You are on page 1of 28

Christians are interes,ted in the

thought 0/ Heidegger, even though
God-less, because there is truth in
Heidegger and wherever there is
truth there is God.


ON THE FRONT PAGE of the second section of The N ew Y ork Times
for Saturday, April 11, 1964, there appeared a scream headline
which read: "Scholar breaks with Heidegger/Conference at Drew is
told philosopher's work lacks meaning for Christians/Pro-N1azism is
charged/Teacher at the New School cites German's statement ending
with Heil Hitler."
The scholar in question was Dr. Hans Jonas, Professor of Philosophy at the New School of Social Research in New York City. The
conference, to which he had been invited to give the keynote address,
had been convened at Drew University, Madison, N.J., under the
leadership of the eminent Dean of its Graduate School, Dr. Stanley
Romaine Hopper. The announced theme of the three.,d'ay Consultation had been "The Problem of Non-objectifying Thinking and Speaking in Contemporary Theology." But in simpler terms it had as its
purpose to offer most of the leading thinkers of contemporary Protestantism the opportunity to discuss with two special guests invited from
Europe, during a three-day Consultation, the relevance of Martin
Heidegger's thought in its most contemporary form to their theological enterprise.
As a matter of fact, Heidegger himself had been invited to give
the opening address, hut when in J anuHry his doctors forbade hirn
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is the text of the annuaI Suarez Lecture delivered at Fordharn University, April 27, 1964.



to make the journey, he sent a communication to be read in absentia
to the assembly and DT. J onas was invited to speak in his stead.
By any standard, Dr. Jonas' performance was brilliant-though
somewhat unexpected. Accepting the invitation, he later said, as a
call of destiny, he launched what may weIl be one of the most incisive criticisms that has ever been directed against this German thinker.
With erudition and fire, with lucidity and wit, he affirmed with all
vigor the nonrelevance of the contemporary Heidegger for theology,
and thereby articulated in dynamic fashion his own attitude toward
Heidegger and the problem oI God.
For lnany months this had been the proposed theme for these re·
ßections. It was my intention to trace the development of Heidegger's
thinking about God and examine in some detail some docu,ments
that recently have become available. The purpose would have been
to try to disengage the essentials of Heidegger's attitude toward the
question, and determine its relevance for Christian thought. But Dr.
Jonas changed all that. Throwing the problem into the context of
theology, he offered the most damning evaluation possible of Heidegger's attitude toward God. 1 should like to propose, then, that we
renounce the luxury of a purely philosophieal meditation, and pick
up the gage where Dr. Jonas has thrown it down. My purpose is not
to be merely topical, but philosophy does have an obligation to be
relevant. Nor is it my purpose to be polemic, but a statement for the
prosecutJlon warrants a statement for the defense, in order that justice,
which is to say truth, may have its way.
To situate the problem properly let us ask: What "ras the meaning of the Consultation at Drew"? what was the substance of the Jonas
attack? w"hat is its value?

If Martin Heidegger and Hans J onas, the one in absentia and the
other in praesentia, came to share the same platform at Drew, this
could have been achieved only through the good offices oI a great and
good mutual friend, Rudolf Bultmann. 1 do not mean, oI course, that
Bultmann's theology alone is the pjvotal point of the "new hermeneutic" (that is, the science 01' art oI interpreting Sacred Scripture),
which was the fundamental issue of the Consultation. But 1 do mean
that without Bultmann's contribution, consciously modeled on the

