out how little information or product philosophy has to offer its paying customers. but under the pretext of exploring the logical limits of Platonism. it must in some. The listener in other lectures is assured. Heidegger had been outlining the necessity for a formally indicative approach to phenomenology. and I cannot change that. however. for I did not invent philosophy. the students: Philosophy. Heidegger became the kind of lecturer no one dares to complain about. as I understand it . Philosophy is preaching the Gospel.200 McGrath learned reader missed that the didactic tone is a pretense. yet the students wanted information about religion. But at that delicate moment in the Winter Semester of 1920. and lecture to you. his discussion of methodology. beginning in the next session. a joke: the text is saying something entirely non-didactic in a didactic way. Students flocked to him from all over Germany. and indeed I will without further consideration for the starting-point and method. let alone interrupt. if not most cases fail to communicate anything at all. it is otherwise. it invites it. like to save myself from this calamity [the complaints to the Dean] and thus break off these so abstract considerations. only to have his students clamour for more direct communication.

1 On formal indication see Kisiel (1993: 50-56. a path that is not mappable but can only be understood by being followed. See McGrath (2006: 93-95. encouraged this misunderstanding? Is this the real reason why the discussion of the methodology of FI disappears in Sein und Zeit? FI may be a method that cannot be theoretically disclosed without betrayal. as he puts it. 3 See GA9 (10-11): “Formal indication […] should be seen to make up the fundamental methodological sense of all philosophical concepts”. 160-70. Dahlstrom (1994). Every time I call up this memory. Streeter (1997). Later it becomes “the hermeneutic circle”. Heidegger refers to this principle as “the material determination of form”. 2006:49-64). 7 On Natorp’s critique of phenomenology see Kisiel (1993: 48). that his way of presenting FI. which can only appear as nonsense to those without eyes to see and ears to hear. 168-9). 9 Scotus differs from Aquinas and mainstream medieval Aristotelianism on this point. 1094b 20. He was particularly interested in how the fluid and ever-changing nature of the ethical situation drives Aristotle to use under-determined language. Formal Indication. a secret way of speaking. and the Risk of Saying Nothing 201 Heidegger cannot preclude his students from either misunderstanding his FIs in a theoretical way. 11 See Dahlstrom (1994: 785): “Philosophical concepts are clearly not understood by him as being so devoid of content that they are unable to preclude errant presumptive determinations of their meaning. which he designates haecceitas. GA56/57 (100-101). a ‘binding’ and ‘principled’ one”. GA61 (19-25. Heidegger makes the Scotistic theory of singularity a point of focus in the Habilitationsschrift. A philosophical concept’s referring (Hinweis) is. . 4 Later he adds a fourth. 13. as a modification and deepening of intentionality analysis. John Deely calls this the “Dionysian trick” which Aquinas first elaborates in his Commentary on the Divine Names. a. In the Habilitationsschrift. Irony. Kisiel (1993: 25-38). 13 N. for the situation of the enactment changes in time. GA61: 52-53). 5). 8 On the relationship between Heidegger’s Habilitationsschrift and the early Freiburg lectures. “temporalizing sense” (Zeitigungssinn). van Buren (1995). See Kisiel (1993: 21-25). Risser (2002). 10 Kisiel’s reconstruction of this course has drawn on important material not published in the Gesamtausgabe edition. holding that the singular has its own inconceivable mode of intelligibility. Yet every enactment is different. GA58 (85). q. 56-61. the temporal significance which gathers the previous three together and makes the whole tripartite structure possible (GA58: 260-61. 2003). 313). or from failing to grasp the factical meaning of his discourse. see McGrath (2006: 88-119. Did he discover in this collapse of the house of cards. 2 Other references to the notion include SZ (116. 6 I can isolate a particular memory as a noetically structured meaning. 231. 2003: 323-43). See Deely (2002). 5 This is one of Heidegger’s earliest insights. See McGrath (2002). Heidegger studied Aristotle’s ethics in numerous lecture courses in the early 20s.E. I enact the meaning. which he was painstakingly building up in the preceding hours of the lecture course. 12 See ST (1a.

20 Some record of these studies appear in GA60 under the title ‘Philosophical Foundations of Medieval Mysticism’ (GA60: 301-337). bound to the experience of creatures. 15 Husserl’s “essentially occasional expressions” are the indexicals spoken of in analytic philosophy. but we do not know what it means for God to be ‘good’. nicht etwa aus dem ‘wasgehalt ueberhaupt’”. Hence the highest theological knowledge is achieved by remotion. rather the opposite: the formal indication is a warding off. Hence the theologian can judge ‘that God is good’ without knowing what this claim exactly means. ‘wisdom’. arguing that we can be certain that some names. The categories are not filters that we place upon the data of sensation. ideas. So entspringt die Formalisierund aus dem Bezugssinn des reinen Einstellungsbezugs selbst. Leave it stripped of every particular idea about God . The subjectivism that assumes that categories. a preliminary protection. Ich muss vom Wasgehalt wegsehen und nur darauf sehen. There is no insertion into a content-domain. or a friend to be ‘good’. and expressions are imposed on the given by a synthesizing consciousness is phenomenologically unjustified. The res significata is certain. sondern ich sehe ihm seine Bestimmtheit gewissermassen ‘an’. For the created intellect. for example. vol. are less inappropriate to God than others. the modus significandi unknown (ST 1a. ‘truth’. einstellungsmässig erfasster ist. categories are derivations from a fore- theoretical structure integral to the given. which forces us into the objective. in this empty state. somehow. We know what it means for a meal to be ‘good’. Rather we intuit pre-categorially structured data. they do not constitute the ‘hard wiring’ of subjectivity. in the work of Richard Montague and David Kaplan. 19 “The formal indication is intended primarily as an advance indication of the relational sense of the phenomenon. see Kisiel’s contribution to this volume. 16 Husserl’s example is “there is cake” (Husserl 1970. in a negative sense at the same time as a warning! A phenomenon must be pre-given in such a way that its relational sense is held in suspense. For Heidegger’s interpretation of the significance of categorial intuition see GA20 (63-99). We have no intuition of raw data. One must guard against assuming that its relational sense is originally theoretical. 18 See GA60 (58-9): “Ich sehe nicht die Wasbetimmtheit aus dem Gegenstand heraus. While we know what goodness is in a creature. so that the enactment character remains free. q. from which we must nevertheless draw the phenomena” (GA60: 64). The necessity of this precaution lies in the decadent tendency of factical life experience. removing predicates from the divine. Yet we know. even if the ways of signifying these names (the modi significandi) remain obscure to us. that such names are predicable of God.202 McGrath 14 “Categorial intuition” was Husserl’s discovery that the Kantian disjunction between intuited contents of consciousness (sense data) and spontaneously generated formal structures (the categories) has no warrant in pure experience. which elicits a category. dass der Gegenstand ein gegebener. such as ‘goodness’. This is a position that opposes the sciences in the extreme. See Husserl (1970. 17 See GA60 (61): “Die Bestimmung biegt sofort ab von der Sachhaltigkeit des Gegestands”. vol. an anonymous 14th century English monk advises his disciple to empty his mind of thought and yet. For the complete file of Heidegger’s ‘medieval mysticism’ notes. 13). we cannot in this life know what it could be in the Creator. 22 In The Book of Privy Counseling. 2: § 27). 21 Aquinas will distinguish analogous names from metaphors. all ways of signifying are finite. because of the analogy of being (analogia entis). 2: § 40-48). stretch his will toward God: “See that nothing remains in your conscious mind save a naked intent stretching out toward God. Rather.

we know that Kierkegaard had a major influence on Heidegger’s understanding of formally indicative method. but rest in this naked. the only attempt made to go further (that is. the teasing resistance of the imaginary construction to the content. does sensible communication consist in giving him more to know. which can now reflect the gaze of the One who created her and holds her forever in His gaze (Eckhart 1986: 289). from the objectifying pitfalls of intuition to dynamic yields of pure understanding”. purely and simply didactic. 25 From Heidegger’s review of Karl Jasper’s Psychologie der Weltanschauungen. instead. 23 For Eckhart. the inventive audacity (which even invents Christianity). who quiets the appetites. 24 Cf. this is the most mistaken impression one can have of it. experiences God. stark. See Ricoeur (1981). 27 I have borrowed the notion of a meaning that stands ‘in front’ of an expression from Paul Ricoeur. only the soul who practices detachment (Abgeschiedenheit). whereas what always emerges is old-fashioned orthodoxy in its rightful severity – of all this the reader finds no hint in the report” (Kierkegaard 1985: xx-xxi). in taking something away from him?” (Kierkegaard 1985: xxi). that of objectification. 28 “The report [the review of the Fragments] is didactic. the parody of speculative thought in the entire plan. Formal Indication. elemental awareness that you are as you are” (Johnston 1973: 149-51). the indefatigable activity of irony. Beyond this review Heidegger has left us only scattered references to Kierkegaard. As I see it. . further than the so-called speculative constructing). 26 “Because everyone knows the Christian truth. Irony. shall leave your thought and affection in emptiness except for a naked thought and blind feeling of your own being […] Go no further. which must be cancelled in order to move from ordering concepts to expressive concepts. For factic life tends to give itself in a peculiar deformation. the satire in making efforts as if something ganz Auszerordentliches und zwar Neues were to come of them. consequently the reader will receive the impression that the pamphlet is also didactic. The contrast of form. When this is the case. See GA9 (36): “It must indeed be pointed out that it is not often in philosophy or theology […] such a height of rigorous consciousness of method has been achieved”. it has gradually become such a triviality that a primitive impression of it is acquired with difficulty. and withdraws the will from the world. She becomes like a pool of still water. or does it consist. even if he loudly proclaims that this is what he needs. Kisiel (2002c: 178): “Deriving expressive concepts from the concrete formations of life must first proceed by way of negations. the art of being able to communicate eventually becomes the art of being able to take away or to trick something away from someone […] When a man is very knowledgeable but his knowledge is meaningless or virtually meaningless to him. stripped of ideas and deliberately bound and anchored in faith. and the Risk of Saying Nothing 203 (what he is like in himself or in his works) and keep only the simple awareness that he is as he is […] This awareness.

University of Chicago Press. New York. ‘Why Students of Heidegger will Have to Read Emil Lask’ in Kisiel (2002): 101-136. Ideen zu einer reinen Phänomenologie und phänomenologischen Philosophie. Alfred Denker and Marion Heinz). Heidegger’s Way of Thought (ed. – 2002b. William (ed. – 1970. – 2002c. Findlay). Teacher and Preacher (ed. Practice in Christianity (tr. Amsterdam and New York. 1995. ‘From Intuition to Understanding. Derrida. The Genesis of Heidegger’s Being and Time. 2002.N. Princeton University Press. 1994. 49-64.204 McGrath References Buren. Søren. 1986. Princeton University Press. Philosophical Fragments. Karl Schuhmann) (Husserliana III/1). – 1993. Howard V. Deely. David Wills). Johnston. Eckhart. ‘The Absence of Analogy’ in The Review of Metaphysics 55(3): 521-550. On Heidegger’s Transposition of Husserl’s Phenomenology’ in Kisiel (2002): 174-86. 1973. Meister. Allgemeine Einführung in die reine Phänomenologie (ed. Howard V. Daniel. Kierkegaard. NY: Continuum. Hong). – 1985. ‘The Ethics of Formale Anzeige in Heidegger’ in American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 69(2): 157-70. Logical Investigations (tr.). J. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. The Hague: Nijhoff. – 2002a. ‘Heidegger’s Method: Philosophical Concepts as Formal Indications’ in Review of Metaphysics 47(4): 775-95. 149-51. Jacques. ‘Die formale Anzeige als Schlüssel zu Heideggers Logik der philosophischen Begriffsbildung’ in Zaborowski. NY: Paulist Press. Hong and Edna H. Dahlstrom. Edmund. William Johnston) in The Cloud of Unknowing and the Book of Privy Counseling. I. NY: Rodopi. Meister Eckhart. 1991. Holger and Alfred Denker (eds) Heidegger und die Logik. 2006. Husserl. – 2002. Johannes Climacus (tr. 1976. Hong and Edna H. Berkeley: University of California Press. Bernard McGinn). . Theodore. New York. The Gift of Death (tr. ‘The New Translation of Sein und Zeit: A Grammatological Lexicographer’s Commentary’ in Kisiel (2002): 64-83. Kisiel. John. 1995. John van. Hong). New York: Doubleday. ‘The Book of Privy Counseling’ (tr.

2006. – 2002. James. ‘Heidegger and Duns Scotus on Truth and Language’ in Review of Metaphysics 57(2): 323-43. 1997. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ‘The Forgetting of Haecceitas: Heidegger’s 1915-1916 Habilitationsschrift’ in Wierciñski (2002): 355-77.J. Washington D. The Early Heidegger and Medieval Philosophy. Streeter. Formal Indication. Phenomenology for the Godforsaken. Ricoeur. and the Risk of Saying Nothing 205 McGrath. Between the Human and the Divine: Philosophical and Theological Hermeneutics. 2002. ‘Truth in Time and History: Hermeneutics and the Truth that Strikes Back’ in Wierciñski (2002): 428-33. ‘Heidegger’s Formal indication: A Question of Method in Being and Time’ Continental Philosophy Review 30(4): 413-30. . – 2003.C: Catholic University of America Press. 2002. Multi-Disciplinary Studies of the Creation of Meaning in Language. Irony. Paul. Rule of Metaphor. Andrzej (ed. Ryan. S. Toronto: Hermeneutic Press.). Wierciñski. 1981. Risser.

Reading Heidegger on Paul. Augustine.III. and Christian Mysticism .

encroaching upon facticity and disrupting the plans of inauthentic Dasein. Augustine’s Confessions or Paul’s Letters. by reading mediaeval mystics. This phenomenology searches after an origin and finds it in the phenomenon of a living experience of God. with the last part of myself. the self discovers God as the origin of life. which we have described as forms of eternity (Haeffner 1996). that means it happens as time. For Paul that return is the second arrival of Jesus Christ (parousia). The happening of time is a return from eternity to time. The originality (Ursprünglichkeit) of religious experience is inspired by the tradition. In this context. When I adhere to you. Schleiermacher. which was established by Luther. which show the development of religiousness from experience. for Heidegger it is the proper future. The happening of time is not an escape from time to eternity. Gerd Haeffner describes two forms of such return. Our conscious attitude and knowledge about God are not the origin. “Factical life experience is historical. on the contrary. as vita vitae: Cum inhaesero tibi ex omni me … et viva erit vita mea [“When I will have adhered to you with my whole self … and my life shall be truly alive”]. Heidegger calls it a “phenomenology of religion”. as it was in Plato. for Augustine it is illumination. Philosophia Crucis: The Influence of Paul on Heidegger’s Phenomenology Jaromir Brejdak Heidegger’s reflection on religion is inscribed into the context of the theology of experience. That experience is historical. I exist. and Kierkegaard. our experiential attitude sets the direction of a specific religious constituting of God as a “phenomenological object” (GA60: 324). Heidegger directly identifies the religiousness of early Christians with life experience: “Primordial Christian religiosity is in primordial Christian life experience and is itself such” (GA60: 80). By directing attention to experience. when I put everything radically onto you – vita erit tota plena te [‘my . My life is authentic life. A methodic safeguard of that sphere of experience is the phenomenal aspect called “the enactment-sense” (Vollzugssinn) (Brejdak 1996: Section 11). Christian religiosity lives temporality as such” (GA60: 80).

Heidegger corrected the interpretation of the phenomenon by enlarging it in the light of enactment and freeing it from the theoretical attitude of Husserl’s analyses. This experience is the primordial irruption of grace. Forgetting God means forgetting oneself. because . Going further. which concentrates on the How of experience and distances itself from the content-sense (Gehaltssinn). whose methodological consciousness was honed by Husserl. that which is first. which is the motive of true Christianity.210 Brejdak entire life will be full of you’] – all relations of life. The experience of God is always endangered by temptation and oblivion. The experience of a living encounter with God is a fundamental phenomenon for religion. but directed by Kierkegaard. Its opposite is memoria. Resentment is a form of oblivion. and when authentic selfhood (Selbstheit). but shows the primordial from the perspective of general genealogy. In ‘Grundprobleme der Phänomenologie’ (1919-1920). Heidegger. Therefore the phenomenology of religion is the fundamental phenomenology of Dasein. the whole of facticity becomes permeated by you. The Heideggerian hierarchy “truth of being/the Holy/divinity/Gods” (‘Brief über den Humanismus’) does not deny the importance of experience. remains the main motive of Heidegger’s early philosophy. Heidegger writes: “We must return to a specific phenomenology of the self. He confirms it without further consideration for ontical examples. We ask here about last possibilities of intimacy (Vertrautheit) with oneself (‘vocation’. The full experience of the self (Eigentlichkeit) – so-called authenticity – is a necessary condition for God’s presence. is a root for the ontological interpretation undertaken with regard to the existence of Dasein (SZ: 310). The authentic experience of the self is threatened. The experience of the self. The source of intense experience of the self is Augustine’s Confessions and the oldest letters of St. ‘grace’)” (GA58: 258). enacted in such a way that all enactment is enacted before you” (GA60: 249). highlights the maieutical character of phenomenology. then God is also forgotten. In the tenth book of the Confessions Augustine discusses forgetting – oblivio. In Sein und Zeit Heidegger inquires whether or not a certain ontical notion of proper existence. is forgotten. Paul. a factual ideal of Dasein. Max Scheler misunderstands the factual ideal. ‘destiny’ [Schicksal]. not for us. we can say that the death of God is the death of authentic Dasein. but the experience is not its beginning. but in itself. Its origin lies in experience. which is the bursting origin of life.

Phenomenology could not shut itself from any sphere of experience. thus setting these closed analyses into a new tension with their ontical background. because it will lose its teeth to bite as an older man. 1. the Benedictine nun Adelgundis Jaegerschmidt: . which aimed at a universal ontology. Perhaps this hidden theological origin was not mentioned in order to avoid invoking Christian terminology. Husserl admitted in a letter that he wanted to “find the way to God and to a truthful life by means of a strict philosophical science” (Gerlach 1994: 103). As Kierkegaard said. To this end. This paper is guided by the hope of breaking the silence surrounding Heidegger’s “factical ideal of Dasein” in order to make visible the struggle of the phenomenologist. I reconstruct the ontic ideal. The discovery of the early Christian experience of time renders Heidegger a critic of both the Greek notion of substance and of the metaphysics of essence. including the religious. it is necessary to set it in the context of the full range of phenomenological research. This discovery further shaped his philosophical path. Philosophia Crucis 211 the usual proceeding of phenomenology is based on ideals reaching the essential What and its correlated How-to. “Towards God without God” In order to understand Heidegger’s initial way of thinking. Indeed. among other works. because it consequently led him to a solution of the problem of transcendental reflection. does not give a full explanation of its ontical examples and the hermeneutic work behind it. We can glean the beginnings of a phenomenology of religion from Husserl’s talks with his disciple. allow it a day of rest. In contrast to this Heidegger proposes a closed system of the ways of being which makes possible a formulation of content (Gehalt) within the “enactment theory of meaning”. assuming an influence of the apostle Paul behind it (Scheler 1973: 292). Scheler accuses Heidegger of a prior theological commitment. a phenomenological search for God must not make assumptions of any kind. it must not be guilty of accepting theological dogmas and opinions. As we know. Sein und Zeit. showing the influence of Paul’s anthropology behind the existential structures of Sein und Zeit. it can draw from only one source – original experience.

from his most intimate contact with his own experience. in order to make this way accessible for other people. 2. Thus does . But then phenomenology. is the philosophy which the Church needs because it is united with Thomism and continues the Thomistic philosophy (Gerlach 1994: 106). namely to reach God without God. “philosophy is atheistic in principle” (PIA: 246). ut intelligas: live your self – and first on this ground of experience. the search for an intellectual access to God. Thomism and phenomenology pursue the same goal. I try to attain this goal without a foundation of theological proofs and methods. Drawing from the original religious occurrence (Erlebnis). Yet for Heidegger. The Influence of Heidegger’s Reading of Paul on Sein und Zeit By contrast with Husserl’s theoretical phenomenology. was methodologically closer to history than Husserl was ready to admit. the suitable formalization of this ideation. I know that this intention would be dangerous for myself if I were not a deeply pious man who believes in Christ … precisely my phenomenology. Heidegger’s interest is directed at the original enactment process which is always sacrificed in favour of content. I had to remove God from my scientific existence in order to pave the way towards God for the people who … do not have the certainty of faith through the Church. on your last and fullest self-experience. which was rising against historicism. For a phenomenologist does not simply become a Thomist without sacrificing himself. the insight (Erkennen) builds up” (GA58: 20).212 Brejdak The life of a man is nothing but a way towards God. It was with exactly this most difficult task. His search for a specimen of existence founded on the enactment process instead of content led him to the primeval Christian experience of life. Martin Heidegger. phenomenology has to master three levels of experience: the spontaneous comprehension of the appearing phenomenon (ideation). and the transfer of the formalized phenomenon into a logical web of language (the generalization). the task of probing a strictly scientific way towards God. it was clear that for the phenomenologist. “Crede. he must pave a new way always from his concrete historical situation. God is only given in original religious experience. Heidegger takes great pains to demonstrate that Husserl’s method of “formalization and generalization” are “attitudinally or theoretically motivated” (GA60: 64). that Husserl entrusted his young assistant. and only it.

Phases of becoming d. Heidegger found the rudiments of this method of a formally indicative hermeneutics in the unique structure of the Pauline proclamation. Therefore this question is not possible without first announcing a formal hermeneutics of facticity. The elimination of worldly motivations in the Cross h. Heidegger asks about the sense of being at the beginning of his investigations. The futurity (Zukünftigkeit) of the spirit and the presentness of the flesh b. As a consequence. Philosophia Crucis 213 Husserl preclude any access to the phenomenon of temporality. one must participate in the understanding of individual ways of being from everydayness up to the . The following moments can be discerned in Heidegger’s re-construction of Pauline anthropology: a. in his phenomenology of religious life. rather he tries to extract it in a new way from the explication of the Christian factual experience of life. The sense. Becoming from faith c. In order to grasp Dasein in its wholeness. Time as a way of conduct of early Christians f. the cosmic-natural events associated with the apocalypse are disregarded. Heidegger sought to dissolve Pauline theology in an anthropology. Heidegger approaches the factual experience of life as presented in the earliest letters of Paul. it will be experienced in its own particular enactment only in an understanding (Nachvollzug) and that means ‘filled’ with its own content. the toward-which (Woraufhin) of the primary project means a horizontality (Horizontalität) where the human Dasein can encounter the world. Hence this question can only be asked on the basis of the analysis of Dasein. Heidegger does not simply take possession of the new paradigm of time in the light of the philosophy of life. Pauline eschatology is referred exclusively to anthropology. Because the Dasein was disclosed as enactment. The world in the perspective of the self against the background of the eschaton e. The motivation of existence by God and the world g. Here the phenomenological way leaves the field of theoretical construction and strives toward a hermeneutics of factual life or a hermeneutics of facticity. Paul’s proclamation as an explication of the enactment process Let us sum up the method of Sein und Zeit in the light of these moments.

This nothingness. it experiences itself as an original. one leaps away from the possible and gets a foothold in the actual” (SZ: 262). which he called inauthenticity (Uneigentlichkeit). Heidegger’s analysis of Dasein begins with everydayness. Inauthenticity as a positive way of enactment results from the fact that the self-enactment allows itself to be motivated by the world. Statements about transcendence must be founded in statements about Dasein. inasmuch as the flesh is not in an opposition to the spirit. “To expect something possible is always to understand it and to ‘have’ it with regard to whether and when and how it will be actually present-at-hand … Even in expecting. Being-towards-death is a concrete form of the teleological character of the ahead-of-itself (Sichvorweg) of care (Sorge). expecting is countered by Heidegger with the advance into possibility. Heidegger saw a way of self-possession (Selbsthabe) behind everydayness. The inauthentic self-enactment is constantly threatened by anxiety. In its indifferent mode Dasein has not yet been determined. the experience of the self as a whole happens only in being-towards-death. Heidegger had presented this notion . As an inadequate attitude. However. According to Heidegger. Owing to the initial indifference that burdens it. everydayness can be compared with the Pauline enactment of “the flesh”. Being-towards-death differs greatly from a concerned being-out for a possibility: “In concernfully Being out for something possible. In anxiety the world loses its relevance. experienced through a mood (Stimmung). Expecting (Erwarten) is out of the question. as for Paul and Luther. is the corner stone of the self. adrift openness. This point was affirmed by Luther in his 1519 commentary on Galatians (Luther 1996). there is a tendency to annihilate the possibility of the possible by making it available to us” (SZ: 261). The only place where the self reaches itself. this comprehension of being (Seinsverständnis) was adopted both by the sciences and Western philosophy.214 Brejdak resolute openness (Entschlossenheit). is in the nothingness of death. The conscience restrains inauthentic self-enactment. The self appropriates itself in an interpretative tendency in which the being of the proper self is reduced to the sphere of the present (Vorhandene) and the instrumental (Zuhandene). but is a description of a “normal state” of being. Because of the absence of relevance the self does not experience itself as a substance or as a centre of acts. On the other hand. possibility must be constantly understood in its being-towards-death.

because it is assigned for God’s justification. Because Dasein cannot wilfully accomplish its proper self-enactment. resolute openness. In this sense Heidegger speaks about the powerlessness of abandonment (Überlassenheit) and about the supremacy of contingent freedom. only in death. “We are so finite that we are simply not able to bring ourselves before the nothingness in an original way by means of our own will and decision” (GA9: 38. sketched out by Paul and continued by Luther. Philosophia Crucis 215 in detail in his interpretation of the Thessalonians’s attitude towards the Second Coming. Death does for Dasein what “the Cross” did for both Paul and Luther. in which the self no longer appears in a present perspective. where the entire man is gathered and driven beyond himself. the centre of human existence is the heart or the conscience. in an analogical way the existential hearing of the voice of conscience becomes an important approach to the proper self-enactment for Heidegger. GA60: 122). For Luther. As for both Paul and for Luther the message of salvation is received by hearing. a mobility between granting of sense and formation of sense appertains only to him. because it is assigned to the thrown possibility of the world and primordially assigned to the self-enactment. That insight discloses at the same time that Dasein will never master its authentic self-enactment. and the powerlessness of these possibilities in the horizon of our existence in front of God. Responsive: in Paul and Luther man was created from an eternal self-conversation (Selbstgespräch). Existence in Pauline and Lutheran thought divides into three structural moments. Dasein can choose its possibilities within its enactment. Luther continues Pauline thought of justification in the characterization of existence as a borderline between the grandeur of human reason and the willpower in the scope of possibilities assigned by God. Dasein gains insight into authentic self-enactment. in Heidegger Dasein becomes a mobility between the encouragement (Zuspruch) of being and human response (Entspruch). cf. which existence does not have at its disposal. This experience of powerlessness shows man in his essential nullity and thrownness (Geworfenheit). . it is asked to be awake and ready (GA29/30: 510). Death discloses a new horizontality. as well as for Paul. The projected whole of Dasein corresponds to the anthropology of religious existence. but not the self-enactment itself. which also underlie the analysis of Dasein: Extrinsic: in Paul and Luther. but in its futurity. in Heidegger.

The phenomenon of world in Heidegger’s philosophy includes two contrasting moments of relevance and of that-for-the-sake-of-which. at which it directs itself. the worldhood of the world was primordially experienced in Christianity. The self-enactment must not perish under an accumulation of content. This critique of the levelled interpretation of being was already used by Luther against Aristotle. . It must lead to a hermeneutics of facticity. death – have a common denominator: transcendence. According to Heidegger. In accordance with the event the notion of being is either limited to the sphere of presence (Anwesenheit). Dasein was already approached by the thrown possibilities of the world in a certain way in openness (Aufgeschlossenheit) and interpretedness (Ausgelegtheit). conscience. and thus levelled. that is. or it is interpreted in its full range as historicity. which conducts” (GA24: 225).216 Brejdak Eschatological: in both cases existence is directed towards the future and opened by the future. nothingness. In the lecture ‘Die Grundprobleme der Phänomenologie’ Heidegger writes: “Not only a directing-at (Sich-richten-auf) belongs to intentionality and not only a comprehension of the being of the entity. but so too does the being-unveiled-with (Mit-enthüllt-sein) of the self. methodological and existential. With Pauline eschatological time. as Paul had demonstrated it. The open resolution reveals the corner stone of the self as nothingness. 3. that nothingness reveals us as a radical openness. as the open resolution? The philosophia crucis is an occurrence whose beginning is the expected death and whose other side is birth. This double horizon of the authentic and inauthentic self is grounded in Heidegger’s establishment of relevance respectively in one of both selves as in the last what-for (Wozu). But do we not have to say something contrary. The fundamental happening of temporality opens up the possibility of self-enactment. Philosophia Crucis The open resolution as the proper self-enactment proves that the ways of givenness (Gegebenheit) of the authentic self – anxiety. Its method should be “ways. Thus temporality makes possible an “entrance to the world”. not works”. Heidegger defines temporality as an ecstatic event which can be defined authentically by the future or inauthentically by the present. and Augustine’s distentio animi in mind. A philosophy which wants to think the end- things must become a philosophy of the cross in a twofold sense.

The philosophia crucis cannot be completed without the most radical metanoia. As Husserl understood. Frankfurt a. Frankfurt. strongly influenced by Paul’s notion of the Cross. Tübingen: Klostermann.: Peter Lang. but because of its appropriation of the thrownness into the There” (Metzger 1972: 205). With the cheerless sobriety of his Protestant teachers Heidegger realized the powerlessness of the phenomenological reduction as a technique for the cancellation (Aufhebung) of curvatio in se ipsum. in order to create a new philosophical beginning. not only to suspend content. Heideggers Beschäftigung mit dem Apostel Paulus. Politische Eschatologie nach Paulus. Philosophia crucis. Jaromir. Wien: Turia & Kant. means a fading of the significance of the world. 2007. Briefwechsel 1925- 1975. Rudolf and Martin Heidegger. Augustine. As Metzger noticed. surpasses it to a degree by overlooking such phenomena as confidence and longing (Romans 5: 1-11. . it has become an attribute of an isolated subject “that does not understand itself because of its attitude toward the infinite (Unendliche). That philosophy requires a readiness. Finkelde. Heidegger’s anxiety is no longer Christian in character. Only in this way can we be authentic. it is a grace more than a technique. Bultmann. Agamben. 2009. Heidegger undertook the project. Luther and Kierkegaard. 1996. Heidegger’s project. He appropriated theological motifs from Paul. but to receive nothingness. In this way this phenomenological position is beyond Dasein’s disposal. References Brejdak. Badiou. and can never be received without a cancellation of everyday motivations. Santer. Our authentic self is no more at our power of disposal – this is the crucial insight of Heidegger’s philosophia crucis. It opens a horizon of meaning only for those with the courage to feel anxiety and persevere in front of nothingness. phenomenology requires a transformed perspective akin to a religious conversion (Husserl 1954: 140). 8: 14-39). As Luther’s theologia crucis had failed to prepare a philosophical ground for a dispute with Aristotle. Philosophia Crucis 217 but enact an ongoing destruction of the deformed liveliness (Lebendigkeit) and a return to the origin (Urspung). Zizek. Dominik. Heidegger’s philosophia crucis can be read as a radical reform of the phenomenological position. M.

Arnold. ‘Die Welt als Möglichkeit und Wirklichkeit’ in Evangelische Theologie (29): 417 f. ‘Theologie und Kirche’ in Internationale Katholische Zeitschrift (15): 515-533. Luther. Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaften und die transzendentale Phänomenologie (ed. Eberhard. Jüngel. Die politische Theologie des Paulus. Hans-Martin Gerlach and Hans Rainer Sepp (eds). 1994. Frings. Neuhausen-Stuttgart: Hänssler. 5. Spurensuche in der Phänomenologie. Martin. Scheler. M. Auf der Spur eines Urphänomens. Das Kreuz Christi als Grund und Kritik christlischer Theologie. 1954. München: Fink (Wilhelm). München Ratzinger. ed. The Hague: Kluwer. Tübingen: A. Jürgen. Norbert and Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann (eds). Taubes Jacob. 1986. Der gekreuzigte Gott. Die deutsche Philosophie der Gegenwart.218 Brejdak Fischer. Husserl. 1987. Freiheit und Tod. Frankfurt a. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer. Metzger. Kommentar über den Galaterbrief 1519. Edmund. Max. Walter Biemel). 2003. 1996.: Peter Lang. Joseph. Hamburg: Meiner. 1969. Moltmann. 1996. Francke. Manfred S. 1972. Husserl in Halle. In der Gegenwart leben. 2007. . 1973. Gerd. Wesen und Formen der Sympathie. Haeffner. Freiburg: Rombach. Heidegger und die christliche Tradition. Auflage.

Central to all apocalyptic texts is the belief that one is living at the time of the world’s end. Augustine’s Confessions. millions of American fundamentalists anticipate an imminent “end of the world”. but even in the New Testament. Heidegger had already published an essay on the concept of time. and his death and resurrection. It was further developed in the 1924 lecture The Concept of Time (BZ). and the 1925 lecture History of the Concept of Time (CT). He undertakes a philosophical explication of the text. he focuses on Paul himself. for in his intense communication with his congregation in Thessalonika he . In early Christian apocalyptic. While it cannot be denied that the treatments of time in Aristotle’s Physics. The End of Time: Temporality in Paul’s Letters to the Thessalonians Graeme Nicholson At the heart of Heidegger’s 1920-1921 ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’ is the exposition of the temporality that characterizes the life of Paul. Today. thrust forward into the coming end of time. But Heidegger’s reading of the Letters to the Thessalonians differs from all these theological initiatives. Both Eastern and Western liturgies came to enshrine Christ’s coming in Eucharistic ceremonies. and Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason exercised great influence on Heidegger’s study of time. Heidegger’s Paul is an existential hero. The later letters of Paul show no certainty about the immediate coming of Christ. The early Pauline apocalyptic was revised and re-interpreted not only in later theology. But he is not a lonely hero. while The Gospel of John substitutes for the Second Coming the sending of the Holy Spirit. his special interest in human temporality would not have taken shape in the way that it did without his early exposure to Paul. seeking to understand a life that is lived in extremis. The end times would be consummated by his return. which left a few traces on the account of historicity in Being and Time (GA1: 355-375). while foreseeing a much delayed Second Coming at the end of history. these last days are inaugurated by the earthly life of Christ. However. In 1916. that is. the major treatment of human temporality that fills up the second division of Being and Time first arises in the course of these lectures on the early Christian apocalyptic.

since our early Christians accomplished an understanding of their lives. the text itself is not the object of our understanding. and the Thessalonians’s understanding of their lives. not approaching it through universal concepts – for instance. though indebted to Paul. Paul’s existence is lived in relation to Christ. what Heidegger calls the early Christian experience of life (Lebenserfahrung). This is a re-direction of attention to the ontological conditions of experience. at this period. Nevertheless. with the passing years. the how of life. Although it is text that we must study. a type of the “religious”. And in the case of Paul. In itself. this re-direction was justified. but. Being and Time’s thought. cannot be called Christian in any conventional sense. Heidegger’s own text is certainly not apocalyptic in tone.220 Nicholson invites them to share in his torments and his joys. as if the lives of the early Christians were in some way objects of their . The maxim of interpretation is that. through the text. This is not an empiricist notion of experience. as Heidegger continued his work on the theme of human temporality in general. the themes of the apostle’s religion receded more and more into the background. the formal. a philosophical study of Paul that highlights temporality need not occlude Paul’s central relationships to Christ and to God. the very conduct of life. In Paul’s own vocation as a prophet and apostle. Phenomenology as Heidegger presents it is a kind of philosophy that is able to understand what is singular or individual. attention to something that Heidegger called. Heidegger’s philosophical interpretation of that experience leads him to focus on something that is usually overlooked in a devotional or theological reading of Paul. or a single community (GA60: sections 17-23). are not achieved through general ideas and concepts but through lived experience. but he wants to learn something about time from Paul’s apocalypticism. which Heidegger calls an enacting or accomplishing-understanding (Vollziehen. the Father. according to Heidegger. Witness and proclamation belong within that religious enactment. The lengthy methodological sections of the lecture (Sections 17 to 23) show how we can understand a single life. and Heidegger does not ignore them here. Vollzug) of life through the daily practice of faith and works. he must live through all his relationships within some definite form of temporality: his life makes itself temporal in one definite way. we can attempt an analogous comprehending accomplishment. because time and temporality were evoked in the religious life: “Christian religiosity lives temporality as such” (GA60: 80). Paul’s own understanding of his life.

This is the burden of Heidegger’s treatment of the principle of meaning or sense (Sinn). As Heidegger says. who wants us to co-experience Paul’s experience. The End of Time 221 experience. Rather. who have not understood his message properly: “They cannot save themselves. mean that Paul is putting himself entirely at the mercy of the Thessalonians’s destiny (GA60: 96). As Chapter 5 opens. which most systematic theologies and rationalist philosophies fail to achieve. In his vocation as an apostle he accomplishes his life. Paul reproaches many of his Thessalonians. Heidegger lays great stress on the point that the life experience that is to be understood is factical (faktisch). Paul proclaims the parousia of Christ. because they do not have themselves. The “content-sense” of the gospel (Gehaltssinn) resides entirely within the lived-accomplishment of the believer (Vollzugssinn). which for its part resides entirely within the relationship that the believer has to that content (Bezugssinn) (GA60: 62). But this same contrast between authentic and inauthentic understanding also pertains to the sources. The term “life experience” that Heidegger uses in this text is the prototype for the term “existence” that became standard in Being and Time. Such an undertaking can achieve authentic understanding. Heidegger is ready to interpret what Paul thinks about the knowledge of the future that the Christian possesses. the life that they experience is accomplished in their experience: in a way. what lets him “have” his life. glory. Heidegger’s reading of the chapter is especially alert to the bearing which the Christian must have towards the future. Paul wants to have his life. 2:20. “you are our glory and joy”. Thus his words at 1 Thess. But Heidegger adds the word “experience” to the word “life” in order to describe the activity of accomplishing a life. and joy. It is only by turning to the basic continuity of Paul’s own life that we can grasp the sense of these concepts: hope. because they have forgotten their own self. In Thessalonians Chapter 4. Thus Heidegger. which brings with it a special bearing towards the past. can use these concepts to point to the “life-experience” of the Christian apostle. Paul is urging his congregation to adopt an appropriate bearing towards the great coming event. because they do not have themselves in the clarity of authentic knowledge” (GA60: 103). these two words have the same meaning. This text already embraces some central claims made in Being and Time about human temporality: the ecstatic inter-involvement . The main concepts that he uses in writing to his congregation signify what holds his life together. Thereupon.

and the dead in Christ will rise first. And this age is governed by the promise of his coming again in glory (parousia). the entire structure of the concept is at once changed” (GA60: 102). is life after the death and resurrection of Christ. And so the existence of Paul and his congregation lies stretched out between the first and the second coming. For instance. 4:16-17: “For the Lord himself. who are left. Life lived in the present age. which. This referring of the future backwards and the forward reach of the past into the future is our first foreshadowing of the mature account . to begin with. some members have already died since Paul’s visit. for the true meaning of the first event will be made manifest in the second one. in the progress of its history. Paul expects the parousia in his own life-time. Then we who are alive. ðáñïõóßá means ‘the appearing again of the already appeared Messiah’. will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air. is evident in ths conceptual transformation. For the Christian. not only its sense. with a cry of command. There is also here a close anticipation of being-towards-death. however. does not lie in the literal expression. What will happen to them at the coming of Christ? The citation above is Paul’s answer to that question. the expression changes its entire conceptual structure. There is likewise a bond between the earlier event and the second coming. with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet. The proclamation of the resurrection initiates the new Christian life. In classical Greek ðáñïõóßá means arrival (presence). different in kind. Christian life experience. Does Heidegger’s treatment of Paul’s view of history also anticipate the view of history presented in Being and Time and some of Heidegger’s later works? Let us look at Heidegger’s comments on specific texts. a point that already raises a number of problems. Since the one who is to come has already come. 1 Thess. the future parousia is related back to the earlier event. in the Old Testament (for instance in the Septuaginta ) ‘the arrival of the Lord on the Day of Judgement’.222 Nicholson of the future with the past and the present. Heidegger comments on what is novel here: “The expression ðáñïõóßá has in its conceptual history a sense we do not intend here. for Paul and his congregation. With that. and more will likely do so soon enough. however. will descend from heaven. and so we will be with the Lord for ever”. but this life is also stretched out towards the parousia in awaiting. in late Judaism ‘the arrival of the Messiah as representative of God’. and the role of facticity within the grounds of the possibility of knowledge. Now it is known who will come.

as I think. then we have in this lecture-text the anticipation of the thesis that is primary and fundamental to Being and Time: pastness is constituted by the backward reaching. ecstasis. the immediate future in which a life similar to the present one will be carried on. is far from being straightforward and self-explanatory. The End of Time 223 of temporality in Heidegger: it is the ecstatic reach which is constitutive of human temporality. Three differentiated times emerge from the letter: the now.e. 1 Thess. “the seasons” or “moments”). and the parousia which constitutes the end. brothers and sisters. its own “now”. are rendered Zeit and Augenblick. The further complexity of the Zeit und Augenblick (time and moment) is that the present state of the congregation. forcing other members of the community to support them. the separation between the now and the parousia. you do not need to have anything written to you”. “the times”) and êáéñäí (kairoi. Heidegger finds in Paul the idea that the one who has come was originally destined to be the one who will be coming in the climactic parousia. to stress the time of waiting. nor that Paul himself does not . Here the two plural words. the coming of Christ.e. Formerly they had been pagans in the world. 5:1: “Now concerning the times and the seasons. in the second letter. how long will the interval be from now? This “now” is the contemporary time in which the Thessalonians are a believing congregation engaged in serving God. so that there were two prior times that formed the background for their present life: (a) their former pagan life. The fact that they are Christians in the contemporary time is the outcome of a conversion.. Then. Paul is saying that he does not intend to answer the question that has been put to him: When will Christ come again? And the reason for this. Consequently they ceased to work. that such matters are vague and indeterminate). then. finally. is not that there is no answer (i. the near future. There will follow. ÷ñüíùí (chronoi. will come the time of fulfilment. it is clear enough that either term would refer to the time at which the parousia will take place: i. because some of the congregation had come to believe that the gospel of Paul meant that the parousia had already taken place. “Time and moment” (both in the singular) by Heidegger. worshippers of idols (Paul is not addressing the Jewish Thessalonians in these letters). the immediate duration. as Heidegger explains. In context. with no particular explanation (GA60: 102). of the future. and (b) their conversion. And if.. It becomes important to Paul.

224 Nicholson

know it. It is because they do not need his answer. As we shall see, Paul
tells them that they already know the answer.
To imagine that Paul wishes to supply information, answer
questions or forecast the future would be to mistake the whole point of
his letter-writing. Heidegger stresses that Paul writes his letters as part
of his proclamation (Verkündigung) and that, just as their contents
cannot be understood by a method of distantiation and objectification (a
purely historical method), neither can the character and “form” of
writing be understood according to philological analysis, as if, for
instance, the “epistle” were one genre within the range of possible types
of world-literature (GA60: 81). To grasp the letter as proclamation is to
hear it speaking as an inward accomplishment of Paul himself, and of
his life-experience. “The content proclaimed, and its material and
conceptual character, is then to be analysed from out of the basic
phenomenon of proclamation” (GA60: 81). For that reason, Heidegger
says, in order to accomplish the letter inwardly, “we … see the situation
such that we write the letter along with Paul. We perform the letter-
writing, or its dictation, with him” (GA60: 87). That means to
recapitulate within ourselves Paul’s way of belonging with the
Thessalonians.
The congregation came into being when they received the word
that Paul brought to them. At that point he entered their lives and
became numbered among them as they set out to serve God. Paul knows
that they still preserve the memory both of their former pagan life and
of their conversion. Their new status is constituted by conversion, by
their “having-become” a congregation (Gewordensein). And Heidegger
underlines this point with repetition: “Having-become is not, in life, any
incident you like. Rather, it is incessantly co-experienced, and indeed
such that their Being [Sein] now is their having-become
[Gewordensein]” (GA60: 94). Still, they exist now only in the work of
serving God and awaiting Christ, so that their being is never restful, but
urgently extended, with an openness to a fulfilment.
Here we see a further anticipation of Heidegger’s mature
treatment of human temporality. In Being and Time the present is
constituted by the interplay of pastness (here, having-become) and
forward extendedness (what is later called Vorlaufen, translated as
“anticipation” [SZ: 326-329]). We will call this the ecstatic constitution
of the present. The present is opened up to the future, just as the past is.
This future is a retrieval of the past. In Paul’s letter, the future of the

The End of Time 225

Thessalonians is their welcome into the eschatological community.
Because they continue to re-live their having-become, their present
opens up upon their past (and vice-versa), and it also opens up upon the
promised future.
1 Thess. 5:2a: “For you yourselves know very well that …”
Heidegger opens his study of First Thessalonians by showing that Paul
has a double relationship to his congregation: (1) He experiences their
having-become; (2) He is aware that they have knowledge of their
having-become. Heidegger goes on directly to attribute this double
relationship to a kind of identity between Paul and the congregation, that
is to say, their having-become is also Paul’s having-become. Paul
himself is implicated in their having-become. For these reasons, not easy
to follow, the circumstance of their having-become gives grounds to the
broad scope of the knowledge that Paul can now attribute to his
congregation (GA60: 94-95). This is a very special kind of knowing,
quite different from any other knowing and remembering. Heidegger
returns to this, showing that the Thessalonians’s knowledge of their
having-become is connected to other sorts of knowledge. Therefore,
Paul can say that the Thessalonians also know very well the “time and
moment” of the parousia. Memory of their conversion brings them
knowledge of their future as well. What sort of knowledge springs up
within an inwardly accomplished life-experience?
The Pauline apocalyptic is not essentially a visionary
representation of the dramatic events that herald the end of the world.
Heidegger calls attention to a well-known passage in Second
Corinthians 12 in which Paul speaks of the ecstatic experiences that he
has enjoyed, but dismisses them, diminishing their importance: “Paul
wants to be seen only in his weakness and distress”; earlier, “Paul lives
in a peculiar distress, one that is, as apostle, his own, in expectation of
the second coming of the Lord” (GA60: 98). This distress constitutes
Paul’s actual situation. Every moment of his life is determined in terms
of it. He is constantly suffering despite his joy as an apostle. Twice we
see in the text: “we cannot take it anymore” (GA60: 98). The fusion of
suffering and joy in the apostle’s lived experience is an element that sets
a severe limitation on any claims to wisdom, visions and knowledge.
This is the aspect that Heidegger qualifies throughout as the facticity of
the early Christian experience of life. The expectation of the parousia
is not visionary but lived-through, not a representation of future glory
but a quality infusing the present, lived experience. It is firmly bound to

226 Nicholson

the lived experience of the “now” and can be regarded simply as the
meaning of this “now”. This is in accord with the role of the “relation-
sense” (Bezugssinn) in constituting the “content-sense” (Gehaltssinn)
(GA60: 62).
This entire lecture-course is pervaded by a phenomenological
critique of our inherited views concerning knowledge. Heidegger’s own
method of study – the understanding that achieves inward
accomplishment – is contrasted repeatedly with the philosophy and
social science that subsume the particular beneath the universal
(classifying, for example, Paul’s proclamation as one species of
“religion”). The elaboration of apocalyptic into “eschatology” within
systematic theology has also lost hold of the phenomenon. But this
destruction or critique reaches as well into the life and understanding of
the originals: Paul himself appears as a proto-phenomenologist,
imploring the Thessalonians to stop asking inappropriate questions, stop
supposing that the parousia is essentially some future event whose date
we would like to know. This knowing arises only out of the total
situation of the Christian experience of life. Paul’s own life, lived
through in facticity, is to be the emblem of the life experience of his
congregation.
All this appears in modified form in Being and Time. The
principle of facticity is central to the constitution of the being of Dasein,
and, through its special reference to pastness, is an element in the
constitution of temporality. A second point that anticipates Being and
Time is the phenomenological destruction or critique of the views about
knowledge that are commonplace in modern philosophy (SZ: 68-69).
Furthermore, both in these lectures and in Being and Time, the account
of the temporality of human existence is intimately tied up with that
phenomenological critique of epistemology. In the lectures, Heidegger
is bringing out a form of temporality that is fused with the stretching and
reaching-out that belong to the experience of life. This is something
quite different from any representation of a sequence of now-points, in
which a future event can be pinpointed according to its “when”. Paul is
working to free the Thessalonians from commonplace ideas about time.
The future parousia is implicit in the Thessalonians’s own outward
stretch of faith, their inward accomplishment. In Being and Time, the
principal burden of the second division is the doctrine of an existential
temporality in which futural ecstasis and past ecstasis are constitutive
of the present. This temporality is explicitly distinguished from the

The End of Time 227

commonplace representation of a series of now-points, and Heidegger
undertakes to show, in Section 81, that this commonplace representation
is derivative from existential temporality.
The reader of Being and Time may well be tempted by a
psychological interpretation, in which the future means “something we
expect or hope for” and the past means “something we remember”. On
that basis it would be natural to suppose that, in our minds, we run
together what we expect or hope for with what we remember. And so we
might suppose that the combined backward reaching of the future and
forward reaching of the past actually takes place as an activity our
minds. Now, it is very plain that Heidegger rejected such an
interpretation, but whether his reader will be able to follow him is
another matter. For Heidegger, ecstatic temporality is not in any way an
accomplishment of the human mind or consciousness. This was already
clear to him in 1920-21, when he changed the title of the present
manuscript-collection from ‘Phenomenology of Religious
Consciousness’ to ‘Phenomenology of Religious Life’. What he was
calling “life” and “experience” in those days eventually became
“existence”. For him, the phenomenon of mind or consciousness was
derivative from existential temporality.1 It certainly requires a major
effort from the reader to see why the temporality of existence is not a
phenomenon of consciousness. I cannot treat this point here, but I can
perhaps throw some light on it, by looking back again to Paul for an
analogy. If the reader began to suppose that the parousia was just
something in Paul’s mind, that Christ’s earthly life was only a
psychological presence in Paul’s memory, then the urgency of Paul’s
striving towards the end and persevering in the faith would be
psychologically re-interpreted as some kind of hang-up. Such
psychologizing of Paul would have a trivializing effect. I believe that,
in a similar way, a psychological reading of the temporality of existence
would drain away its real import.
1 Thess. 5:2b: “The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the
night”. In Paul’s proclamation, it is the event that is to come which
overshadows everything else, both in the past and in the present. But in
his proclamation, he seems to see this event in two different ways. Most
of the passages in the first letter emphasize the suddenness of the
coming event, breaking into history without warning and without
preparation, so that it would irrupt in the midst of peace and security.
However, there seems at first glance to be a different narrative in the

228 Nicholson

second letter. Heidegger summarizes a traditional line of interpretation:
according to the second letter, the parousia is supposedly preceded by
the advent of the Anti-Christ in war and confusion (GA60: 106). The
role of the Anti-Christ is to foment chaos – here he is called “the
adversary”, the “son of ruin”, “the god of this world” (GA60: 107-108,
109).2 Heidegger also calls attention to another role of the Anti-Christ:
to be a deceiver (GA60: 113). Putting himself forward as God, he enlists
an unworthy devotion. It is the benefit of genuine faith to enable the
Christian to see through the Anti-Christ. Indeed, to be able to make that
discernment is a “test for the faithful”; others will be deceived. To
radiate deception round about him, then, is a positive effect of the Anti-
Christ.
A difference between the sudden, unprepared arrival of Christ,
and an arrival that is preceded by turbulence and a malicious Anti-
Christ, is a difference in the temporal mode of the event itself. The
difference is not reducible merely to a question of what stock of
information we might have. It is not that in the first reading the arrival
will be sudden because we did not know of the signs, or were
unprepared to read them. Nor in the second reading is it that the arrival
is well-signalled with signs that we could read because we were well-
informed. The difference lies in the temporal constitution of the event
itself. Being shot is a sudden death; dying of a lingering disease involves
a very different quality of temporality. The question that we are
discussing is like that. It is not that Paul is distinguishing between those
who know how to read the signs of the times and those who do not, for
what he said was this: you know very well that the Day will come like
a thief in the night.
Thus in some way both aspects are true of the parousia in its
temporal aspect: it will be sudden like a thief in the night and it will be
prepared for. This is covered in the next two verses, which seem to
depict separating two groups of people who are living through the time
of the ending. 1 Thess. 5:3: “When they say, ‘There is peace and
security’, then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labour pains
come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape!” Thus there
is one way of living that, in principle, evades all threat and certainly
evades the looming shadow of the coming end, and that is the sense of
living in security. Paul foresees a savage fate for those who live now in
peace and security (though Heidegger stresses that there is no picture of
hell in Paul, only outright annihilation). Heidegger writes: “‘Peace and

The End of Time 229

security’ in factical life: this expression represents the How of self-
comportment to that which encounters me in factical life. That which
encounters me in my worldly comportment carries no reason for
disturbance. Those who find rest and security in this world are those
who cling to this world because it provides peace and security” (GA60:
103). The others are addressed in the following lines: “But you, beloved,
are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are
all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of
darkness” (1 Thess. 5:4-5). Here we may be reminded of Heidegger’s
use of the two words Zeit und Augenblick to translate “time and
moment” (chronoi kai kairoi). Let the word “time” (Zeit) stand for the
idea of an extended period of preparation, and the word “moment”
(Augenblick) for that which is sudden; does one of these have some
priority over the other?
The Christian congregation enacts or accomplishes a being-
towards-the-end. That end is a moment, or an Augenblick. But the
conduct of the experience pulls that end into the extended expectation
and practice of life aimed towards the end. The Thessalonians have the
lengthening being-towards the arrival of the Thief in the Night. That
extended scope of the waiting, however, is in principle finite because its
primary definition is to be the tending-towards-the-end. I believe that the
structure that we see here anticipates the treatment of being-towards-
death in Being and Time. We know that death is certainly coming,
though the “when” is indeterminate. The being-towards-the-end is the
actual existential phenomenon, an extension governed by the future
finitizing event: death itself. There are the comfortable evasions that
Heidegger sketches so brilliantly, whereby in everyday discourse we rob
death of its true existential meaning, aiming at a kind of peace and
security. On the other hand, the analytic in Being and Time would not
accept a parallel between being-towards-death and a natural growth,
such as pregnancy. The early sections of the chapter on death distinguish
sharply between an existence towards-the-end and natural processes
such as growth and ripening.
Paul is telling his congregation that they are well prepared for
the event, that they will not surprised by that Day, for they are already
children of the day; they are not of the night, not of darkness. Heidegger
calls attention to two meanings of “day” here: “ºìÝñá has a double
meaning: (1) opposite the darkness is the ‘brightness’ of knowledge of
oneself (5:5 [for you are all children of light]); (2) ºìÝñá means ‘day of

230 Nicholson

the Lord’, that is, ‘day of the ðáñïõóßá’. This then is the kind and mode
of Paul’s answer. Through this (“let us keep awake”) we see: the
question of the “When” leads back to my comportment. How the
ðáñïõóßá stands in my life, that refers back to the enactment of life
itself” (GA60: 104).
The essential issue raised in these remarks is the relationship of
the coming parousia to the present life of the Thessalonians. How does
Heidegger understand these counsels of Paul? He is emphasizing the
forward tie of this congregation to the great coming event, and likewise
the backward tie of that event to them. If the future is tied back to them,
it is made dependent on them. But in this context it is not as if a human
posture or behaviour (e.g., faith) were made into a sufficient cause or
condition for that which is to come about in the future. After all, the
parousia is ordained by God. What is the relationship, then, that the
Thessalonians have to the future? First, there is that which is ordained
and is to be. And yet this event radiates backwards into the present: it
solicits faith from the present congregation, and makes itself dependent
upon them. The Thessalonians are needed in the agenda of God. The
content-meaning of the parousia is connected to them in such a way that
the meaning of it is equally a Bezugssinn, highlighted because a
relational sense, a meaning that claims the believers and is completed
only through the relationship that they have to it. Thus Paul’s criticism
of the lazy Thessalonians is not only that they believe the coming event
to have already occurred, but more than that, that it has nothing
particularly to do with them. They mistake it for an entirely pre-
determined drama, thereby cutting themselves out of the story.
Why would this idea serve to augment the anxiety of the
believers, to the point that it threatened to turn into despair? This needs
some further explanation. If the consequences of my own weakness
were that I should be annihilated and lost, my decisions would certainly
be made in fear and trembling. But if it were my fate in history to be
required for the purposes of God, or indeed even for the goals of history,
the gravity would be infinitely augmented. Thus we can understand the
words of encouragement and challenge which follow upon that account:
“So then, let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be
sober” (1 Thess. 5:6).
There looms before us here a huge and dangerous curve in the
argument. I will point to it, but it is one that I cannot negotiate in this
paper: the curve is the transition from the problem of human temporality

The End of Time 231

to that of history. The tale told in Paul’s letters did not have to do
mainly with the solitary individual in confrontation with death. It had to
do with the end of the world, the end of the age (aiôn, olam), that is, the
end of history, the end of time. Paul’s perspective is that of a macro-
history for which the antecedent events were not only the coming of
Christ, but also the creation of the world. In the treatment of temporality
that we have looked at so far, Heidegger turns to the subject of death,
but, in contrast to Paul’s perspective, this is a micro-history, the death
of a single human being. Could Heidegger proceed in some way from
the temporality of existence to a comparable macro-history? I believe
that it was his intention to do so, for another thesis of Being and Time
is that it is through human temporality that we are able to comprehend
time itself. There are several dimensions to such a comprehension.
Heidegger must consider everyday pragmatic phenomena such as the use
of clocks and calendars; he must deal with language and the signifiers
of time that it encodes, e.g., the tenses of verbs, and he must examine the
role of time in physics. He seeks to show that human history is a
superstructure that can be comprehended from human temporality.
These investigations of time were intended to lead us deeper into the
question of being. Certainly he could never bring his treatment of either
theme to any completion, but in his later work I do detect a recurrent
theme of the end of history and the end of time, encapsulated in the
mysterious idea that he called Ereignis. Because of some of the ocular
overtones of that word, I would hazard to suggest that one of its
meanings is Apocalypse.
1
William Blattner argues that there cannot be any explanation of the ecstatic structure
of temporality other than the psychological one that I am speaking of here. See Blattner
(1996).
2
Paul himself never uses the term “Anti-Christ”. In the New Testament, the term is used
only in the Johannine letters.

Reference

Blattner, William. 1996. Heidegger’s Temporal Idealism. Cambridge
University Press.

Present History: Reflections on
Martin Heidegger’s Approach to Early Christianity

Gerhard Ruff

What led the young Heidegger to interpret the Christian life as a
phenomenological paradigm in his 1920-1921 lecture course,
‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’? The following essay
points modestly in the direction of an answer: a preoccupation with the
problem of reconciling history and logic, which Heidegger inherited
from Wilhelm Dilthey and Heinrich Rickert, and an early dissatisfaction
with Husserl’s approach to phenomenology. Heidegger was not
interested in Christianity for its own sake, but because of
methodological reasons native to phenomenology. Nonetheless, in the
course of his research into early Christianity he offers the philosophy of
religion an interesting alternative to the pervasive theoretically-
disengaged approach to religious phenomena.
In his early philosophical work, Heidegger was already occupied
with the question of the accurate understanding of “history”. His
habilitation supervisor Rickert distinguishes historical understanding in
the strict sense from definition-bound scientific thinking. In Rickert’s
view, history could never achieve the common meanings or strict
definitions necessary to a science. Dilthey’s more generous
understanding of history as an alternative way of thinking presented
Heidegger with a way out of this neo-Kantian dichotomy between
science and history (Dilthey 1959: 253ff). Dilthey points out that any
philosophical investigation of the question of history must start with the
Christian belief in the Incarnation of God. The destruction of the ancient
concept of God as an eternal substance represents for Dilthey the origin
of Western “historical consciousness”.
Approaching history through Dilthey, Heidegger turns from the
neo-Kantian preoccupation with definitions to the prior question of the
origin of historical consciousness. It is in the light of this change in
direction that Heidegger’s first lectures show their inner coherence.
Heidegger’s assumption that philosophy as a science depends on a

234 Ruff

generic understanding – objectivity – repeats the neo-Kantian science-
history dichotomy. While Heidegger draws inspiration from thinkers
like Dilthey and Schleiermacher, he does not find any method in either
thinker with which to rigorously examine the genesis of “historical
consciousness”. Nonetheless, he takes a key assumption from Dilthey
and carries it through Husserlian phenomenology into his own way of
thinking: whatever else history might mean to philosophy, it could never
become an “object” of thinking. Philosophical rigor in history cannot be
achieved by objectification, but rather by strictness of understanding.
This entails a rejection of any idealistic approach to an understanding
of the origin of Christian historical consciousness.
Dilthey’s Introduction to the Human Sciences gave Heidegger
a direction, but it was the formal logic of Emil Lask that led Heidegger
away from his first teacher, Rickert, toward phenomenology and his new
teacher, Edmund Husserl. In his “transcendental-empiricist” system of
logic, Lask develops a non-dualistic view of form and matter which
allows for a philosophically adequate doctrine of meaning. It is worth
noting that Lask is one of the few of Heidegger’s early philosophical
influences whom he cites with high esteem in Being and Time.
Heidegger’s first two published works, ‘Die Lehre vom Urteil
im Psychologismus’ (‘The Doctrine of Judgment in Psychologism’) and
Die Kategorien- und Bedeutungslehre des Duns Scotus (The Doctrine
of Categories and Meaning in Duns Scotus) may be read as already
overcoming, through a focus on judgment and formal logic, the neo-
Kantian question of validity. Although Heidegger first made the
acquaintance of Franz Brentano’s thought during his school-years, it
was the phenomenology of Brentano’s pupil Husserl that gave him
access to a strictly philosophical elaboration of consciousness and
history. Heidegger’s famous “break-through” lecture, ‘Die Idee der
Philosophie und das Weltanschauungsproblem’ (‘The Idea of
Philosophy and the Problem of Worldviews’) demotes the neo-Kantian
notions of subjectivity and objectivity to the status of secondary,
derivative phenomena. At the same time, Heidegger undermines the
implicit idealism of Husserl’s phenomenology through a new emphasis
on the non-objectifiability of “world” (Husserl 1976: 51). While
objectivity results from the theoretical attitude, Heidegger’s notion of
“world” is intended to prevent thinking from taking this turn into de-
vivification (Entlebung). To emphasize the inner coherence of pre-
theoretical experience, he introduces the neologism “to world”. More

Original access to each of these is only given with the explication of the self. There is no understanding outside the phenomenological.. the hermeneutical intuition. Tauler. Bernard of Clairvaux. “World” is elaborated in a tripartite structure as surrounding-world (Umwelt). tracks Heidegger’s departure from Rickert. held in the summer of 1919. Retrieving Dilthey’s appreciation of the significance of Christianity for the question of history. Christianity signifies the turn toward factical life. any experiential given is rooted in the primordial richness of life. and Luther. He also does not agree with the Husserlian noetic-noematic reduction. As is typical of him. By this time Heidegger had broken entirely with neo-Kantianism. in this case his own version of phenomenology: hermeneutical phenomenology. The original expression of the Christian self- world is given only through faith (pistis). i. With breathtaking rigor. Bonaventure. fall[s] out. indeed every transcendent positing. the originary phenomenological back-and-forth formation of the recepts and precepts from which all theoretical objectification. Heidegger now outlines Christianity’s epochal character. Heidegger replaces the Husserlian “given” (Datum) by the more “worldly” and phronetic “facticity of life”. Already in 1919. but the re-awakened “world” of factical life-experience. Universality of word meaning primarily indicates something originary: worldliness of experienced experiencing (GA56/57: 117). Heidegger questions Husserl’s principle of principles. and the life-world and inner experience of the self. he declares his departure from one way of thinking only after his arrival on new territory. ‘Phänomenologie und transcendental Wertphilosophie’ (‘Phenomenology and Transcendental Philosophy of Value’). however. explication. with-world (Mitwelt) and self-world (Selbstwelt). Eckhart. No theory or technique . He finds examples of this new experience of life in Augustine. Present History 235 than this. There is no plain and naive givenness in thinking that has not been already reduced through a theoretical process (GA56/57: 89). existential. Heidegger overturns the basics of Husserlian phenomenology and presents his students with a new way of doing phenomenology.e. Heidegger is transforming phenomenological intuition into hermeneutical intuition: The empowering experiencing of living experience that takes itself along is the understanding intuition. His following lecture. It is not the transcendental ego posited by Husserl that grants philosophy its inner coherence.

comportment. Content-sense (Gehaltssinn) provides the material meaning of something in the surrounding-world (Umwelt). it has to be taken up from factical life. is to find the adequate “Einstellung”. the only one he has been given to explain: Christianity. on Heidegger’s early thought.236 Ruff could ever explain the self if the latter did not express itself. or way of approach. one that overcomes methodological considerations by means of hermeneutics. relational-sense (Bezugssinn) refers to the interdependent meanings active in with-world [active within the communal world] [(Mitwelt)]. Heidegger develops a tripartite meaning of explication according to his tripartite understanding of “world”. The 1920-21 Religion lecture represents the culmination of Heidegger’s innovations in phenomenological methodology. relation. Heidegger begins with the earliest historical personage associated with Christianity who gave witness to his life in letters from his own hand: Paul. according to content. “an advance understanding for an original way of access” (GA60: 67). But an original access to historical consciousness is not a confessional matter. to him. Religion.1 A hermeneutics that focuses solely on content-sense is merely an aesthetic technique. We should keep in mind that Heidegger never attempts a phenomenology of intercultural religious phenomena. Much has been written about the influence of Protestant theology. Heidegger insists on philosophy as an “Einstellung”. The first part of the lecture surveys traditional approaches to religious phenomena and culminates in Heidegger’s central methodological concept: formal indication. and Luther in particular. Hermeneutical thinking in a phenomenological sense must be attentive to all three modes of the basic phenomenon. Heidegger himself claims that there is a link between Protestantism and Paul. Heidegger is attempting a performative phenomenology. an attitude. while performative-sense (Vollzugssinn) references the inner word (verbum internum) of meaning as it is enacted in factical historical life (GA60: 63). The first challenge for phenomenological research. and thus break through the text into the vital explication of the inner possibilities of the self. Phenomenology should be an original consideration of the “formal” itself. The . and performance. rather. Only a properly formal description will lead to a hermeneutical understanding. from Heidegger’s point of view. His examination of Christian life is entirely motivated by his search for a new way of thinking the question of history. means his own religious facticity. therefore.

Illuminating the phenomenon of factical historicity. he can show “what lies ‘behind’ both” (GA60: 173). Heidegger finds a non-theoretical performance of Christian meaning. at the same time inaugurating the project of a deconstruction of metaphysics. 117). Heidegger’s hermeneutics of Christian life re-opens the question that Dilthey had raised and Rickert had failed to answer: How can history enter into philosophy? From this point on he develops his sustained critique of the concealment of temporality within the history of metaphysics. The obstinate waiting does not wait for the significances of a future content. in such a way that only those who live temporality in the manner of performance understand eternity. The neo-Platonic eclipse of the factical could now be overcome by a non-objectifying phenomenology. His lecture on ‘Augustine and Neo-Platonism’ continues in this vein. At the same time. which was able to touch the factical life of Paul’s listeners: All primary complexes of performance lead together toward God. In Paul’s proclamation. without intending to. The meaning of temporality determines itself out of the fundamental relationship to God – however. What can contemporary phenomenology learn from Heidegger’s early religious research? First. One could read Being and Time as a breathtaking and ingenious deepening of the . but for God. Consequently it discloses the logos of Christian factical life. Heidegger’s first genuinely hermeneutical lecture is also a milestone and turning-point in his project of understanding the historical. However. Thus Heidegger can leave philosophy and theology with their traditional meanings because phenomenology negotiates its way around them. the •õáìÝõåéõ [waiting] is an obstinate waiting before God. With the elaboration of an access to the question of history. are performed before God. and. Present History 237 ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’ begins with Christianity because it has to begin somewhere. No doubt there is a straight line from formal indication and performative-historical thinking to the ontology of Dasein. offers Christianity an alternative fundamental theology. The sense of the Being of God can be determined first only out of these complexes of performance (GA60. Christian life experience temporalizes traditional metaphysical concepts. who read the lectures of 1920-21 as preliminary work on the way to Being and Time. we are not obliged to follow the interpretation of the editors of Gesamtausgabe 60. for example “eternity” and “divinity”.

but also offer a philosophically rigorous and non-reductionistic way of interpreting primordial Christianity. It requires something analogous to early Christian faith: decision and commitment. shows his sharp divergence from hermeneutical philosophy as it has developed from Dilthey to Gadamer.238 Ruff phenomenological method that Heidegger first refined in this lecture course. At issue is what the sense of history can signify for us. 1 I suggest “perfomative-sense” rather than “actualizing-sense” or “enactment-sense” because of the reference to the form of an action. Karl Schuhmann) (Husserliana III/1). History exists only from out of a present (GA60: 125). Versuch einer Grundlegung für das Studium der Gesellschaft und Geschichte. 1976. References Dilthey. The Hague: Nijhoff. Third. and performative-senses. The “having-become” of the early Christians is enacted in the understanding believer. “Real philosophy of religion arises not from preconceived concepts of philosophy and religion … The task is to gain a real and original relationship to history. the 1920-21 Religion lectures not only open up access to the question of history. Second. Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften. so that the ‘objectivity’ of the historical ‘in itself’ disappears. Husserl. Heidegger’s elaboration of hermeneutical intuition in the tripartite structure of content-. The hermeneutics of facticity cannot remain in the field of intra-textual interpretation. Allgemeine Einführung in die reine Phänomenologie (ed. 1959. which cannot be worked out without existential engagement. Stuttgart and Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Heidegger ends the lecture course with clear methodological advice for theology. Bernhard Groethuysen) (Wilhelm Dilthey Gesammelte Schriften 1). which is to be explicated from out of our own historical situation and facticity. Wilhelm. I. relation-. Edmund. Ideen zu einer reinen Phänomenologie und phänomenologischen Philosophie. (ed. .

in Heidegger’s sense of the word (wohnen). . is neither an object of cognition nor a positive spatio-temporal determination. of which I will focus primarily on the first lecture course of Winter Semester 1920-1921. authentic everydayness anticipates dwelling. can be traced back to the phenomenological reflections on religious life that comprise volume sixty of the collected works. Formal indication anticipates poetic thinking. the structure of Pauline proclamation anticipates poetic calling. is possible. along with other concepts of his poetic theory. but that original structure of disclosure in which relational meaning. The world.1 it is in this early period of Heidegger’s thinking that other seeds of the later theory of poetic dwelling are sewn. to factical life. The origins of Heidegger’s poetic understanding of world. while the connection between the early Heidegger and poetic theory has not received much scholarly attention. the attempt to relate this to any real poetic dwelling or. The Poetics of World: Origins of Poetic Theory in Heidegger’s Phenomenology of Religious Life Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei If poetic language is held by Heidegger to be the language of Being. as will be outlined in the first section of this essay. ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’. firstly. For the notion of “world” (die Welt). dwelling. has origins not only in Sein und Zeit but in earlier texts. Moreover. must be contextualized in terms of the world as a structure of disclosure and manifestation. an essential category within Heidegger’s later theory of poetic language. These possibilities are. The interrelatedness of these notions become accessible by addressing the primary concept of “world”. In the 1920-1921 lecture course world is articulated according to dual possibilities in factical life experience which will later become characteristic of the artwork or poetic language. in Heidegger’s earlier terminology. poetically speaking. and therefore. including Heidegger’s discussion of factical life experience in Phenomenology of Religious Life.

a structure that owes an original formulation to Heidegger’s thesis on factical life experience. While Sein und Zeit. World As a Realm of Poetic Language Before turning to Heidegger’s early discussion of world in ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’. had articulated “being-in-the-world” (in-der-Welt-sein) as the fundamental ontological situation for Dasein. Heidegger’s notion of poetic language as a dual enactment of concealing and unconcealing involves. borrowing a term from the early lecture-course. the notion of world . to name only one. in the concluding section questions of a more critical nature arise: in particular. being subject to a turning-around. such that the comportmental relation itself comes to the fore. “earth” (die Erde). the tendency toward concealment is recoiled within it. the lecture-course ‘Ontologie’ (‘Hermeutik der Faktizität’). In poetic language and factical life. wherein the world is reduced. in part at least due to Heidegger’s efforts to displace epistemological considerations of the natural substrate of beings in favor of their more original significance in relation to Dasein’s concerns (GA63: 65-70). ‘Der Ursprung der Kunstwerkes’ treats world in tension with another concept.240 Gosetti-Ferencei concealment in significance that tends toward a logic of objects. whether there are resources here for poetic theory – for instance in the notion of an authentic self-world distinct from the rejected metaphysical- transcendental subject – that Heidegger later overlooks. The most prominent appearance of the notion of “world” with respect to his developing poetic theory arises in Heidegger’s ‘Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes’. secondly. In ‘Der Ursprung der Kunstwerkes’. While this essay is assigned primarily to the scholarly task of recovering these origins. wherein the manner or the how of experience remains unnoticed. and. 1. This latter concept had received scant consideration in Heidegger’s previous thought. the notion of “world” must be shown to be a reigning thematic element of Heidegger’s theory of poetic language. a factor that is essential in a poetic relationship to world as Heidegger later describes it. Poetic language will be characterized principally by this second feature attributed to factical life. to a “logic” of the surrounding world as a logic of objects. as well as several earlier texts such as. as will be shown in the second section of this essay. in contradistinction to technological comportment. the 1935-36 essay-lecture which introduced the major shift of Heidegger’s concern toward poetic language.

in ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’. as this “realm” (Bereich) is then an “opening up” (Eröffnung) (GA5: 27). Heidegger now proposes. the world of the work is opened up by the work itself: “the work belongs. As a native sphere or essential space (Raum). of phenomena. The Poetics of World 241 is introduced not as the nexus of meaning opened up by Dasein’s concerns in general – although such concerns do make an appearance. which according to Heidegger owes its structure to that of poetic language. World. Heidegger’s term for truth as unconcealment (Unverborgenheit) (GA5: 21). as work. The work of art. World pertains to that which is opened up by the painting. The concept appears first in Heidegger’s much-discussed interpretation of a painting by van Gogh. This task requires that the concept of “world” undergo several transformations in Heidegger’s essay. uniquely within the realm that is opened up by itself”. But in the ensuing meditation. wherein the peasant shoes are equipmentally revealed in terms of their belonging to earth and protection by the “world of the peasant woman” (GA5: 19). an existential-historical “situation”. The work of art as the happening of such becomes the subject of Heidegger’s study. and Heidegger turns to the world in which the work of art itself abides. This manifestation will be further conceived as (3) event. and in fact world in tension with earth. the world is conceived as (1) ‘in’ the work as the sheltering space of the peasant’s concerns that maintains this earthly belonging. For as would pertain to the work of art as a happening of truth. the Unverborgenheit. are seen as an event of aletheia. Heidegger’s example here is that of the world of the Greek temple: the “world of this historical people” for whom the gods are present in their temple is the “all-governing expanse of this open relational context” (die waltende Weite dieser . But world is not restricted here to the local geographical and cultural nexus that surrounds the work in its original moment of creation. Here. in a transmuting echo of the categories of matter and form. The world. world is not merely a spatio-temporal nexus or even a nexus of meanings but a possibility of manifestation grounded in what he called. such as in the “world” of the peasant woman indicated by the shoes in van Gogh’s painting – but according to a discussion of the ontological structure of the work of art itself. it becomes clear that the concept of world is more deeply related to the coming out of concealment. is (2) the native sphere (Wesensraum) where a work of art emerges – such as the cultural life of Greek antiquity within which Sophocles situated his Antigone – and from which it can be displaced (GA5: 26).

moreover. That this thrust of worlding is associated with such movements as the setting up of a political state. in its standing there. which gives origin for truth as Heidegger conceives it. This verbal employment (as in ‘Welt weltet’ and ‘es weltet’) connects the poetic-linguistic later writings with Heidegger’s earliest lecture- courses. This event maintains a strife-ful tension with the “earth” as that into which this opening up sinks back. Firstly. world is also not an “imaginative framework” posited as the “sum of such given things”.2 Secondly. The world is not. despite the accusative position of world in the formulations I have just cited. but the event of opening-up which makes such meanings possible. but which continually tends toward concealment and seclusion. World. This statement is to be taken as non-redundant: the world is (substantive noun) as worlding (verb). as suggested above. first gives to things their look and to men their outlook on themselves” (GA5: 29).242 Gosetti-Ferencei offenen Bezüge) (GA5: 28). The work of art “opens up a world and keeps it abidingly in force” (GA5: 30). but the inner tension caused by the thrust and movement of world worlding.3 If. is not the sum total of objects or historical meanings. Thus “world worlds” (Welt weltet) (GA5: 30). While with the notion of a ‘people’ Heidegger’s close association. the earth is as the element which is brought to appearance by world. The work of art – and most especially poetic language as the origin of revelation – “holds open [stellt … auf] the Open of the world” (GA5: 31). world as verb means an opening and bringing forth by the structure of the work. the absence here of . thus the “temple. Two points must be highlighted here. and is associated with fighting and battle. at the same time. the world is never positively present – an insight that was already articulated in Heidegger’s 1920-21 lecture course. Heidegger insists also upon its nominative status and. is certainly highly problematic considering the political context in which Heidegger is writing. between surrounding world and communal or shared world is apparent. This all-governing expanse is not a determinable spatiality but a context of revealing-comportment. its status as verb. then. as for Husserl. an ideational totality to be grounded in transcendental subjectivity. indeed with the “essential decisions in the destiny of an historical people”. namely the German people. as this has been discussed at length in the scholarship. that which continually harbors concealment. I shall leave aside consideration of this problem here (GA5: 35). in earlier texts. It is not the artist and his/her intentions or ideas that appear in the work of art.

Trakl. for the clearing of manifestation is a site of primal conflict. but the sense of world as revealing illumination remains. but which also owes a great deal to Heidegger’s attention to Rilke. is a struggle. too. Zweig. largely methodological part of the lecture course – to recoil within a logic of significance with its tendency toward objectification. allows for the referral of such establishments and their consequences to the movements of destiny (Geschick). in particular the notion of poetic dwelling. Heidegger turns to Paul’s letters in the context of this anxiety. albeit in other terms. World is a site of manifestation that is never without struggle. with its corresponding anxiety. What is in ‘Der Ursprung der Kunstwerkes’ the struggle for unconcealment is foreshadowed by the tendency attributed to factical life – a tendency inherent in worldliness as Heidegger discusses it in the first. The idea that world opens up what otherwise refuses manifestation leads to Heidegger’s view that the world of the human being.4 Before turning to another of Heidegger’s treatments of world in his essays on poetic language. wrought as it is by tension with concealment. In factical life a turning-around is needed to address the manner rather than content of experience. The Poetics of World 243 anything like a “self-world”. a notion that is prominent in Heidegger’s earlier lecture-courses. a few later essays engage the notion of world within a framework largely derived from Hölderlin’s poetic terminology. and with respect to concrete historicality to hide in safety and security. a further transformation of the notion of world in ‘Der Ursprung der Kunstwerkes’ must be noted: world as (4) a clearing or a lighting. In the later essays the tone of struggle has for the most part disappeared. a space of illumination for beings which otherwise “refuse themselves to us” (Seiendes versagt sich uns) (GA5: 40). . In the wake of Heidegger’s establishment of poetic language as the site of the event of Being. World as verb is the “clearing of paths” by way of enacting this conflict which the work of art maintains. foreshadowed by the struggle Heidegger attributes to factical life. and other German poets. This emphasis on struggle is. and after significant interpretations of Hölderlin. between concealment and reversal of that concealment. world is thus involved in the “battle” of winning truth (GA5: 42). for which there. in authentic religious experience the “how” of comportment toward the parousia is manifest. to tarry with idols. which is seen as necessary to maintain an authentic temporality with respect to the second coming of Christ. Rilke. is an uncanny situation. as will be seen in the next section of this essay.

incompatible with a modern scientific-technological determination of space and time. What is important about the later treatment of the thing is its availability. toys. such as attended to by Rilke in his ‘Dinggedichte’ and in his poetic treatment of things generally (both natural and made things. artworks. In the 1923 ‘Ontologie’. world is a mirror-play that is gathered in the ‘thing’. too. there is here little sense of the thing as an earthly and material thing. while earth is the nourishing bearer of that from which we build. in terms of the thing.6 But here the material substrate is displaced. as a world-less. and the thing as a site of world. to poetic revelation or disclosure. Poetry. brings into appearance that about the thing which . encounters us most originally as a locus of various factical-life concerns. mass-produced object of modern technological intervention. too. of a recession into the unknown which the poet is to preserve. etcetera) as sites of mystery. but it is also given stay in things which gather together what Heidegger calls the ‘fourfold’ as a region of poetic thinking – earth.5 and so Heidegger there considers how a table. mortals and divinities brought together in the meaningful event of a thing’s withstanding within a unity or “onefold”. sky. As he writes in ‘Das Ding’ (1950). animals.244 Gosetti-Ferencei as does the uncanniness or Unheimlichkeit of the one who operates within the interplay and interstice between revealing and concealing. fruit and flowers. for example. the world is regarded as a self-emerging event of manifestation. such as were scorned by Rilke. perhaps a richer indication of those concerns than that provided by the famous hammer example in Sein und Zeit. here meaning relevance for concernful dealings. The world is that in which we dwell. Heidegger relies upon a contrast between the thing as metaphysically disclosed in terms of an object (Gegenstand) that stands before representational consciousness. “This appropriating mirror- play of the simple onefold […] we call the world” (GA7: 181). As in ‘Der Ursprung der Kunstwerkes’. the world “worlding”. with its emphasis on labour. rather than a strife with the self-concealing nature of earth. Here the world is an event of gathering-together in nearness and distance – of both spatial and spiritual significance – in and through the things that matter to human beings. the thing localizes the surrounding-world (Umwelt). at the most original level. since Heidegger is trying to displace scientific conceptions of things in favour of their significance. a text developing the treatment of facticity from the earlier lecture-course. Here. Heidegger had introduced world there. like other artworks such as temples and paintings.

Thus while Heidegger has left the configurations of Dasein’s concerns in Sein und Zeit. Poetically addressed. and that world can never be positively totalized as might be suggested by the formulas of space. matter. World is that in which we are at home. or. though of another kind: a withdrawal from cognition which we must associate with the earthly counterpart of world. To be a thing means to advance the nearness of world. yet a situation. and “only what conjoins itself out of world becomes a thing” in the sense of not being a mere Gegenstand (GA7: 184). more succinctly. disclosure is coupled by concealment. If in the phenomenology of religious life the authentic concern in the worldly relation to factical life is not the what of experience but the how. but it does so in such a way as to always already manifest the non-total character of this revelation. In these poetic treatments world is essentially a structure of disclosive tension that emerges as the event of truth unique to human dwelling. But this is possible only within the comportment of dwelling: world is attained in human dwelling because we are mortal. given the Unheimlichkeit of the structure of disclosure and concealment which marks our relation to Being and conditions our experience of anxiety. it fails to transcend the world’s nature. that horizons are always recessive horizons. the human element is maintained in the comportment toward things – like jugs and bridges. this is felt here in that the comportmental possibility of dwelling has here to do with the rejection of representational thinking: a rejection of thinking about what the thing is. and falls short of it” (GA7: 180). The connection between human mortality and world is also expressed treatments in the 1940s of Hölderlin and Rilke. given our finitude. and so on of modern (but perhaps not all contemporary) science and technology. This sense of anxiety . time. in favour of how it “gathers” and brings-together. which ever harbors the possibility of being not at home. footbridges and plows – that ‘gather’ world through their being things in the richest and most ontologically playful sense of gathering and revealing at once. But here. poetic language manifests that a thing as focal-point of our concerns belongs to a horizonal situation (such as indicated by the play of the four elements in the four-fold). The Poetics of World 245 usually recedes from notice. both thing and world do indeed resist the absolute power of cognition that Hegel announced as inviolable. As soon as human cognition here calls for an explanation. to ‘world’ world. Thus Heidegger argues for the “inexplicable and unfathomable character of the world’s worlding. how it “worlds”.

the destitute time of the current age harbors danger. Heidegger meditates on world as abandoned by the gods. eschatological temporality. too. as one of a declining illumination.246 Gosetti-Ferencei pervades much of the eschatological treatment of world in the writings on poetry. 2. is groundless. and the oscillation of illumination and darkness. While for the early Christians Paul is the figure who makes possible an authentic awaiting of the parousia. world. and Christ. the lecture course which comprises Part I of GA60. it can be seen that an affirmative . Referring now to a Weltnacht. in its abandonment by the gods. the world-age. Heidegger questions the Weltalter. This turning around will be thought in Rilkean terms. indeed for philosophy itself. as an inversion (Umkehrung) of our tendency to turn against the wholeness of what is (GA5: 300). in which we live. the notion belongs to Heidegger’s attempts to formulate the nature of factical life as the primary point of departure for phenomenological investigation. a saving from which only poetic language can indicate (GA5: 269). Tracing the development of the notion of “world” in ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’. descending into ‘night’. In ‘What are Poets For?’ (‘Wozu Dichter?’of 1946). As in The Phenomenology of Religious Life. here the poet is the one who remains on the trail of the fugitive gods and teaches us of a turning (den Weg spuren zur Wende) from world’s destitution (GA5: 272). a text that profoundly echoes themes from The Phenomenology of Religious Life. where the world’s “evening” is. Citing Hölderlin’s ‘Brot und Wein’. The Notion of “World” in ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’ The lecture course ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’ can now be seen as a source for the earliest formulation of some of the thematic and conceptual concerns surrounding the notion of world in the poetic theory. “hangs in the abyss” (hängt im Abgrund) (GA5: 270). world is considered here according to the themes of: the holy and its absence. Long before the treatment of world as disclosive tension in poetic language with its profound reference to temporality. Dionysos. via Hölderlin’s references to Heracles. an authenticity which marks factical life in its “turning-around” from fallenness. by virtue of the gods’s failure to arrive. Introducing Heidegger’s thematization of technology as accelerating the world’s night.