ciples beyond their original position in the direction of the theological position represented rather by Karl Barth. 1963). The controversy itself cannot be our concern in this discussion. 10. so besteht es darin. that the contemporary problem itself turns upon the question : Does the evolution of Heidegger's own thought through the famous Kehre-which we may translate as "turning" or "reversal"-invite a corresponding "turning" or "reversal" in the Bultmannian method? The controversy-for controversy it is-was not engaged properly until1959 when Heinrich Ütt (disciple of. C. was Kierkegaard den 'unendlichen qualitativen Unterschied' von Zeit und Ewigkeit genannt hat. Mohr. under Barth's direction. for in this Hans Jonas played a role. toD. and now successor to. (1922). Der Römerbrief. If I have a "system" it consists in the fact that I keep in mind as persistently as possihle what Kierkegaard called the "infinite qualitative difference between time and eternity" in hath its negative and its positive meaning. in seiner negativen und positiven bedeutung möglichst beharrlich im Auge behalte. Let us be content with abrief resume of the use to which Bultnlann put the early Heidegger. . too. is the very heart of Bultmann. however. What characterizes Bultmann's effort. If we were to look for the steady eenter around which Bultmann's entire theological effort revolves.2 It suggested that fidelity to the Heideggerean inspiration as it evolved in the philosopher's later works would lead Bultmann and his dis.HEIDEGGER AND GOD 15 early work of Heidegger.. dass ich das..e. Trans. the problem of contemporary hern1eneutics would never have been posed.. 1955). Der Weg Martin Heideggers und der Weg der Theologie (Zurich: EVZ Verlag. . we might find that it is no different from that of Karl Barth. In the Preface to the second edition of his Epistle to the Romans. p.. The Way 0/ Martin Heidegger and the Way 0/ Theology. . I mean. . .B. . E. Barth. xiii. written his doctoral dissertation in 1955 on the theology of Bultmann. Karl Barth at the University of Basel). no matter how divergent may be the paths that each subsequently folIows. who had already. is that his conception of God and God's relation to the worl. Hoskyns. 1 published a study of IIeidegger entitled Thinking and Being. Barth writes: . The Epistle to the Romans (London: Oxford University. 3 " • • • Wenn ich ein 'System' habe. p."-K. 2 Denken und Sein. 2nd ed. 1959).d is based upon the analogy of what we know of man 1 Geschichte und Heilsgeschichte in der Theologie RudolJ Bultrnanns (Tübingen: l. 3 This.

we find that God is infinitely and qualitatively different from the world Hecreated. The fundamental choice open to man. forgetting his great prerogative and becoming in his own eyes abeing like the rest-at best a subject for whom everything else is an object. Ogden. that is. or he can live in terms of his prerogative. 0/ Rudol/ Bult- . and God's action is portrayed as if it belonged properly to the world oI men. nothing that man is. There is nothing in the created order of things. therefore nothing in human language as such. True enough. But this testimony is encrusted in language thatbelongs properly to this world. has."4 One inference from this is immediate. S. It presents God's action as a process which suddenly interrupts and at the same time prolongs the natural course of history-it inserts transcendent causality into the events of a human world. And " . open hirnself to the future. In a word. ed. "Introduction" to Existence and Faith. for example. Shorter Writings mann. is this: either he can lose himself among beings. makes it an objeet about which man can think and speak. constantly achieve the self that is offered hirn to become by constantly re-trieving (Wiederhol~~ng) the Being that comes to hirn througll his paste In such a choice eonsistshis authenticity. 16. Whell such a schema is transposed into a new key so that it may enable us to speak mutatis mutandis of God. the sacred writer bears witness to the fact that human existence is controlled somehow by the action of God.16 THOUGHT and 'Inan'S relationship to the world. Let us see what this means in the context of what Bultmann calls the "mythological" language of the New Testament. p.. Now Bultmann's conception oI man is avowedly Heideggerean: man is qualitatively different from all other heings in the world of his experience for he transcends all beings. that is directly divine or can be assiglled a divine function or significance. just as man in his finite 'historicity' transcends the whole sphere of the subject-object correlation. Ogden (New York: Meridian. Take the mythic language of a miracle. 1960). or does. myth objectifies God's action. accept himself as transcendence.. with his eyes turned steadily toward tlIe past. no effort on the part of the sacred writer and still less of the theologian. so also does God as an infinite Existent tranBcend all that falls within the macrocosmic counterpart of this same sp~here. upon whichdepends the achievement or nonachievement of authenticity. makes this action 4 S.