But what are the method and the subject-matter of philosophy’s concern? For philosophy to understand itself originally. Heidegger suggests that. to its “secularization” as such doctrine (GA60: 10). here the experience. The first section of Heidegger’s lecture-course being methodological in its concerns. and the world is not its object. and its object is not determinable scientifically. but it is also the foundation for his understanding of the notion of “world” which is of interest here. Factical life experience is. pre-philosophical. or of method. But Heidegger does not leave the notion of “world” behind. in its originality. which Heidegger has named as the point of departure both for his investigation of the nature of philosophy and for philosophy itself. world will be a concern for philosophy in a mode other than that of an object of cognition. both the activity of experiencing – the self who experiences. The Poetics of World 247 conception of “world” as pertaining to factical life experience is introduced in the wake of Heidegger’s rejection of some prejudices concerning the nature of philosophy as “world-view”. it must be liberated from “a scientific doctrine of world-views”. Further. its “material domain” or Sachgebiet. das erfahrendes Selbst – and that which is experienced through the activity. that distinguishes philosophy from science. that they “are not torn apart like things […] expresses what is essential in factical life experience” (GA60: 9). Heidegger aims to provide an alternative to understanding philosophy as a “cognitive dealing with the world” (erkenntnismäßigen Befassung mit der Welt) (GA60: 6). are essentially interconnected. pre-theoretical experience: experience which cannot be torn asunder into subject and object. Philosophy. But it is not only the question of rigorousness. does not deal with an object at all” (GA60: 10). will differ from science in both respects. This essential interconnectedness between the experiencing self and that which is experienced already indicates why . rather. in fact. Thus its method is not a cognitive dealing. Thus it is not a scientific doctrine. that is. unlike science. Factical life experience will be the essential term in Heidegger’s lecture-course. This inseparability. The notion of “world” is soon re-introduced according to the notion of “factical life experience”. but rather also its object of investigation. perhaps.7 Factical life experience is described as a kind of original experience which has been left behind by philosophy when it has been caught within a scientific self-determination. “philosophy. Heidegger outlines these prejudices that pertain to philosophy’s relation to the sciences and to the notion of scientific rigour that modern philosophy in particular has adopted.

rather. as in his later poetic theory. The first of these aspects. concern. For “life experience is more than mere experience which takes cognizance of. and a verbal quality of clearing. In these early writings world already manifests aspects which will be taken up in the poetic theory. which is also related to the uncanniness or distress of the human being as one who participates in this clearing. For world.248 Gosetti-Ferencei factical life experience will be a matter. The world is not an object of cognition. While Heidegger does not maintain the language of “self”. as treated above. of bringing into illumination. It is decidedly not an object but “that in which one can live (one cannot live in an object)”. the second pair in the next. characterizing that toward which the active and passive poses are taken. as having an event-character. Heidegger now defines “world” as “what is lived as experience” (das Erlebte). World is centred in a “how” of Being (GA63: 86). world is not the object of the experiencing self within factical life. but for phenomenological investigation in particular. How is factical life experience foundational for the notion of “world”? Just as factical life experience cannot be regarded as an object of scientific inquiry. and thus philosophy. Heidegger will formulate again in the 1923 ‘Ontologie’ lecture- course that world is the “wherefrom. will not be reducible to cognition. continuity between this and the later position is suggested by a common structure of relational meaning. is formulated in ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’ in terms of these active and passive poses . as in these early writings. and on the basis of which factical life is lived” (GA63: 86). appears in ‘Der Ursprung der Kunstwerkes’ in first involving concern. Heidegger aims to indicate a far richer and more nuanced nexus of relations within factical life toward world which. The first pair of aspects of world will be discussed in this subsection. it can only be formally articulated in its structures. is not going to be a study of world-views. understood originally. then in terms of the further articulation of a native sphere (Wesensraum) of belonging. keeping in mind the essential inseparability of what is experienced from experiencing. or of the world as cognized (GA60: 10). it cannot be reified according to the demands of ordinary philosophical cognition. not for philosophy in its usual methods. out of which. Returning to the notion that factical life is essentially expressed in the inseparability between experiencing self and the content of experience. It designates the whole active and passive pose of the human being toward the world”. If world is to be understood.

the approach to genuine historicity must be an enactmental one. thus Heidegger refuses its reduction to an objectively determinable historical period or epoch which can become an object of study (GA60: 91). he argues. that toward which active and passive poses of life are taken. and finally the I. which Heidegger will later call the Wesensraum. 67). as it were. like that of factical life experience. Heidegger will approach the letters of Paul by first contextualizing his situation. depends upon the inseparability of experiencing (self) and that which is experienced. There is a further structural articulation of the relation between self and world as the experiencing activity and that which is experienced in the experiencing activity. are not to be abruptly demarcated from each other. he cautions. within the notion of world. is not reducible to a geographical specificity but an existential situation with its unique historicality. Heidegger’s further articulation of the notion of “world”. It is the content of that which is lived as experience. which. The interpretation will be drawn from a non-cognitive empathy with the Pauline situation: a . seeing “the situation such that we write the letter along with Paul”. This becomes apparent within Heidegger’s demarcation of regions within the world which. there is an indication.worlds and their relation to the self-world. The Poetics of World 249 toward world and explicitly as concernful significance in the ‘Ontologie’ lecture-course. a notion familiar to readers of Husserlian phenomenology. cannot be taken as an object of ordinary historical cognition. of the “situation”. and within it. World presumably would indicate the total nexus of das Erlebte. theoretically separable from self or the activity of experiencing. In terms of Paul’s description of his religious experience. though the concept of “world” itself pertains to the latter. a sphere which. the communal world. a tripartite configuration consisting of: the surrounding world. however. and enactment (how the relational meaning is enacted) (GA60: 87.and communal. complicates this designation of world as the only theoretically separable content. relation (how it is experienced). in both surrounding.or self-world (Umwelt. gaining “an original way of access” to its content (what is experienced). One can speak of life-worlds and regions of the life-world. of what is lived as experience. One can also point to. and thus only theoretically separable from the activity of experiencing and from the self who experiences. as in the later writings. Rather. Selbstwelt). Mitwelt. Yet here – and this difference from the later thought will be touched upon again in the conclusion – the concept of world.

Heidegger does not give an indication of the specific relations among these regions of and within the world. It must be noted that the world as the inalienable content of factical life experience also includes the possibility that the self will experience itself in terms of world. Thus an articulation of some specific relationships between or among these worlds must be in principle possible. he will indeed point to these specific relations – for instance. he aims only to point out that and how they become accessible to factical life experience. notwithstanding Heidegger’s warning against stratification. .and surrounding.and surrounding- worlds. Since experience is always-already worldly. But he does argue in the interpretation of the Pauline letters that Paul’s situation must be understood according to all three – self- worldly. which is in accord with Heidegger’s later critique of Cartesian and post-Cartesian formulations of subjectivity and in line with the address to things of poetic dwelling. Thus while Heidegger insists in the case of Paul’s situation described in the letter to the Galatians on the struggle between self. self-world “no longer stands out from the surrounding world” (GA60: 13). which Heidegger characterizes in terms of struggle. and the world is experienced through the self. and even in struggle with them. And in fact. to experience oneself is a “self- worldly experience”.250 Gosetti-Ferencei vivid sense of the relation of self-world to communal.worlds. Cautioning against any kind of epistemological stratification of the aforementioned regions. struggle between Paul’s self-world and the communal world. The way in which I experience myself is through the world. and then again between Paul’s self-world and the surrounding world – as part of the historical-factical content to be accessed by a phenomenology of religious life. This inseparability of self and world will correspond to two possible modes of comportment to world: the non-objectification of world as opposed to self. as distinct from the world as surrounding world or communal world. though this is to be differentiated from the philosophy of consciousness and the latter’s transcendental position with regard to the object. These aspects of world will be seen to be inseparable. Thus Heidegger already insists on the non-isolation of the self. communal-worldly. and thus they can be only formally indicated in a manner which allows other aspects of world to be co-indicated. when Heidegger turns to the factical life experience of early Christianity as expressed in Paul’s letters. and surrounding-worldly relations. Yet Heidegger does articulate further this relationship between self and world as one of inseparability.

and in the critique of curiosity in Sein und Zeit. Yet one form of explicit self-articulation in worldly ambition is likewise a temptation: here the self becomes explicit. however – and in my view problematically – I will address in the conclusion. a formulation that will be clearly echoed in Heidegger’s concept of “das Man” in Sein und Zeit (GA60: 261). despite the abrupt break that is said to take place between them both in the course itself and its content. There are deep connections between the methodological preliminary part of the lecture course and its concrete application in the second half of the lecture course. the self as “this being lived by the world” (dieses Gelebtwerden) and so is lost (GA60: 228). can also be an authentic one. This emphasis on self-world. again. and the tendency toward fallenness of self into a worldly significance. based on Hölderlin. and a conception of his vocation or calling. discussed in Augustine’s Confessions. Absorption in world. but into the communal world. as in Paul’s situation. For factical life experience is characterized by what Heidegger will call its “falling tendency”: factical life experience tends to fall into . the second of the three lecture courses in GA60. along with a further tendency of life in its indifference to the how of experience and in its self-sufficiency to articulate the world according to an objective logic. but it appears in some form through the treatment of the poet-figure. to the second coming at the end of time. This of course reappears throughout Heidegger’s works in the 1920s: among other texts. At risk of drawing the analogy too explicitly: Paul is to authentic religiosity within factical life experience what Hölderlin is to poetic dwelling and its manifestation of the holy. That in the latter case the self is nonetheless explicitly rejected. The Poetics of World 251 as described above. characterizes the non-poetic nature of a major tendency of factical life experience. or presence. but only “entirely in the eyes and tendencies of others”. and it recalls Kierkegaard’s analysis of the same. In ‘Augustine and Neo-Platonism’. this not standing-out is illuminated in terms of the temptation (tentatio). of curious absorption in the world. in the ‘Ontologie’ lecture-course. rather than being-awake to what is not present. Here the self or self-world is absorbed most precisely not into the surrounding world in general. will recede in much of Heidegger’s treatment of poetic language. an absorption in the world that buries over or conceals an authentic relation. Yet this connection. In both cases the sense of world is transformed through the relational stance of one in and by whom it is experienced.8 For the early Christians this means a submergence into the world at hand.

a non-poetic relation to the world will address it in terms of a definable. therein. The tendency . for the manner of experiencing is neglected by a fundamental indifference. both of which oppose the scientific determination of objects. How does this significance arise? Heidegger explains that it belongs to one tendency of factical life experience: to objectify itself into a logic of objects: “A relating. even quantifiable. a structure peculiar to the specific material states of affairs. to put it in the later terms – fails to be noticed at this level of factical life experience. and self-worlds will be encountered in factical life as already having some “significance”. Thus the relation of the experiencing self to world – the relation of revealing itself to what is revealed.252 Gosetti-Ferencei a logic of significance that tends toward objectification by virtue of its indifference to the ‘how’ of experience. insofar as it can appear at all. in the early treatment of factical life. communal-. Likewise. in the poetic theory the absence of the gods in the increasing of the world’s night – the withdrawal of a genuine relation to Being in the technological determination of the world as positive presence – is described as part of the destiny itself. manifests itself now. “merges into its content” (Gehalt) (GA60: 12). will oppose this kind of tendency that is nevertheless part of factical life itself. To readers of Heidegger’s later writings. on the other hand. with its unique sense of time. “a connectedness of objects increasingly forms and stabilizes itself. Scientific culture. Early Christian religiosity. if not also thematic origins. forms itself as a totality of revealed presence. a grouping-together. In some significant way this Seinsgeschichte has its structural origins. a material logic. positive presence. In “the falling tendency of factical life experience”. and so the manner of experiencing. This falling-into-significance “constantly strives for an articulation in science and ultimately for a ‘scientific culture’” (GA60: 15). Heidegger writes. either in a nurturing Gelassenheit or a strife-ful revelation. This means that life experience “puts all its weight on its content”. that to which one has taken active and passive pose. The manner of experiencing disappears in fixation on the content of the experience. it is obvious how far such culture is from a poetic apprehension of the world. This is an indifference of experience to the ‘how’ or the mode of experience: what is of concern is the content of experience. the surrounding-. is formed” (GA60: 14). In this way one arrives at a logic of the surrounding world”. Engaged in the concerns of life. Science and scientific philosophy only render this logic more rigorous. a connectedness of objects that bears a specific logic.

Specifically. for manifestation of a more authentic possible engagement wherein the “how” of life becomes manifest along with that toward which it is concerned. manifesting the second pair of aspects of world that will appear in ‘Der Ursprung der Kunstwerkes’. Thus the falling tendency of factical life. which could arrive like a thief in the night. the same self- sufficiency of factical life as its own absorbing content. a satisfaction with present worldly things. it will be seen that Christian enactment involves a different experience of temporality than one of the positive presence. Here early Christian religious experience. and to the later articulation of a poetic engagement with the world (GA60: 18). Just as Heidegger will later say that poetic language offers within its own disclosive structure and temporal significance a tendency of opposition to the scientific-technological culture. a dramatic. Such. both belong to factical life experience. one which motivates a pulling out of the falling tendency of factical life. and so to revive the existential- phenomenological relation to world. is an original temporality. rather than being caught up within it. Heidegger thinks. But in the first case the same indifference to the how of experiencing. Heidegger announces here the necessity of locating a motive within factical life itself for a “turning around” of this tendency to objectify life experience and world according to a logic of objects or. The relation to world will thus be transformed by an event that is wound up with Paul’s illuminating proclamation. is profoundly opposed both to a genuine religiosity as Paul urges of his followers. at the level of everydayness. The Poetics of World 253 toward scientific culture. is enacted. which “conditions a tendency of factically lived life toward the attitudinal determination and regulation of objects”. kairological break from everydayness with its absorption in . Thus Heidegger’s task is to revive the potential ‘appearance’ of the relation between experiencing and experienced. as well as the possibility of turning in the opposed direction. particularly Paul’s reference to the parousia in his epistolary proclamations. is engaged as the occasion of a motive for “turning-around”. Heidegger turns in the second part of this lecture course to the concrete experience of facticity within primal Christianity as expressed in three of Paul’s letters to his communities. What phenomenology must here overcome is the tendency within factical life experience of significance to increasingly stabilize itself in univocal concepts. or the second coming. since it is characterized both by “having-become” and by the awaiting of the parousia.

Thus the fateful destiny announced by Hölderlin is said to arrive out of that already-sent future which “is present only in the arrival of his words” (GA5: 320). there is an apocalyptic echo of the letters of Paul in their concern for the danger of his followers being caught unprepared at the second coming. wherein an authentic one involves a present heightened by a radically primary past and future. and this pertains both to self-world and communal- world: the community of the Thessalonians in their “having become” is also. Hölderlin awaits the coming gods in the night of their withdrawal from the world. In either case the situation is profoundly marked by temporality in terms of past and future. The early Christians must be awakened to a temporality where not presence is prioritized. now determines their situation in awaiting what is to come. Just as Paul’s self-world is determined by the arrival of the second coming at the end of time. then. just as non-poetic. a sense of his own temporality. but later in the poetic theory under his adoption of the Hölderlinian motif of awaiting the new gods and standing out into the dangerous abyss of their withdrawal. it is itself conceived of as an “event-complex”: their having-become Christians. for in them “he necessarily co-experiences himself” (GA60: 93). temporality is related both to existential illumination and darkness: the Thessalonians’ inauthentic conception of time (as in asking when will Christ come again) signifies their living in darkness. In both the early and the late thought of Heidegger. but the past – their having-become – is taken up in the present. having given themselves over. And if for the early Christians “temporality is the mode in which God is ‘given’”. Paul’s entrance into the life of the Thessalonians marks the initiation of their turning-around. This unyielding attention to the ways in which temporality must mark the experience of existence as “event” is threaded. since Paul is “co-included in the state of the congregation […] of those who fell to him”. In the poetic motif of destitute time. or being tempted by the anti-Christ (GA60: 98). . itself charged by the future which is undetermined. through the entire range of Heidegger’s works. as indicated in the previous section.254 Gosetti-Ferencei the content of experience.9 this same transformation of present as awakened by the past in light of the future is effected in the poetic theory. appearing not only as the axis of an authentic grasp of Being in his major work. Temporality grounds these differing formulations of our possible modes of existence. Here awaiting the second coming of Christ at the end of time will be characterized as a situation of anxiety or distress.

But in Christian awaiting. . could render this determination quite differently. as opposed to being stuck in the worldly (GA60: 105). and then Gelassenheit on the other). Paul himself is beset by distress about the awaiting. This retrieval of relationality – of how something is manifest to that to whom it is so manifest – is itself a moment of disclosure. that the world does not just happen to be there”. in either case. in the face of the historical. This awaiting or hope is not ordinary expectation. only to dismiss some “playing off of different […] views against one another” (GA60: 106). its how. The Poetics of World 255 technological dwelling involves reduction to presence that characterizes the darkness of the Weltnacht. The parousia as event is not an event of arrival as simple presence but a manifestation of the truth of awaiting by the proper comportment. an event that is non- identifiable in terms of a ‘when’. Much more could be made of the difference between these two letters than Heidegger allows. In contrast. the arrival. the How “arises from the sense of the surrounding world. is determined by the How of the awaiting. The first and second letters of Paul to the Thessalonians. “The significance of the world – also that of one’s own world – is given and experienced in a peculiar way through the retrieval of the relational complexes in the authentic enactment” (GA60: 122). indifference is banished in the enactment of religiosity. of course. such that the when is transformed through the manner of awaiting. which is determined through the enactment of factical life experience in each of its moments”. Heidegger contrasts two letters to the Thessalonians with regard to their treatment of the parousia. “whether preceded by the arrival of the Antichrist with its war and turmoil” or arriving unexpectedly in a reign of peace and security (oddly foreshadowing the articulation of poetic address to world in terms of battle and strife. The world is here illuminated. In the treatment of primal Christianity. the letters of Paul are brought into Heidegger’s discussion after a meditation on the concept of the historical and the tendency within factical life to manage itself. The parousia. a distress or anxiety which “determines each moment of his life” (GA60: 98). Heidegger argues that the “When is determined through the How of the self-comportment. a point that Paul must stress in his letters to the community. early Christianity faces the historical by living temporality rather than securing itself against it. on the one hand. It is dependent upon its complex of enactment. Of the parousia. But as Heidegger points out. to secure itself.

to borrow the later language. Authentic Christian relationality. Proclamation is not incidental or external to the experience of Paul with respect to his mission. an expressing.and communal-worlds which characterizes Paul’s situation.256 Gosetti-Ferencei This sense of authentic anxiety. it is “not coincidental. is to step into the uncanny place of Being’s withdrawal. In both cases an authentic receptivity is manifested in language. kairological awaiting of the parousia is an intrinsic aspect of Paul’s self-world. Moreover. Thus proclamation – how it expresses and what it expresses – can itself not be described within a reifying use of language.10 Verkündigung or proclamation through the writing of the letter and its wording is a necessary manifesting. determines the poet’s vocation or being-called. Like proclamation. in the self’s state of unknowing. While Heidegger focuses largely on the self. for Paul the how of awaiting is essential and it must be. the task of the poet in the age of the world’s night is articulated in terms of the poetry of Hölderlin. Heidegger’s stress upon the phenomenon of proclamation suggests that the expression or the explication of authentic. counters darkness by an event of illumination: Paul’s proclamation that what is awaited. open to manifestation and disclosure – appears in Heidegger’s later works. albeit in a much more isolated mission.and communal- worlds in his treatment of Paul. of his experience. This suggests an analogy between Pauline proclamation – particularly in responding to the distress and impatience of his followers – and the poet whose role. rather it is necessary” (GA60: 105). which enacts a futural anticipation that. is made possible by the manner or the how of awaiting. In both cases language is not primarily cognitive. If the poet will have to abide in the dangerous abyss. that establishes the vital relation to the surrounding. the insecurity is not to be put to rest. unheimlich. cannot be homey. since the world cannot be securely determined. rather. as Sheehan put it. there is an explicit acknowledgment of the transformation of surrounding-world by the primordial experience of Christianity: “all surrounding-worldly relations must pass through the . The question of the second coming is for Paul “not a cognitive question” and it cannot be answered by any rational speculation: it is outside “reasonable human understanding”. also in memory or Andenken. “the basic religious experience is to be exposed”. in this context. linked thematically to the later emphasis on Unheimlichkeit – not being able to settle into a world locked down in its significance but rather.

Thus the surrounding-world is interpreted through the manner of lived temporality: having-become as awaiting. In contrast to the “over-intensification of a significance” of factical life. Heidegger later attributes this tendency toward the over-intensification of significance to the linguistic relation to a world dominated by cognitive ordering and its attendant technological ordering. will encounter the necessity of “liberating language from logic” (SZ: 209). and yet the possibility of an authentic everydayness is manifest. in authentic awaiting of the parousia.worldly relations. he argues that. under the auspices of which concepts are fluxuating. but is illuminated by the kairos as situating an authentic possibility for factical life in contrast to the darkness of fallenness. This methodological approach now seems to have been anticipating the content of the second half of the lecture-course with its discussion of opening up of the “over-significance” of the world in light of the parousia. vague. soon after these lecture courses. Although the formal indication for the most part disappears in Heidegger’s thought. cannot be accounted for in a static concept. its significance has not disappeared. this transformation does not entail a divorce from surrounding. from which the world does not recede. The two most prominent for this . such that this surrounding-world. since Heidegger. Heidegger had offered the ‘formal indication’ as the phenomenological approach to world and factical life experience. 3. take place between this early lecture course and Heidegger’s later works. the world can be addressed in other terms. vacillating.and communal. At the end of Heidegger’s reflections on primal Christianity. At the methodological level. with respect to the world both nothing and everything has changed. and polysemous. The Poetics of World 257 complex of having-become. it is the seed that will later come to fruition through poetic ‘thinking’. of course. While the “self-world” has been radically transformed by authentic temporality. The world is not left behind. authentic religiosity denies this foothold. This authenticity will then be a matter of how the world is lived in a kairologically-defined temporality. and world in general. If here the tendency of factical life is to “gain a foothold” through the “over-intensification of a significance”. so that this complex is then co-present” (GA60: 120). Reading Between Early and Late Heidegger Many transformations.

Heidegger’s later critique of onto-theology no longer looks to Christian experience as a site of authentic facticity. since that will be understood as unconcealment wherein the manner of address is intrinsic to the possibilities of what can be disclosed. the seeds are here sewn for Heidegger’s later turn to poetic language. Most interestingly. Nonetheless. the absence in “life” of this earthly element which would resist fixation in a logic of objects is apparent. perhaps the richest methodological contribution of Heidegger’s lecture courses at the time of ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’. and against anthropocentrism or humanism and thus against the self. . on the one hand. disappears from Heidegger’s concerns more or less after Sein und Zeit. in fact. to bury this ‘how’ within significance such that a turning- around from the falling tendency is needed. on the other. however differentiated from transcendental subjectivity in this lecture course. Retrospectively one can say that what is still missing in the reflections on factical life – as has been argued of Sein und Zeit – is a formulation of earth. given Heidegger’s increasing distance from anthropocentric formulations of Being. Thus from the perspective of the later writings. certainly foreshadows Heidegger’s attempt to draw from language radically different possibilities of expression than that of the scientific concept. given the thematic and structural resonances outlined above between this early lecture course and the later poetic theory. for the notion of “earth” as the sheltering agent of resistance to concealment has profound implications for that of world. Moreover. the primary mode of this turning. Pertaining to the nature of poetic unconcealment or revealing of beings in their Being is the withholding of the earthly element. it is justified to ask why the early Heidegger did not render his interpretations of factical life experience with the kind of poetic pre- occupations of the later works. and language. Given the displacement of what is experienced in favor of the ‘how’ of comportment.258 Gosetti-Ferencei context involve a critical turn against Christianity. regarding Christianity along with Platonism as part of the reduction of Being to presence that will situate the rise of modern science and technology and its neglect of the world as a shelter of Being. Poetic language will become. both language and factical life are seen to harbor tendency toward scientific seizure of that with which it is concerned: the tendency of factical life. the emphasis on self-world. since he was already a reader of poetry?11 The notion of a formal indication.

but also the notion of a “self-world” in its authentic relation to the how of factical life experience. Heidegger emphasizes its relational significance to human concerns. for instance in the ‘Ontologie’ lecture-course. In this sense. the natural substrate of things seems to be displaced in favor of concernful dealing. Whether authentic temporality as Heidegger argues was lived by the early Christians could be at all compatible with such is probably beside the point. any real account of the self of poetic language is lacking. In order to evade the scientific- epistemological reduction of the thing to the status of object. origins of beings in a way which also cultivates a reverence for the holy. it is possible that the notion of poetic dwelling as enactmental . While the emphasis on self-world and even on the self’s experience is severely diminished in the later Heidegger. the notion of poetic dwelling. Heidegger leaves behind some rich insights that might have been useful for his later thinking. and in general his readings of what he very hesitatingly refers to as poetic experience. While in ‘Der Ursprung der Kunstwerkes’. In Heidegger’s poetics of world. since one would not also look to a Hölderlinian model of kairological time to find real solutions to the technological crisis his poetry is said to have foreshadowed at the deepest ontological level.12 To account for world as disclosive tension implies the necessity of addressing that which resists disclosure. adequately accounts for the latter. only in the much later notion of the fourfold. While the poetics of world in Heidegger’s later thought thus profits from the development of the concept of earth. albeit with its attendant mysticism. The Poetics of World 259 Not only in Sein und Zeit but earlier. given the vigour of Heidegger’s aim to overcome the metaphysics of subjectivity. there is certainly the template here of the structure of unconcealment that will later emerge as the tension between world and earth. with its countering tendencies. in the Hölderlinian sense of the word. world is presented as in tension with earth. which would give some methodological clarity to readers of his meditations upon poetic language. earthly. as discussed in the first section of this essay. any “life” that can be attributed to non-human beings – their organic basis – is overlooked in the formulation of life as a tendency toward worldliness. These include not only the idea of the formal indication. but more substantially. does Heidegger begin to formulate this concernful significance as relation to the non-worldly. Yet while it is doubtful whether Heidegger’s concept of “life”. although one might be inspired by its sense of urgency.

the self absorbed by history and its inner tensions and without recourse to speak for itself. or. too. There Heidegger acknowledges a notion drawn from Pascal and Rilke of the “inner space” of the heart that corresponds to Rilke’s notion of the “world’s inner space” (der Weltinnenraum) wherein world. An inclusion of “self-world” would certainly open up the theory of poetic language to a more nuanced phenomenological analysis. but can be described according to its capacity for being affected by the world. Heidegger gives here a reading of personal existence that “integrates itself into the primordial constituting element of historical consciousness as such”. would preclude Heidegger’s explicit rejections of the experience of the poet. Heidegger’s notes on Augustine. and render less problematic Heidegger’s thesis about the poet’s relation to Being as one of destiny13 – which leaves. Heidegger’s reading of ‘Andenken’. show that Heidegger was already aware of a model of self that does not conform to the Cartesian model: “self- certainty and self-possession in the sense of Augustine are entirely different from the Cartesian evidence of the ‘cogito’” (GA60: 298). In Heidegger’s reading of Paul’s letters an early notion of “self- world” is instrumental in understanding an authentic relation to both communal. so to speak. for instance in supplementing. an “essential openness to values” and a “primary love of meaning” (GA60: 330-31). and thus is an intrinsic element – though not an egocentric one – of the situation of factical life experience. Again the “personally existing being” is not “an empty page. and is thus bereft of any kind of self or subject who could be speaking. when it is asked what phenomenological traction could be given to an account of language that relies on the poet as a vessel of Being’s sending. more critically. and thus. This is by no means to say that the figure of Paul serves as an ideal model of such a self.260 Gosetti-Ferencei relationship could retrieve this notion of self without succumbing to the metaphysics of subjectivity Heidegger criticizes in the intervening decades. no empty ‘I’. no point-like self”. Attention to the “self-world” of Hölderlin. but simply that Heidegger had seen the possibility of a structural indication of the self without that being caught up in the metaphysics of representational consciousness. .and surrounding-worlds. who could be said to poetically dwell within the world as “the whole of all beings”. countering. In order to draw this out further one would want to take up the glimpses of a possible authentic self-world Heidegger acknowledges in the ‘Wozu Dichter?’ essay discussed in the first section.

Gosetti- Ferencei (2004). Jennifer Anna. “environing world”. renders Umwelt. before the publication of GA60 the relation of this lecture-course to both Sein und Zeit and the notion of Ereignis was given by Sheehan (1979: 312-324). 26). Heidegger. Chapters 2 and 3. 3 On the earliest use of Heidegger’s verbal employment of this notion in the 1919 Kriegsnotsemester. 11 Pöggeler (1987: 16). PA: Pennsylvania State University Press. in his translation of GA63. If this world of Gelassenheit dwelling can be addressed in terms of the self- world of an authentic everydayness. Hölderlin. Bernstein (1992: 66-135). The Fate of the Self: German Writers and French Theory. 1994. The Poetics of World 261 in the authentic sense of the word. whereas we have chosen “surrounding world” for the same term in our translation (Fritsch and Gosetti-Ferencei) of GA60. Gadamer. 9 See Sheehan (1979: 321). and the Subject of Poetic Language. Theodore Kisiel gives a lengthy account of the relation of GA60 to Sein und Zeit in Kisiel (1993: 151-191). New York: Fordham University Press. University Park. of the self-world presented in ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’. NC: Duke University Press. 5 Van Buren. 6 See GA63 (85-88). Stanley. this would be an earthly transformation. Gosetti-Ferencei. 12 See Krell (1994: 369). 1 The scholarly discussion up to the publication of this volume has focussed rather on the relationship between this lecture-course and Sein und Zeit. . 2004. The Fate of Art: Aesthetic Alienation from Kant to Derrida and Adorno. 13 Accounts of this are given. see Gadamer (1994: 26). Hans-Georg. is sheltered (GA5: 306-7). 2 Husserl (1993: 18. even if radical. Durham. 4 Cf. 10 Kisiel (1993: 175). ‘Martin Heidegger’s One Path’ in Kisiel (1994): 19-34. References Bernstein. Corngold (1994). for example. Sheehan makes brief reference to late Heidegger and to Gelassenheit but not to the theory of poetic language as such. 1994. See Krell (1994: 361-379). 7 David Farrell Krell criticizes Heidegger’s tendency to reduce “life” to “world”. in Henrich (1997). Jay M. For example. 8 Kisiel describes this in Kisiel (1993: 170-73). Corngold. 1992.

Atlantic Highlands. ‘Heidegger’s “Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion” 1920-21’ in Personalist 60 (July): 312-324. Krell. 1979. Kisiel. 1994. 1993. Thomas. Daniel Margurshak and Sigmund Barber). 1987. Berkeley. Martin Heidegger’s Path of Thinking (tr. Otto. – and John van Buren (eds). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. CA: University of California Press. NY: State University of New York Press. Dorion Cairns). Husserl. Cartesian Meditations (tr.262 Gosetti-Ferencei Henrich. Theodore. NJ: Humanities Press International. David Farrell. 1993. Stanford University Press. Pöggeler. ‘The “Factical Life” of Dasein: From the Early Freiburg Courses to Being and Time’ in Kisiel (1994): 361-380. The Course of Remembrance and Other Essays on Hölderlin (ed. . The Genesis of Heidegger’s Being and Time. Edmund. 1997. Eckhart Förster). Reading Heidegger From the Start: Essays in His Earliest Thought. Albany. Sheehan. Dieter. 1994.

authenticity) is not as literal but no less evident. while perhaps sufficient as reminders to Heidegger when lecturing. In the first place. of reading themes of the existential analysis back into the commentary on the Confessions or. as he expands on such notions as facticity and curiosity in the course of interpreting the tenth book of Augustine’s Confessions. Yet the promise of navigating among these difficulties is considerable. resoluteness. and commentary on the Confessions yet another.g. Heidegger did not himself prepare the lecture notes for publication and they often take the form of incomplete sentences that. Overlap in the case of other themes (e. Review of the respective congruencies and incongruencies between the lectures and the existential analysis in Being and Time can . the discordances and omissions are also important.. confessions are one thing. 28) Das In-der-Welt-sein ist an ihm selbst versucherisch. Truth and Temptation: Confessions and Existential Analysis Daniel Dahlstrom Numquid non tentatio est vita humana super terram sine ullo interstitio? Augustine (Conf. To be sure. Martin Heidegger (SZ: 177) Heidegger’s lectures in the summer semester of 1921 contain several unmistakable. existential analysis another. 10. There are also the perils of anachronism. for that matter. are less than able guides to interpretation. or to a student (Oskar Becker) when reviewing them. In light of the many common notes struck in the lectures and Being and Time. Moreover. these lectures present a substantial hermeneutic challenge. even literal anticipations of themes of the existential analysis undertaken in Being and Time. into lectures given five years before the final draft of Being and Time.

evident in the otherwise different interpretations given by Troeltsch. an understanding in this direction does not get at its sense [i. for Augustine. This notion of temptation and the breakdown that it signals provides a key to the historical experience that Heidegger aims to introduce to his students . the talk is of an object. Whatever else Augustine is doing by writing his Confessions. particularly when set against the background of Augustine’s confessions.264 Dahlstrom help us to understand Heidegger’s development as a thinker. only to emphasize that it has no application to the sort of historical experience and knowledge in question here (GA60: 165f). the sense of what is being considered]” (GA60: 170). he suggests. a mere profile of the phenomenon in question. these interpreters share “an objective historical attitude” towards Augustine. and trouble (molestia). In the course of the review Heidegger mentions the theoretical concept of truth. They can also amplify aspects of the existential analysis. A confession.e. after all. daily trial (tentatio). filling out what occasionally is.. one need look no further than its immediate object. The Life of Temptation and the Sense of Historical Experience The lectures instructively begin with a review of standard approaches to Augustine. in the following consideration. as someone “standing in an objectively posited.. especially by a confessor who finds himself vulnerable and questionable (quaestio mihi sum) in the deepest recesses of his own heart. Indeed. by Heidegger’s own admission. Nothing like this is possible in a confession. Finally. For all their differences. and in Book X Augustine admits to his beloved Truth that he continues to be tempted by other loves. and Dilthey. it is not theorizing. Harnack. i. the exercise facilitates critical evaluation of the adequacy of Heidegger’s existential analysis itself. Why it does not apply can be gleaned. tribulation (tribulatio). 2 For clues to the sense of historical experience that Heidegger’s interpretation aims to convey. There are also potential benefits for rethinking the form and content of Augustine’s Confessions themselves. 1. life on earth is a constant. ordered historical context [geschichtlicher Ordnungszusammenhang]” (GA60: 167). is an admission of failure. seemingly with the same slant.e. from the sense of the access [Zugangssinn] to Augustine. gazing from a safe distance.1 Heidegger accordingly warns his students that “insofar as. Augustine’s Confessions themselves.

In the experience of temptation sans répit. Conf. 10. as “providing fulfilment for the concern for truth” (GA60: 199f). to be sure. Heidegger accordingly infers that “we come to the basic sense of the experience of the self as an historical experience” by approaching it from the standpoint of the problem of this trial (GA60: 280). nevertheless. a loving into which one grows through tradition. convenience. Augustine then immediately and repeatedly identifies this blessed life with a “joy about truth” (gaudium de veritate). fashion. the Ipsa Veritas to whom he is making this confession. But why does life take the form of a relentless trial? For Augustine the key to an answer lies in his relationship to God. he seeks a blessed life. The identification is important because it helps explain why this truth is. the anxiety of suddenly standing in vacuity.3 Heidegger thus focuses on a non-theoretical way of knowing yielded by historical experience – not just any historical experience. In this way the problem of temptation provides the context of enacting my experience of myself. Aiming to confess only what he knows of himself. precisely this becomes the “truth” itself. we have sufficient acquaintance with it to seek it (Conf. without “having” had a blessed life. he notes that he is at least certain that he loves God and that when he seeks God. Cognizant that his own glosses might suggest an objective characterization.4 “Hoc quod amant velint esse veritatem” [what they love they want to be the truth] – what is loved at the moment. 37). “the basic sense of experience of the self as historical” (GA60: 263. The truth and its meaning are taken even into this modification – that is. 10. Heidegger accordingly cites with particular approval Augustine’s observation that “a human being does not know himself unless he finds out about himself in temptation”. . in his opinion. one does not only retreat from the vacuity. we experience ourselves making and remaking choices. from the “movement” toward it (GA60: 200). “The authentic truth is not loved” because people become immersed in surrogate loves that are themselves mistakenly construed as the truth. the anxiety of disquiet. even though it remains unclear how it found its way into his memory. Truth and Temptation 265 in his lectures. but even more. 20). and primarily. in and with this process of falling. not enjoyed. At issue is how. he asserts. The notion of life as a trial “everyday […] without any interruption” (cotidie […] sine cessatione) is. he insists that it is of decisive importance to approach the problem from the outset in accordance with this basic sense of historical experience as a trial – something that. Augustine did not always manage to do (GA60: 230f). but the sort that Augustine himself calls temptation.

remains as a source of bonds to something that is less than what we genuinely seek. and truth is instructively linked here in that primary sense with the object and motivation of love. 27). Augustine knows what is necessary for him to be brought back to .266 Dahlstrom ‘Process of falling’ (Vollzugsabfall) is a translation of a variant on the term ‘Abfall’ which typically means ‘rubbish’ or ‘trash’ but in its verbal form means to ‘fall off’ and. further anticipating the analysis of fallenness (Verfallensein) in Being and Time. the existence. is attached to it. Brentano. Heidegger adds. and why one does. as Heidegger also puts it. But there is also a sense of truth in a lapsed or even decadent direction (Abfallsrichtung).6 Augustine makes an analogous point about the trials and tribulations of loving when he confesses: “Late have I loved You”. to ‘fall away from or desert the faith’ (vom Glauben abfallen). a “pre-amorous truth” which is an oxymoron from an Augustinian standpoint. bears in different ways a molestia. Nevertheless. scattered and conflicted (zerstreut und zwiespältig) because – and this. is the fact that they do not have a genuine concern for truth. that they have not radically made that concern their own (GA60: 200). Heidegger describes this relentless life of temptation as the troublesomeness (molestia) of human existence. the God that we love. 10. in a deformed state. The result is a life of cares and worries. so. suggests that those who fall are not fully responsible for it. and probably intended here. he flung himself headlong into created beauties and became dispersed among so many things (Conf. his emphasis on the way one “grows up into these loves”. Just as we have some acquaintance with what we seek without having it. clinging to this ‘truth’ (placed by Heidegger in scare quotes to designate its surrogate status). a “residuum” of the truth that we seek. they continue to love the truth more than error and to be concerned about the blessed. in a connection particularly pertinent. happy life (GA60: 201). and thus determines itself in its facticity” (GA60: 230). “The selfly Dasein. what keeps them in error. he adds. “an endangering of the process of having-oneself that. We “know” the truth only as a function of loving it.5 As in that later analysis. Love is not primarily (as it seems to be for Aristotle. too. and Husserl) a function of a distinct act of knowing. is what alone must be understood – even in walling themselves off from the truth. as factical […] enacts this endangering itself” (GA60: 244). God is truth in the primary sense of the term. acknowledging how.

nisi deus det). our fallibility and frailty. After acknowledging that continence is both a divine command and a divine gift. standing in mistrust towards it” (GA60: 205). is groundless. isolated decision. through continence we are gathered back and redirected to the one from whom we flowed away. The fact that we need to exercise self-restraint or self-control (continentia) is as certain as the fact that this self-restraint is God’s gift (imperas nobis continentiam […] nemo potest esse continens. Inasmuch as falling is typically not something that one does deliberately. made transparent by the constant trials that confront us with our fallen nature as long as we live – the facticity of existence itself. need not involve our complicity. and a gift of restoring human existence to the unity from which it lapses. of the necessity of the call and the ongoing contingency of the response.8 Not a single decision but resoluteness is called for. as thrown into the world. an acknowledgment of our existential questionableness. requiring our initiative.7 Augustine thus conceives continentia as at once a command. In this way “confession” discloses our existential finitude. Heidegger calls particular attention to the contrast that Augustine is drawing here between being collected into the divine One and having flowed away from it into the many. “indeed. Heidegger couches his existential analysis of fallenness and authenticity in an analogous conception. Truth and Temptation 267 the One. he observes that. we are not the ground of those possibilities and the projection. for that matter. With this contrast in mind. its overturning the work of a single. though clearly something that we embody and enact. Nor is this flight or. while conscience is certain. One of the unambiguous messages of Augustine’s Confessions is the ineliminability of this ambiguity. the fallen state of being-here. as ours. Heidegger urges that continentia be understood not as abstinence (Enthaltsamkeit). a quo in multa defluximus) (Conf. down into the many” (Per continentiam quippe colligimur et redigimur in unum. tearing away from defluxio. 29). 10. all the while. the troublesomeness (molestia) that informs the facticity of existence. In Heideggerian terms.9 . but as “keeping together [Zusammenhalten]. to become “collected” (colligimur). Heidegger also often characterizes fallenness as a flight. the fact that we need to project our possibilities authentically and resolutely is as certain as the fact that. Existential analysis is confessional in this sense. Nevertheless.

with an eye to incorporating them into a different sort of analysis (later called ‘existential analysis’). we experience something quite remarkable about ourselves. What he means by the confession’s ‘facticity’ includes the way that Augustine portrays his experiences of himself in transitions that underscore both the lack of full self-possession and the inevitability of the ways that life (daily. indeed. 30). “I experience that I behaved […] in such and such a way that I was not actually [authentically/eigentlich] myself there”. in the process. incarnate life) pulls and tugs us in other directions. As I make the transition to sleep (ad soporem transeo). In this transition. but instead relates precisely how he “factically” experiences it. Augustine also employs the term transitus to characterize the pleasure that inevitably accompanies the passage from the pangs of . allegedly. but. such that we are somehow distressed about it”. without appeal to theoretically established distinctions like soul and body” (GA60: 212f. 241-246). plagued in dreams by the temptations of the flesh. Thus. in the course of experiencing the hold that “the life of the sexual drive” (das sexuelle Triebleben) has on us. the truth of existence itself. precisely in the transition from a chaste wakefulness to lustful dreams. Augustine singles out three specific forms of these trials. 283. from his genuine self (GA60: 248. this troubled way that “I have and am my life and world”. Heidegger notes approvingly Augustine’s manner of depicting this molestia. such that we fall away from our (authentic) pursuits. 2. demonstrating how these trials keep truth at a distance. This ‘facticity’ of the confession is arguably its most remarkable feature for Heidegger. 10.268 Dahlstrom Following 1 John 2:15-17. as I hope to show in the following sections. craving of the flesh). namely. “that there is something […] which is not done by us […] but still takes place in us.. Conf. in confessing the first temptation (concupiscentia carnis. The First Form of Temptation: Keeping Truth at an Aesthetic Distance Heidegger stresses that Augustine. Heidegger reads Augustine’s accounts of these specific temptations. does not speak from “a biological-psychological theoretical attitude”. albeit not the Divine Truth. each emerging from natural desires yet with the potential to distance him from God and. I find myself divided against myself (interest inter me ipsum et me ipsum).

Heidegger associates this tempting invitation of everyday carnal existence with its “facticity”. in the course of securing the daily necessities of food and drink. “In this transition”. Augustine notes how “people go outside themselves following what they have made” and how “those who make and seek external beauties” endlessly pursue new fulfilment in their degenerate state. made by Heidegger after noting how various uncertainties provide an all too convenient excuse to indulge: “It is the facticity in which I maintain myself and give [myself] ‘existence’ which pushes itself into my ‘authentic’ existing” (GA60: 215). the possibility constantly lurks of pursuing not the fulfilment of those necessities as such but instead the pleasure of the transition (the medium. Augustine adds. Our neediness in this case. inauthentic existence. the medium by which human needs are met. the fact that it is often unclear how much food or drink is healthy provides the unhappy soul with an excuse to indulge. Heidegger adds that what is significant is experienced as though it is satisfying of itself and thus takes over the role of providing a sense for facticity. 260). Truth and Temptation 269 hunger and thirst to the repose of satiety (ad quietem satietatis ex indigentiae molestia). The facticity of human existence is such that. then we can speak of a fallen. where the appeal made to the . becomes paramount. and the pleasure of the transition (genitivus appositivus) to the fulfilment of those needs itself becomes the purpose itself. despite the otherwise considerable congruence between the uses of the term in the two contexts. Heidegger links such an existence to a kind of aestheticism. “the snare of concupiscence lies in ambush” (Conf. In an obvious criticism of the aestheticism of l’art pour l’art. Pursuing this possibility amounts to falling prey to something that is a necessary part of our facticity but not to be confused with what is actually. His use of ‘facticity’ here lends the notion a carnal dimension otherwise barely visible in the existential analysis of Being and Time. as Heidegger puts it. 219-222. 10. There is perhaps no clearer indication of that congruence than the following remark. Heidegger’s gloss on the first temptation anticipates the role played not only by facticity but also by fallenness in the later existential analysis. toward which he shares with Augustine a patent antipathy (GA60: 201. Moreover. 204. the passage) to their fulfilment. Satisfying the very necessities of life invites this all-too-human confusion of means and ends. The link between these two notions in the context of the first temptation is patent. When the pursuit of the transition’s pleasures themselves. becomes a source of pleasure. 31). genuinely (eigentlich) at stake in our existence.

has a direct bearing on Augustine’s theology. value) of a superordinate beauty as a measure is a ruse. Heidegger submits. to an aesthetic beguilement in an even profounder sense. according to Luther. “the fruitio Dei”. not even skin-deep. but they dissipate it and spend it easily in an amusing slackness and a delightful laziness” (GA60: 221). posing as though they had a clue to the sense of the world and the secrets of life. God Himself as “the Beauty so old and so new”.270 Dahlstrom sense (meaning. “do not preserve the security and liveliness of the enactment of concern and of engagement for themselves in their relation to You. This acquiescence to a fundamentally aesthetic view of life. The similarity of this gloss to what Heidegger calls the sedating character (Beruhigung) of life in the crowd is patent (SZ: 177f). Since “the basic characteristic of the Augustinian basic stance towards life itself is frui [to enjoy]” and the object of enjoyment is “pulchritudo” or. from an adequate “breakthrough” to the phenomena at hand (GA60: 256f). However. In this connection (after noting a certain traditional reading of Romans 1:20 that plays into this theological distortion). where the beauty is. Heidegger reads this distinction as the difference between “the theologian of glory who marvels aesthetically at the . Yet Augustine himself falls prey. by way of use (uti) and enjoyment (frui). namely. while the theologian of the cross calls a thing what it is. indeed. The theologian of glory. Heidegger cites Luther’s contrast of the theologus gloriae with the theologus crucis. since it is put in service of the business at hand (Geschäftigkeit). calls the evil good and good evil. Heidegger finds this assessment corroborated by what he takes to be the purpose of life for Augustine. “It [concern] is no longer at their disposal for an authentic decision” (GA60: 221). in Heidegger’s opinion. does. of course. Preoccupation with the dynamics of enjoyment prevents Augustine. 272f). Those who pursue external beauties. the addict of sensual form. “ultimately stands in opposition to having oneself” (GA60: 271).10 It stands in opposition presumably because it subordinates the Truth and the experience of it to a subjective state. Heidegger claims. “repose” (quies) (GA60: 214. Heidegger notes that caring (curare) is the basic characteristic of life for Augustine and. Instead they are fakes. better. aestheticized or not. it contains an aesthetic component. the fulfilment of desires. namely. The suggestion is that Augustine construes the delight (delectatio) that is the end of care (finis curae) in a way no less tranquillizing and enervating than the aesthete.

rooted as it is in the peculiarly Christian conception of factual life.11 Indeed. You serve Him who made you so that what was made on account of you may serve you (in Psalm. Here we find a common refrain of Heidegger’s reading of Augustine’s Confessions: a respect for its distinctively Christian. we belong to God. Truth and Temptation 271 world’s wonders” and the realistic “theologian of the cross who says how things are” (GA60: 282). the more valuable. not identifiable with anything in the classical Greek philosophical tradition. Heidegger flags the danger of erring on the other side: “One cannot simply dismiss the Platonic in Augustine. seek the peace. Signaling this Greek influence and. belongs to us. 143. Yet he also guards against equating the Augustinian approach with the Greek. Heidegger observes: It is not natural that that which is experienced in the delectatio stands in a ranking order of value. 298). Heidegger traces this impediment to the tradition that Augustine inherits. the flesh under you. After commenting that what matters here is not only the relation to God. . Thus. Rather. this is based on an “axiologization” which. 279. but the way in which the order unfolds. one can gain the authentically Christian” (GA60: 281). and it is a misunderstanding to believe that in going back to Augustine. is on the same level as the “theorization”. is the axiological character that repeatedly intrudes on Augustine’s Confessions. like aesthetics. from the Plotininan notion that culminates in an intuition. shortly after warning against conflating Augustine’s sense of fruitio with the Plotinian sense. 6). That a specific order of things underlies Augustine’s account of the phenomenon of temptation is evident from a passage cited by Heidegger: Know the order. This ranking order of values is of Greek origin (GA60: 277). What is more suitable? What is more lovely? That you are under the greater and the lesser is under you. existential character. You under God. he sharply distinguishes Augustine’s sense of this fruitio. While stressing that this aesthetic feature is “the specifically Greek conception” at work in medieval theology and cultural history. the less valuable. and yet criticism for the way Augustine allows himself to be co-opted by Greek thought (GA60: 261. evidencing a fundamental kinship with theorizing. but the flesh. in the end.

Once again Heidegger links axiologizing with the distance and interruption demanded not only of an attitude.12 Axiologizing is. Much like Aristotle and Husserl. both [axiology and theory] go together” (GA60: 256). concrete. he defends this Johanine metaphor by appealing to its customariness. We find a similar view expressed in the first appendix: “The danger of axiologization of the connections of the phenomenon is just as fatal as the elaboration along theoretical lines for a regional domain. the sort of delight typical of the aesthete. 3. is more insidious or at least “more difficult to grasp” than theorizing “because it is in fact preoccupied with what is in question” (GA60: 277). This having precisely means living in it. but not giving in. 278f). moreover. fatally inadequate to understanding facticity and existence. I precisely must have it. Heidegger insists. But here there is no trace at all of the authentic sense of the enactment of love. law-governed being. but as delectatio” (GA60: 260. as Heidegger puts it. that is the hallmark of theorizing. Among the more instructive features of Heidegger’s reading of Augustine is the way in which he articulates what he means by this inadequacy explicitly in terms of love: Preferring – spurning – being indifferent. Heidegger then adds that “orientation to the axiologized summum bonum and so forth makes the entire comportment to a quasi-aestheticism in yet another sense: not only as attitude. This is basically bustling activity with God. a Husserlian stoppage of play. and one only has to follow essential insights.272 Dahlstrom Axiologizing. What is precisely crucial is to constantly have a radical confrontation with the factical. and not to flee. as it were. We say that we “see” not only when sight is involved. not even overcoming it comfortably and axiologically (GA60: 26). Heidegger continues. but also with a certain kind of delight taken in things. which takes the easy path. but is instead “the individual’s radical. The Second Form of Temptation: Keeping Truth at a Curious Distance Augustine designates the second form of temptation as “concupiscence of the eyes” (concupiscentia oculorum). However. “authentic existence”. Within the soul there is “a vain and curious cupidity” that . but also when any sense is involved in exploring something as a matter of cognition. historical being”. the absoluteness of this manner of being is not to be reduced to universal.13 The absolute love of God and oneself in believing is. In order to attain existence.

in contrast to the “concupiscence of the flesh”. not for the sake of human salvation or welfare. This desire (cupiditas) explains the draw of such things as magic. Curiosity is a failing because it is a desire for knowledge. but experiencing through the body”. Heidegger iterates that curiosity places on itself “the cloak of profundity and the absolute cultural necessity of particular achievements” and that it is a factical. between sheer involvement with things in the world around one (thus. “the appetite of looking-about- oneself (not of dealing-with) in the various regions and fields. not for the sake of salvation or for some good. indeed. by God’s grace. Glossing Augustine’s own words. since the theme of curiosity recurs explicitly in the existential analysis of Being and Time. Heidegger thus makes a distinction. “as enjoyable. again. ‘what is going on there’” (GA60: 223). all the while cloaked under the name of knowledge and science (vana et curiosa cupiditas nomine cognitionis et scientiae palliata). this “concupiscence of the eyes” is a seeing and hearing that we enjoy. Heidegger underscores how. Heidegger adds in . testifying once again to his clear appreciation of the fallibility and frailty of the human condition. Augustine says that he has. and seances or the delight that we take in horrifying events – at a safe yet visible distance. 10. but for its own sake (Conf. Heidegger’s reading of this chapter is obviously significant. so pervasive are these idle distractions in everyday life (cotidie). their theatrical re-enactment). Even religion is affected by the morbidity of this desire (ex hoc morbo cupiditatis) when demands are made of God. 35). he cannot dare to say that he is no longer tempted by them. “dealing with them”: Umgehen) and merely observing them (“looking around at them”: Sichumsehen).g. so self-evident that we no longer ‘see’ it” (GA60: 223). dispelled many such desires from his heart and yet. This enjoyment at a distance suggests certain forms of “amusement” or entertainment and. but solely in order to know. a way of letting ourselves be moved on the basis of holding things at arm’s length (literally: keeping them away from the body [Sich-vom- Leibe-Halten]). similar to one later at work in his existential analysis. and so powerful their allure. after noting that this basic stance towards objects takes many forms. In the Augustine lecture Heidegger characterizes curiosity as a desire to be ‘in the know’.. enjoyable seeing and hearing and. astrology. Truth and Temptation 273 differs from concupiscence of the flesh by “not delighting in the body. to be sure (e. not surprisingly.

resembles that in Being and Time. insofar as curiosity is cast as a potential threat to coming to terms with oneself. the things within it that are sensually pleasing or gratifying to curiosity. while sketchy. the delight at work can be a concupiscence. curiosity is a desire that we have and give into and that. and Augustine characterizes it. . everything is in principle accessible. This manner of relating can have a will of its own (eigenwillig). a habit of losing oneself in carnal pleasures and idle disengagement. These first two temptations signal ways of behaving that are dominated by the surrounding world (Umwelt) and. The temptation of pride is the desire to be feared and loved by men (specifically. Heidegger concludes his gloss on this second form of temptation by making some suggestive remarks about the metaphorical use of “seeing” in this connection. that it brings – a characterization that makes him question whether pride has ever taken leave of him (Conf. setting itself above “the immanent act of interpretation. or (3) of acquaintance with objects as illuminated. too. but as an ambition of an age or a generation (ambitio saeculi). specifically. a generation. keeps us from the truth. 36). He stresses that whenever concrete factical experiencing intends an acquaintance that is offset in some way. of its existential relevance” and determining all factical experiences: “in curiosity. 4. This account of curiosity.15 As such. equivalently. (2) of acquaintance with objects as objects. The third form of temptation is the temptation of pride (superbia). albeit false joy. namely. on the part of the self. Heidegger alludes to three dimensions of curiosity here. Heidegger follows Augustine’s lead of introducing the distinctiveness of pride by detailing its differences from lust and curiosity. 10. one’s contemporaries.14 So. the Mitwelt) for no other reason than the joy. mysticism. albeit with scant elaboration: curiosity is a desire for the delight (1) not of knowing but of acquaintance. a threat that is deeply analogous to that posed by a purely theoretical attitude. The Third Form of Temptation: Keeping Truth at a Vain Distance In the first two forms of temptation. not as concupiscentia like the others. in curiosity we “fall prey” (verfallen) to magic. unconstrained” (GA60: 226).274 Dahlstrom parentheses: “cinema”. and theosophy (GA60: 224). what is at stake is a habit of keeping truth at a distance or. in the process. as the use of a sensation for the sake of becoming acquainted (Kenntnisnehmen) with an object.

the self in curiosity “is at bottom ‘not here’ [nicht ‘da ist’]” (GA60: 228). “the self gets lost […] in a manner completely its own”. 16 Heidegger’s gloss on Augustine’s account of pride emphasizes pride’s dependence on a shared world and. Truth and Temptation 275 These ways of behaving are not directed at the self as such. one is neither immersed in the world as when one lusts. a “prophylactic against confrontation” (GA60: 229). this connection between pride and discursiveness has for Heidegger’s analysis of talk . if any. i. Thus. “In yielding to this temptation”. is human discursiveness. into dealing with things (Umgehen: a practical dimension with an aesthetic proclivity) and into looking around (Sichumsehen: a theoretical dimension).. a play on Proverbs 27: 21: “As gold is probed in the furnace. in fact. when the love of praise is explicitly suppressed yet sufficiently internalized that one takes credit for what is God’s doing (sibi placentas […] de bonis tuis quasi suis). so a human being is probed in the mouth of praise” (Conf. Heidegger continues. 37). the false preeminence attached by pride to the self-world. In both temptations the self is swept up. in pride. The finis delectationis is one’s own significance (Eigenbedeutsamkeit). The desire to be feared and loved can express “a certain inner vehemence of existence”. nor self-possessed. indeed. most intensely if the self thinks that it is living authentically. though each implicates a distinctive way of being oneself and a distinctive sort of shared world or intersubjectivity. as Heidegger puts it. the validation of one’s self in intersubjective contexts. as a result. In a state of curiosity. but it is a significance that depends on the opinions of others. but more often it is motivated by “cowardly weakness and insecurity”. Heidegger links Augustine’s account of pride as a desire to be feared and loved with his observation that “our daily furnace is the human tongue”. Or at least it is a significance that depends on what one thinks other’s opinions should be. One pivotal phenomenon revealed in the confession of this temptation. by a need to lean on others and be allowed to accompany them. the primary focus is one’s self and one’s self-importance. and later occupying a prominent position in existential analysis. while others serve as objects in facilitating our desires to immerse ourselves lustfully or curiously in the world. the real test of the temptation of pride comes through the ways that we concretely and daily talk to one another. they do not fade into the objective landscape when it comes to pride. In other words. By contrast.e. 10. In both temptations the self is “lived by the world” and. It is certainly worth pondering what relevance.

e. There is a certain inevitability to the test of pride. palaver or idle gossip (Gerede). A further. Augustine writes.. Heidegger adds. is others’s praise for us.. conscience. after noting how Dasein in palaver presents itself with the possibility of losing itself in the crowd and falling prey to uprootedness. The world of the prideful self is a world constituted by ambition. in particular. cognate parallel between the Confessions and the existential analysis can be found in Augustine’s emphasis on the inescapability of the temptation. we find ourselves “avidly” relishing praise from others with the result that we are “uncautiously” captivated by them and “place our joy away from your truth and place it in the deceits of men” (et a veritate tua gaudium nostrum deponamus atque in hominum fallacia ponamus) (Conf. a desire for others’s praise or. from the standpoint of the existential analysis. more existentiell than existential. praise out of love and fear of us. God blames the person who rejoices more . our concern (curare) here is to “attain a specific position” relative to others (Mitwelt) (GA60: 229). “this means that Dasein prepares for itself the constant temptation to lapse [die ständige Versuchung zum Verfallen]” (SZ: 177).276 Dahlstrom (Rede) as an ‘existential’ and. there is reason to think that Heidegger’s gloss in the Augustine lectures on the prideful connection between inauthentic existence (being-in-the-world and being oneself) and being with others provides an important clue to that presupposition. “because it is necessary for certain stations (officia) of human society to be loved and feared by men”. i. The closeness of the terminology suggests a considerable relevance. 36). solitary talk. As Heidegger puts it. and authentic. given the very institutional/hierarchical nature of intersubjective life. The operative concept. precisely because the existential analysis presupposes as much. discussed in Being and Time (SZ: 126). i. a desire for the even greater delight the proud person takes in that praise than in the things that are praiseworthy. 10. more precisely. to his discussion of inauthentic talk. As Augustine observes in this connection. linking pride and society. more a matter of “the ontic conception of authentic existence. in Being and Time. just as there is to das Man and the fallen state of human existence generally. For example. the factical ideal of being-here” than the fundamental ontology that supposes that ideal (SZ: 310). Thus. a bi-directionality not unlike the concern for the distance (Abständigkeit) between ourselves and others. Yet.e. At the same time it is clear that much of the content of the Augustine lectures is.

Indeed. Truth and Temptation 277 in the praise that he receives from others than in the God-given gifts for which he is praised. we can even find ourselves taking pride in condemning pride (a sure sign that we do not really condemn it). 10. as a possible excuse. 10. As Augustine notes. In the case of lust or curiosity. Toward the end of Book 10 Augustine speaks of “the most dangerous temptation”. it is. He offers love of neighbor (iustitia). Further exacerbating the call for continentia when it comes to pride is the difficulty of determining whether we genuinely possess the self-restraint called for.e. if his neighbor’s praise is supposed to move him because of the good that it reveals about his neighbor. as a result. the danger always presents itself of delighting in the praise rather than the good that is praised. short of abandoning a good life itself. But since praise accompanies good works in one way or another. that which is genuinely “satanical” about this temptation: “In the ultimate and most decisive and purest concern for oneself lurks the possibility of the most abysmal plunge and the genuine loss of oneself” (GA60: 240). For then I ask myself how much more or less difficult [molestum] it is for me not to have them” (Conf. He characterizes Augustine’s search for an excuse as an attempt to escape responsibility for “falling”. The pursuit and attainment of a certain goodness are a duty. how continent I am becomes apparent “when I lack these things either willfully or when they are absent.. why. there is no way to experience the absence of praise (even if praise of one’s self). and since qualities that he finds pleasing are even more pleasing to him if they please others as well. Heidegger writes: “I am no longer certain about myself and fall prey to the intersubjective world [verfalle der Mitwelt]” (GA60: 236). he asks. its ever-present capacity to pervert even the noblest pursuit. so insidious and perverse is this temptation (Conf. is he less moved when someone else is unjustly censured than when he is? Speaking for Augustine at the conclusion of this tortured self-analysis. Augustine’s self-analysis in this regard includes an admission that praise increases the joy that he has in any good that he possesses. . Moreover. Yet he remains unsure since he could be rejoicing merely in his neighbor’s agreement with him. 38). The danger is excessive due to the insidious potency of pride. i. and. stemming from love of praise (temptatio periculosissima ab amore laudis). in Heidegger’s words. rejoicing in his neighbor’s competence. 37). but also praiseworthy.

in the jargon of Being and Time. Heidegger takes Augustine’s remark that it is better to praise than to be praised as an indication that “behaving authentically”– or “authentic comportment” (eigentliches Verhalten) – consists in enjoying one’s genuine ability to praise. it raises the question of whether this context of loving in which it is introduced in the 1921 Augustine lectures is something more than a dispensable backdrop. above all. even when and to the degree that I manage to get up. and in this struggle. he underscores Augustine’s acceptance of responsibility for falling. goods.17 This talk of authentic and primordial meaning once again seems to anticipate the looming existential analysis. And this despite the quotidian inevitability of the fall and the constancy of the temptation. Finally. is “a struggle (certamen) between two directions of loving”. As just noted. but a giving enacted from the clear position of one’s own in the facticity of one’s own life. it is an existential not simply in the sense of something that I do (vollziehe) but also in the sense of complicity or. is anything but a joyless exercise of duty. we now hear. Heidegger stresses that continentia – the key to resisting temptations. the invocations of gifts. moreover. better. and bringing it to validation. in this same connection. Temptation. In this tentatio.. iustitia represents “the genuine direction of concern of love […] the authentically and primordially meaningful directedness […] in the whole of factical experience of significance” (GA60: 237). but if it does. value. God. in terms central to the looming existential analysis but with invocations conspicuously absent from it. and then seeing a real gift (donum) of God. it bears recalling – includes a demand for iustitia. This commitment to the intersubjective world. concerned for the good (bonum) as such. or . such giving can never be proven in – even the most radical – mere giving-over to the objective in every sense (GA60: 236). i. a complicit projection on my part.278 Dahlstrom Heidegger’s commentary here contains once again some potentially quite revealing parallels with his impending existential analysis.e. But Heidegger also stresses that resisting temptation cannot be a flight from the intersubjective world or a disavowal of what is praiseworthy. valuing it. the direction of overcoming is precisely a genuine giving- oneself-over to the communal world. Here we have a positive account of resisting the temptation of pride. and.

or being-here (Dasein).19 Yet. n. The first temptation. as caring (curare) and. if at all. but hardly necessary presupposition to existential analysis. in the existential analysis. defines things in terms of their immediate. what is at stake is not the way things are used or regarded. indeed. our vital. a curare that is diversely characterized. Even if Heidegger had not alerted us to this connection. caring (Sorge). A second. respectively. I would like to suggest briefly five parallels. This self-regard is the counterpart to the self- disclosiveness that is the defining feature of being-here. 5. in particular temptations. the temptations of the flesh. hence. more precisely. Perhaps the most tangential parallel is that between the three forms of temptation. Conclusion By way of conclusion. Truth and Temptation 279 a silently ontic. Thus. at what Heidegger dubs “the handy” and “the on hand”. as opposed to being handy or on hand. In them Heidegger characterizes experience. while Heidegger carefully unpacks Augustine’s account of a life of temptations in terms of the delights that constitute their respective ends. on hand (vorhanden). always a definite appetitus. a care to achieve a certain delight. to two ways of behaving (umgehen mit. carnal existence. at best sufficient. carnal utility.18 In the third temptation. and we are interested merely in the way they appear to a speculative gaze. as noted. a striving towards something” (GA60: 222). i. this aspect of Augustine’s account barely surfaces. In the second temptation. use of the senses as Werkzeuge.. being handy (zuhanden). and the three modes of being that figure most prominently in Being and Time. into the heart of the existential analysis as . They are not in use but merely on hand. between Heidegger’s early lectures on Augustine’s Confessions and the existential analysis in Being and Time. we would have been able to gather as much from the early Augustine lectures (SZ: 199. things are at a distance from the body or. worthy of further study. more obvious parallel concerns the notion of care. The first two temptations correspond. the temptation metaphorically considered a temptation of sight. namely. 1). but the way in which we regard ourselves. Heidegger observes that what is also given in all experiencing of this sort is “the basic tendency delectatio (uti – frui).e. sich umsehen) that are directed. What is interesting about this observation is the fact that he takes up curare.

SZ: 56. Yet. Heidegger portrays falling prey to the world (in the sense of allowing oneself to be lived by it) as a matter of facticity (GA60: 228.e. its necessitas or that of its being-here is not logical or a priori in the sense of analytic or synthetic a priori claims. as noted above. alternatively. demanding in its facticity (GA60: 336). concretely historical. any source other than the human being herself and the Truth. Or. 222. facticity). This characterization of the site of the “possibilities” of temptation is noteworthy. In Being and Time discussion of the existential sense of . then there is at least no comparably clear identification of the delights of authentic care. at the same time.. Referring to solitude as “a phenomenon of personal. This necessity is instead the sort that one experiences in being tempted and faced with a decision. 8). there is no recourse in Augustine’s Confessions to help from any source external to the human being herself and her love – or. In the Augustine lectures. A further parallel concerns the sort of necessity born of faciticity and fallenness. This footnote reinforces a crucial point made in the entire passage about the sort of modality at work in Augustine’s Confessions and enlisted in the existential analysis.280 Dahlstrom well as the procuring. possession. The irreducibly personal (today one might say “indexical”) character of the Confessions abounds in a facticity that is anything but a contingent matter-of- factness. he seizes upon Augustine’s insight into the radically individuated character of existence that is. This character of the necessity introduces a fourth parallel between the saint’s Confessions and the thinker’s analysis. but also because of the accompanying footnote which contains the two words “a necessitas” (SZ: 230. n. historical existence as such”. 231). not only due to the use of terms so central to the existential analysis (da. nonetheless. Heidegger includes a version of this feature in his interpretation of the facticity of existence. but without a comparably clear identification of the delight (delectatio) or enjoyment (frui) that are no less entailed by care. i. a decision that no one else can make for you. if the analysis of the benumbed (benommen) character of an existence that has fallen prey to the world appeals tacitly to inauthentic delights and enjoyments. and use (Besorgen – uti) entailed by it. fully worldly and troubling.20 In a revealing passage he adds that the direction of the possibilities of temptation in each case “is also ‘here’ [da] in the facticity of being-here”. In keeping with the phenomena of religious solitude and silence.

finally. In Heidegger’s interpretation of Book 10 of the Confessions. making up “the genuine prestructuring. Truth and Temptation 281 solus ipse. Yet that debt should also not obscure Heidegger’s disciplined way – for better or for worse – of appropriating the insights provided by Book 10 of the Confessions.. Like Augustine. Mitwelt. it is also a troubled one. forming fundamental experience in advance” (GA60: 242). nosse. and world of the self). of Dasein being utterly thrown back upon itself is meant to capture the necessity of this solitude and the facticity of being-here revealed in it. amare (being. hardly transports an isolated subject-thing into the harmless void of a worldless occurrence. at least in Heidegger’s existential analysis.. This existential solipsism has a direct bearing. as Heidegger puts it. primordial account of life must take into account this troubled web. Anxiety individualizes and thus discloses being-here as “solus ipse”. as should now be clear. It is a seamless and. is not God.e. on the one hand. however. the demand. But the truth is understood in profoundly different ways in each case. intersubjective-world. i.e. and a human being’s relation to the truth is not grounded. knowing. on the other. not to be confused with epistemological solipsism (something contradicted by the very trappings of being-here. as it is . instead bringing it in an extreme sense face to face with its world as world and thereby itself bringing being-here face to face with itself as being-in-the-world (SZ: 188). the individual face of temptation is at the same time holistic. as the key notions of temptatio and molestia are meant to convey. Heidegger identifies the trial of human existence as a matter of coming to terms with the truth. a “decisive” weave of esse. this existential solipsism. troubled not least because of its essential incompleteness as long as it is lived. namely. Heidegger’s debt to Augustine is considerable. A sufficiently complete and fundamental. is also of Augustinian inspiration. and Umwelt. i. so the existential analysis must be an analysis of being-here by being- here itself and solely on the basis of it (SZ: 6). This existential “solipsism”. Just as Augustine must confess for himself. But while life is this weave.21 Thus. for completeness and primordiality (Ganzheit and Ursprünglichkeit) (SZ: 231f). on a methodological parallel between the Confessions and the existential analysis in Being and Time. Herein lies a key source for the operative notions driving Heidegger’s later existential analysis. loving). being-in-the-world). The truth of existence. Selbstwelt (surrounding world.

5 Heidegger places Abfall in apposition to Verfall. An obvious semblance of this contrast and its particular framing resurfaces in Being and Time as Heidegger distinguishes an authentic self from a self . 23): “Beata quippe vita est gaudium de veritate. 2 The very title of the lectures (‘Augustine and Neo-Platonism’) belies. 7 On Heidegger’s reading. historically phenomenological. but also a version of the problem of the relationship between Hellenism and Christianity. (10. Heidegger explains that the title merely signals a point of departure. or where the bracketing of the theological for the sake of the phenomenological necessarily introduces the distance of a theoretical attitude. “To what extent is a human downfall (Abfall) construed objectively. The title suggests. 3. (2. 2). 10): “In tentatione apparet. as such. and the resoluteness required to grasp this existential truth is grounded in a radical self-possession. in terms of oneself. and that the aim is to work through this context to establish “certain decisive phenomena that decisively determined themselves in the situation historically consummated at that time and that in this determination still ‘carry’ us” (GA60: 171). framed by the opposition. that same attitude supposes. 6 Heidegger places molestia in direct apposition to facticity. Tract. as hermeneutic categories in contrast to categories that classify in keeping with an attitude (einstellungshafte Ordnungskategorien). by way of the act itself” (GA60: 259)? Heidegger introduces existentials as explications of a sense originating in existence and. 1 Not coincidentally. normatively (by way of theorizing. Heidegger links a theory to an attitude (Einstellung) throughout the lectures. qualis sit homo”. Similarly. Augustine is drawing a contrast between authenticity and inauthenticity. 4 See Conf. nisi in tentatione discat se”. in God’s grace and the prospect of a beata vita. as of the centred and de-centred. not so much of the one and the many. See GA60 (272). existential truth is the temptation itself. together with this ordered context. salus faciei meae. in an attitude)? To what extent is it factually.. Heidegger acknowledges. 3):“ Nescit se homo. 3 See Serm. Jo. but instead something saturated by the fallenness of factical existence and the absence of completeness and authenticity. deus. qui veritas es. See GA60 (210). corroboratively. existentielly. where the historical interpretation implies the theological (the factical illumination or revelation). illuminatio mea. Whereas Divine Truth gives us the continentia in temptation. Hoc est enim gaudium de te. not only the question of the neo-Platonic influence on Augustine. See GA60 (232). a chronology in which time functions as a specific object (an age) and a region for determining different matters (GA60: 168. Yet Heidegger says little to clarify or justify these qualifications and it is fairly easy to read the two qualifications as inconsistent. deus meus”. he observes at a later point that the interpretation is not theological but phenomenological and. indeed. e.g.282 Dahlstrom for Augustine. (46. his efforts to differentiate his reading from interpretations that would situate and explain Augustine in terms of an objective historical order. In what amounts to a criticism of the alleged replacement of a bracketed natural attitude with the phenomenological attitude. The truth for Heidegger is not something fully present and integral. not scientifically theoretical (GA60: 210). 246f). See also GA60 (211 n.

the problem is deciding the extent to which the basic orientation “in a specific axiological system” is the result of Augustine’s own experience. 291f). far from removing the possibility of anxiety or the flight from it. the reference to the “Greek-Christian” character of “Augustinian anthropology”(SZ: 199 n. 15 On possible connections between curiosity and theorizing. and. However. 1). “Resoluteness means letting-oneself-be-called- up from the state of being lost to the crowd” (SZ: 299. There is a way of fearing chastely and loving maximally. second. loving stance militates against the charge that his existential analysis is overdetermined by a gnostic-Pietist interiority that paves the way for the Seiendesvergessenheit. see. This facticity is what is authentically original” (GA60: 294). 14 See Collingwood (1958: 85).. the extent to which we can manage to decide to do something about anxiety. a resolute individual. See. resolutely or not. SZ: 296. Heidegger’s discussion of genuine love anticipates his account of authentic Mitsein (GA60: 292). his gloss on timor castus (GA60: 293-297. 296- 301). 11 Heidegger glosses Augustine’s De musica as stemming from “the neo-Platonic aesthetics” (GA60: 286). Truth and Temptation 283 lost to the crowd (SZ: 273). referring to something higher. at any point. Heidegger notes that the love meant here is not sensual love (amor). 259f. That is to say. in Being and Time resoluteness (Entschlossenheit) appears to take the place of continentia. 10 Heidegger notes the link between the constancy of expectation (Erwartung) and the “dominating direction of the delectatio on which everything depends” (GA60: 275). Yet the analysis of temptation suggests that these alternatives ought not be construed as forming a disjunctive dilemma. too. each directed at the summum bonum. that while we may indeed decide to flee anxiety. . But there is an equally patent expression of its neo-Platonic resonance in Heidegger’s remark: “Alles ‘Entspringen’ im ontologischen Felde ist Degeneration” (SZ: 334). but dilectio. see Dahlstrom (2001: 351- 355). 8 “The experience of God in Augustine’s sense is not to be found in an isolated act or in a certain moment of such an act. 272f. 16 It bears noting that Augustine does not equate the desire to be feared and loved with the temptation of pride. SZ: 190 n. too. that we are not only prone by our very make-up to undertake practices that deflect us from the anxiousness of our existence but also. first. 336). third. to find ourselves already “falling” into them. 1). too. is limited and tenuous. 13 See also GA60 (292. and this flight is of a piece with our fallen state. also. See Dreyfus (1991: 226. 9 One can sympathize with Dreyfus’s attempt to clarify Heidegger’s “confusion” by distinguishing “falling” from “fleeing” (or a structural from a psychological account of fallenness). the care to please others (GA60: 235). 281. So. but the care to do so is waylaid by pride. and the extent to which it is determined by his historical situation. 17 Heidegger’s call for a life-affirming. the flight is something that need not take the form of a deliberate decision. supposes them both. See. 12 According to Becker’s transcript (GA60: 281). as long as he or she lives. we are left to contemplate its capacity to replace or appropriate the significance of continence in the Augustinian scheme of things. the ontic obtuseness and lack of existentiell criteria that might seem to plague that analysis. We are naturally disposed to flee anxiety. but in an experiential complex of the historical facticity of one’s own life. Moreover. to the extent that the analysis of resoluteness in Being and Time appears to exclude any relation to God and any role for grace.

Robin G.: MIT Press. Heidegger’s Concept of Truth.284 Dahlstrom 18 Heidegger in fact characterizes objects of curiosity as vorhanden. 7. 232-234). 10: “Finis enim curae delectatio est”. See GA60 (224. Hubert. Dahlstrom. ways of living in which someone does or does not come to herself (GA60: 236f). moreover. Being-in-the-World. insofar as this is conducted by palaver. Dreyfus. that is to say. The Principles of Art. as he observes that “being-here has always already first fallen away from itself as authentic potential-to-be- itself and fallen prey to the ‘world’. 5. See (GA60: 225). . 20 The trial that preoccupies care is. 1991. curiosity. 2001. Ma. The fallenness to the ‘world’ means the absorption in being-with-one-another. 21 See also SZ (254f). References Collingwood. 19 See in Psalm. Oxford University Press. and ambiguity” (SZ: 175). Cambridge. Daniel. These formulations are echoed in the opening paragraphs of Heidegger’s treatment of fallenness in Being and Time. Cambridge University Press. a permanent tension between authentic and inauthentic ways of existing. 1958.

as the original and hidden truth underlying the history of Being itself. or. as our essential destiny? This problem is fundamental to the whole of Heidegger’s enquiry. a problem that we could express with the question: is nihilism to be understood as destiny. this . this phase of Heidegger’s thought was motivated by his intellectual experiences up to the publication of Being and Time. more precisely. the problem of nihilism as destiny induces us to reread his philosophical endeavours of the 1920s (concerning the hermeneutics of factical life). The Question of the Destiny of Being in the Age of Nihilism A constant and ever more pressing problem manifests itself as one follows the development of Heidegger’s thought through the various stages of his philosophical enquiry. Memory and Temptation: Heidegger Reads Book X of Augustine’s Confessions Costantino Esposito 1. the period marked emblematically by the publication of Beiträge zur Philosophie (GA65) and Nietzsche (GA6). This problem is not confined to discerning just one aspect or one particular phase in the development of Heidegger’s thought. however. and to identify elements and motives already present in them. Moreover. from his investigation of the historico-ontological meaning of “existing” – that is. his readers. Naturally. The question is whether for us. which would later converge in the ontological-fundamental analytic of existence. the full scope of which. It is well known that for Heidegger nihilism coincides with the history of Being. may only be evaluated by focussing on and radicalizing the above problem. “being-there” (Dasein) as the expression of the temporality of being in general – to his philosophical meditations on the “event of appropriation” (Ereignis). as well as the dialogues Über die Linie (1955) with Ernst Jünger. that which we could locate roughly between the mid-1930s and the mid-1950s. and would in turn orient the development and articulation of questions that would occupy his research up to the 1960s.

or whether it can be verified from a standpoint free of this presumed necessity. Herein lies the sense of its original historicity (or better. but as an original enactment. 25. not simply anthropological or spiritual sense – as “unrest”. 2. remission of the self to itself. and this historicity is not to be taken as a “happening”. more especially the Augustine of the Confessions: the question of life – in a radically ontological.286 Esposito position is self-referential (which is apparently the general consensus amongst his interpreters). happens without ever being objectively determined. history and grace are all woven together. and accompanies him at least up until the composition of Being and Time. and as such. a basic disposition to see the thing in question. to Heidegger’s question. “Historical” Life as the Augustinian Question I would like to pause for a moment over a central question which is (re)discovered and posed afresh by Heidegger in his encounter with Augustine. the occasion for a decision in which. This encounter – and herein lies our initial hypothesis – is the context. dramaticism even. the threads of Being. somehow. 16. Life. any real datum. its being-historical). for there is a way of posing the question of nihilism so that it ceases to be a question and becomes a declaration of impossibility. Existing – and this is the sense of Heidegger’s interpretation – is not objectifiable in terms of any actual determination. In this . “questionability”. I would like to propose that we change our approach and question the inescapability of nihilism by reopening the question itself ab origine. and “facticity”. ab-solute facticity. a kind of upside-down “transcendental”. radical. This option surfaces in Heidegger’s encounter with Augustine in the early 1920s. Challenging the impossibilities decreed by the tragic destiny of thought means recognizing that a given option persists beyond nihilism. or better. without codifying it and thereby squeezing it into the familiar perspective of Zeitgeist. SZ: 43- 44). as we shall see. a decision in the very act of questioning. or that of the dominating trends of our age.1 We need. to give new life. 10. existence. thus introducing the task of an interpretation of Dasein in its most immediate and familiar mode: “average everydayness” (Conf. ontological self-assignment.2 Ego laboro in meipso: factus sum mihi terra difficultatis et sudoris nimii recalls Heidegger at the beginning of Being and Time.

life is not a given. 8. amo te (Conf. 11). the discovery of memoria and the experience of tentatio. 7). above all. without requiring any other factor – any factor that is “other”– to enact it. “I shall transcend that force with which I keep myself tied to my body and which fills my organism with vitality” (Transibo vim meam. from itself and towards itself. Heidegger asks: What does confiteri mean? The ‘knowledge of self’. ascending by degrees to Him that made me” (Transibo ergo et istam vim naturae meae. that which is realized in the endogenous motility of life. Enactment is nothing other than the “how” of existing. says Augustine. what I know and also what I do not know. Indeed. cum Deum meum amo)? “Who is He that is above my soul” (Quis est ille super caput animae meae)? “It is through my soul that I shall ascend to Him” (Per ipsam animam meam ascendam ad illum). as the self-referential movement of life. and. qui fecit me). phenomenon which Augustine introduces in Book 10 of the Confessions.e. my sensorial faculties]. is attained by Heidegger through his reading and interpretation of that complex. 3.. 10. 7. “But what do I love when I love my God” (Quid ergo amo. 10. or as the self-transcendence of existence in itself. “And I shall reach the fields and vast quarters of the memory” (Et venio in campos et lata praetoria memoriae) (Conf. Heidegger comments: In the progressing-transcending ascent. And what do I know with certainty? Domine. 5. 6. Augustine arrives in the wide field of memoria […] (What phenomena Augustine brings forth. even less is it given by a third party. regarding the content only. 12). in which the being of life consists. 10. 8). 10. Memory and Temptation 287 reading by Heidegger. it is the movement of giving itself (life) to itself. “there is something in a man that even the spirit in him does not know” (Conf. Memoria: The Intrinsic Movement of Being-there as the Searching Being One arrives at memoria through the movement of quaerere Deum.3 This nexus of existence (unrest. rather. yet profoundly unified. questionability). facticity (structural falling of life into itself) and historicity (non-objectifiable happening). However. “And so I shall transcend my natural strength too [i. how he explicates the phenomena and in what basic . gradibus ascendens ad eum.4 I shall confess. thereby denying relation as a fundamental constituent of Being. qua haereo corpori et vitaliter compagem eius repleo) (Conf.

Who has ever reached its end? Nor can I myself grasp all that I am. and all the affectiones animi.g. which consists in the self-enactment of life as existence (GA60: 182). magna nimis. cum agerem. quod sum. 10.5 . Augustine continues: “The power of memory is great. commenting on what Augustine says about that ontologically inexplicable experience which we all have when we make present the affections stored in the memory in a situation which has changed affectively. or rather the “being” of self. is here identified. that “having” which is a sort of self-possession of what one cannot possess as “memory”: “Thus. penetrale amplum et infinitum. The being of life is thus identified with the comprehension of the incomprehensible self. quid. affectus fuerim) (Conf. and lived. and through this self-reference attains enactment (Vollzugssinn). Stupore apprehendit me) (Conf. in the emotions that I felt while doing them (mihi et ipse occurro meque recolo. a “content” (Gehaltsinn). for example. it is a vast and infinite sanctuary. or those things learnt from the liberal arts). 14). and the fundamental factical situation of “having oneself” (Sich-selbst-Haben) or “bringing the self to possession” (Sich-selbst-zum-Haben-Bringen). Quis ad fundum eius pervenit? […] nec ego ipse capio totum. 8. the enigma of having-oneself. as the specific mode of having-oneself.. manifests itself as pure relation to the self (Bezugssinn). 15). on the one hand. in the time and place in which I did them. Being oneself. History is my being – the way in which I have myself – to the extent that having something. beata vita [the happy life] – shatters the framework and the structure of the usual concept (GA60: 182). In the memory are present (praesto sunt) the images of all things: things that are aware [sensuous]. as Heidegger notes. 8. quando et ubi egerim quoque modo. my Lord. too great. Yet in memory I also meet myself and I remember myself in the deeds I have done. as well as between the latter and “having history” (Geschichte-Haben). Deus meus. which recalls the co-original nexus set up in his other Freiburg lecture courses between “being oneself” (Selbstsein) or the “self-world” (Selbstwelt).288 Esposito contexts and determinations – e. Augustine does see the having as something on its own after all” (GA60: 187). Heidegger identifies this as one of the “enigmas of enactment” (Vollzugsrätseln). on the other. And so I am struck by amazement” (Magna ista vis est memoriae. 10. when we joyfully make present a past sadness. as well as those that are insensible [non- sensuous] (mathematical propositions and rules.

24). this being absent is grasped – and. as the disappearance of the act of remembering. The antinomy stems from this: if memoria is present – representation to myself – then oblivio cannot be present. it itself is not present (GA60: 188). and the more it is seen as a genuine mode of self-possession by an existing self. 10. If the latter is present. ne obliviscamur. Yet this apparent solution redoubles the problem of the nexus between memory and forgetfulness. oblivio quam meminerim” [the memory which I have remembered. if it existed. obliviscimur) (Conf. is praesto [present]: “memoria qua meminerim. or privatio memoriae – is itself present in the memory. the forgetfulness which I have remembered] (GA60: 188). This presence of oblivio is not to be taken as the mere negation of a capability. When I represent oblivio to myself (oblivio: the having-forgotten-something and what has been forgotten). Thus Augustine can state that memory itself conserves forgetfulness (memoria retinetur oblivio). enactmentally – as non-presence in the aforementioned sense of the not-being-praesto [present] – but for this. Memory and Temptation 289 In a factical sense. the question of the enactment of life as memory – we might say. 16. Thus one might suppose that what exists is not forgetfulness itself (since. The Augustinian question is then probed more deeply by Heidegger. but a “thing” enacted in itself. 24). quae cum adest. a notion. a fact which we have not yet considered: not having present to oneself – something which had been present to oneself and which should be present now – as presently not having something at one’s disposal – as the absence of memoria. the more aporetic it becomes: “Present therefore it is lest we forget what. as the history of the self – is revealed by what Heidegger calls the “aporia of forgetfulness” (Die Aporie bezüglich der oblivio). it could not be remembered as such). a feeling – that is lost (no longer remembered). just as remembered contents are present (Conf. oblivio is relational. Now. forgetting itself must be present. Located in the relational sense. The question appears particularly inviting for Heidegger: Thus. 10. by posing that of the relation between the . and vice versa. indeed. Forgetfulness – the not-having-present something in the memory. but rather its image. the being-absent has to be itself seen. when it is present. we do forget” (GA60: 189) (Adest ergo. and may be connoted instead as an original phenomenon: not something – an image. since it possesses its own peculiar mode of being which is completely different from a psychological dynamic. in terms of content. 16. then I cannot represent something to myself.

like Augustine’s example from Luke 15:8 of “The woman who searched for and found the lost drachma – how could she search for and find it if she did not somehow still have it present to herself” (GA60: 190)? The sense of the enactment of “being” as “having” here finds its most explicit manifestation: “‘being’ = having. but memory too) in order to reach what. in order to find what I am searching for – that is. I myself assume a completely different role. better. Or even more precisely: In searching for this something as God. or trace – what is “already impressed” (iam notatum) in the memory – and its cancellation: But even if we admit that only the image of the representation were present. by which what we remember [what we want to represent to ourselves] is concealed (GA60: 189). in Heidegger’s reading. Domine) (Conf. one is searching for. 10. the searching itself – I must already “have” it. according to its sense. But how can that be. 17. or. is revived. 26)? Thus. And it is perhaps worth noting that this question is Heidegger’s phenomenological translation – neutral. And yet […] I am certain that I remember forgetfulness itself [the having-forgotten]. since precisely the forgetting. 20. – Really having = not having lost it. “what searching means” (was heißt Suchen?). “And how could I have found You if I did not remember You” (Et quomodo iam inveniam te. for both: What is being-man? In what does life-as-searching consist? And vice versa: In what way “is” searching “existing”? Yet the ultimate meaning of the questioning is different in each case. Lord” (Quomodo ergo te quaero. si memor non sum tui) (Conf. qua id quod meminerimus [what we want to represent to ourselves] obruitur”. the question of how one must search. 29)? This means. I am not only the one from whose place the search proceeds and who . it must still itself be present for me to get the image. Yet “If I find You outside my memory I am forgetful of You” (Si praeter memoriam meam te invenio. With the aporia of forgetfulness in memory. immemor tui sum). or rather whom. though ambiguous – of the explicit question raised by Augustine himself before his divine interlocutor: “How do I search for you. extinguishes that which was to become available as notatum [known]? “Et tamen […] ipsam oblivionem [the having-forgotten] meminisse me certus sum. having in relation to possibly losing it – in anxiety – possibility – intentionality” (GA60: 190-1). 10. Searching thus means transcending (and not only the vital force and sensorial faculties.290 Esposito impression.

it has to do in some way (fortasse ita) with the experience of delight (gaudium) (Expertus sum in animo meo. 31). And it is precisely in this “situation of enactment” (Vollzugssituation) that “authentic existence” (eigentliche Existenz) manifests itself as a “radical reference to the self. but rather with the self that becomes expertus. or the one in whom the search takes place. So. nor is it merely intellectual. Here Heidegger reveals a significant shift in the dynamic of experiencing.: 10. 21. we would not desire something so ardently if we did not know it with certainty (Quod nisi certa notitia nossemus. The shift would come about in the experience itself of delight. 196). It is through experiencing a joy in my soul that my cognition of it is impressed in my memory. at least not wanting to be deceived.: 10. the unrest that is living (GA60: 193). Searching for God means searching for life. I seek the happy life. and yet we desire to attain it so that we may be happy” (GA60: 194) (Vitam vero beatam habemus in notitia ideoque amamus et tamen adhuc adipisci eam volumus. Quaeram te. but the enactment of the search itself is something of the self (GA60: 192). The notitia in question here is not merely sensible [aware or sensuous]. 30). quando laetatus sum. since in this case experience would no longer be identified with a specific content (what is experienced at a certain point in time). The question “What is delight?” is enacted in the question of how it is had by the self. vitam beatam quaero. 30). authentic facticity” (GA60: 195. quaero. 21. 20. 10. and so we love it. the “how” of enacting the life of the “I”. my God. with the self that experiences delight. and. if searching for God implies the way in which life has already had Him – in being sought – then how does one “have” beata vita. Memory and Temptation 291 moves toward some place. ut beati simus) (Conf. “The happy life we have in our knowledge. then it could not even desire it. but as a mode. more precisely. 29). 21. ut vivat anima mea) (Conf. Thus. having the beata vita as self-enactment is for everyone. a “concern for life” or “unrest in living”. I will seek you that my soul may live” (GA60: 193) (Cum enim te. which is no longer to be taken as a content. Indeed. non tam certa voluntate vellemus) (Conf. 10. without exception. in what way has the “I” already had this life? If the “I” did not already have it (beata vita) in some way. more . and searching for life means having a Bekümmerung um Leben. and. et adhaesit eius notitia memoriae meae) (Conf. rather. And yet what do I search for when I search for God? “For when I seek you. Deum meum.

37)? Heidegger comments: “The question where I find God has turned into a discussion of the conditions of experiencing God. and that comes to a head in the problem of what I am myself – such that. 34). When it concerns them themselves. Sero te amavi. 23. 10. In this last quotation we may glean a kind of secret ambivalence (if not a latent. God does not dwell in the memory in the sense of an object-content. aporia) in Heidegger’s interpretation of Augustine. extra memoriam. in the end. On the one hand. .292 Esposito radically. Heidegger translates it as follows: “late did I get to the level of factical life where I put myself in the position to love You” (Conf. Where the “I” has found a truth. as Heidegger would suggest in his course on Aristotle the following semester – which consists in hating truth (God) in the name of what one falsely believes to be true: Itaque propter eam rem oderunt veritatem. nisi in te supra me) (Conf.6 Heidegger here emphasizes that truth (and the light with which it illuminates the self) is not to be taken in a “metaphysical” (i. 23. 10. Amant eam lucentem. but in a different form of enactment” (GA60: 204). but the Lord of Memory (Dominus Deus animi). 27. the same question still stands. the delight or pleasure that truth brings: Beata quippe vita est gaudium de veritate. even though He is not a psychic thing. there it has found God. who remains immutable (incommutabilis) in contrast to the mutability of states and acts of the soul or mind (Conf. in order to know You. ut discerem te. pulchritudo tam antiqua et tam nova. When Augustine writes. GA60: 204).36). if not in You far above myself” (Ubi ergo te inveni. as Augustine testifies in describing that “direction of falling” or “decline” – almost an existential gravitational force.e. 24. Yet it is not possible to find God outside memory. but in the sense of the self-enactment of the self: “Where did I find You. and when it shakes them up and questions their own facticity and existence” (GA60: 200). 10. qui veritas es (Conf. 10. Hoc est enim gaudium de te. quam pro veritate amant. Rather than indicating a reified property. he loves the truth more than error” (GA60: 201). 35. And yet even in this misguided position what is loved is still the truth: “even in this closing-himself-off against the truth. 38. oderunt eam redarguentem (Conf. truth constitutes a life tendency or direction. 25. or attribute. 33). but in an “existential” sense. 10. though increasingly evident.7 Heidegger comments: “they hate it when it presses them forcefully. 26. Greek) sense.

historicity can . the motive lies in the fact that life is constituted by something other than the self. when life is no longer directed towards specific contents. For Augustine. so that an “I” begins to manifest itself only as the acceptance or reception of a “you”. without a giver but also without a receiver. as the qualitative with respect to the quantitative. Heidegger himself seems perfectly aware of this: it is the price of completely resolving the above relation in the dynamic of self-possession. Of course. since the “I” is itself only insofar as it is for another – as an endogenous shift. The dramatic tension between the “I” and God tends to resolve itself here in the irreducible nature of the how with respect to the what. in other words. the identification of being with having. Domine. In other words. like a leitmotif in Heidegger’s interpretation. If the being of life consists in having received life. having received oneself coincides with the discovery that this self is for another. it is not any determined thing. spiritual. a self-generated inversion of life. On the other hand. Heidegger clearly demonstrates that being – as being-human or “existence” – implies a structural relation: its true meaning is only given in an experience of the self as relational. Memory and Temptation 293 Heidegger recognizes that a gift of God is at stake in Augustine’s confiteri: the having-received as a condition of enactment. Heidegger’s position is the exact opposite of that which judges being (a neutral and impersonal reality) to be worth more than having (the acquisition or extrinsic addition of something ultimately optional). this interpretation tends to pay too high a price with respect to Augustinian intentionality. indeed. and it is precisely in the tension of this relation that the unique sense of the historicity of being is to be found. the self is the most eloquent sign of divine grace: that it originally depends upon divine grace is a fact. Indeed. translates (and so perhaps reduces) the Augustinian relation between the self and another self. or even psycho-biological identity. For Augustine. however. but is turned towards itself and is enacted in its original and necessary mode of having-oneself. as an ontological possibility. and difference in identity. grace coincides with a mode of Being and enacting of life itself. Heidegger. personal. but is the very movement of receiving-oneself. the Tu. And I say “pure” since what comes to be possessed is not an individual. And here we find once again. In this sense. in a dynamic of pure self-possession. yet one which always requires excess in identification. between the “I” and God – an intrinsically historical relation.

to be faced and theorized as such. Interestingly enough. which Heidegger reads as a scattering into the objectivity of the specific contents of living. In this curare the “I” manifests itself in all its original gravity: “Because I am not filled with You. it is only in this curare that the true burden of existence manifests itself. Tentatio. for Heidegger. life is marked by that peculiar kind of renewal which – through continence– gathers us back into the unity of the “I”. a preoccupation. for Heidegger. Indeed. without. and the unrest of which Augustine speaks must inevitably be re-translated in terms of a motility that finds its ontological paradigm in the Aristotelian concept of physis: an entity that contains within itself the principle of movement. that the two ultimately coincide. Tentatio as the Falling of Existence In this sense the framework within which the Augustinian phenomenon of tentatio is interpreted becomes clear. as a structural being-preoccupied (Bekümmertsein) with oneself (GA60: 205-6). It is here that. the curare. 28.294 Esposito only be understood as self-reference. I am a burden to myself” (quoniam tui plenus non sum. the real gravitational force of existing. means both “temptation” and “trial”: “Is human life on earth not perhaps a trial” (Numquid non temptatio [tentatio] est vita humana super terram)? “Who would desire trouble and difficulty? You command us to bear the burden. The basic character of factical life is thus not to be taken as an erstwhile state which becomes the object of an existential preoccupation. however. the concern for self. thereby constituting the intrinsic dynamic. On the contrary. And this alone lets us bear (tolerare) the trial which is life. absolute “burdening” that emerges from Heidegger’s reading. the “basic character of factical life” manifests itself: that is. “Through continence we are gathered together and led back to the One . the main tendency of life is what Augustine calls a “scattering in the manifold” (defluxus in multa). In the end. Lord. together with this scattering. an account of the origins of this phenomenon in Augustine’s case. Heidegger says nothing about Augustine’s reference to God in this context. it is instead the sheer. 39). 39). 10. Augustine’s “metaphysics” is none other than Aristotle’s “physics”. 4. not to love it” (Quis velit molestias et difficultates? Tolerari iubes ea. or better. it seems. we should recall. 10. non amari) (Conf. oneri mihi sum) (Conf. Yet. shows itself as an unrest. 28.

10. For Heidegger. in prosperity I fear adversity” (Prospera in adversis desidero. in the sense of the “dynamic” and “conflicted nature” (Dynamik und Zwiespältigkeit) inhering in. and literal. a quo in multa defluximus) (Conf. note 14). life as care (GA60: 207. that You before whom the act of confession takes place. even more than a respect for Augustine’s own confiteri. with the consequence (more Heideggerian than Augustinian) that “the enactment of experience is always insecure about itself” (GA60: 208. but its internal dynamic). Here Heidegger emphasizes that continentia cannot be translated in the negative sense of “abstinence” (Enthaltsamkeit). a decision regarding the possibility (or impossibility) of the enactment of life as trial. 209). an original “tearing oneself away” (zurückreißen). but is itself the enactment of the experience of myself. sense of “holding oneself together” or “containment” (Zusammenhalten). This preoccupation with self is not something that happens to me in experience. Heidegger identifies confiteri with the way in which life interprets itself in the experience of temptation. it is in this movement that the intrinsic historicity of factical existence becomes clear. of course. “In adversity I desire prosperity. though he thereby runs the risk of resolving confiteri in a hermeneutics immanent in life itself (not the contents of life. which is always in relation to God and comes from the grace in having met Him. and insisting instead that they are the point at which his own phenomenological. though in some ways he treats it as ineffectual in terms of the meaning and experience of the trial itself. as opposed to theological. Heidegger’s methodological “halt” at tentatio implies. interpretation of Augustine must halt (GA60: 209. 29. Memory and Temptation 295 from which we had strayed by losing ourselves in the multiplicity” (Per continentiam quippe colligimur et redigimur in unum. does not ignore this You in his interpretation. 40). while leaving aside that “other”. 28. 210). . 10. but rather in the positive. Heidegger reveals the major difficulties of Augustine’s text. In the encounter with tentatio as a fundamental experience – and enactment – of the self that seeks God. Heidegger comments: “The self – even if often only in a ‘weak’ manner – is taken into a historical experiencing” (GA60: 208). while excluding the possibility that such difficulties are reducible to questions of a moralistic or psychological nature. Heidegger. indeed constituting. “pulling back” from the scattering (GA60: 205). 39). adversa in prosperis timeo) (Conf.

between being and non-being. my being comes to fall into – and is thus based on – a more original non-Being (GA60: 212-4). In this. and ambitio saeculi – tentatio reveals itself for Heidegger as an absolutely insuperable condition. since they are obscured by “deplorable darkness” and are thus unreliable. Lived experience (Erlebnis) takes place within this weight or burden (Beschwernis) of life: “Molestia: a burden of life. Augustine asks. except that of the self with itself. that I am forced to wonder whether it is the same ‘I’ in both cases”. Consider. Domine Deus meus) (Conf. it is an experience of molestia which. is a burden to itself (moles).296 Esposito In the three forms of tentatio described by Augustine in Book 10 of his Confessions – concupiscentia carnis. In this experience. 41)? And he continues: “Here I find myself faced with so great a difference between sleeping and waking. I “am” and at the same time “am not” myself. and what is peculiar to the burden lies precisely in the fact that molestia can pull down. for example. 10. Life. is without redemption. the reading proposed by Heidegger of a particular form of carnal lust – the surfacing in dreams of illusory images of sensual pleasure – that could lead to the dreamer’s acquiescence in acts to which a “chaste conscience” would never consent in a waking state. better. the ‘can’ is formed by the enactment that belongs to each experience itself” (GA60: 242). insuperable because ab-solved from any relation. from seduction in dreams to waking decisions. “Perhaps in those moments I am no longer myself. This is further demonstrated by his reading of another case illustrated in the Confessions. the allurement of smell. as such. Heidegger concludes that the content of my “I” does not reside in conscience (im Gewissen). that of the illecebra odorum. It is precisely in this passage that an experience of facticity manifests itself which is more radical than all the ontical situations in which the “I” exists. 30. or conflict (Zwiespältigkeit). concupiscentia oculorum. Heidegger insists. This signals the fact that what is in the spirit often remains . O my Lord” (Numquid tunc ego non sum. I fall into myself. something which pulls life down. It is not by chance that Heidegger lists the series of phenomena of which Augustine speaks under the “Problem of ‘I am’”. but rather in the passage (im Übergang) from the involuntary to the voluntary. I fall back into the self-world (Selbstwelt). He connotes the being-I as an experience of discrepancy. or. about which Augustine writes that one’s faculties can always be mistaken.

as the phenomenon of memory has shown. but. But what is “experiencing temptation”?] (GA60: 217) “What is life?” means “What is the experience of oneself?”. Heidegger emphasizes that this concupiscence of the eye. existence. for Heidegger. defined as a vain and curious longing hidden under the name of knowledge and science (vana et curiosa cupiditas nomine cognitionis et scientiae palliata) (Conf. In this direction. and temptation. That is. Augustine describes the primacy of sight with the simple statement that even though seeing belongs to the eyes. it is used – at least in linguistic expressions – for all . the possibilities of the “falling” (Verfallen) of being-there are originally founded on its constitutive “thrownness” (Geworfenheit) (SZ: 175f. it is hiddenly based on this facticity. 10. does not only mean that the self gets lost in the different ontical possibilities which now and again seduce it. I attain this situation. that life. unless experience reveals it (quod inest plerumque occultum est. on the contrary. 35. Scattering in multiplicity is not the cause of the facticity of existing. concupiscentia oculorum. the self is to be sought originally in this direction of experience. this mere desire to see. but rather in its stark assumption. 48). life. non fiat etiam ex meliore deterior) (Conf. 54). so that life itself may be considered as one long trial (tota temptatio [tentatio]): anyone who can go from worse to better can also go from better to worse (Utrum qui fieri potuit ex deteriore melior. is distinguished from all ontical contents in order to be experienced as the “trial” of the nothing that life itself always is. is to be taken as a looking around one’s “surrounding world” (Umwelt). This would be affirmed by Augustine’s second form of temptation. as a mere “present-at-hand” (vorhanden) constituted and fixed in the very same vision by which it is known (GA60: 224. 48). And so Heidegger concludes: Thus. What experience affirms is a permanent insecurity. and only in this direction. more essentially. 10. 32. And so the experience of continentia does not consist in taking a distance from the factical-being of the self. whereby looking means “to give an object as an object” (einen Gegenstand als Gegenstand vorgeben). 32. the ista vita. In Heidegger’s language in Being and Time. nisi experientia manifestetur) (Conf. 225).). Yet “What is experience?” also means “What is temptation?”. 10. has to be experienced in this way [inasmuch as a temptation is experienced. inasmuch as it is there. does the tentatio encounter us. Memory and Temptation 297 hidden.

as being-near the entity that one encounters in the world and that is (pre)comprehended as “ready-to-hand” (zuhanden). (2) God’s goods as if they were their own (de bonis tuis quasi suis). ambitio saeculi. Here. together with phenomena such as idle talk and ambiguity. not in order to understand what is seen […] but just in order to see” (SZ: 172). We have a final. but jealously guarded for themselves (sicut ex tua gratia. and not according to the general What of objective properties as . 10. definitive confirmation of Heidegger’s interpretative direction in 1921. but as existence itself: “Self – as this singular self which I myself am. in his commentary on the third form of temptation. sed aliis invidentes eam) (Conf. Curiosity “concerns itself with seeing. (4) the goods received by the grace of God as if they were not to be enjoyed by all. sed tamquam ex meritis suis). 10. 64). vide quid sapiat. in which. too. considered in its everydayness. non tamen socialiter gaudentes. worldly ambition. as if it were an objectively present worldly good. that is. but one is freed from oneself as being-in-the-world. this worldly ambition. Indeed. since they consider: (1) what is not good as if it were good (de non bonis quasi bonis). This line of thought would be taken up again in Being and Time in the analysis of the falling of being-there. something that one possesses and has to hand.298 Esposito the other senses as well: Dicimus autem non solum: vide quid luceat. 39. (3) the goods received from God as if received because of personal merit (sicut de tuis. the bonum is not to be taken as an “endowment” (Ausstattung) of the self. curiosity is a decisive factor. Heidegger refers to Book 10 of the Confessions in order to draw from Augustine’s description of the concupiscence of sight the paradoxical phenomenon of a seeing in which not only does one not really understand what one sees in one’s surrounding world (precisely because one only wants to “see” it). 54). vide quid oleat. quod soli oculi sentire possunt. vide quantum durum sit (Conf. Heidegger (re)translates this extreme phenomenon of tentatio. Augustine describes this form in speaking of those who are complacent (qui placent sibi de se) and thus displease you greatly (multum tibi displicent). sed etiam: vide quid sonet. Heidegger extends this description and radicalizes it as the objectifying tendency which accompanies and determines all factical experience. 35. as a mode of enacting the experience (Erfahrungsvollzug) of being-there.

this possibility grows. Memory and Temptation 299 such an object. the possibility that is life: “this possibility ‘grows’. In worldly temptation the “self-world”(eigene Selbstwelt) looms before the self. the more life lives. through which molestia (“a burden of life. as always having belonged to and been due to oneself – Heidegger’s profile of being-there emerges. something which pulls life down”) becomes the possibility itself of life. but as pure self-reference. to oneself. as already suggested. As . can only be from God – it is. having elevated oneself to this position and this level of existence (GA60: 238-9). as having been given to the self by itself (Dasein – existence). considering the goods received from God as one’s own. Radicality and Ambiguity in Heidegger’s Interpretation of Augustine The ambiguity of this interpretation with regard to Augustine’s unequivocal intentionality in considering the ultimate significance of temptation as sin – and thus as the interruption. What represents for Augustine a dramatic incomprehension of one’s own being. becomes possible. here becomes the very enactment of facticity. but as the full manifestation. as such. 5. for Heidegger. if not a veritable loss. but the How of ‘am’” (“das Wie des ‘bin’”) (GA60: 238). the phenomenologically neutral moment in which the most radical self-understanding of “I am”. absolute finitude: “Verum etiam de bonis tuis quasi suis” […] even if genuine insight into the character of the good exists. as the loss of being-given and being-received in complacency. of the relation at the root of good that coincides with what is good for the self – clearly emerges. almost like a watermark: no longer as creation or generation (hence. of the self. In commenting on the second possibility of this temptation – that is. is paradoxically. and if a genuine good belongs to the self (“being good”: authentic existing!) – which. in the methodological delimitation imposed by Heidegger at a certain point in his enquiry.8 Ambitio saeculi is thus no longer taken as incompleteness. taken as self-appropriated. of the self. indeed the realization. in its stark reference to itself. or repudiation. the more life comes to itself” (GA60: 242). relational). which in Augustine is taken as a falsification. The radical falling of being-there into itself.

we will gain what is basic for the access to those phenomena of sin. Heidegger adds (and I quote again from Becker’s notes): However. (For this reason. But we have to leave aside here these phenomena because they are very difficult and require conditions of understanding that cannot be achieved in this context. He defines philosophy as a field which not only puts such concepts aside. the neo-Platonic element in Augustine should not be read as the latter’s inauthentic imposition of Greek categories on the original Christian experience. pre-Christian content”. in Augustine.9 This is an interpretative gesture that Heidegger would explicitly propose in other contexts in the 1920s.300 Esposito we read in Oskar Becker’s notes taken during the lecture courses in 1921: That our possibility of interpretation has its limits. highlighting the real reason why the phenomenon of the remission of sin and reconciliation with God – in other words. his conception of sin cannot […] guide the phenomenological explication of the “genuine” phenomenon. which is of the order of understanding. the reconciliation with God. etc (GA60: 283). The tendency toward vita beata [the happy life] – not in re [in actuality] but in spe [in hope] – emerges only from out of the remissio peccatorum [remission of sin]. starting with his program for a philosophy which – as the self’s interpretation of itself as pure questionability and unrest – must be fundamentally a-theist in a phenomenological. grace. in our consideration. However. in a peculiar interrelation to Neo-Platonism. not an ideological. for the problem of confiteri arises from the consciousness of one’s own sin. Augustine’s neo-Platonism is a sign of the persistence of a conception of the self as a relation with what is other than the self. but “formally indicates [their] ontical. Heidegger speaks of this in his lecture courses on ‘Phenomenological Interpretations of Aristotle’ in 1922.) (GA60: 283-4) Something unexpectedly manifests itself from this perspective: for Heidegger.10 This is already clearly suggested in the lecture courses of 1921. for Heidegger. thereby constituting a “possible ontological corrective”. in which the delimitation of an ontological-existential hermeneutics with regard to theological concepts in the Christian tradition is radicalized. Thus it is a sign of grace: that . that is. On the contrary. as well as in his famous lecture on ‘Phenomenology and Theology’ in 1927. sense. grace – must be left aside. the consciousness of sin – and the manner in which God is present in it – stands. when.

paradoxically. is identified as physis. it is then curved definitively in the centripetal. Heidegger would announce his hermeneutic trajectory from Augustine to Aristotle: The way in which “care” is viewed in the foregoing existential analytic of Dasein. since only in Aristotle would the proto-Christian discovery of life be preserved. Heidegger believes that one should instead attempt to break the thread and tie the knot in another way. it becomes clear that this Augustinian novelty is not something irreducible for Heidegger. too. for Heidegger it is as if. That which began as grace. And facticity. for Augustine. in the fully historical sense. as had already emerged from his reflections on memoria. better. Memory and Temptation 301 which in the Confessions is ascribed to the novelty of the historical meeting of the “I” with God through Christ. it was originally discovered for the first time – needs to be purified and rendered absolute with respect to any and all personal identity. or endogenous. we find ourselves faced with a countermove by Heidegger against the contextual tendency of “Christian philosophy”.12 Thus from his reading of tentatio. Later. Helleno-Christian) anthropology with regard to the foundational principles reached in the ontology of Aristotle (SZ: 199). once stripped of the relation which. of the “I” and God together. at the same time. though not as . is one which has grown upon the author in connection with his attempts to interpret the Augustinian (i. which attempted to re-translate Thomistic thought in the categories of Aristotelean metaphysics. in a crucial passage in Being and Time in which the interpretation of being-there as “care” (Sorge) is vindicated. while its content – the experience of “You” discovered as such by the “I”– is irreducible.11 As a consequence.. especially German neo-Scholastic Christian philosophy (and the Freiburg school in particular). or. even for Heidegger.e. Augustine had to be freed from neo-Platonism in order to be interpreted in an Aristotelean sense. as opposed to the wholly “spiritual” and abstract conception of the divine logos proposed by “neo-Platonic philosophers”. in order to bind Augustine (once freed from neo-Platonism) directly to Aristotelean physics. mode with which life – pure kinesis – is in relation to itself as radical self-reference. condition of this program is epitomized in the question of grace. constitutes it – and wherein. The most important consequence and. Yet even in this case.

Considered under the peculiar form that it assumes in Christian experience. Heidegger doesn’t fail to see that in the experience of the early Christians – as both Paul and Augustine testify – grace manifests itself in the discovery that enactment goes beyond human strength. paradoxically. as something from which one “seeks relief”). This would mean that what one receives. in order to save the “received” being of one’s self. Thus grace becomes the saving. Certainly. Such a situation would at most lead to a “Christian worldview”– that is. like a dynamic of self-generation that reabsorbs into itself any identifiable paternity or progeny. that which sanctions molestia as insuperable and irredeemable. Grace saves finitude in – indeed through – its very weightiness. not the being-saved. therefore) is never a “given”. like the hidden falling of life into itself. of life. Recollection and the Withdrawal of Being: The “Saving” of Nihilism Memory was to return in its constitutive nexus with grace in Heidegger’s reflections on the truth of Being as the “event of . historical – discovery of life. or. or “foothold” (Halt). without redeeming it. but rather in the claim of offering a more radical and complete interpretation of the Christian – that is. since it is not conceivable on the basis of one’s own capacities and cannot even be resolved by turning to God (considered improperly. If grace is not within one’s own power. according to Heidegger. With regard to tentatio. Can we not perhaps recognize in this reading of Augustinian temptation the hidden leitmotif of the existential analytic in Being and Time? 6. to “a contradiction” – and would thus represent an arrest. and what is enacted (one’s own being. grace is here de-historicized at the very moment in which Heidegger has it coincide with the original historicity of life itself. and thus its facticity. then it is within its own impossibility. and its only history is the unstoppable falling and re-falling into its own nothingness. nor can it ever be accepted as such. a being that is never really “real” and that remains “unrealizable”. but. grace would thus no longer be that which frees life from molestia. one must show that the enactment of existence is none other than the impossibility of the enactment of the being of the self. more definitively.302 Esposito a simple return to the pre-Christian situation of the living. And this means that existence is a non-objectifiable possibility. rather than an enactment of factical life (GA60: 122). Yet. indeed “blasphemously”.

not in spite. but the original history of Being itself. and in this way leads us back to ourselves and leads us to stand before [the] work and sacrifice. Nevertheless. And it would return more specifically in Heidegger’s recognition that reflections on Ereignis – as seynsgeschichtliches Denken. Memory and Temptation 303 appropriation” (Ereignis). Here the germane text is the Beiträge (GA65). this salvation is not enacted through a history. only the most intimate event can still save us [uns noch retten kann] from our being-scattered and abandoned [aus der Verlorenheit] in the bustle of mere circumstances and petty machinations” (GA65: 57). a veritable Book of Salvation in that “other beginning” of thought: “Only the greatest happening. truth coincides with this very “leading back” of thought from abandonment in entities to abandonment in being and of being. about belonging to being [Seyn] or abandonment in non-entities” (GA65: 100). The beginning is what is hidden. the not-yet-profaned and not-yet-utilised origin. Once again. The decision is not simply a choice (just as . but is identified as history: no longer that of factical life or being-there. that is. The recurring weave between the Augustinian motifs of memoria and continentia (the latter as the gathering into a whole. though here even more radically. the true sense of the expression “history of being” may be construed as the “history of salvation”: the saving of that which withdraws and the gift of that which is withheld. but a decision “about what? About history or the loss of history. which contains within itself the soul’s richest possibilities (of the will to event emotionally accorded in its knowledge) is the only salvation and the only verification […] Inceptual thought has the appearance of a total distance and futility. more radically. what is more useful than salvation in being (GA65: 57-8)? This will to event (Willen zum Ereignis) is really a decision (Entscheidung). which in withdrawing already draws on the greatest breadth and thus guards in itself the supreme mastery. as opposed to the scattering into multiplicity) is significant here. “the thought of the history of being” – represent the ultimate attempt to save Being itself. that is. but precisely because of the fact that Being is irredeemable. the beginning of the last God. For this reason Heidegger can continue: What must happen as the event [of appropriation] is that which opens being to us and takes us back to within being. This inviolate power. if we really want to think in terms of usefulness. Memory is something which happens as a “leading back to” truth. But the greatest event is always the beginning. If you like.

This is an actual salvation. while recognizing that He still needs it. from the greatest danger of our era: “the uprooting [the forgetting and abandonment of being] is about to hide itself – the beginning of the loss of history is already here” (GA65: 100). The salvation of Being and entity is thus not so much a saving from nihilism as of nihilism itself. as Heidegger would write in his reply to Ernst Jünger in 1955. In Heidegger’s perspective. or severing. the beginning for Heidegger is inhabited by the “passing-by” (Vorbeigang) of the “last God”: He who has not yet come and has always already passed by. that is. in the “clearing” of event. no submission [Niederwerfung] by Man. the admission by God that He needs being. but instead the release [Einsetzung] of the most original essence (the foundation of Dasein) in being itself: the recognition that Man belongs to being through God. it is a game of the essence of truth: is the withdrawal of Being to be taken as the end of the first beginning. Yet this decided salvation is not a redemption and. in the end. the ontological irrecoverableness of Being itself. and so. paradoxically. In other words. in the co-belonging and oscillation between arrival and retreat. constitutes the ultimate sign of finitude. and history as the impossibility of event. a reciprocal dis-junction. without compromising Himself and His greatness by such an admission (GA65: 413). and who. or the first truth of the other beginning of thought? For this reason. The decision about history concerns hiddenness as the true “happening”. advent and concealment: Here no redemption occurs [keine Er-lösung: no re-solution or ab-solution]. stating that “The essence of nihilism is not . salvation as the justifying preservation [Bewahrung] of the law and task of the West” (GA65: 100). a God who is last because He is the denial to Himself of Being. it is not this precisely when it is configured in the traces of the last God’s passing-by. between what is “cleared” and what is hidden. in this permanent indigence. we are not called to return to the origin in order to decide for or against Being. the hidden movement of Being in its appropriation to man and of man: “But why this decision? Because now only from the deepest foundation of being itself can arise a salvation of entities. rather. even less for or against God.304 Esposito the will to event is not to be taken as an arbitrary act): it is Ent-scheidung. we are called to that final decision which allows us to accept the undecidable as destiny.

7 Cf. quia illud. and followed by Bernard of Clairvaux. but coincides with its movement. 5 Cf. even through the specific contents that have been enjoyed. in which Augustine – after Paul. shifting “the centre of gravity of factical life and the life-world to the self-world”. but the gift. with regard to which we always run the risk of contenting ourselves with what we can do rather than what we want to do: omnes hoc [beata vita] volunt. Heidegger’s option becomes clear. There is not nothing to remember. grace is for Heidegger the gift of nothing. 253. 2005:63-84). 6 This self-enactment happens. The salvation of Andenken is to recollect. 2 For a brief account of this meeting. see GA58 (61-62. refer to “what is safe and sound [Heile]” (GA9: 388). Memory is no longer the place of relation with the mystery of origin. Translated by Lisa Adams. as a mystery present to the “I” (present. GA58 (59f. as mystery). GA61 (130). quod non valent. 2003: 105-118.). It is not the trace of the giver in the gift. Bonaventure. As has already been mentioned. in turn. which as such remains concealed and dominates as forgetfulness. 4 Translations from the Confessions are from Augustine (1991). I myself have already dealt with the question in Esposito (2000: 87-124). that is. 368-383. I refer the reader to my earlier publications: Esposito (1998: 199-223. according to Augustine. see von Herrmann (2001: 113-146). there is nothing to remember. In the end. Memory and Temptation 305 something that is either savable [heilbar] or un-savable [unheilbar]”. GA59: 52-54. recollecting thought is called upon to not forget forgetfulness. See also PIA. Tauler. Here. since it discloses the essence of Being as subtraction (Entzug). 205). Luther and Kierkegaard – is considered one of those “powerful eruptions” that revolutionized the paradigm of “ancient science”. sed […] cadunt in id quod valent eoque contenti sunt.). but forgetfulness itself. non tantam volunt. GA61 (131f. the silent happening of the unrealizable history of Being. rather. GA61: 171). not something forgotten.13 Here. Eckhart. in its most radical implication. ut valeant. 8 On the discovery of Selbstwelt by early Christianity (Urchristentum). quantum sat est. 3 Cf. . together with traces of Augustine.. the pure giving without giver and without what is given. but it is simply “the without-salvation [Heil-lose]”. 1 For a textual reconstruction of this position and the Heideggerian risk involved. that which can only. it becomes the place of the impossibility of any origin. GA63 (15f. 2004: 145-167. The essence of nihilism is something non-nihilistic. grace does not redeem us from the falling.

Yet. – 2004. 7. Confessions (tr. Gedächtnis and Dank. ‘Heidegger e il fondamento del nichilismo’ in Angela Ales Bello. gathered remaining near […] and not only near what is past but in the same way near what is present and what is to come” (GA7: 92). and Michael Scanlon (eds). one must put aside the “object of the proclamation […] Jesus himself as Messiah” (GA60: 116). However. It is significant.306 Esposito 9 A similar situation presented itself in the lecture course of 1920-21 with regard to the proto-Christian experience of time. Esposito. 9. in Palumbo. Gedächtnis originally says the same thing as An-dacht: the ceaseless. 3. what Heidegger calls Verwahrnis (GA7: 97). 13 In this respect the theme of memory as taken up again by Heidegger in his 1952 lecture course entitled ‘What is Called Thinking?’. in my opinion. But we shall return to this on another occasion. given the semantic link between Denken. as found in the Pauline concept of kairòs concerning the second coming of Christ (Thess. Caputo. 13f. On the basis of this. PIA (250-251). that Heidegger does not take this passage into account as relevant to his discussion of Augustine and neo-Platonism. Oxford University Press. and Aniceto Molinaro (eds) . for Heidegger it originally means “gratitude towards oneself” (Sichverdanken) since in one’s own “self” – and so ultimately in thought as “memory” – “that which is to-be-thought” is preserved (GA7: 93-94). 12 Cf. would merit especial attention: “Initially Gedächtnis does not mean the capacity to remember. Augustine and postmodernism: Confessions and circumfession. References Augustine. “thinking” originally also meant “thanking”. 10 Cf. Storia e Critica dei Saperi». Pietro (ed) Il giovane Heidegger tra neokantismo. the “to-be-thought” is not to be taken as a reality or a content that is preserved. but instead coincides with the act itself of preserving. 2005. on the other hand. and the Augustinian theme covertly present in it. see especially the passage in Augustine (Conf. Ind. 1991. n. 5:2-3): “The Christian is conscious that this facticity cannot be won out of his own strength. And since thanking does not concern something that comes from us but something that is given to us. Henry Chadwick). «FIERI . Costantino. GA9 (66). Leonardo Messinese. Bloomington.: Indiana University Press. Gedächtnis indicates the whole soul in the sense of a constant inner gathering near that which is directed essentially to every feeling. Università di Palermo. John D. in order to follow to the full the Pauline enactment of life. but rather originates from God – the phenomenon of the effects of grace”(GA60: 121). 2005: 63-84.). GA61 (197).Annali del Dipartimento di Filosofia. 2005. 11 On Augustine’s discovery of and relation to the “neo-Platonic philosophers”. fenomenologia e storicismo. ‘Heidegger: da Agostino ad Aristotele’.

Bari: Levante Editori. 2006. ‘Die “Confessionen” des Heiligen Augustinus im Denken Heideggers’ in Costantino Esposito and Pasquale (eds) Heidegger e i medievali/Heidegger and Medieval Thought. Paderborn: Schöningh. – 2000. Hans-Christian and Antonios Rengakos (eds) 2006. (ed. . Roma: Città Nuova. 2005. Martin Heidegger und die Gottesfrage. Zetemata – Monographien zur klassischen Altertumswissenschaft. NY: Edwin Mellen Press. Paderborn: Schöningh. Günther. Special monographic issue of Quaestio: Annuario di Storia della metafisica / Yearbook of the History of Metaphysics (1): 113-146. Storia e fenomenologia del possibile. Martin Heidegger’s Interpretation of Saint Augustine: Sein und Zeit und Ewigkeit (Collectanea Augustiniana). Lewiston. Fischer. 199-223. Fleteran. 126. 2006. ‘Die Gnade und das Nichts. Memory and Temptation 307 Fondamento e fondamentalismi: filosofia teologia religioni. 87-124.: Klostermann. Roma: Città Nuova. vol. Heidegger und die Antike. 2005.N. Zu Heideggers Gottesfrage’ in Paola-Ludovika Coriando (ed. 1: Esistenza e libertà.). The Influence of Augustine on Heidegger: The Emergence of an Augustinian Phenomenology. Norbert and Dieter Hattrup (eds). Friedrich-Wilhelm von. M. Frankfurt a. de Paulo. Selbsterkenntnis und Gottessuche: Augustinus: Confessiones 10. 145-167. Craig J. Frederick Van (ed. Heidegger. La memoria e il tempo’ in Luigi Alici.). Herrmann. Zeit und Ewigkeit: Augustinus: Confessiones 11-13. 2001. München: Beck. Lewiston. – 2003. NY: Edwin Mellen Press. Remo Piccolomini and Antonio Pieretti (eds) Agostino nella filosofia del Novecento. Schöpfung. – (eds). 2007. – 1998. ‘Martin Heidegger.) ‘Herkunft aber bleibt stets Zukunft’.

to which he then affixes the erroneous dates “1918-19”. 301). 348ff. The vast majority of the notes are in the coarse and large handwriting that dates back to Heidegger’s earliest student years circa 1910 and continues through the war years until mid-April 1919 (the change in handwriting is perceptible in the early weeks of the course-manuscript for SS 1919). Evidence of Heidegger’s “preliminary work on a phenomenology of religious consciousness” (Heidegger. informs us that this generic title bestowed on the collection of courses was in fact borrowed from the coverfold sheet that bundled the notes which he then presents in the appendix under the thoroughly misleading and erroneous cover title. one discovers that only about ten manuscript pages of notes in the fine and miniscule penmanship of 1919 in fact constitute preparations for the cancelled course on medieval mysticism (GA60: 303-312). If one examines the forty-five pages of twenty-five handwritten notes (see Appendix 1) that are bundled together under the cover title. while observing that some works (and so presumably working notes) on medieval mysticism had already been announced by Heidegger in the 1916 Conclusion to the Scotus Dissertation (GA60: 345. Claudius Strube. ‘Working Papers and Notes for a Cancelled Lecture Course’. Notes for a Work on the ‘Phenomenology of Religious Life’ (1916-19) Theodore Kisiel The above title is a proposed correction of the title given to the notes published as a final appendix to Volume 60 of Heidegger’s Gesamtausgabe. ‘Philosophical Foundations of Medieval Mysticism’ – over three years after the very first notes on “Eckhartian mysticism” were probably written (GA1: 402n). ‘Phenomenology of Religious Consciousness/Life’ (where “Consciousness” in the title is crossed out and replaced by “Life”).2 In order to establish the thoroughly non-psychologistic character of medieval scholasticism’s . The co-editor of GA60. letter to Blochmann 1 May 1919 [Heidegger 1989]) in point of fact can be traced back to the 1915 Introduction to the Scotus Dissertation.1 The cancelled course was announced for WS 1919-20 under the title.

does not inform us that he is making a selection from these surviving notes on the phenomenology of religion. I maintain. however. I include the pagination of GA60. It is in this call for a phenomenological examination of the full spectrum of documents on religious experience in the lifeworld of the middle ages. were drawn.310 Kisiel notion of intentionality. from the quality of the covers. 24.6 Some of the notes are internally dated (nos. which anticipates modern phenomenology’s central discovery. dating therefore put in quotation marks) while others can be fairly accurately .5 The handwritten notes are divided into two groups. the phenomenological elaboration of the mystical. 2004. from which the so-called ‘Working Papers and Notes for a Cancelled Lecture Course’. which at one time were separated by blue notebook covers each bearing the insignia ‘Realschule Meßkirch’. in proclaiming that “I regard the philosophical.3 In Section 1 below I give an account of all twenty-five handwritten notes (forty-six loose pages) contained in the file in the Deutsches Literaturarchiv (DLA) in Marbach. moral- theological.4 I last consulted the file in June. Where the note has been published in whole or in part. Our GA-editor. that the young Heidegger’s project of a “phenomenology of religious consciousness/life” is born. which prompted me to identify. I have provided the exact or estimated dates of composition of each of the notes. the first group of twenty-two pages of notes as the ‘neues Heft’ and the second group of twenty-three pages as the ‘altes Heft’(1 titlepage + 22 +23 = 46 pages). and ascetic writings of medieval scholasticism to be of special urgency” (GA1: 205). Where the note has been omitted. or cut. Heidegger draws heavily upon Wilhelm Dilthey’s Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften (Dilthey 1973/1988). 8. more precisely. 3. Among other sources. publishing only twenty of them and suppressing without comment or annotation a full half-dozen of them. We thus are denied a complete record of the full range of the relevant literature and topics that the young Heidegger was considering in preparation for a monograph on the phenomenology of religious consciousness/life. the young Heidegger concludes his ‘Introduction’ by uncharacteristically reverting to the first person singular. 16. out of which we now have a selection of extant notes appended to GA60 (303-337). as if to make the task his own. I include it in Section 2 below along with my English translation. ‘Die philosophischen Grundlagen der mittelalterlicher Mystik’.

Regarding note 13. A2: Title page: ‘Phänomenologie d. leading to their citation in notes 20 and 21 respectively. ‘Erkenntnis – Glaube’ (left side). Reverse side runs from Augustinus to Dilthey-citation (Dilthey 1973: 260/1988: 235. 1. reports of an evening spent with the Heideggers a few months later in which Martin gave a moving talk on the ‘Second Speech’ from Schleiermacher’s On Religion as a belated birthday gift for Elfride. The broadest guide to dating the notes is Heidegger’s change in penmanship in early 1919. for example. Heinrich Ochsner. the handwritten notes of 1916-19 on the phenomenology of religion.7045/4. He also took the same occasion to attend the classes of Ernst Troeltsch and Gustav Adolf Deissmann at the University of Berlin. 1973: 267/1988: 238). Not published. when hastily written. “Bewußtseins” replaced with “Lebens”). on file in Marbach under access number 75. ‘Augustinus’ (right side). Early 1919. internal contents against current general interests provided the best basis for estimates of dates. places the composition of the review in the Summer of 1918. twenty-two pages): Note 1: One full double-sided sheet. 1918. Against this background of penmanship. who was best man at their wedding. Neues Heft (in original order. Listing of ‘Die handschriftlichen religionsphänomenologischen Notizen 1916-19’. can be extraordinarily difficult to decipher. Dilthey. 14). from the coarse and large penmanship of his student years to the exceedingly fine and miniscule penmanship that. religiösen Bewußtseins/Lebens’ (overwritten in blue. Comparative examinations of paper and ink also contributed some clues. as in the dating of the oldest of the notes (no. as in notes to himself. Husserl’s reference to Heidegger’s review of Otto’s Das Heilige in a letter dated September 10. . Notes for a Work on the ‘Phenomenology of Religious Life’ 311 dated by the external evidence of correspondence. as well as an internal reference in the review to a recently published book by Natorp.7 Regarding Note 23. when Heidegger found some time off from his army training in weather meteorology to do some research at the Royal Library in Berlin (Kisiel 1993: 75).

‘Glaube u. Note 10: One half-sided sheet.312 Kisiel Note 2: One single-sided sheet. “14. Wesensfindung’ (GA60: 311-12). 1917. ‘Die Grundarten …’. Note 12: Five full sheets. Not published. Wissen’ (GA60: 310). published in GA60 (312). ‘Aufbau (Ansätze)’ (GA60: 309). Aug. Last of the notes on the cancelled medieval mysticism lecture course. “10./1988: 229). ‘Historische Vorgegebenheit u. 1. August 1919. ‘Mystik. 1917. ‘Die philosophischen Grundlagen der mittelalterlichen Mystik’ (GA60: 303-6). griechischer Geist”. “römischer u. Early 1919. 67’ (signed “Heidegger”). S. 1919. Note 4: One smaller double-sided sheet. 1917. 1919” = 14 August 1919. Note 11: Four full sheets ‘Das religiöse Apriori’ (GA60: 312-315). with the title. ‘Religiöse Phänomene’). Citation from Dilthey (Dilthey 1973: 251f. . ‘Mystik im Mittelalter’ (GA60: 306-7). Ends on the reverse side with the distinction. Note 8: One single-sided sheet. August 1919. Note 7: One single-sided sheet. ‘Das christliche Erlebnis’. 19” = 10 August 1919. VIII. Note 6: One single-sided sheet. Note 5: One smaller double-sided sheet. ‘Problem: Das Schweigen …’(untitled. August 1919. ‘Irrationalismus’ (GA60: 311). Direktionen’ (GA60: 308). ‘Irrationalität bei Meister Eckhart’ (GA60: 315-318). Note 3: Two full sheets. Notes 3-9 on the course amount to ten sheets/pages of notes. VIII. Note 9: One single-sided sheet. ‘Zu Anm. August 1919.

Note 15: Three full sheets. ‘Glaube’ (GA60: 329). July 1918. Rede. Rede’ and ‘WS 1915/16’. ‘Hegels ursprüngliche früheste Stellung zur Religion und Konsequenzen’ (GA60: 328). On the reverse side: “Zu beachten die Literatur: Jülicher. 1917. ‘Ursinn der Geistigkeit in ihrer zentralen Lebendigkeit: vgl. Norden. 1918” = June 1918. two-and-a-half sides full. Stohlenz. July 1918. 1917-18. ‘Das Absolute’ (GA60: 324-327). . Note 23: One double-sided sheet. 1917-18. Weiß. Note 19: One single-sided sheet. Note 17: One half-sided sheet. ‘2. Bousset. Not published. ‘Phänomenologie der religiösen Erlebnisses und der Religion’ (GA60: 322-324). Vertrauenspsalmen’ (GA60: 329- 30). Note 14: Two full sheets. July 1918. Not published. Note 22: Two sheets. Thus presumed to have been written in 1916. ‘Frömmigkeit – Glaube. Der christliche Glaube und Religions-phänomenologie überhaupt’(GA60: 330-332). Vgl. “VI. Über das Wesen der Religion’(GA60: 319-322). Handwriting similar to ‘2. Note 18: One double-sided sheet. Note 20: One single-sided sheet in two different styles of handwriting. Not published. 1918. 1917-18. Note 16: Four full sheets. ‘Der gebende Charakter im Glaubensphänomen’. Notes for a Work on the ‘Phenomenology of Religious Life’ 313 Altes Heft (twenty-three pages): Note 13: Four full sheets. ‘Probleme’ (GA60: 328). Weinert. Meister Eckhart (Pfeiffer)’. Note 21: One half-sided sheet. ‘Das Heilige [Otto Rezension]’ (GA60: 332-334). Talk delivered 1 August 1917. ‘Zu Schleiermacher. 1917-18.

Note 1:‘Knowledge – Faith’/‘Augustine’(Erkenntnis – Glaube/Augustinus) For men have doubted whether the power to live … is due to air or fire [etc. IX. and therefore do not discover Him (Conf. 118. fancy. 10. as we arrive at colors by seeing. n.8 For the mind knows nothing as well as that which is present to itself. 20. And in this trinity of being. 9. 1918.. 14). if he doubts. n. Note 25: One single-sided sheet in black ink.] … On the other hand. and we love to be and to know this being. Dei. 10. ‘Das Phänomen der (inneren) Sammlung …’.10 They say many true things about creation yet do not seek the Truth. or hallucination that I am certain that I am. 11. Notes 24 and 25. who would doubt that he lives. understands. 26). 7). if he doubts. 1918. if he doubts. wills. if he doubts. line 3 to end of 337. and that I love to be and to know this (De civ. 14. For we do not reach these inner realities with our bodily senses as we do everyday external realities.H. he lives. Epist. 3). vgl.314 Kisiel Note 24: One double-sided sheet in blue ink and pencil.9 For we are and know that we are. at the front. line 2). according to the pertinent ontological accounts – M. über die Demut [humilitas] vgl. if he doubts. he judges that he ought not to consent rashly (De trin. there is not a shadow of illusion to disturb us. 2. ‘Zu den Sermones Bernardi in cantorum canticorum’ (GA60: 334. for example. untitled (GA60: 336. Dei. De civ. “6. and love. he understands that he doubts. remembers. 10. Notes Omitted from GA60. if he doubts. the Artificer of creation. flavours by tasting. an der Front” = 6 and 10 September 1918. under the title ‘Heilige Theresia. knowledge.11 And when they love a happy life. two distinct notes in the DLA archive file. und 10. were run together without a break in GA60.336. sounds by hearing. thinks. IX. Seelenburg’). 5 . with piety.12 . he knows that he does not know. 23). he remembers why he doubts. then they also love the truth. 5. that I know that I am. knows and judges? For even if he doubts. 5. he thinks. he wishes to be certain. But it is without any mediating illusion of image. hard and soft textures by touching …. and nothing is more present to the mind than it is to itself (De trin. odors by smelling. And they would have no love for it unless there were some knowledge of it in their memory (Conf. which is none other than joy in the truth.

inner vision. each individual man. 24). Therefore. 38). 2. It knows what knowledge is. which is grounded in the sincerity of the conscience that guides and direct us (Epist. which ever abides and is always the same. 11. you were never able to repudiate the value of the senses to the extent that could convince us that nothing appears to be. 9. its desires. 9. . 3. speaks in one way when he expresses his own mind. you have never in any way ventured to try to do so.10. 3. then from this co-action (coactu) itself they are called thought (cogitatio) (De trin. it does not know something immutable. Dei. for another does not see this but believes what the speaker tells him.14 [On dialectic] This science teaches both how to teach and how to learn. 83. but when he speaks the truth about the human mind either specially or generally. when anyone speaks to me about his own mind. Conf. for another can behold the same thing. quaest. But you have done your very best to convince us that reality is other than it appears to be (Cont. And when these three are drawn together (coguntur) into unity. as to whether he understands this or that or does not. 40). It is therefore obvious that what a person sees in himself is one thing. Indeed. knows itself and loves itself. which never presents a false image from which it cannot be distinguished (De div. however.15 In turning from the world to God.17 … and to believe itself is nothing other than to think with assent (De praed. 16). it not only wishes to make men learned. 6). 118. vgl. 7). reason itself reveals its own nature. while the latter remains steadfast in its unchangeable eternity (De trin. namely with our intellect and reason.19 The famous crede ut intelligas [believe in order that you may understand] says first of all that the full range of experience must be present for analysis if it is to be exhaustive. In it. sanct. is enlightened and made happy (De mag. acad. or whether he wishes this or that or does not. De civ. we give verbal expression to realities which we directly perceive as present in that inner light of truth by which the inner man. truth is grasped by the intellect and inner mind. I acknowledge and approve it. 9).18 And so that trinity arises from memory. but what he sees of truth itself is another thing. 2. and by itself. its powers.13 No matter how you argued. but also can make them so (De ordine. 5). Notes for a Work on the ‘Phenomenology of Religious Life’ 315 When the human mind. but defines the human mind in a different way in special and general knowledge. The distinctive element of the content of this Christian experience lies above all in humility. as he is called. the former may change with time. and the will that unites both. attentive to what is going on within himself. I believe what he says.16 But when it is a question of things that we behold with the mind.

exists between Christianity and a knowledge arising from inner experience. Hence instead of an epistemologically grounded exposition of religious experience and its expression in concepts. a transcendent absolute theoretical science: world of ideas in God (Heidegger). But this inner connection which. within which Christianity began to assert its unique value only gradually.316 Kisiel Augustine’s self-examination of the sense and direction of conscience. first subjects knowledge itself to analysis. did not produce an appropriate scientific foundation in the middle ages. but rather proceeds to transcendences regarded as a formal ontological lawfulness – an eidetic – which somehow possesses the absolute givenness in- itself common to the absolute sphere of lived experience. also. For the middle ages were still under the sway of the preponderant power of ancient culture. Thus. in Augustine’s metaphysics. first through the Platonizing concept of the veritates aeternae. when he had also put that behind him. Schleiermacher once said: ‘The development of Christianity in the West has a great mass of objective consciousness in reserve. an objective systematic structure came into being (Dilthey 1973: 267/1988: 238). we can regard this mass of objective consciousness only as one means of . The Christian science projected from this point of departure did not carry out its task in a satisfactory way. the relation of religious experience to ideation worked from within in the same direction. however.20 “Living experience” as the sphere of life as such is however not expanded and regarded fundamentally by way of an absolute primal science of experience. his thoughts were still fixed in the direction set down for him by the neo-Platonists. which in these basic traits distinguishes itself from all earlier scientific investigations. One of the three main questions asked about the ground of certitude for thought. there is already the struggle between theoretical and practical comportment (Heidegger). in relation to scientific grounding. that science would have had to rest on a foundation rooted in inner experience. Why not? In the years in which the idea of such a foundation-laying preoccupied Augustine. the objective authorities of the Catholic church and Catholic dogma became too predominant in his mind. the issues of great ecclesiastical and dogmatic battles preoccupied him day in and day out. more precisely. Later. But what will prove decisive for his failure is for us the limitation inherent in his nature. And yet this self-examination does not culminate in an epistemological foundation.22 Note 2: ‘The Christian Experience’ (Das christliche Erlebnis) If this communal faith had immediately developed a science wholly appropriate to it. Moreover. – And no medieval man saw further than Augustine.21 [God as at once the Highest Good. metaphysics arises once again out of his self-examination (Dilthey 1973: 260/ 1988: 235). For even the most inward religious life of the soul after all finds its expression only in a framework of ideas.

Dilthey [1973: 258/1988: 232]): Roman spirit: the formal and legal.23 Heidegger lists some of the elements of historical consciousness developed by primal Christianity (drawn from Dilthey [1973: 252- 4/1988: 229f. And this historical consciousness found a fixed external framework in the genealogical interconnections of the history of humanity created within Judaism” (Dilthey 1973: 254f. it had to bring that content into the conceptual framework of the external world. where God is given as will. substance. That community experienced it as an unfathomable living element in the life of Christ and in the struggle of one’s own will. Hence the life of Christ did not enter into a relationship with other propositions but rather with other figures of the ethical-religious life who existed before this life and among whom it now made its appearance. which ordered it according to relations of space. ‘Augustine – Knowledge and Faith’ (Heidegger). in the most intimate experiences of the will (Dilthey 1973: 256/Dilthey 1988: 232). cf.25 Everywhere we find revealed faith interwoven with religious life. counterpart to the ancient (cf.]: Kingdom of God – Brotherhood of Man – Christian Community – sacrifice – inner freedom through faith – God caught up in the historical life of Christ (Heidegger)./1988: 229). person to person. The development of this content into dogma was thus at once its externalization and alienation” (Dilthey 1973: 258/1988: 232). Both tragic distortions.26 It is the tragic destiny of Christianity to take the holiest experiences of the human heart out of the silence of an individual life and install them among the motive forces of world-historical mass movements. and causality. Psychologie. Notes for a Work on the ‘Phenomenology of Religious Life’ 317 understanding’ [Schleiermacher. invoking a mechanistic morality and a hierarchical hypocrisy in the process. time.27 Externalizations (TK./1988: 231). If Christianity wished to bring the content of its experience to clear consciousness. Greek spirit: cosmological conceptual-world.24 Paul’s fundamental experience (Heidegger): “It is impossible to describe the perfect moral life conceptually to the Christian community in the formula of the moral law or of the highest good. 195]” (Dilthey 1973: 251f. In the sphere of theory it succumbed to a fate that weighed no less heavily on its further development.28 . From there a new objective metaphysics.

with Heidegger’s emphases and one correction (“mögliches”): Verstehen religiöser Erlebnisse. Note 3: ‘Die philosophischen Grundlagen der mittelalterlichen Mystik’ (Philosophical Foundations of Medieval Mysticism) Below find my transcription of a significant paragraph omitted from the note as published in GA60 (303-6) under the above German title. From the cosmic concepts of the logos. wissenschaftlich unfruchtbar. lediglich sich in leeren konstruktiven Begriffsformen bewegen. neukantische: Troeltsch (Apriorilehre – Logik des Begriffs in der Religion) 2.29 The omitted paragraph: Kritische Abgrenzung gegen heutige Religionsphilosophien 1. A [Christian] counterpart to ancient metaphysics came into being (Dilthey 1973:258/1988: 232). Bornhausen. Hegelsche (Hegel arbeitet aus den historischen Fällen – aber zugleich Konstruktion des Historischen noch ungeklärt – mangelhafte Ontologien – Grundfehler der heutigen Hegelianer.und Eingang). line 18): “Konkreter auszuführen und zugleich um das Phänomen des religiösen Erlebens zu illustrieren”. Thus. Zugang zu ihren Ausdrucksformen. line 21ff.)31 German sentences (305. Wie drückt sich ein religiöses Erlebnis aus? ‘Gebet’ als Ausdruck (und mögliches Ausgangsphänomen für Rück. which interjected its legal formulas into the inner core of the teachings of Christian faith.) that immediately follow the omitted paragraph. emanation from God. verwirrend. neufriesische: Otto (das Heilige vgl. hemmend. a superabundance of factors induced Christianity to present its content as an objective system coming from God himself. The omission belongs on page 305 of GA60 at line 20 after the following German sentence (305.318 Kisiel Heidegger’s above schematic outline of the two tragic distortions and objectifying externalizations of the Christian experience in the ancient world is a distillation of the following passage from Dilthey: Such a [dogmatic authoritative] system corresponded to the Roman spirit. a grand but mythically tinged symbolism emerged as the language of Christian faith. Greek genius spawned another kind of externalization. die ohne die innerste Vertrautheit mit den Fällen.32 . Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche30) 3. and attainment of participation in Him and his immortality.

for this is God at his most mysterious. where God entices the spirit out of the storms of creaturely unrest into His still unity. – In the birthing process.): [Sign 1] If you do not have the right love. like a bottomless spring of all divine goods (Pfeiffer 1857: 480. necessary “that the spirit elevate reason and sees. 36.). [Sign 13] They do not become deceived by some false light nor by the sight of creatures: they let all things stand on their own (Pfeiffer 1857: 477. 10f. – There are signs “with sensuous features” that are found in humans (Pfeiffer 1857: 481. conveys itself to the Father. “the spirit is estranged from all the marks of creatures and now stands in a pure vision of the first truth”. 32). – divine spark as the light of divine equality. which the soul can achieve” (Pfeiffer 1857: 479. so help us God”(Pfeiffer 1857: 479. 4f. 34f. for it is most immediately God. 10f. again in the word. 6f). Notes for a Work on the ‘Phenomenology of Religious Life’ 319 Note 14: ‘Original Sense of Spirituality in its Central Vitality’ (Ursinn der Geistigkeit in ihrer zentralen Lebendigkeit) Cf.36 Does the spirit know that God is at work within it? (Pfeiffer 1857: 480.)”. 25f. 39f. it is.). In the concealment of the heart. all other gifts are of little or no help to you at all (Pfeiffer 1857: 476. Let us nurture this eternal play in God.). In the reason – for it is most like God. In the will – for it is the free power of the soul. 19f.) This question is the topic of many beautiful words by the great teachers and saints: 1. so that God may communicate Himself in His divine quality” (Pfeiffer 1857: 479.33 But cf. In the most intimate essence of the soul – where all the powers of the soul are first born in a divine taste.34 For God’s birth in the soul.37 . 3.). – free will as a power that savours the divine good known to you by reason. [which manifests] each power in its essence (Pfeiffer 1857: 480. “The Father thus conveys His word to the soul and the soul. [Sign 17] They have few words and much life (Pfeiffer 1857: 477. – concealment of the heart as a concentration of all divine gifts in the innermost essence of the soul. 2). which at all times bends toward God (Pfeiffer 1857: 480. 5. (Pfeiffer 1857: 481. In the spark of the soul. 40).35 At what place and in what power is the Eternal Word born? (Pfeiffer 1857: 480. 29): – reason as the highest power by which the soul engages in the divine Good. 4. Meister Eckhart: “Since no one can give form to God. “the true visionaries of God” and the twenty-four signs by which they become known (Pfeiffer 1857: 476.). 29f. so likewise can one give no form to the soul (Pfeiffer 1857: 394. 28). since seeing is the most delightful and most noble work.). among other things. “God’s birth in the soul is nothing else than a unique divine contact in a unique heavenly way. 2.

1909]. 1913]. Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des AT und NT [herausgegeben von W. Leipzig und Berlin: Teubner.: äé ðßóôåùò ãñ ðåñéðáôïØìåí. Agnostos Theos. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Note 21: ‘The Character of Giving in the Phenomenon of Faith’ (Der gebende Charakter im Glaubensphänomen) Ephes. [Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Vom Zorne Gottes. Marburg: Elwert. [Richard]. [Johannes B. 18: ðåöùôéóìÝíïõò ôï×ò Ïöèáëìï×ò ô­ò êáñäßáò ßìäí (“Eyes of the heart” to know the hope of your calling. Reitzenstein.] Weinel. not by sight). [Max]. Deißmann. Bousset.]. Biblische Theologie [des Neuen Testaments. so that you may know what is the hope of your calling”). Deißmann. [Untersuchungen zur Formengeschichte religiöser Rede. “May he enlighten the eyes of your heart. Die hellenistischen Mysterienreligionen. Die Religion Jesu und des Urchristentums. 1892. 1913. 1. (on God and the mysticism of Jesus). Hauptprobleme der Gnosis. [Eine Studie über den Einfluss der griechischen Philosophie auf das alte Christentum. Pohlenz.320 Kisiel Note 18: omitted reverse side: ‘Taking note of the literature’ (Zu beachten die Literatur) Jülicher. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. [Adolf]. Bousset und H. Studieren die ganze Dynamik und Struktur des Christusglaubens bei S[chettler] (study the entire dynamics and structure of faith in Christ in Schettler) . 1913]. ïÛ äé åËäïõò (For we walk by faith. Deißmann [Deissmann 1911].39 Paul’s piety: êïéíùíßá with Christ – cf. Gunkel]. [Geschichte des Christusglaubens von den Anfängen des Christentums bis Irenaeus. 7ff.38 2 Kor. Leipzig und Berlin: Teubner. Kyrios Christos. Tübingen: Mohr. Die neutestamentliche Formel “in Christo Jesu”. 84f. Tübingen: [Mohr] 1907. 1910. Das Urchristentum. Ðßóôéò cf. 5. 1913]. Schettler. [Heinrich]. Die paulinische Formel “Durch Christus”. Norden. [Wilhelm]. Der religiöse Wert der Reformation. Marburg: [Elwert]. [Eduard]. 92f. Weiß. Paulus. 1913. [Adolph].

The rough transcript is marred by other reading errors. will). Bonaventure. An errata-list of these published pages (303-337) follows: . since Heidegger’s detailed reading and citation of the Augustinian opus was motivated by his reading of the chapter on Augustine in Dilthey’s Introduction to the Human Sciences (Dilthey 1973/1988). omits an entire manuscript page that spans GA60. The rough transcript by Fritz Heidegger. 304-305. at this stage in the deciphering. For the two chapters together define the breakthrough brought about by “Christian life-experience” in Dilthey’s quasi-Comtean history of the progress from a “metaphysical” to an “epistemological” (later called “hermeneutical”) foundation for the human sciences. Also heavily cited in these two notes is the previous chapter in Dilthey’s early work. Augustine. Notes for a Work on the ‘Phenomenology of Religious Life’ 321 3. Comments on the Omitted Notes of 1916-1919 Notes 1 and 2 belong together. Inner experience understood in the full facticity of its historicity comes to a remarkable concentration and focus in each individual’s “self-world”. e. as this inner-outer world is. a listing of the then current philosophies of religion.g.41 This omission from note 3. For the primal Christian life-experience breaches the objectifying cosmological categories of Greek philosophy by way of its equiprimordial emphasis on (a) the interior life of the individual soul (heart. Luther. Epistemology. But even Augustine eventually fell victim to the tendency to cloak this inner-outer historical world in the objectifying categories of Greek cosmology and Roman law.. described and exemplified in the soliloquies and “confessions” of St. entitled “Christianity. and Metaphysics”. and Kierkegaard (GA58: 62. Bernard of Clairvaux.40 The primal insights into the genuine conduct of the Christian life therefore had to be periodically retrieved and renewed in the history of Christianity by Augustinians like the medieval mystics (Eckhart. was made by the final editors of the text. some of which are carried over into the publication of the notes. and so somewhat illegible. perhaps because of the minuscule. handwriting. The “deep mystery” of Christianity “resides in the relationship of one’s own states to God’s acting in the [inner] heart and in [historical] destiny” (Dilthey (1973: 256/1988: 232). 206). and (b) a “historical consciousness of a development of the entire life of the soul” fulfilled in the historical reality of the life of Christ (Dilthey 1973: 255/1988: 231). Tauler).

that God’s birth in the soul “releases the spirit from the storms of creaturely unrest into His still and silent unity”. all of which are still caught up in creaturely dispersion. from this innermost place. What interests Heidegger most is the question of the place (stat) or power in the soul in which the eternal Word is most truly born. In this innermost stat. 331. highlights some essential aspects of Eckhart’s mysticism.) 336. line 23: “Enddeutung” instead of “Deutung” 304. every divine good arises as from a bottomless wellspring. last line: “intuitionale” instead of “intentionale” 322.322 Kisiel 303. from . to opt for a fifth place at the “innermost essence of the soul”. lines 2-3: (separating Notes 24 [Bernard of Clairvaux] & 25 [Theresa of Avila]) 336. for example. as “Fakten”) 303. the oldest of the notes in this collection. line 19: “… (nicht geometrisch eidetisch) …” (inserting an “unreadable word”) Note 14. Under the title. where all the soul’s powers are gathered and preserved essentially “in a divine taste”. line 22: “Und zwar rein.). ‘The Signs of a True Ground’. line 1: “Direktionen” instead of “Direktiven” 321. the spirit itself “stands (stât) in a naked intuition of the first truth”. abgelöst von …” (correct deciphering in Fritz H. the young Heidegger excerpts passages in Middle High German from Pfeiffer’s 1857 edition of two of Eckhart’s Tracts. will. line 9: “Funktion” instead of “Faktizität” (Fritz H. It notes. line 10: “… ist selbst mit konstitutiv …” (so in Fritz H. line 4: “Erhöhtwerden” instead of “Erfühltwerden” (correct deciphering in Fritz H. interprets the abbreviation “Fkt”.) 308. and ‘On the Birth of the Eternal Word in the Soul’. line 12: “selbsterlebnismäßige” (combining two words into one) 305. Numerous quotation marks are omitted in this published note which cites heavily from Schleiermacher’s “Second Speech”. line 22: “mögliche” instead of “einzelne” 307. ‘Original Sense of Spirituality in its Central Vitality’. the soul’s spark and its heart (gemüet). Eckhart descends from the reason.

n. 3 See Kisiel (1993: 525-7). .. In this note. Cf. how this Spirit works “through Christ”.7.7045/4: religionsphänomenolog. and mysticism. Notizen 1916-1919. Note 18 (reverse side) provides a further bibliography that supplements the young Heidegger’s reading list in 1916-1919 with books in theology. 3. 301. By 1919. Studentenschaft in Tübingen). (2) SS 1920. 348f. 345. entitled ‘The Giving [or Gift] Character of the Phenomenon of Faith’. thus how the “faith of Jesus Christ” transcends the distinction of genitive subjective and objective toward a unique “genitivus mysticus”. GA60 (348). 352). suggests the reason for the error of attributing the notes of 1916-1919 to a lecture course. history of Christianity. for Heidegger’s reading list at the time. described by him in the mystical formula. “Christ in me. Einleitung in die Phänomenologie der Religion. and is quick to point to the double-genitive operative in phrases like the “thinking of be-ing”. but also those of Bernard of Clairvaux’s experience. Friedrich Schleiermacher. which carefully elaborates upon prepositional phrases like “Being-in”. 1 Cf. Notes for a Work on the ‘Phenomenology of Religious Life’ 323 the very heart of the intentional relation and mystical unity between man and God (Kisiel 1993: 83f). GA60. The tripartite subtitle of GA60. Theresa of Avila’s Interior Castle (= stat!) and the piety of the prince of the modern German protestant theologians. 75. Deissmann does the same by asking what sort of intentional relation is involved in Paul’s Christ-mysticism. the young Heidegger’s fascination with Gustav Adolf Deissmann’s work on Pauline mysticism.. The key to Paul’s piety is his communion with the living Christ. and (3) ‘Phänomenologie und Theologie’ (am 8. among other things. 1. Die philosophischen Grundlagen der mittelalterlicher Mystik. Heidegger resolves to study the entire dynamics and structure of “Christ-faith” and to compare the piety of “Christ- mysticism” in all its forms with that of Greek mysticism (as it was examined by his Freiburg teacher. the forms of Christ-mysticism include not only Paul’s and Eckhart’s. Augustinus und der Neuplatonismus. GA1 (344. I in Christ”. 4 This file of twenty-five handwritten notes can be ordered at Marbach under the DLA access number 75. 2. albeit a cancelled course: it creates the illusion of yet another course added to the roster of courses published in the Gesamtausgabe! 2 Cf. and answers by invoking the pneumatic Christ “in the Holy Spirit”. A2.7045. Box with (1) WS 1919/20. Richard Reitzenstein) (Kisiel 1993: 88).42 Note 21. in fact takes us back to early Christianity and records. The question here – what does it mean to be “in” – “recalls later developments in Heidegger’s ‘grammontology’..27 vor der evang.

et judicare quis dubitet? Quandoquidem etiam si dubitat. si dubitat. cum vero de humana specialiter aut generaliter verum dicit. For a detailed account of the influence of these two chapters on the young Heidegger that goes beyond the passages excerpted in his two notes see Kisiel (2009). nec menti magis quidquam praesto est. et id esse ad nosse diligimus. credo. alterum incommutabili aeternitate consistere”.] dubitaverunt homines … Vivere se tamen et neminisse et intelligere. nec omnino ausi estis aliquando ista temptare. sicut illa quae foris sunt. 14 “Nunquam rationes vestrae ita vim sensuum refellere potuerunt. ‘Augustinus Erkenntnis und Glaube’. ergo the same title as the top note of the collection of notes on the ‘Phenomenology of Religious Consciousness/Life’ (which was then omitted from the publication of notes). meminit. quorum alterum mutari per tempora. 7 Cf. ullo sensu corporis tangimus. composed in 1919. si dubitat. et velle. 6). idque nosse et amare certissimum est”. Nec amarent. iudicat non se temere consentire oportere”.324 Kisiel 5 Heidegger’s notes. certus esse vult. has been deposited in the Archive of the Loyola University Library in Chicago. nisi esset aliqua notitia ejus in memoria eorum”. si dubitat unde dubitet. a collection of Fritz Heidegger’s typescripts in the possession of Barbara Fiand. si dubitat. Kisiel (1993: 72. In hic autem tribus. 10 “Nam et sumus. 13 “Aliterque unusquisque homo loquendo enuntiat mentem suam quid in se ipso agatur attendens. quod non est aliud quam de veritate gaudium. aliter autem humanum mentem speciali aut generali cognitione definit. et cogitare et scire. velut colores videndo. quae dixi.H. nolla nos falsitas verisimilis turbat. non pie quaerunt et ideo non inveniunt. The first archival entry of forty listings in this collection is a thirty-five page typescript bearing the title. et utrum velit an nolit hoc aut illud. Section 3. vivit. mihi esse me. sono audiendo …. aliud autem in ipsa veritate quod alius quoque possit intueri. agnosco et approbo. aut si inveniunt”. Footnoted in Dilthey (1973: 261. quam ipsa sibi”. utrum intellegat hoc aut illud an non intellegat. si dubitat. cogitat. English translations are from Dilthey (1988). Unde manifestum est aliud unumquemque videre in se quod sibi alius dicendi credat. quam id quod sibi praesto est. Martin’s younger brother. 8 “Utrum enim aeris sit vis vivendi … – an ignis – [bezüglich der seinsmächtigen Erklärung – M. 12 “Et cum amant beatam vitam. I have supplied the pagination from the 1922 edition (Dilthey 1973). of course cites from the first (1883) edition of the Einleitung. which to this day is not to be found in Marbach. Non enim ea. He also reports that he worked from a typed transcript of the notes made by Fritz Heidegger. utique amant etiam veritatem. 9 “Nihil enim tam novit mens. non tamen videat. dubitare se intelligit. All of Heidegger’s citations are from the first two chapters of Book Two. scit se nescire. 1). sed sine ulla phantasiarum vel phantasmatum imaginatione ludificatoria. n. et nos esse movimus. ut convinceretis nobis nihil videri. creaturae artificem. ‘Christentum. Erkenntnistheorie und Metaphysik’ (Dilthey 1973: 250-5) and “Augustinus” (Dilthey 1973: 255-267). who photocopied them in Meßkirch from Fritz’s carbon copies. si dubitat. But recently. sed posse aliud esse ac videtur vehementer persuadere incubuistis”. Itaque cum mihi de sua propria loquitur. . 519 n. 11 “Et multa vera de creatura dicunt et veritatem. 6 The editor of GA60 mistakenly only reports twenty-two pages of notes while making his selections for publication from both groups (GA60: 348).

23 “Hätte gleich damals dieser Glaube der Gemeinden eine ihm ganz entsprechende Wissenschaft entwickelt: so hätte diese in einer auf die innere Erfahrung zurückgehenden Grundlegung bestehen müssen. haec docet discere. quae non habet imaginem falsi a qua discerni non possit. in welchen der Gedanke einer solchen Grundlegung den Augustinus beschäftigte. quam cum assensione cogitare”. eine transzendente absolute theoretische Gegenständlichkeit: Welt der Ideen in Gott”. Conf. welcher in Bezug auf die Begründung der Wissenschaft zwischen dem Christentum und . Das Unterscheidende des Inhalts dieser christlichen Erfahrung liegt vor allem in der Demut. 2. Die christliche Wissenschaft. Notes for a Work on the ‘Phenomenology of Religious Life’ 325 15 “Dialectica – ‘Haec docet docere. wie sie in diesen Grundzügen sich von jedem früheren verwandten wissenschaftlichen Versuch unterscheidet. 19 “Atque ita fit illa trinitas ex memoria et interna visione et quae utrumque copulat voluntate. illustratur et fruitur”. quae praesentia contuemur in illa interiore luce veritatis. 22 “Gott zugleich summum bonum (De civ. 2). 11. cf. 4)]. – “Und weiter als Augustinus hat kein mittelalterlicher Mensch gesehen. 20 “Das berühmte crede ut intelligas besagt zunächst. For this etymological play on cogitation as re-collection. 16 “[ … quae] semper manet et eiusdem modi est. 18). als entscheidend wird sich uns aber die in seiner Natur selbst liegende Grenze ergeben. im Sinne der absoluten Erlebnisursprungswissenschaft. Dei. welche von diesem Ausgangspunkte aus entworfen wird. wurden die objektiven Gewalten der katholischen Kirche und des katholischen Dogma zu übermächtig in seinem Bewußtsein. quid valeat. daß die volle Erfahrung für die Analysis da sein muß. So entspringt aus seiner Selbstbesinnung zunächst vermittels des platonisierenden Begriffs der veritates aeternae wieder Metaphysik”. in seiner Metaphysik ist schon der Kampf zwischen theoretischem Verhalten und praktischem Verhalten angelegt” (Heidegger). soll diese erschöpfend sein. 7). löst ihre Aufgabe nicht in angemessener Weise. qui dicitur homo interior. Dei. eine der drei Hauptfragen war die nach dem Grunde der Gewißheit für das Denken. n. quid velit. 19. 118. 18 “… et ipsum credere. qua ipse. sondern geht auf Transzendenzen im Sinne der formalen ontologischen Gesetzlichkeiten – ein Eidetisches – das mit der absoluten Erlebnissphäre die an sich absolute Gegebenheit irgendwie gemeinsam hat. tota alacritate converti”. Und dennoch geht eine erkenntnistheoretische Grundlegung auch dieser Selbstbesinnung nicht hervor. auch nahmen die Interessen der großen kirchlichen und dogmatischen Kämpfe Tag für Tag ihn in Anspruch. Warum das nicht geschah? In den Jahren. Scit scire. als auch das für ihn abgetan war. sola scientes facere non solum vult sed etiam potest’. quae tria cum in unum coguntur ab ipso coactu cogitatio dicitur”. Die Selbstbesinnung des Augustinus. ea quidem loquimur. 3-4) [noted by Dilthey (1973: 264. quae sit. De civ. Cited in Dilthey (1973: 264. n. in haec se ipsa ratio demonstrat atque aperit. So bildete sich anstatt einer erkenntnistheoretisch begründeten Darstellung der religiösen Erfahrung und ihres Ausdruckes in Vorstellungen eine objective Systematik” (Dilthey 1973: 267). welche in dem Ernst des richtenden Gewissens begründet ist (Epist. 17 “Cum vero de hic agitur. id est intellectu atque ratione. 3. Aber dieser innere Zusammenhang. 21 “‘Die lebendige Erfahrung’ wird nun nicht als die Lebenssphäre als solche ausgeweitet und prinzipiell gesehen. (10. nihil aliud est. quae mente conspicimus. unterwirft zunächst das Wissen selber der Analysis. verharrten seine Gedanken noch in der ihm von den Neuplatonikern gegebenen Richtung: später.

so trat es nicht zu anderen Sätzen in Beziehung. Thanks to Sylvain Camilleri for providing these century-old references. simply operate in empty . Augustinus – Erkenntnis und Glaube)”. Person zu Person. Substanz und Kausalität eingeordnet wurde. die heiligsten Erfahrungen des Menschenherzens aus der Stille des Einzellebens heraus und unter die Triebkräfte der weltgeschichtlichen Massenbewegungen einzuführen. 25 “Paulus: Grunderfahrung – ‘Das vollkommene sittliche Leben war der Chrstengemeinde nicht in der Formel eines Sittengesetzes oder höchsten Gutes gedankenmäßig darstellbar. Gegenbild zur antiken! (vgl. Cf. mußte es ihn in den Vorstellungszusammenhang der Außenwelt aufnehmen. welchem derselbe nach den Beziehungen von Raum. Schleiermacher sagt einmal: ‘Die Entwicklung des Christentums im Abendlande hat eine große Masse des objektiven Bewußtseins zum Rückhalt. finden wir überall den Offenbarungsglauben verwoben”. Findet doch auch das innigste religiöse Seelenleben nur in einem Vorstellungszusammenhang seinen Ausdruck. The article is a reply to Rudof Otto’s article in three parts. die vor ihm bestanden und unter denen es nun erschien. Daraus eine neue objective Metaphysik. hierdurch aber einen Mechanismus des Sittlichen und eine hierarchische Heuchelei hervorzurufen. welchem in den inneren Erfahrungen des Willens Gott als Wille. 26 “In das religiöse Leben. 28 “Veräußerlichungen: Römischer Geist: die Formeln und der Rechtscharakter. Wenn es den Gehalt seiner Erfahrung zu klarem Bewußtsein bringen wollte. 24 “Reich Gottes” – “Brüderlichkeit [der Menschen: 252]” – “Christengemeinde” – “Aufopferung” – “innere Freiheit durch den Glauben” – “Ergreifen Gottes in der geschichtlichen Lebendigkeit Christi”. 31 “Critical demarcation from contemporary philosophies of religion/(1) neo-Kantian: Troeltsch (the doctrine of the apriori – logic of the concept in religion)/(2) neo-Friesian: Otto (the Holy. sondern zu anderen Gestalten des sittlich-religiösen Lebens. 29 “To be worked out more concretely and at the same time to illustrate the phenomenon of religious experience”. Griechischer Geist: kosmologische Begriffswelt. hat im Mittelalter eine entsprechende Grundlegung der Wissenschaft nicht hervorgebracht. auf dem theoretischen Gebiet verfiel es einem nicht minder schwer auf seiner weiteren Entwicklung lastenden Geschick. innerhalb deren das Christentum nur langsam sich geltend zu machen begann. Dies war in der Übermacht der antiken Kultur begründet. als ein unergründlich Lebendiges wurde es von ihr in dem Leben Christi und in dem Ringen des eigenen Willens erfahren. genauer genommen können wir aber diese Masse des objektiven Bewußtseins nur als ein Verständigungsmittel ansehen’”. Und dies historische Bewußtsein fand ein festes äußeres Gerüst in dem genealogischen Zusammenhang der Geschichte der Menschheit. Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche30)/(3) Hegelian (Hegel works out of historical cases – however at the same time the construction of the historical unclear – empovershed ontology – basic mistake of the contemporary Hegelians. So war die Entwicklung dieses Gehalts im Dogma zugleich seiner Veräußerlichung”. lacking inner familiarity with the cases. gegeben ist. who. Beides tragische Verunstaltungen. Bornhausen. See Otto (1909). Zeit. cf. Dilthey (1973: 252-4). 27 “Es ist das tragische Schicksal des Christentums gewesen. 30 Bornhausen (1910). welcher innerhalb des Judentums geschaffen worden war”.326 Kisiel einer von der inneren Erfahrung ausgehenden Erkenntnis besteht. Als dann wirkte von innen in derselben Richtung das Verhältnis der religiösen Erfahrung zu dem Vorstellen.

Pfeiffer. 38 “Augen des Herzens” zu erkennen die Hoffnung eurer Berufung. – göttlicher Funke: lieht götlicher glicheit. daran sie erkannt werden. 36 “An welcher Stätte und in welcher Kraft wird eigentlichst das ewige Wort geboren? Darüber manige schoene [rede] bei meister und heiligen: 1. dâ sich got dem geiste gemeinen mac nâch sîner götlîchen eigenschaft’. wan sehen ist daz lustlîchest werc unde daz edelst. Meister Eckhart: Wan als gote niemen keine gestalt geben mag. .). 40 Cf. Citations here and in the remainder of Heidegger’s note on Eckhart are from Tract VIII. 1857: 394. ‘Gotes gebûrt in der sêle ist niht anders denne ein sunderlîchez götelîchez berüeren in einer sunderlîchen himelischen wîse. aber ‘die gerehten anschouwer gotes’ und die 24 zeichen. die im Menschen sind “mit sinnelichem gemerke” – in der Geburt wird “der geist entfremedet allem gemerke der crêatûren unde stât in einem blôzen anschowen der êrsten wârheit”. 4. 37 “Hat nun der Geist ein Wissen davon. in der Verborgenheit des Gemütes. alsô mac man ouch der sêle keine gestalt geben”. daß ihr so erkennen. 13. habet ir niht rehte minne. “Möge er die Augen eures Herzens erleuchten. 2. 1. Sie enwerdent niht betrogen von deheinem valschen liehte noch von schouwe der crêatûre: sie lâzent alliu dinc ûf sich selber stân. access to its forms of expression. 34 “Vgl. 3. on the Dilthey note. dâ got dem geiste locket ûz dem gestürme crêatûrliche unruowe in sîne stille einekeit. welche da sei die Hoffnung eures Berufs”. – Verborgenheit des Gemütes ist als ein samenunge alles götlichen gâben in dem innersten Wesen der Seele. in dem aller Innersten des Wesens der Seele – welches geboren werden alle Kräfte der Seele in einem göttlichen Geschmack. Notes for a Work on the ‘Phenomenology of Religious Life’ 327 constructed conceptual forms. denn diese ist Gott am geheimsten. obfuscating.)” 32 “Understanding religous experiences. daz diu sêle geleisten mac’. im Seelenfunken. 17. ‘The Signs of a True Ground’ (‘Die zeichen eines wârhaften grundes. How does a religious experience express itself? Prayer as expression (and possible gateway- phenomenon for entry and return)”. in der vernunft – denn sie ist gote am gleichsten. mit der die Seele ein Eingreifen hat in das göttliche Guot.a. daz ir diu vernunft gewîset hât. – die Vernunft höchste Kraft. eine jegliche Kraft in ihrem Wesen. – freier Wille ein smackendiu kraft götlichen guotes. daz ist als ein grüntloser brunne alles götlichen guotes”. Kisiel (1993: 100-105). 10f. 39 “Denn wir wandeln im Glauben. All the English translations of the old German are my own. und nicht im Schauen”. ‘On the Birth of the Eternal Word in the Soul’ (‘Von der geburt des êwigen wortes in der sêle’. constricting. im willen – denn er ist freie Kraft der Seele. 33 “Vgl. 5.’ Pfeiffer 1857: 475-478). des helf uns got’”. sô treit sich diu sêle in dem worte wider in den vater. 35 “Für Gottes Gebärde in der Seele ist es u. ‘Alsô treit der vater sîn wort in die sêle. sô hilfet ez iu wênic oder nihtes niht. Citation is from the opening lines of Tract III. sie habent wenic wort unde vil lebens”. ‘On the Worthiness and Quality of the Soul’ (‘Von der sêle werdikeit und eigenschaft’. These citations of three of the twenty signs are from Tract VII. and Kisiel (1993: 105-8) on the Augustine note. Pfeiffer 1857: 478-483). daß Gott in ihm wirkt? – es gibt merke. Daz wir diss spils êwiclîche in gote pflegen. er ist Gott am nächsten. notwendig ‘daz der geist die vernunft ûf hebe unde sehe. daz sich alle zît ûf got neiget. scientifically unfruitful.

Betanzos). 1909. Martin and Elisabeth Blochmann. 1911. (ed.328 Kisiel 41 This course of WS 1919-20 (GA58) freely applies the insights of Notes 1 and 2 on the history of the “Greek-Christian interpretation of life” without identifying its source in Dilthey. Heidegger. – 2006. For a more detailed account of Augustine’s place in Heidegger’s history. Ramon J. see Kisiel (1993: 525-7). Joachim W. 42 For the most complete reading list. Leipzig. (3): 204- 42. Marbach a. 1973. Reprint by Scientia Verlag Aalen. Versuch einer Grundlegung für das Studium der Gesellschaft und der Geschichte (Wilhelm Dilthey Gesammelte Schriften 1). N. Kisiel. ‘Jakob Fries’ Religionsphilosophie’ in Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 19 (1): 31-56. Karl. – 1993. Tübingen: Mohr. ‘Wider den Neufriesianismus in der Theologie’ in Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 20 (5): 341-405. see Kisiel (2006). 1989. Storck). Wilhelm. The Genesis of Heidegger’s Being and Time.: University of California Press. Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften. 1857. 1988. Republished in 1962. Franz (ed. References Bornhausen. Briefwechsel 1918- 1969 (ed. Rudolf. Paulus.und religionsgeschichtliche Skizze. Meister Eckhart (Deutsche Mystiker des vierzehnten Jahrhunderts 2). Heidegger. Deissmann. Theodore. Introduction to the Human Sciences: An Attempt to Lay a Foundation for the Study of Society and History (tr. Calif. Otto. Craig J. (2): 108-61. ‘Situating Augustine in Salvation History. Philosophy’s History. Pfeiffer. . Gustav Adolf. ‘Heidegger reads Dilthey on the Enactment of Christian Heilsgeschichte’ in Dilthey International Yearbook for Philosophy and the Human Sciences (2). New York: Edward Mellen Press. and Heidegger’s History’ in de Paulo. 53-87.: Deutsche Schillergesellschaft. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. 1910.N.) Augustine. Lewiston. 2009. Dilthey. Eine kultur. Dilthey. Wilhelm.). and Augustinian Phenomenology. Berkeley. Stuttgart: Teubner.

which he will deepen in his subsequent phenomenology of religion applied to Paul’s Epistles and Augustine’s Confessions during winter semester 1920- 1921. This is precisely what he does in the notes. the religious. it is nonetheless at work in them. while also introducing a shift in Heidegger’s analytical method and terminology.2 The notes form the missing link between the habilitation thesis and the early Freiburg lectures – as Theodore Kisiel has well documented in this volume. which was originally meant to map out the terrain to be dealt with in greater depth in a larger work entitled ‘Phenomenology of Religious Consciousness/Life’. and the theological. those holding this view have typically overlooked. They constitute an investigation of religious consciousness and its world. The introduction and conclusion that Heidegger added to the thesis for its publication make it clear that already in 1916 he had planned to examine the vital “correlativity” between God and consciousness (GA1: 351). While the latter expression does not occur in the notes. the fragmented notes written between 1916 and 1919 and gathered under the title ‘The Philosophical Foundations of Medieval Mysticism’. The notes are Heidegger’s preliminary investigation of the “religious life- world”. Heidegger’s notes are a work in progress. a work he would never write.1 However.3 On the other hand. They treat the philosophical. the term Lebenswelt (life-world) does occur in two important notes from 1918 (GA60: 328. The Theological Architecture of the Religious Life- World according to Heidegger’s Proto-Phenomenology of Religion (1916-1919) Sylvain Camilleri Many scholars regard Heidegger’s 1915 habilitation thesis on Duns Scotus as the source of the phenomenology he developed between 1919 and 1923. 336). Thus the notes indicate the trajectory of both Heidegger’s early thought in general and his phenomenology of religion in particular. or at least underestimated the value of. a term Heidegger most likely took from Husserl’s Ideas II while working out his phenomenology of religion.4 If Heidegger did indeed .

330 Camilleri first use the term Lebenswelt in the notes. and how the religious life-world itself helps Heidegger to draft his nascent phenomenology of religion. particularly for his phenomenology of (secular) life and of Aristotle. “ontologically speaking”. giving religious consciousness “its original meaning and structure”. 322). The foundations of the religious life-world are themselves rooted in religious lived experience. as the “immanent historicity of life itself” (Kisiel 1993: 497). the guiding intention in what follows is twofold: to show how Heidegger seeks to lay bare the structure of the religious life-world. fundamentally historical (GA60: 325). In light of this. By the same token. his phenomenology of Paul and Augustine. Moreover. that is to say hermeneutics. primordial historical experience of the religious if religious consciousness is characterized by an “entirely originary intentionality” . 305). Schleiermacher opened the path when he wrote that “religion begins and ends” in “history in the most authentic sense” (GA60: 322). then it is because religious life is. it is because there is a real “independence of religious experience and its world” (GA60: 334. respectively.5 That is why a phenomenological investigation aiming at a “primordial understanding” of religious lived experience by introducing such experience into “the sphere of absolute understandability” has to start with “the historical” (GA60: 303. The Historical Motives of Fulfilment In the case of the religious life-world.6 If the historical is the founding element of the religious life-world. The founding aspect of the historical self – prefiguring Heidegger’s Selbstwelt (“Selfworld” or “world of the self”) – derives from both Heidegger’s idea of phenomenology and the specific constitution of the religious itself. Heidegger considers “the historical” to be “one of the most significant. as Heidegger says in the Kriegsnotsemester.7 One’s life is “‘historical’ per se” (GA60: 325). If “the constitution of the noetic religious experiential context is a ‘historical’ one”. 1. there must be a founding. “analysis. Heidegger’s notes revolve around a kind of personalism: the historical is to be understood first and foremost not as collective but. works in the historical ‘I’” (GA60: 336). this would suggest that his early research on religion as sketched there is decisive for the subsequent development of his phenomenology. which flank. founding elements of meaning in religious experience” (GA60: 323).

It is precisely because of this reciprocity that Heidegger pays so much attention to early Christianity (Urchristentum) in the notes (GA60: 310. A “phenomenological attitude toward religious experience” has to take account of the facticity of religious singularity (GA60: 319). conversely. the meaning of historical lived experience is initially religious. which phenomenology has to discover if it is to establish the full coherence of religious phenomena. 323). Heidegger speaks of historical founding events and names the birth of Christ as an example (GA1: 432). before the reality of God. he is quite close to Ritschl’s/Hermann’s conception of revelation as a process that places us before God (coram Deo). Rom. revelation was understood primarily as kerygma itself. 2:13. as John Van Buren remarks.8 Thus the religious meaning of the lived experience is historical. Thus it is no coincidence. unique historical form/figure (personally affecting fullness of life)” (GA60: 323). Van Buren 1994: 120). Even if Heidegger prefers to designate Jesus as a “historical figure”. This explains why Heidegger writes that “in its originariness – not theoretically theological detachment – the world of religious experience is centred in one great. Heidegger contends that historical understanding presupposes an overarching meaning. 322). 16:25-37). The Theological Architecture of the Religious Life-World 331 (GA60: 334. and.9 Following Schleiermacher and Albrecht Ritschl. For . Already in his 1915 lecture. Here such meaning is inscribed in a person who himself is an integral event (Ereignis). Lived experience is historical. 314. And in Christianity the supreme point of intersection of those two types is to be found in the figure of Jesus Christ. more precisely. a singular historical event (1 Th. it is unlikely that he considered Jesus’ historicity to be equal to anyone else’s. He returned to early Christianity to find the intersection between history (Geschichte) and redemptive history (Heilsgeschichte) in the generic model of an authentic religious experience. ‘Die Zeitbegriff in der Geschichtswissenschaft’.10 Thus we can ask: What are the originary motivations of fulfilling lived experiences such as “revelation” or “tradition” (GA60: 309)? In early Christianity. and the “specifically religious donation or gift/bestowal of meaning” is already contained in such experience (GA60: 323).11 Indeed. that Heidegger works with elements borrowed from redemptive history in the Habilitation lecture (GA60: 328. Here Heidegger may have borrowed elements from Wilhelm Hermann’s theology of revelation to explore phenomenologically the initially religio-theological concept of revelation.

the possibility of experiencing Jesus’ kerygma is historical. 1 Cor.12 As Heidegger notes elsewhere. and then is also unceasingly alive in the enactment of life” (GA60: 116-117). 7:20: “Christian factical life experience is historically determined by its emergence with the proclamation that hits the people in a moment. 9 13:14). The early Christian “pure I”. The constitution of the religious “I” is the result of the event of the call. Concerning the fulfilment of religious consciousness. tradition historicizes kerygma through a “‘time’ […] freed of its linear spatial conception” (GA60: 307). A similar point can be made concerning Heidegger’s analysis of tradition. but also to assure that the event of the proclamation now and ever remains the norma normans of religious lived experience (GA60: 329).13 Here a trace of Paul and Luther is evident. For without the religious and theological tradition. which is intimately connected with the pair revelation – tradition. 334). Each of them inherited from early Christianity a sense of revelation through tradition (GA60: 313-314. it is necessary to consider the “vocative motive” of fulfilment. the repetition of the tradition in later religious lived experiences must embody anew this intertwined facticity. Since early Christian sacred historicity is nothing but its real and proper historicity. how could phenomenology return to the primordial experience of early Christianity? Early Christianity understood tradition as the other side of kerygma (1 Th. and it becomes fully historical only through this event. It is at least as important as revelation since tradition is what grants each historical generation an originary connection to revelation. has its originary ground (Urgrund) in the call (GA60: 331-332). Tradition may help to convey the original and generic Urdoxa (primordial faith) arising from kerygma through history and to apply it to religious facticity. This Pauline moment is a .332 Camilleri Hermann. According to Heidegger. Here it is helpful to consider Heidegger’s interpretation of 1 Cor. or what Heidegger also refers to as “the form of the possibility of being-affected and being-fulfilled at all”. Heidegger finds in Bernard. Ritschl contributed to bringing the historical closer to interior religious life (GA58: 61). 4 14:5. which in fact is nothing but kerygma. Heidegger situates the source of the historical “I” in a “vocation” and a “calling” (GA60: 332). Eckhart. The hermeneutics of the tradition aims at reinterpreting the original message that motivates religious life and thus constitutes the basis of the Christian religious life- world as a whole. and Luther experiences of an originary authenticity.

15 2. Augustine. The Core Phenomenon of Faith and Typical Forms of Religious Experience In 1923 Heidegger declared that he wanted to “find the word capable of calling [one] to faith and to keeping [one] in faith”. one would follow a line extending from what theologians call Proto-Catholicism [Frühkatholizismus] via Thomist Scholasticism down to Ernst Troeltsch (GA60: 314. Luther. 322. but especially in the Middle Ages and beyond. This singular phenomenon can be considered the heart of religious life inasmuch as the whole religious life-world turns on it. 319). Theresa. But unfortunately that did not happen. Heidegger notes: “If this [early Christian] communal faith had immediately developed a science wholly appropriate to it. 313. and the tradition are the conditions of possibility for the core phenomenon of religious experience: faith. Heidegger agrees with Dilthey that early Christian faith and “the knowledge arising from the inner experience” of it were united in a unique phenomenon. 329). but that this unity progressively lost ground and the division between the two sides grew more and more extreme – already in early Christianity. Step by step. Were one to retrace the history of this catastrophic tendency. that science would have had to rest on a foundation rooted in inner experience” (Dilthey 1973: 317). which began analysing faith by means of scientific and extra-religious standards (GA60: 310. This might explain why he says the “being-historical of a fulfilled consciousness” is bound up with a “possibility” that is “not logical but vocational” (GA60: 332). On the contrary.17 Likewise in agreement with Dilthey.16 The call. the revelation.14 He stresses the motives of authentic inner experience.18 The . the problem was oriented toward the sphere of epistemology. Thus it seems that Heidegger grants such significance to the call because of the transfiguration it produces in consciousness. it is most fruitful to start with the opposition he noted between the core phenomenon of faith and the science of faith – an opposition that echoes Schleiermacher’s irreducible and “cutting opposition” between faith on one hand and morals and metaphysics on the other (GA60: 310. The Theological Architecture of the Religious Life-World 333 fundamental moment of fulfilment of religious life. 327). such as he finds in Paul. and Eckhart – motives that Dilthey managed to formalize (GA60: 309). To retrace Heidegger’s explication of faith. faith became increasingly separated from a “science of faith” (GA60: 310).

as noted in the foregoing. Martin Luther. Theresa of Avila. Heidegger showed great interest in the German mystic’s writings. this . it must be possible to find traces of this originary faith in subsequent authentic religious experiences by investigating the triple motivational context “call/revelation/tradition”. The problem of faith. the “analysis of the non-intellectualized phenomenon of faith (pistis)” underlines the separation between early Christianity and what follows chronologically (GA60: 323).334 Camilleri phenomenology of religious life has to return to the originary experience of faith. or the birth of God. In this absolutely singular “originary document” (Urkunde). for this phenomenon. One of Eckhart’s main problems that Heidegger highlighted is theo-genesis. Then one will see that “the complexes of religious meaning” in early Christianity are qualitatively totally different (GA60: 310). Following the conclusion of his habilitation in 1916. he finds traces that enable the phenomenological description of the giving-character of the phenomenon of faith. in order to illustrate the principal expressive forms of the experience of faith in Heidegger’s history of religiosity. Yet. phenomenology has to “distinguish sharply between the problem of theology and that of religiosity” to gain access to the authentic set of problems of faith as it was lived in early Christianity (GA60: 310). its giving-character. and in fact the latter three. it will have to suffice to provide an overview of the experiences of three of these figures. early Christianity. More precisely. the model par excellence of Christian religious life. Thus Heidegger turns to experiences of faith recorded in the New Testament. The extension of this authentic religiosity is to be found in typical religious experiences of faith characterized by important figures such as Bernard of Clairvaux. Meister Eckhart. and Friedrich Schleiermacher. has been the heart of religiosity since early Christianity. Indeed. Meister Eckhart. in the soul. at its most authentic. The first thinker to be taken up here accompanied Heidegger through his entire life. Given the limited scope of this essay.20 Though he refers here to Galatians 5:6 (fides caritate formata). must be treated by phenomenology as the ground of the religious life-world.19 The question can be formulated phenomenologically as “How is God given ‘in’ (immanence?) or ‘to’ (transcendence?) consciousness?” Heidegger suggests elsewhere that God may be “religiously pre-given in faith” and that “love” would perhaps play a role in this process (GA60: 307).

The Theological Architecture of the Religious Life-World 335 could also be an interpretation of Eckhart. one that enables a breakthrough into the originary religious experience of the divine (GA60: 333). Medieval mystics somehow prepared the way for Luther’s understanding of fides (GA60: 309). that is because it once again leads back to the early Christian notion of faith. If Luther’s fiducia is of considerable importance to Heidegger. 318). Eckhart’s alleged irrationality proves not to be a “counter-projection or limit” for phenomenological analysis (GA60: 333). From the Protestant fiducia we are able to go back to the core “phenomenon of trust and the co-given specific meaning of ‘truth’”. One could describe Luther’s basic religious experience as fiducial.22 Luther is bearer of a specific conception of faith as fiducia or trust.23 Heidegger draws a key distinction here: Protestant faith and Catholic faith are fundamentally different. The “holding to be true” of Catholic faith is founded entirely otherwise than the fiducia of the Reformers (GA60: 310). the same unique primordial doxa is at work (GA60: . all other gifts are of little or no help to you at all”. which is an experiential theology (theologia experientialis). It is the phenomenon of trust that constitutes the specificity of Luther’s faith (sola fide est fiducia) and by extension the specificity of his world of inner experience. the common orientation of mystics and phenomenology comes into view. Noetically and noematically distinct experiences. The question of Hingabe is deeply connected with Luther’s problem of faith. It is significant that Heidegger quotes Johannes Ficker in this context: “Mysticism gave Luther ‘a world of inner experience and also showed him the methodical way to gain it and to increase it’” (GA60: 309). When this irrationality is considered “in its originariness and proper constitution”.21 So the giving-character of faith converges with the gift-character of love. who writes that “If you do not have the right love. If this appeal to Eckhart is justified. In Luther’s theology of the cross (theologia crucis). In Luther an original form of religiosity – one also not found in the mystics – emerges. then the key to this problem may perhaps also lie in Eckhart’s fundamental notion of an “immediacy of religious experience” and an “uncontained vivacity of devotion [Hingabe] to the holy. Because it inheres in the process of theo-genesis. the truth in which the authenticity of religious experience is grounded (GA60: 323). godly” (GA60: 315. as stated by Johannes Ficker and acknowledged by Heidegger (GA60: 309).

25 This is Luther’s contribution to the problem of theo-genesis touched on above. one must have primordial faith.26 When Schleiermacher writes that “contemplation is essential to religion”. In each situation in which a modalized faith is at work. it still leads back to the core phenomenon of faith in early Christianity. and defines it as “the spirit’s being excited”. Whatever the shortcomings of Schleiermacher’s definition of piety. the most decisive element in Schleiermacher is his characterization of the typical religious experience of piety as “feeling dependent”. if Luther’s experience of fiducia is one of the typical and founding religious experiences in the structure of the religious life-world as Heidegger understands it. Thus it contributed to singularizing the religious experience of faith by freeing it from all foreign teleologies. one must set out from modalized or modulated faith. To discover primordial faith. sed in nobis”. and the understanding of fiducia requires the possession of original faith. he indicates a fundamental fact of the experience of piety. and to understand fiducia. For Heidegger. and decisively influenced Heidegger’s understanding of the “primordial relationship” as . Finally. 308). The third figure of importance here is Schleiermacher.24 Fiducia is an intentional expression of this primordial doxa and refers back to it “in a certain way” (GA60: 329). “for the measure of knowledge is not the measure of piety” (GA60: 320). as it was already visible in medieval mysticism and Luther (GA60: 304. as well as to devotion in Eckhart’s and Luther’s sense (GA60: 331). he nevertheless drew attention to the mobility of piety. Schleiermacher is to be praised since his proto-phenomenological “reduction” enabled the distinction between religion and piety (synonymous terms) on the one hand and metaphysics and morals on the other (GA60: 319-320). namely its mobility [Bewegtheit]. This mobility belongs entirely to the core of religious experience. Even if this characterization in terms of feeling is rather crude and too theoretical. the primordial faith is fully there: it has to be dis- covered in order to keep the vulgar doxa of the glory from re-covering the possibility of genuine faith (Sommer 2005: 219).336 Camilleri 323). Luther’s faith is a fundamental situation in which the total originariness of faith is expressed or given. At the very least. The finding of the original faith needs the modalized or modulated faith. non in persona. it is because it gives an original explanation of the giving or gift character of faith in an inner lived experience: “Fides est creatrix divinitatis.

It is omnipresent in the religious life-world. especially in the form of the pair gratia operans – gratia cooperans first formulated by Augustine and later adopted by medieval mystics (GA60: 309). it is nevertheless possible to present some of them and their implications “analytically”. It guides the religious lived experience from its very constitution in and by the core phenomenon of faith to its dispersion in tribulatio and Unruhe (GA60: 309. Heidegger once pointed to “the grace characteristic of all life”. and the call. it always lives in a “world”. including the “‘power’. Heidegger’s mention of this pair suggests that grace is the cement of the architecture of the religious life-world. for it is what holds together revelation. The phenomenology of religion must study what Heidegger calls the “experiential effects” of religious phenomena.28 Grace manifests itself in its declensions precisely as a lived effect. 3. Grace leads from unity to the multiplicity of sense-directions. ‘grace’. Various Phenomena Composing the Texture of the Religious Life- World Throughout Heidegger’s notes. Among these three. the central phenomenon is undoubtedly that of “grace”. The Theological Architecture of the Religious Life-World 337 “oscillating between the soul and absolute spirit”.29 Is grace less because it cannot preserve its unity throughout history? Certainly not. To do so. While it is difficult to give an “organic” account of them because they are often interconnected and appear in concert. 317). “the oscillation of the genuine life-world” (GA60: 331. It is present at the very beginning with the donation or gift of operative grace and remains in effect in religious life through co-operative grace. it is situated in a “life- world” (GA58: 250). It is an effect of God’s grace that the . 5:9.27 The phenomenon of grace is in fact one of the most important for applied phenomenology since it concerns the latter’s own workings. 336). GA60: 307). It is that which threatens (the power and the wrath of God). in isolation. it is instructive to take up a clue Heidegger gives in winter semester 1919-1920: factical life experience is “worldly tuned/attuned with the world” or “agreed/in agreement with a world” [weltlich gestimmt]. and that which saves us from threat (Rom. It is both the beginning and the end. one encounters phenomena that make up the texture of the religious life-world and contribute to its singularity. and ‘wrath’ of God” (GA60: 307). tradition.

Among these. more precisely. and their (somehow already phenomenological) vision of the possibilities of experience this world offers through its various phenomena. where this tendency leads to a dispersion that gives rise to the richness of religious life and its world. the eminently mystical phenomenon of silence plays a central role. namely their extremely exploratory attitude toward the religious life-world. from ceasing to make any request or complaint in order to attend to the true mystical call for union with God. including “the entire ‘relationship’ of grace and freedom. Particularly noteworthy here is the shared approach of these great figures. contributing greatly to its facticity. the medieval mystics and Luther provided a very specific and extraordinary synthesis of the problem.31 From the primal “textural” phenomenon of grace. It provides the basis of a phenomenology of inner-outer liturgy. Silence plunges personal existence into a unique highly religious “loneliness” (GA60: 336). they insisted on the becoming of the religious experience of grace. There is a certain continuity between the medievals’s gratia operans and Luther’s sola gratia sanctifians.338 Camilleri “basic tendency of life” is toward “more life” (GA60: 336). Both seek the transfiguration of religious existence in a certain relation to the world. It is no coincidence that iustificatio defines deification in Eckhartian mysticism on the one hand and the unio cum Christo in Luther’s theology of the cross. and the meaning of the phrase. nature and grace. From a more systematic perspective. Silence results not only from a cessation of vocalization but. it is no coincidence that the discussion of the problem of grace in the notes leads back to medieval mysticism and follows on the exposition of Lutheran faith as fiducia. Apart from their differences. he identifies the inner frame in which “mystical silence” and “keeping silence” take place: “the phenomenon of [inner] concentration” (GA60: 336). the doctrine of the iustificatio and the conception of the sacrament” (GA60: 310).30 Since operative grace is given in faith at the very beginning of religious life and co-operative grace secures its subsequent effects in the world. In the history of religiosity. Heidegger points to the “problem” of “silence as religious phenomenon” (GA60: 312). it is possible to take up other phenomena that make up the religious life-world. Once . gratia supponit naturam [grace preserves nature]. Heidegger thinks it possible to elucidate the “different concepts of grace” in medieval and Lutheran theology. Later in the notes and presumably in reference to Theresa of Avila.

prayer of quiet” (GA60: 336). Thus for him prayer is involved in the constitution of religious objecthood (Gegenständlichkeit) and especially of the highest object of the phenomenology of religion. meditation. Heidegger points to prayer as one of these typical expressions. 4. in which Heidegger points to religious postures such as “keeping silent”. Consolidation of a Theo-logical Hermeneutics through Unthought Dialogues Throughout the foregoing survey. 324). But why a theo-logical hermeneutics? Even if Heidegger still characterizes himself as a “Christian theologian” in 1921 in a letter to Karl Löwith. Yet the phenomenology of religious life is also attentive to liturgical postures and attitudes. In his ‘Grundprobleme der Phänomenologie’ of 1919-1920. but there are others. which are “starting points for return and entry” into religious experience (GA60: 305). as well as “worship” and “admiration and astonishment” (GA60: 312). the mystic gains access to the “forms and shapes of practical guidance and realization” of religious experience. The Theological Architecture of the Religious Life-World 339 in this state. albeit in the form of a phenomenology of religion? . This leads us back to the note entitled ‘Religious Phenomena’.32 From the notion of asceticism. the most fundamental of which is asceticism (GA60: 304). in asking himself “How does a religious experience express itself?” and considering how one “understands religious experiences” from out of their “forms of expression”. Heidegger will indicate the importance of this notion for early Christianity (GA58: 61). God himself (GA60: 307. It is very significant that. the aim has been to highlight aspects of the notes which indicate the presence of a theo-logical hermeneutics in the proto-phenomenology of religion Heidegger elaborated between 1916 and 1919. what could have motivated his use of a theological hermeneutics in the context of a phenomenological investigation. Heidegger’s brief phenomenology of liturgy proves to be crucial insofar as it enables the articulation of “a possible multiplicity of constitutional types” inherent in the religious life-world and the “essential connection” that seems to exist among them (GA60: 307). The inner prayer of quiet is the first “level of prayer”. it becomes possible to gain phenomenological access to “the phenomenon of the constituting process of the presence of God” through “concentration. where prayer is considered as a specific comportment toward God (GA60: 307).

36 While this is certainly not the place to retrace the history of the edition of Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart Heidegger worked with. it is important to bear in mind that it was founded by a group of theologians who were part of a new current of biblical exegesis. specifically by systematically confronting Heidegger’s views with Gunkel’s. Dilthey. some contemporary theologians.340 Camilleri First of all.33 Indeed.37 Heidegger himself acknowledged that the writings of the school’s members played an important role in his early formation: “The apparition in my horizon of the works of [Hermann] Gunkel. “In returning and rest you shall be saved. Though Heidegger admittedly errs in his attribution – the verse is not from Genesis 30:15 but from Isaiah 30:15 – what is most intriguing here is that this verse is in fact cited and translated by Hermann Gunkel himself in the first part of the same article on faith Heidegger cites in reference to Troeltsch alone. and. it becomes clear that . in this regard he learned less from Kant or Husserl than from Schleiermacher.35 The notes refer very briefly to the problem of “Piety – Faith”. eventually.38 In light of this remark. the Religionsgeschichtliche Schule. Yet a consideration of the passage cited from the Old Testament and the two references to articles by Gunkel on faith (Glaube). does shed light on Heidegger’s undertaking in the notes. [Paul] Wendland. or “history of religions” school. [Wilhelm] Bousset. Heidegger’s choice of the passage and the references is guided by systematic-philosophical concerns. and [Richard] Reitzenstein. and in fact right in the middle of a note on Bernard of Clairvaux (GA60: 336). The Old Testament verse cited reads (in the translation from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible). were decisive for me”. it is worth recalling that Heidegger’s first use of the term “hermeneutics” occurs in the notes. This underscores not only the primordial experimental character of the notes but also and especially that Heidegger’s integration of the originary historical understanding of religious facticity into his phenomenology of religion must be restored to its original theological context if it is to be fully grasped. also the critical works of Albert Schweitzer. so briefly in fact that it may appear undeserving of closer examination (GA60: 329-330). the famous Protestant theologian. one penned in part by Troeltsch in Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart and the other in the Realenzyklopädie der protestantischen Theologie. It is with the demonstration of this last claim that the remainder of this chapter will be concerned.34 particularly from Hermann Gunkel. in quietness and in trust shall be your strength”.

42 In Gunkel as in Heidegger. and other school members. And so it is not surprising that literary or genre history is well represented in Heidegger’s reading list. unique “personal experience” (GA60: 334). Returning to the note on piety and faith just discussed. While Gunkel’s search for the Sitz im Leben (setting in life) deals mainly with texts and not directly with experiences. the school’s official dogmatist. that is to say. on the other hand. This enables Heidegger to retrace the history of religiosity insofar as it is rooted in the history of a single. Gunkel used “situation”.45 Whereas Heidegger’s phenomenology of religion seeks to articulate within the “subject of mysticism” the historical and the religious dimensions by invoking the emergence of a . Bousset.40 Like every serious scholar of religion and theology at the time. it is noteworthy that before coining the expression Sitz im Leben. In the notes. indicates a certain proximity between the two thinkers.43 Moreover. Heidegger clearly established an eidetic connection between lived experience and the world in which it takes place – hence. a crucial term in the young Heidegger’s hermeneutical phenomenology. the religious nature of the life-world is closely related to the authenticity of experience. notably Eduard Norden’s Agnostos Theos and titles from Bousset and Gunkel’s monograph series (Norden 1913). especially in the notes of 1916-1919. it nevertheless holds much in store for an existential analysis insofar as it is also concerned with the environing worlds (Umwelten) and religious essence of those texts. Two factors speak for this.44 Like Heidegger. The first concerns the pre-structures (Vorgriffe) of Gunkel’s exegesis. albeit covert confrontation with the historical exegesis championed by Gunkel. his version of historical hermeneutics. or at the very least Heidegger’s special interest in Gunkel’s work.41 Nor could the young Heidegger have been indifferent to the way in which Gunkel used the Scriptures to reach the core of the religious life. his frequent use of the expression “world of religious experience [religiöse Erlebniswelt]”.39 Heidegger’s quotation of Gunkel’s translation. Heidegger was certainly quite familiar with the theory of literary forms developed by the “history of religion” school. involves an important. Gunkel attended to the smallest units of meaning that make up the religious life-world and through which the various pre-comprehensions [Vorverständnisse] of religious life are expressed. it is striking that the expression Vertrauenspsalmen appended to the note’s title is in fact a genre that Gunkel named. The Theological Architecture of the Religious Life-World 341 Heidegger’s overt destruction of the work of Ernst Troeltsch.

but only to indicate that it is of the essence of religious facticity to be somehow hermetic. that is to say. Indeed. the articulation of the eternal and the historical within the frame of a singular experience (GA60: 314). the question is much more problematic in the field of a phenomenology of religion than in biblical exegesis. And if [cui] non communicat alienus. apparently echoing Bernard’s Est font signatus (GA60: 334). there are numerous indications of a certain dialectical tension between classic phenomenological principles and systematic theological conceptions of the religious. For Gunkel. Yet Heidegger was able to mediate between these two poles precisely by means of a theo-logical hermeneutics. it would seem that it is the very “inviolability” of religious experience that guarantees its authenticity.342 Camilleri new “motivational complex” in the “experiencing subject”.50 In Heidegger’s early phenomenology. Heidegger does speak of a “closed complex of experience”. there is the attitude of both thinkers toward the problem of the homo religiosus. 312). in seeking to describe the structure of religious lived experience.47 For Heidegger. and it seems to bother him since he comes back to it several times in the notes.46 Finally.49 This brief comparison of Gunkel and Heidegger should make it clear that Heidegger’s phenomenological analysis of medieval mysticism is indebted to the theological exegesis championed by Gunkel’s school. He prefers an alternative: while a non-religious person will perhaps not benefit from an authentic and absolute experience of givenness (GA60: 304. Given his remark that “early Christianity in the sense of the modern ‘history of religions’ school” made a lasting impression on him (GA16: 43) – a fact . then it would appear impossible for an atheistic phenomenologist to reach the source of the vitality of religious life. At first he rejects the idea that only the religious can understand religious life. “the exegete must be a religious man: one cannot understand something in the Bible if one does not share the faith of its sacred authors”. Gunkel describes “reflection on the histor y of religions” [religionsgeschichtliche] as a “paying strict attention to the historical nexus of every singular religious manifestation”. that does not mean that he or she is barred from studying religious life phenomenologically: “It means only: ‘hands off’ for those who do not ‘feel’ genuinely at home here” (GA60: 304). This warning is not meant to dissuade phenomenologists from approaching the treasures of the Church.48 On the other hand.

1919. chapter four. See Reinach (1989: 610). Heidegger does not yet draw the distinction between das Historische and das Geschichtliche. The notes often give the impression that a theo-logical hermeneutics is required to articulate both phenomenology and religion. where Heidegger applies a quotation from Adolf Reinach to religious experience: “Perception of reality [Wirklichkeitsnehmung] ‘lies immanently contained in the meaning of experience itself’”. 6 In the notes. This association between the phenomenology of religion and theo-logical hermeneutics in Heidegger is further attested in his guiding intention: to move ever closer to the facticity proper to Christian religiosity and find the path to a “primordial Christian theology” (GA59: 91).51 In this light. This suggests that one would do well to consider more seriously whether Heidegger’s phenomenology of religious life is simultaneously a religious phenomenology of life that finds its expression in a certain theo-logical hermeneutics. 5 See also in GA59 (21): “Schleiermacher was the first to view [everything] from the standpoint of a vital historical consciousness” (Schleiermacher sah zum erstenmal aus einem lebendigen historischen Bewusstsein heraus). 5).52 1 The most recent is McGrath (2004: 243-258). 8 See also GA60 (325). This concept appears in a minor way in GA56/57 (e. an exploration of Heidegger’s unthought debt to Gunkel and his school would seem to promise many new insights into the formation of Heidegger’s thought. 3 Heidegger will later use the phrase “Catholic life-world” in his famous letter of January 9. henceforth referred to as ‘notes’. 76. but only that his confrontation with religion/early Christianity and contemporary theology led Heidegger to push the limits of phenomenology and to redefine its analytical framework. 261). The Theological Architecture of the Religious Life-World 343 that Kisiel has documented by showing that there were not less than eleven works of members of the “history of religion” school counted among Heidegger’s readings in 1916-1919 – and given the deeply exegetical character of the 1920-1921 ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’. 28). 4 See Husserl (1952).. 250. The first author to address this topic was Theodore Kisiel(1993: 26-38). See also McGrath (2006). The translation will be modified wherever it is deemed necessary. The letter is reprinted in Denker (2004: 67-68). the intimate connection between Heidegger’s early phenomenology of religion and a theo-logical hermeneutics becomes clear. 9 See also Kisiel (1993: 77.g. and more overtly and significantly in GA58 (54. 59-60. 69. ‘Duns Scotus’. 7 The exact formulation was not taken up in the published GA56/57. 2 ‘Die philosophischen Grundlagen der mittelalterlichen Mystik’ (GA60: 303-337). to Engelbert Krebs. This is not to say that phenomenology must yield to religious life. .

315). 15 See Johannes Ficker’s formulation regarding Luther: “eine Welt der innere Erfahrungen” (GA60: 309). 22 On Luther’s response to Eckhart’s idea of “seclusion”. The quotation is from Tract 7. 25 See Luther (1962: 360. 26 Kisiel is entirely correct to emphasize the influence of neo-Kantian terminology on Heidegger’s treatment of Schleiermacher. where Heidegger. Schleiermacher’s formulation quoted by Heidegger: “innerste Heiligthum des Lebens” (GA60: 321). and he is an admirer of Hermann”. lines 5-6): “Faith creates divinity. in Bultmann (2002: 56): “Heidegger is also familiar with modern theology. 24 On the meaning of Luther’s theology of the cross for the young Heidegger. whose definition of faith as für-wahr-halten in his Commonitorium inspired the Catholic conception of faith Heidegger describes in GA60 (310). As Kisiel remarks. and Heidegger refers to the importance of Schweitzer’s “critical work” in his Vita of 1922 (GA16: 41). Schaber (2004: 175-180). 18 Heidegger’s rejection of the definition of faith as “holding to be true” is an implicit critique of Vincent of Lerins (d. 450?). See Kisiel (1993: 198). Lask exerted a considerable influence on Heidegger’s understanding the problem of form and Urform in Eckhart’s mysticism. see Sommer (2005: 17-62). in the 1920-1921 lectures on religion Heidegger argues that grace cannot be treated philosophically. his attack on Plato’s and Aristotle’s “metaphysics of Being”. Cf. 13 Beruf and Berufung. . See GA60 (332). 20 Heidegger found in the neo-Kantian Emil Lask an important philosophical treatment of Hingabe. recalls Eckhart’s notion of stat. 16 Cited by Hans-Georg Gadamer in Gadamer (1987: 315). 27 The notes are unique in this regard. speaking of St. after quoting Troeltsch’s definition of faith: “NB: faith in Luther” (GA60: 329).344 Camilleri 10 That Heidegger deplores Kant’s influence on the young Hegel’s consideration of the meaning of Jesus suggests he is much closer to Johannes Weiß’s and Albert Schweitzer’s efforts to reinscribe Jesus into an eschatological context. “the innermost and the whole of the castle” (Heidegger’s formulation) with reference to Theresa (GA60: 337). ‘Die zeichen eines wârhaften grundes’ (‘The Signs of a True Ground’). 14 Here. In this regard. but in us”. see Overbeck (1873). not in person. See Heidegger’s criticism of the first traces of dogmatization in ‘Frühzeit des Christentums’ (GA60: 314) and. see GA60 (308). Weiß (1914/1917) is on Heidegger’s reading list for 1917-1919. Heidegger makes a note to himself. 1923. See GA60 (311. 12 See Hermann (1908). Schweitzer was inspired by Weiß. we should also mention the influence on Heidegger of Franz Overbeck. 11 See Bultmann’s account in a letter to Gogarten dated December 22. See Kisiel (1993: 90). as well as Lask (1993). 23 See also GA60 (310). 21 See Pfeiffer (1857: 475-478). it is important to note Heidegger’s reference to an ‘Other’ who originates the call. 19 See GA60 (336). see Kisiel (1993: 527). Theresa of Avila’s description of the soul as the Wohnung Gottes. 17 See Dilthey (1922: 317). just before that.

310. contrary to Kisiel’s interpretation (Kisiel 1993: 523). The Theological Architecture of the Religious Life-World 345 28 Heidegger speaks of “die Gnadencharachter allen Lebens” in his letter to Elisabeth Blochmann from May 1. On Gunkel’s use of the term “situation”. “If one reads Heidegger’s entire path of life and thought in the context of his youth and the history of theology and the Church in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 309. 42 To be fair. and perhaps even ethics. See Heidegger’s letter to Elisabeth Husserl of April 24. 310. For the use of “situation” in the notes. 30 Inauthentic dispersions divide the core of religious life by splitting it into teleologies to which it does not belong. 36 Hermann Gunkel’s German translation reads: “Bei ruhigem [schêbâ] Warten wird Euch Heil. 37 See Özen (1996: 146-206). Heidegger also recognizes the importance of texts. see GA60 (305. see GA60 (328. in stillem Vertrauen besteht Eure Kraft” (In calm [shêbâ] waiting you will find salvation. St. 323. it includes works not only by Bousset and Gunkel. 1919 (Heidegger 1989: 14). while Heidegger’s notes are clearly focused on the singular-personal religious experience of . I totally agree with Johannes Schaber’s statement. 29 See also Pohlenz (1909). 322. 336). Theresa sees. See also GA60 (329). but also by Rudolf Bultmann and Hans Jonas. phenomenologically” (GA60: 336). Theresa: “Thus. Gunkel gives priority to individual Scriptural figures. for instance. See Schaber (2004: 184). 1919 (Kisiel 1993: 112). 44 Thus. and ‘Troeltsch’s Philosophy of Religion’ in the ‘Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion’ (GA60: 19-30). But his aim is to gain an originary relationship to these documents in order to extract from them what is essential rather than artificial. Heidegger probably inherited this interest in Urkunde from classic textual hermeneutics – especially Schleiermacher and Dilthey. 33 “Understanding such phenomena in the first place out of the historical – this and its facticity in phenomenological primordial understanding” (GA60: 303). On “life-world” (Lebenswelt). 307. then the door is opened onto a new. including that of Adolf Harnack and Troeltsch and his fellow members of the “history of religions” school. who interweave texts and experience – and liberal theology in a general sense. see GA60 (319). as a mystic. See Heidegger’s gloss on “Exploratio” in his 1921 notes on Augustine (GA60: 266-267). vast field of Heidegger interpretation”. 45 There is a true proximity between Gunkel and Heidegger in their views on the individual person. 331). see Gunkel (1904a). 39 In the notes. Heidegger’s indebtedness to the Religionsgeschichtliche Schule is further confirmed by Kisiel’s archival work in Genesis and in this volume. 32 Here Heidegger refers to “der Reich-Gottes-Gedanke. 40 For an overview. Heidegger’s use of “situation” does not derive from Jaspers’s terminology. See Kisiel (1993: 525-527). This book is on Heidegger’s reading list (Kisiel 1993: 526). your strength consists in quiet trust) (GA60: 329). such that he can speak of a “phenomenology of ‘original documents’ [Urkunde]”. such as aesthetics. ‘The Religious Apriori’ (GA60: 312-315). see Bovon (1975: 80). 34 See GA59 (21-22). 41 The series Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des AT und NT is still published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht (Göttingen). 43 See GA60 (304. and GA59 (43). 35 In this regard. Paulus” and to Ritschl. 31 This is why Heidegger can say of St. 333). epistemology. 38 See Heidegger’s Vita of 1922 (GA16: 41).

309. 324).346 Camilleri a subject. For Heidegger’s use of the term “subject”. 1987. Historien de la religion et exégète des genres littéraires’ in Bovon. and Holger Zaborowski (eds). 313. 46 See Gunkel (1904b: 1109). Hans-Helmuth Gander. Versuch einer Grundlegung für das Studium der Gesellschaft und der Geschichte. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. ‘Die religiöse Dimension’ in Gesammelte Werke 3: Neuere Philosophie. 1919. Übersetzt und erklärt. 330. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Gadamer. Ausgewählte Psalmen. 333. Wilhelm. 308- 319. Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften. Rudolf and Friedrich Gogarten. Dilthey. 48 Heidegger uses this expression in a letter to Elizabeth Husserl of April 24. 1921- 1967 (ed. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. Heidegger-Jahrbuch 1: Heidegger und die Anfänge seines Denkens. Alfred. François and Grégoire Rouiller (eds) Exegesis. Denker. Hermann. 323). 1913. 336). References Bovon. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. François. Hans-Georg. ‘Theologie und Religionsgeschichte’ in Deutsche Literaturzeitung (25): 1100-1110. and to Ruud Welten. 1975. ‘Hermann Gunkel. see GA56/57 (216) 47 See Gunkel (1913: 11-20). 50 While Albert Eichhorn was the school’s founder. 316. 313. 2002. 318. Gesammelte Schriften 1 (Seventh Edition). My thanks to Marc Boss and Quentin Braddock for their valuable comments on this essay. 2004. Gunkel was its leading figure. Travaux. On the inseparability of the historical and the event in Heidegger. Briefwechsel. 334. Stuttgart: Teubner. 1973. 331. ‘Ziele und Methode der alttestamentlichen Exegese’ in Reden und Aufsätze. . Pierre Adler and last but not least Marcus Brainard for their help. see GA60 (303. Gunkel. 51 See Gunkel (1904b: 1109). 52 See ‘A Religious Phenomenology?’ in Kisiel (1993: 112-115). 323. 314. 315. I dedicate this essay to my parents. – 1904b. – 1904a. 49 See GA60 (314. Bultmann. Hermann-Götz Göckeritz). Neuchatel: Delachaux & Niestlé. quoted in Kisiel (1993: 112). 332. for his use of the term “person”. 317. Freiburg/Munich: Alber. 304. see GA60 (304. Problèmes de méthode et exercices de lecture (Genèse 22 et Luc 15).

1908. Overbeck. McGrath. Frankfurt a. Eduard. Meister Eckhart. ‘“Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart” als B e i s pi e l f ü r H o ch -Ze i t und Ni e d e r ga n g d e r “Religionsgeschichtlichen Schule” im Wandel der deutschen protestantischen Theologie des ersten Viertels des 20. Deutsche Mystiker des vierzehnten Jahrhunderts. 1952. Wilhelm. The Hague: Nijhoff. Adolf. J a hr hu nd er ts’ in Lüdema nn . 1962.: Peter Lang. Franz. Pohlenz. Marbach am Neckar: Deutsche Schillergesellschaft. 2006. 1918- 1969 (ed. Ideen zu einer reinen Phänomenologie und phänomenologischen Philosophie. Sean J. Weimar: Böhlau. D. Stuttgart: Teubner. Berkeley: University of California Press. Martin and Elisabeth Blochmann. Edmund. Hermann. Leipzig: E. 2. W. Briefwechsel. 1993. The Theological Architecture of the Religious Life-World 347 Heidegger. Die Logik der Philosophie und die Kategorienlehre. Ge rd ( ed .) Di e ‘Religionsgeschichtliche Schule. Reinach. Lask. 1996. Karl Schuhmann and Barry Smith). The Early Heidegger and Medieval Philosophy: Phenomenology for the Godforsaken.’ Facetten eines theologischen Umbruchs. Marly Biemel) (Husserliana 4). Storck). Washington. Eine Studie über den Einfluß der griechischen Philosophie auf das alte Christentum. M. Husserl. Pfeiffer. 1-4) 1531 (Weimarer Lutherausgabe 40).). 1989. vol. 1962. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Luther. 1913. 2. Özen. 605-611. . Theodore. Max. 1993. Norden. – 2004. Alf. Franz (ed. 1873. Agnostos Theos. Martin. Joachim W. Emil. Munich: Philosophia. Offenbarung und Wunder. The Genesis of Heidegger’s “Being and Time”. Untersuchungen zur Formengeschichte religiöser Rede. Galatervorlesung (cap. Fritzsch. ‘Die scotistische Phänomenologie des jungen Heidegger’ in Denker (2004): 243-258. Über die Christlichkeit unserer heutigen Theologie. Aalen: Scientia Verlag. Kisiel.: Catholic University of America Press. Vom Zorne Gottes. ‘Bruchstück einer religionsphilosophischer Ausführung’ in Sämtliche Werke Volume I (ed.C. 1989. Giessen: Alfred Topelmann. 1909. Zweites Buch: Phänomenologische Untersuchungen zur Konstitution (ed. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

348 Camilleri

Schaber, Johannes. 2004. ‘Martin Heideggers “Herkunft” im Spiegel
der Theologie- und Kirchengeschichte des 19. und beginnenden
20. Jahrhunderts’ in Denker (2004): 159-184.
Sommer, Christian. 2005. Heidegger, Aristote, Luther. Les sources
aristotéliciennes et néotestamentaires d’Être et Temps. Paris:
Presses Universitaires de France.
Van Buren, John. 1994. The Young Heidegger: Rumor of the Hidden
King. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press.
Weiß, Johannes, 1914/1917. Das Urchristentum I-II. Göttingen:
Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Choosing a Hero:
Heidegger’s Conception of Authentic Life in Relation to
Early Christianity

Dermot Moran

1. The Ur-Phenomenon of Life

On the 21st of January, 1919 Martin Heidegger officially became a paid
assistant to Edmund Husserl, who had held the Chair in Freiburg since
1916.1 On January 25th, the “War Emergency Semester”
(Kriegnotsemester) commenced and Heidegger embarked on his first
lecture course, ‘The Idea of Philosophy and the Problem of Worldview’,
in which he explored his own understanding of the true method of
philosophy and its relation to phenomenology (GA56/57). In subsequent
Freiburg lecture courses from 1919 to 1923, Heidegger made strenuous
attempts to come to terms with, and gain a critical perspective on, the
current philosophical scene: neo-Kantian philosophy (specifically
Rickert, Natorp, Windelband, and Lask), phenomenology (Husserl,
Scheler), hermeneutics and life-philosophy (Dilthey, Simmel). It is
noteworthy that irrespective of the announced course title, Heidegger
always used the occasion to think deeply about the nature of philosophy
and more specifically to interrogate the meaning and value of
phenomenology as a mode of approach to the issues (and, in passing,
treated issues such as the nature of philosophy as a science, the meaning
of ‘worldview’, the ‘externalities’ of current study of philosophy in the
university, and so on).
Heidegger was frustrated by the fact that academic philosophy
was not doing justice to concrete, individual life in the world, to
individual life as it is spread out in history. Academic philosophy
offered no cure to the anxieties of life. In a 1923 lecture course, for
instance, Heidegger refers to Van Gogh, who “drew the pictures in his
paintings from the depths of his heart and soul, and went mad in the
course of this intense confrontation with his own Dasein”, and who
claimed he would rather face his own death naturally than have

350 Moran

academic philosophy prepare him for it (GA63: 32). How could
philosophy address the vital, living situation of such individuals, given
that the available philosophical analyses of life were too contaminated
by the metaphysical tradition of modern philosophy to offer any
assistance?2
A new way of access to the primordial phenomenon of what
Heidegger called “factical life” or “facticity” would be needed. In his
1920 lecture course, ‘Phenomenology of Intuition and Expression’,
Heidegger presents one of the chief tasks of philosophy as the attempt
to awaken and strengthen the sense of facticity: “Philosophy has the task
of preserving the facticity of life and strengthening the facticity of
existence (Die Philosophie hat die Aufgabe, die Faktizität des Lebens
zu erhalten und die Faktizität des Daseins zu stärken)” (GA59: 174).
As he exclaims in his notes for the 1920 course: life is the
primary phenomenon (GA59: 176)! Similarly, in his 1921-22 lecture
course, ‘Phenomenological Interpretations of Aristotle’, he writes:
“‘Factical life’: ‘life’ expresses a basic phenomenological category; it
signifies a basic phenomenon (Grundphänomen)” (GA61: 80). The key
to life is its ‘facticity’: “This facticity is something life is, and whereby
it is, in its highest authenticity” (GA61: 87). Facticity is the basic sense
of the being of life.

2. The Plan for a Phenomenology of Religious Life

Edmund Husserl, who liked to assign different regions of study to his
disciples, was planning for Heidegger to become a phenomenologist of
the religious life.3 There were good reasons underlying Husserl’s
expectations for his new assistant. Heidegger had begun his studies as
a Catholic seminarian and theology student and, in his post-doctoral
years at Freiburg, had been presenting himself as someone interested in
the neo-Scholastic revival of medieval philosophy (hence his
Habilitation thesis on a text supposedly by Duns Scotus, but in fact
written by Thomas of Erfurt). At first Husserl saw Heidegger as a
“confessionally bound” Catholic, but came to appreciate the seriousness
with which Heidegger had embraced Protestantism and to regard him as
something of an expert on Martin Luther. For, in early January 1919,
just prior to taking up his post as Husserl’s assistant, Heidegger himself,
in a letter to his former confessor Fr. Krebs, had signalled his departure
from “the system of Catholicism” and was speaking of his own

Choosing a Hero 351

“phenomenological studies in religion”.4 Similarly, he wrote to his
friend Elizabeth Blochmann in May 1919 that he was making
preparations towards a “phenomenology of religious consciousness”. 5
Moreover, Heidegger expressed interest in the phenomenology
of religion in his own research plans. Sometimes this is articulated as an
interest in Christian mystical writings where religious experience was
described, as in his abandoned lecture course of 1918-19 on ‘The
Philosophical Foundations of Medieval Mysticism’, where he states that
his focus is on the phenomenology of religion (GA60: 303). While
Husserl himself had written little on religion, a number of his students
had religious conversion experiences (including both Adolf Reinach and
Edith Stein) and, before his death on the Front in 1917, Reinach had
written a sketch for an essay on “the Absolute” on which Heidegger
himself draws in his 1918 to 1921 notes to his Phenomenology of
Religious Life lectures.6 To both Husserl and Heidegger, then, it seemed
clear that phenomenology provided the best mode of access to religious
experience.

3. Destruction as the Way to Reveal Originary Experience

Heidegger felt the need to break open the sedimented and encrusted
conceptual frameworks of religion to return to something more original,
primary (ursprünglich, originär): life as it is lived where its outlook and
categories are grasped not conceptually but by being enacted, carried
through, and historically lived (GA60: 245-246). It is a crucial feature
of Heidegger’s engagement with these existential categories that he
believes that somehow we have them in advance, in a Vorhabe or
Vorgriff that needs to be carefully unpacked by a hermeneutic
phenomenology such as he will outline in his 1919 Kriegnotsemester
lectures.
It is also a noteworthy feature of this period of Heidegger’s
intellectual formation that the activity of removing the metaphysical
edifice encrusted on religious experience is referred to as “destruction”
(GA60: 311).7 Interestingly, the model appears to be the manner in
which Luther approached Paul. In his 1920 lecture course Heidegger
articulates the notion of “phenomenological Destruktion” (GA59: 35)
or “phenomenological-critical destruction” (GA59: 30), which should
be thought of as not so much “demolition” (Zertrümmern) but rather as
“de-structuring”, Abbau (GA59: 35). In his Phenomenology of Religious

352 Moran

Life lectures, he speaks of the need to subject modern history of religion
to a “phenomenological destruction” to allow the evidence of its
“foreconception” to manifest itself (GA60: 78).8 By 1923 he is
emphasising hermeneutics, not as some kind of interpretative method,
but as Dasein’s own “wakefulness” (Wachsein) with regard to its own
existence; hermeneutics is concretely understood as the
self-interpretation of facticity (GA63: 15).

4. The Meaning of Primitive Christian ‘Religiosity’ – The Historical

Remarks scattered through his early writings attest that Heidegger was
deeply interested in this idea of the phenomenological description of
religious life experience and had been making serious efforts to come to
grips with selected writings of the Christian tradition, including the
writings of Paul, Augustine, Eckhart and Luther, as well as the works of
Kierkegaard. Even in his more formal academic exercises he was
indicating the need to study life. Thus, already in his Habilitation
(1915), Heidegger had claimed that philosophy had to concern itself
with “the value of life (Lebenswert)”. Furthermore, he maintained that
the formal study of Scholastic thought needed to be balanced by a
phenomenological exploration of religious experience:

I hold the philosophical, more exactly, the phenomenological handling of the
mystical, moral-theological, and ascetic writings of medieval scholasticism to
be especially crucial in its decisive insight into this fundamental characteristic
of scholastic psychology (GA1: 205).

Heidegger wanted to penetrate into the living heart of
scholasticism through reading the mystics as well as the dogmatic
treatises: “In the medieval world-view Scholasticism and mysticism
essentially belong together. The two antithetical pairs: rationalism and
irrationalism, Scholasticism and mysticism, do not coincide” (GA1:
410). Later in his career, he would read Greek philosophy beside the
works of the Greek tragedians. Indeed the thinking (Denken) of
philosophy itself will be balanced with the poetic activity (Dichtung) of
the poets. The academic and the conceptual is never enough; it conceals
a deep distortion of life-experience.
Heidegger’s abandonment of the system of Catholicism meant
that he was no longer interested in dogmatic religion but rather in what
he terms “religiosity” (Religiosität) and the “religious attitude” (die

Choosing a Hero 353

religiöse Einstellung) and its peculiar relationship to its world (GA60:
129). He was interested in the whole interconnecting nexus
(Zusammenhang, a term used frequently by both Husserl and Dilthey),
that is a religiously-lived life.9 The problem of “access” and the right
starting point for interpreting the phenomenon of religious life
(christliche Religiosität – christliches Leben – christliche Religion) in
an authentic sense underpins much of Heidegger’s ruminations on
method.10 He was concerned that pseudo-conceptualisations and
“pseudo-philosophy” (Scheinphilosophie) – into which category he now
put the system of Catholicism itself – were obscuring the genuine
phenomena of religious life (GA60: 313).
In these early Freiburg lectures Heidegger constantly
emphasises that religion (as a way of life) has its own “wholly originary
intentionality” (ganz originäre Intentionalität), its own structural
categories (GA60: 322) – described in his 1920-21 lecture course as
“existentialia” (Existenzialien) (GA60: 232), its own “worldliness”
(Welthaftigkeit) and “valuableness” (Werthaftigkeit) (GA60: 322), and
its own basic conceptions on which philosophy must not try to impose
its own conceptual schemes from without:

Real philosophy arises not from preconceived concepts of philosophy and
religion. Rather the possibility of its philosophical understanding arises out of
a certain religiosity (Religiosität) – for us the Christian religiosity […] The
task is to gain a real and original relationship to history, which is to be
explicated from out of our own historical situation and facticity (GA60: 124-
125).

Heidegger claims that no real religion “allows itself to be captured
philosophically” (GA60: 323).11 As he writes in 1923:

A concept is not a schema but rather a possibility of being, of how matters
look in the moment [Augenblick], i.e., is constitutive of the moment – a
meaning drawn out of something – points to a forehaving [Vorhabe], i.e.,
transports us into a fundamental experience – points to a foreconception
[Vorgriff], i.e., calls for a how of addressing and interrogating – i.e., transports
us into the being-there of our Dasein in accord with its tendency to
interpretation and its worry [Bekümmerung] (GA63: 16).

Religious life already experiences and lives out its dynamic
existentialia. For Heidegger it is important to read the religious from
within, using its own existential categories (in the case of Paul: notions
such as kairos, parousia, pistis, sarx [flesh], aner pneumatikos, and so

354 Moran

on), although not necessarily solely from the standpoint of the believer.12
He is reluctant to call these existential categories concepts in that this
would be to overconceptualise what are essentially lived
differentiations, and indeed he opposes the kind of theological
interpretation that wants to set up these notions as concepts. He wants
rather to see them as “complexes of meaning” (Sinnzusammenhängen)
(GA60: 134). Furthermore, in analysing religion (as earlier in his
discussion of Scholasticism), Heidegger wants to avoid any suggestion
of a distinction between ‘rationalism’ and ‘irrationalism’ (presumably
in opposition to those who wanted to assign religious phenomena to the
domain of the irrational). Religion has its own kind of meaning, its own
way of laying out its life-apprehension.
Although Heidegger is aware of Rudolf Otto’s analysis of
religion as centred on the idea of the “holy” or the “numinous”, in fact,
for Heidegger, the key to an understanding of religion in general and the
Christian religion in particular is not so much the numinous as what he
calls “the historical” (das Historsiche) (GA60: 323). The “core
phenomeon” (Kernphänomen) (GA60: 31) or “founding sense-element”
(GA60: 323) of religion is “the historical” (GA60: 31)13: “Factical life
emerges out of a genesis and becomes in an entirely special way
historical (enacted)” (GA60: 141). The religious way of being in the
world is as a kind of historical consciousness. Unfortunately, in his
1920-21 religion course, Heidegger is not particularly forthcoming about
what precisely he means by “the historical”. For Heidegger, history is
not something that can simply be made an object of study. Rather, we
are cast in history, we live it: “History hits us, and we are history itself”
(Die Geschichte trifft uns, und wir sind sie selbst) (GA60: 173). Factical
life and the experience of the historical add up to being the same thing:
the manner in which human beings are concerned, worried or
preoccupied by time and by the temporal aspects of their lives. In later
lecture courses Heidegger will be more explicit about the manner that
Dasein occupies history and is highly critical of inauthentic ways of
understanding the process of history.
Heidegger is deeply aware that philosophy does not relate to its
history in the manner in which other disciplines do; and he is similarly
aware that the experience of the historical in religion is completely
different from the history of the evolution of dogmatic concepts. Central
to the Christian experience is eschatology and eschatology cannot be
construed simply in terms of ordinary experiences of history and

Here. and specifically Christianity. offers a specific way of experiencing (or “living”) time: “Christian experience lives times itself” (GA60: 82). Heidegger emphasises that the term “lives” (lebt) is being employed as a transitive verb. suffers through it. Choosing a Hero 355 temporality.. the Christianity of the earliest texts. one that has been covered up and overlayered by Greek concept-formation (GA60: 104). its “primal foundation” (Urstiftung). to use the Wittgensteinian phrase. How is this to be done? Heidegger’s “Christianness” or “Christian religiosity” has to be traced back to its historical origins. Heidegger writes: “History in its most authentic sense is the highest object of religion. and Heidegger claims that Christian life has its own specific form of experience. presumably each religion has its own way of relating to time (Mircea Eliade’s work in comparative religion here might be invoked15 ). it endures time. religion begins and ends with it” (GA60: 322).14 Heidegger maintains that what is lived in primitive Christianity is temporality itself (Zeitlichkeit als solche) (GA60: 80). Similarly. In one of his strongest statements on the link between religion and history. were experienced. Rather religion makes the historical itself a puzzle (and Heidegger recognises how both Origen and Augustine recognised and attempted to address the “problem of the historical” within religion) (GA60: 112). Christianity in its original form has a unique relation to time and history. Heidegger was also being drawn to the uncovering of the life of primitive Christianity. Moreover. how time. death etc. The history of religion is not a history of dogma. Just as he would later be drawn to studying the Urstiftung of Greek philosophy in the . space. a different “form of life”. Christianity offers. that differs in kind from anything else. Inspired by the hermeneutic tradition and by his own conversion to Protestantism. In analysing the historicality of religion Heidegger goes on to proclaim that religion. to employ the Husserlian terminology. taking an object. epistemological emphasis could never have been guiding for Christian religiosity. Heidegger needs therefore to specify the manner in which authentic Christian life was lived – how its existential structures were shaped. Heidegger wants to separate the existential experiences of religion from the recognition of dogma: The dogma as detached content of doctrine in an objective. On the contrary the genesis of dogma can only be understood from out of the enactment (Vollzug) of Christian life experience (GA60:112).

especially his Nicomachean Ethics. written in 53 AD. In his 1928 Marburg address ‘Phenomenology and Theology’ for instance. For Paul and for primitive Christianity: “The meaning of temporality determines itself out of the fundamental relation of God – however. in his 1924 lecture to the Marburg Theological Society. St. Here he laments that previous Christian thinkers (paradigmatically Augustine) have always taken their orientation from the eternity enjoyed by God (aei) and measured time in some respect as offset against eternity (of course the pattern for this way of thinking was laid down by Plato in his Timaeus).16 Heidegger does recognise that the distinctive claim of Christianity is that time is in some sense “fulfilled” (e. whereas he wants to clear the foreground by analysing how time is lived in its everyday sense.356 Moran writings of Anaximander. as in the Freiburg lecture courses generally. Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians. he continues to maintain his interest in interpreting the nature of the specifically Christian experience of the world right up through the 1920s. . here. St. the mode of existence that specifies a factical Dasein’s Christianness as a particular form of destiny” (GA9: 45). Unfortunately. in this 1920-21 course. Although Heidegger also begins to incorporate descriptions of historical living in the life-world from Aristotle. 4: 4). and seems to be moving towards a structural analysis of human existence as a whole. Heidegger is much more detailed in terms of explaining the relation between Dasein and temporality. in such a way that only those who live temporality in the manner of enactment understand eternity” (GA60: 117). among other Pauline letters (GA60: 87). Gal. His confidence in describing temporality grows over the years such that. Heidegger is somewhat vague and promissory in his approach to the kind of temporality enjoyed by Christian life and how it orients itself to the eternal. Paul. he continues to emphasise that “Christianness” and the life of faith consists of a certain stance towards historical existence and a historical existence that has been recreated through the historical acceptance of the Crucified: “faith is an appropriation of revelation that co-constitutes the Christian occurrence. nevertheless. that is..g. so also he tried to understand the form of primitive Christian life as revealed in the earliest extant Christian documents. but his own account concentrates on the way the self loses itself in the everyday and flees from facing futurity.

one might argue that Heidegger never loses his fascination with the Christian experience of the world. Right up to his last days. he still sees the essential nature of the life experience that religion responds to (inauthentically) as “the great noble awareness of the insecurity of ‘existence’”. the Resurrection). Similarly he was fascinated by Hölderlin’s poetic efforts to insert Jesus into the pantheon of the Greek gods (see Hölderlin’s poem ‘Bread and Wine’ for instance). Choosing a Hero 357 Indeed. in his 1924 lecture to the Marburg Theology society. Moreover. Indeed. Heidegger is always deeply concerned about the implications of Nietzsche’s remark that two thousand years had passed without the emergence of a new god. Heidegger is concerned with contemporary human existence as a kind of state of preparedness or readiness for the anticipated arrival of or absence of “a god”.19 Religious life is about a certain commitment to living under a particular decision (in his ‘Letter on Humanism’ he will characterise it as a .18 In this sense. Augustine struggles with his “unsettled heart” (inquietum cor nostrum).17 Heidegger makes living a certain kind of life to be the essence of Christianity rather than the acceptance of a dogma (e. Having peeled away what he took to be the metaphysical and theological falsifications and distortions of the phenomenon of religion. but rather about human existence (menschliches Dasein) as “being before God” (Sein vor Gott) (CT: 1). whereas now they have withdrawn leaving the world in darkness. Heidegger began to reject Christianity more vehemently. he recognises the core phenomenon to be a certain way of experiencing life (Leben) or existence (Dasein). under the spell of Ernst Jünger. Both the Greek and the Christian worlds were times when the gods walked the earth. his later spiritual interlocutors – Nietzsche and Hölderlin – also were focused on the meaning of Christian revelation and its impact on Western culture. as witnessed by his Der Spiegel interview (published posthumously in 1976). he tends to read the religious ‘situation’ in strongly existential terms: Paul is in anguish. After all. Heidegger emphasises that theology is not about God (who is unknown). Christian life is an experience of life in its essential “insecurity” (Unsicherheit) (GA60: 105).. he wants to portray Christianity more generally as a kind of existential taking up of time and history (an expectation of salvation). even in the 1930s when.While he does follow Augustine (and Kierkegaard) in emphasising the historical reality of the Crucifixion as the central axis of Christian belief.g.

and hence its entire conceptual structure has changed. and was used in the Old Testament to include the arrival of the Lord on the day of Judgement or in Jewish texts to refer to the arrival of the Messiah. It is in this early period of reflection on the existential structures of Christian living that Heidegger develops his particular conceptions of “everydayness” (Alltäglichkeit). Heidegger is transferring . 5. a different relation to the temporal structures of the “now”. Central to Heidegger’s interpretation of Christianity is that Christian life involves “enactment” (Vollzug): Christian facticity is enactment. The Existential Structures of Life: Everydayness and Fallenness Heidegger uses his analyses of religious life as a springboard for a more general analysis of human existence as such. Parousia is not characterised by “waiting” or “hope”. is not about some future event to come but rather about enduring. It constitutes a different sense of temporality. as Heidegger interprets it. Similarly faith (pistis) is not interpreted as a kind of believing. rather the issue is a question about how one relates to one’s life. one which puts emphasis on a future which has already arrived. and “fallenness” (Verfallen).20 When Heidegger writes that “Christian experience lives time itself” (GA60: 82). the parousia. he begins to identify the existential structures that will receive full scale thematisation in Being and Time (1927). Gradually. Heidegger claims that in Christianity parousia means the arriving again of the already appeared Messiah. where time is experienced primarily as the present. Parousia in traditional Greek means “arrival” (GA60: 102). The challenge for Christian factical life is to remain “awake and sober” in relation to the challenge of life. a way of experiencing capable of “increase” or greater intensity and hence testifying to something like authenticity. the “enactment of life” (Vollzug des Lebens) (GA60: 104). In his early Freiburg lectures. carrying through. fulfilling (GA60: 121). he suggests that Christianity has a certain stance towards life in its temporal unfolding. Christian hope. hermeneutics itself takes over the role of being a kind of wakefulness of factical Dasein. a “taking to be true” (Fürwahrhalten) (GA60: 108) but rather as a “complex of enactment” (Vollzugszusammenhang) of sense. coping and resilience in life (GA60: 151). the manner in which human life finds itself captivated by the world.358 Moran humanism since everything is thought to depend on the salvation of humanity) (BW: 201).

Already in 1920 Heidegger had commented on the irreducible polysemy of the word Leben (GA59: 18). Husserl too had written that living is in a certain sense experiencing (Leben ist Erleben). Heidegger had noticed that a key concept in early Christian texts is zoé. Heidegger is critical of the relatively superficial way contemporary life-philosophies and indeed contemporary theologies have dealt with the “primordial phenomenon” of life (GA59: 176). the Dasein. as well as Simmel.23 For Heidegger the term ‘life’ is too vague and ambiguous (GA61: 81). He includes in his general criticism Heinrich Rickert. By 1924. or as he says. to let the word play with him (GA9: 13). Overall. becomes itself.21 Heidegger is even critical of Dilthey (the “highpoint” in the philosophy of life) (GA9: 12). Moreover. he felt he had no alternative but to play with the word. as Heidegger elaborates in his 1924 lecture to the Marburg theologians: “In being futural in running ahead. Heidegger is reminding us of the link between experience (Erlebnis) and living (Leben). Scheler. in running ahead it becomes visible as this one singular uniqueness of its singular fate in the possibility of its singular past” (CT: 21). In all his discussions of this topic right through to Being and Time. Choosing a Hero 359 the conditions for authentic Christian life to human existence as such. at least in the early twenties. this is not so much a secularisation of the religious framework as a universalisation or formalisation. the “sense origin” (Sinnursprung) (GA60: 232). that on average is. a comment repeated in his review of Karl Jaspers’s Psychology of Worldviews (GA9: 13). Dasein has become identified with time. However. Heidegger speaks of the need for philosophy to avoid worn concepts and return to the “original-historical” (GA60: 63). recognising that what the religious attitude identifies can also be approached through hermeneutical-phenomenological readings of everyday life and its accompanying anxieties. Dasein as such lives time. in 1919 he speaks of this term as being so faded as to be useless (GA56/57: 66). Christianity has a sensitivity to factical life and offers a response to it. the authentic way to approach time is to be oriented towards the future and to see the past as a possibility. and he remarks on the . in describing the experience of concrete life. life. Not just Christians live time. Heidegger is unhappy with the term Erlebnis so beloved of Husserl and Dilthey.22 Nietzsche and Bergson (GA61: 80-81). who himself had published a virulent critique of life-philosophy on the grounds that life had to be conceptualised.

Heidegger wants to free up the genuine sense of this phenomenon avoiding the kind of false particular conceptions of existence in Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. prejudgements and foreconceptions in his approach to life. means a basic phenomenon. whom he believed to be at least trying to describe life in living. The centre of Jaspers’s approach is Existenz. he didn’t see that the traditional stock of categories from the logic of things and the world is fundamentally insufficient.24 In this 1922 text. In his 1919-1921 review of Jaspers’s Psychology of World Views (which he had personally sent to Jaspers in 1921). Heidegger read Karl Jaspers. This does not indicate a bare contradiction in Jaspers. Heidegger writes (GA9: 10). Jaspers too is rightly critical of contemporary philosophy of life. grief. vita. and the Greek-Christian interpretations of human Dasein are centred”. Writing to Karl Jaspers on December 16th 1925 Heidegger says that Hegel from the beginning failed categorially to grasp life – existence – process and the like. and that we . the Old Testament. he too aims at a clarification of ‘life’ (GA9: 7). “Limit situations (Grenzsituationen) shed light on our vital Dasein”. rather it forces us to reflect on ‘method’ which also arises out of presuppositions and prejudgements: “We cannot but give ourselves an initial understanding of method along with our preconceptions about the subject matter” (GA9: 8).360 Moran centrality of this concept in his 1922 Aristotle text: “one must in principle keep in view the fact that the term zoé. dynamic terms. upon which the Greek. What is central to individual lived life is that the one who lives cares about it. Heidegger is already struggling to articulate the hermeneutic sense of life as always already lived from within a certain ‘fore-having’. is involved with it in a concernful way.). etc. the phenomenon of the ‘I am’. Heidegger’s main critique of Jaspers is that he has a basic presupposition about life as a whole but tells us little about what this “seeing in the whole” means. As part of his effort to gain the proper description of life. That is. the New Testament-Christian. Heidegger goes on to state that the “basic sense of the movement of factical life is caring (curare)” (Heidegger 1992: 361). Humans have a sense of themselves as wholes and unities and because of this they experience antinomies (death. Heidegger sees himself as trying to “free up the real tendencies of Jaspers’s work” (GA9: 2). But Heidegger points out that Jaspers cannot avoid certain presuppositions.

Choosing a Hero 361 must question more radically. not only about becoming and motion. for instance.g. n.25 Of course. Heidegger always maintained that phenomenology (in some radical version) represented the only possible mode of approach that could let the phenomena appear. and . given his disdain for academic philosophy. he came to see the power of phenomenology for uncovering life in its factical sense. Heidegger complains of the dismal state of phenomenology as it had been practised in Göttingen (presumably he was drawing on gossip as he never attended Husserl’s seminars in Göttingen): “Göttingen 1913: For a whole semester Husserl’s students argued about how a mailbox looks. Reforming the Phenomenological Approach Through Formal Indication During his lecturing career at Freiburg. which was supposed to provide a basis for scientific work. 6. Dilthey represented for Heidegger the chief proponent of the notion that the peculiar logic of life or ‘ontology of life’ (SZ: 249. one moves on to talk about religious experiences as well. In 1923 in his ‘Ontology: The Hermeneutics of Facticity’ (GA63) lecture course. and struggled to articulate his own radicalised vision of phenomenology as a kind of self-reflexive enacting of life itself. Ironically. happening and history – but about being itself. in his 1925 Marburg course on ‘History of the Concept of Time: Prolegomena’ [GA20]). it is only after Heidegger went to Marburg that his tone calmed down and became more appreciative of Husserl’s contribution (e. Similarly. then I too am all for dialectic” (GA63: 110). and while he was struggling with the legacy of neo-Kantianism and his own interest in life-philosophy. However he was also becoming more and more concerned that Husserl’s phenomenological approach was too intellectualistic. his assessment of the then current state of phenomenology was often quite negative and his tone scathing. has sunk to the level of wishy-washyness. In fact. thoughtlessness. he accuses phenomenology of having becoming too soft and trendy: Phenomenological research. In his Freiburg lectures. If that is philosophy. vi) could be identified. but Heidegger’s own reflections on the structures of religious life force him to radically alter his mode of approach.. Using this kind of treatment.

to the level of a public scandal of philosophy […] The George circle. The book to which Heidegger is referring is Gerda Walther’s Zur Phänomenologie der Mystik (Walther 1923). Keyserling. Paul. How far it has gone is shown by a recent book. suggesting that Husserl’s distinction between generalisation and formalisation (primarily in Ideas I § 13) contains an important clue for how phenomenology might be carried out.362 Moran summariness. who clearly had signed up for lectures about religious life rather than obscure methodological excursions in phenomenology (GA60: 65). to the level of the philosophical noise of the day. however.28 Formalisation. Augustine. Heidegger characterises phenomenology in terms of seeking the “formal indication” (formale Anzeige). medieval mysticism takes its orientation from St. and so on (GA60: 58). cuts right across this hierarchical ascent by immediately grasping anything . to ‘blue’. Unfortunately. anthroposophy. For him mysticism has nothing to do with “absorption” or “special exertion” but is primarily about facing up to the weakness of life (GA60: 100). Phenomenology of Mysticism. as for Husserl. yet in 1923 he still had published nothing. Suffice to say that he had been working on the concept already in his 1919 Kriegnotsemester lectures. Steiner.27 But his own view of mysticism was that it involved a certain committed way of enduring the vicissitudes of life. I cannot here enter into a detailed discussion of Heidegger’s somewhat obscure notion of formal indication. Heidegger’s meditations on this topic in his religion lectures seemingly led to complaints from the philosophy students. etc.26 Perhaps we can hear in this deprecation of the phenomenology of mysticism a certain anxiety in Heidegger’s voice. In his Freiburg lectures. For Heidegger. to ‘sensuous quality’. Commentators such as Theodore Kisiel have seen this as the key to Heidegger’s original and unique understanding of phenomenology (Kisiel 1993: 164-170). – everything absorbs phenomenology. to ‘colour’. Heidegger’s own approach to mysticism is to be found in his lectures on St. which appeared with an authorized publisher and with the most official sponsorship (GA63: 73-74). from this patch of seen blue. generalisation was tied to materiality and meant moving through a hierarchy of levels of materiality from lower level species to higher genera. He himself had been the one chosen by Husserl to write in this field. rather than any transcendence of it. whereas Walther had a book out on the subject. For Heidegger. Amusingly.

for instance: “the stone is a thing”. Heidegger writes: This formally indicated determination of the sense of the historical is neither to be regarded as one which determines the objective historical world in its historical structural character. formal indication stands apart from both generalisation and formalisation (which both operate from the standpoint of the universal or general) and allows for direct access to the phenomenon without emptily generalising it. specifically Natorp and Rickert. One does not live in generalities but enacts a specific involvement which phenomenology can describe. Formalisation relies on an attitude taken towards a thing and hence is “relational” as Heidegger calls it. For Heidegger. the formal indication does not belong within a theoretical attitude at all and acts to counteract the “falling” tendency in our interpretation. he takes issue with Natorp’s criticism that phenomenology’s claim to be founded in immediate intuition is bankrupt as all immediacy has to be mediated by concepts. Formalisation thus involves taking a different stance (Einstellung) towards something in a manner that is not affected by the material content of the phenomenon. In other words. i. nor as one which describes the most general sense of the historical itself (GA60: 64-65). With the methodology of formal indication.. Heidegger is trying to transform Husserlian phenomenology and make it more suitable for his explicitly hermeneutical task of interpreting life. Somehow. Heidegger is trying to specify what belongs essentially to life as temporal and historical without falling back into generalities. For Natorp. Heidegger defends phenomenological viewing by arguing that the conceptual description is in fact founded in an original experience that is not theoretical in character (GA56/57: 111). as Heidegger envisages it in these years. it is a mistake to . Despite his general criticisms of phenomenology. Furthermore.e. primarily coming from the neo-Kantian tradition. In his 1919 lecture-course ‘The Idea of Philosophy and the Problem of Worldview’. Choosing a Hero 363 whatsoever as a ‘something’ or ‘essence’. at best original experience can be “reconstructed” by tracing back the original “construction” process whereby experiences were subsumed under generalising concepts (GA56/57: 103). The “indication” of formal indication is a warning to signal that the relational character of the phenomenon must not be elided. Heidegger is vigorous in defending it against contemporary criticism. applying universal categories which would precisely deny what is individual in this life (Kisiel 1993: 170).

in regard to which no theory can lead us astray. is to assume that the phenomenological stance is merely another standpoint (GA56/57: 110). Heidegger glosses Husserl’s principles of principles in the following way: If by a principle one were to understand a theoretical proposition. that everything originarily (so to speak in its ‘personal’ actuality) offered to us in ‘intuition’ is to be accepted simply as what it is presented as being. However. Heidegger will make a similar defence of phenomenology against his former teacher Rickert’s criticisms. his “principle of principles”. 1976: 43). For Heidegger. the primordial of life-experience and life as such. as articulated in Ideas I. to exclude all theorising and to explore our conceptuality ‘from below’. it is in fact the attempt to free thinking from standpoints. already shows (although Husserl does not explicitly say so) that it does not have a theoretical character (GA56/57: 110). the absolute sympathy with life . in support of his own understanding of phenomenology as a kind of lived relationship with life. Heidegger wants to reconceive phenomenology as a kind of individual living-along with the trajectory of historical factical life itself. but also only within the limits in which it is presented there (Husserl. In Ideas I Section 24 Husserl writes: Enough now of absurd theories. No conceivable theory can make us err with respect to the principle of all principles: that every originary presentive intuition is a legitimizing source [Rechtsquelle] of cognition. In later lecture courses. as Heidegger puts it in the same lecture course. In his 1919 lecture course. of something that precedes all principles. that Husserl speaks of a principle of principles.364 Moran consider phenomenological “signification” to be itself another kind of standpoint. the phenomenological signification goes along with the life process itself and grasps the essential “worldliness” of experience in a non-falsifying way. Phenomenology essentially operates with what Heidegger calls “hermeneutical intuition” (GA56/57: 117). Husserl’s principle of principles was designed to in fact be presuppositionless. Heidegger even manages to read Husserl’s fundamental phenomenological principle. The “original sin” of phenomenology. this designation would not be fitting. Heidegger goes on to say that the real meaning of this principle of principles is “the primal intention of genuine life. going backwards and forwards in the way in which our own lives project the future from the taking up of and repetition of elements in the past.

but what if the person seeing it had no familiarity with lecterns. never neutral-theoretic. Both critical realism (Locke. One might say one sees the lectern.) and transcendental idealism (neo-Kantianism) assumed that what we really have to build on are ‘sensations’. The challenge is to find the right mode of access to this historical. factical life-experience and overcome the “predominance of the theoretical” that shapes philosophy from Aristotle to Husserl. In his more detailed discussion of phenomenology in these early courses. “I see the lectern” means I am having certain visual sensations. as hermeneutical. philosophy. Speaking of looking at a lectern. etc. say someone from a pre-technological tribe in the Amazonian jungle? Would they say they see a ‘something’? . Yet. Husserl lacks the instinct for pulsating life. there is a major difference of interpretation between them as to what exactly is seen. There really are no abstract general frameworks in philosophy. rather it itself has only ‘eidetically’ the oscillation (die Schwingung) of the genuine life-world” (GA60: 336). Heidegger following Husserl has the intuition that we cannot do philosophy ‘from above’. This involves criticising Husserl’s overly theoretical sense of perception. Heidegger here follows H