"-Kar! Barth. 1957).. 22.. . . We can set aside any previous theological formulation of faith. J."6 Bultmann recognized the theological validity of Barth's fait accompli-at least in the second edition (1922)-and soon devoted himself to . A. 10.characterizes the thought of the mature Bultmann as it has hecome known to the public since 1941. we must set aside all "mythological" formulations. ."~ Under attack from Adolf von Harnack in 1923 for his failure in objectivity (theology's task is "to get intellectual control of the object.HEIDEGGER AND GOD 17 immanent to man's world and therelore destroys God's infinitely and qualitatively different transcendence.. J. the inspired writers. p. The New Hermeneutic. including those of the canonieal theologians. because every human formulation is a humanaffair and has no divine significance. Barth. why Bultmann is comlmitted to demythologize the Christian message. then. 1964). "Ein Briefwechsel mit Adolf von Harnack. The reason is not alone that our contemporary scientifie world can no longer aceept the mythological formulations of Sacred Scripture !an. The reason is more profoundly in the nature of reality itself arg Bultmann conceives it. themselves." said Harnack). .111. Furthermore. Paul's Epistle to the Romans. Der Römerbrief (Bern: G. dass ihr Objekt zuvor Subjekt gewesen ist und immer wieder werden muss..v. 6 " • • • Die 'Wissenschaftlichkeit' der Theologie wäre dann ihre Gebundenheit an die Erinnerung. .. Cobb (New York: Harper and Row. . In the Preface to the first edition (1918) he writes: " . which he first ealled Sachkritik. Robinson.. . . 1919). "-K. Barth replied: ". Bäschlin. . Robinson. criticism in terms of subject matter.. durch das Historische hindurch zu sehen in den Geist der Bibel. Trans. so that this 5 " • • • Aber meine ganze Aufmerksamkeit war darauf gerichtet. that is.developing and clarifying the method." in Theologische Fragen und Antworten: Gesammelte Vorträge (Zollikon: Evangelischer Verlag.d therefore tends to shut its ears to the message contained therein. ed. hut the history of its development is for our purposes interesting. My whole attention was directed to looking through the historical to the spirit of the Bihle. becau!se they obseure the fact th!at God's difference from the world is not only quantitative hut qualitative. den der ewige Geist ist. One might say that the first break-through in the advance toward what we now call demythologizing was made not 'hy Bultmann but by Karl Barth with his commentary on St. that is. J. . All this . which is the eternal Spirit. We see at onee. The 'scholarliness' of theology eonsists in being bound to the recolleetion that its object was first subject and must again and again hecome suhject. p.

"Hermeneutic since Barth. J onas.THOUGHT 18 method might be put to more general use. Heidegger hirnself was unable to come to Drew to launch "the discussion on "Non-objectifying Thinking and Speaking in TheoIogy. Gnosis und Spätantiker Geist. 7 One year later (1923) Heidegger. Jonas himself? DR. 2nd ed. 8 H. Hans Jonas. Jonas opens his attack by insisting that there is much secular7 See J. In the long years between 1922 and 1941 during which Bultmann's theory of demythologizing slowly matured. Cobb. the author. Robinson. then. 11 (New York: Harper and Row. Its titIe: Gnosis und Spätantiker Geist. and not least in the interpretation of the New Testament. in whieh he says: . stands out. 1958). it was indeed a brilliant example of all that Bultmann eould hope that the method of demythologizing would be. a classic in the field. Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen Testaments (Göttingen: Vandenhoek und Ruprecht. Jonas. 1st ed. Robinson.. JONAS' CRITICISM Dr. Bultmann himself wrote apreface to the first volulne." in The N ew Hermeneutic. s Published in 1934. 1963). 10 H. vii. who hirnself was the most brilliant exponent of the method now under scrutiny. New Frontiers iln Theology. Gnosis und Spätantiker Geist (Göttingen : Vandenhoek und Huprecht. J. Robinson. J onas. Dr." who on the American scene was better qualified to take his place than a former student both of Heidegger and Bultmann. who had aiready done his doetorate under Heidegger in 1928. 9 This book. 1954). 9 R. 34-35. pp. namely. seems to me to have proven hrilliantly its fruitEulness. oE laying hold of a historical phenomenon by means of the principle oE the analysis of existence. The method of the author. The author had first come to grips formally with the problem in terms of the hermeneutics of Church dogma in the first appendix to his earlier work (soon to be re-edited) Augustin und das paulinische Freiheitsproblem. 29. paperback ( Boston: Beacon. J. . The Gnostic Religion. Its English titIe: The Gnostic Religiotl/. (Boston: Beacon. 1\'1. 1964). I. one work in partieular written by one of Bultmann's most gifted students. Vorwort to H. ed. 1. 1934).. pp. When reissued in 1954. 10 When. Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und N euen Testaments (Göttingen : Vandenhoek und Ruprecht. with Sein und Zeit germinating in his head but four years before its publication. 1930). M. appeared in English in 1958 and a second edition in paperback in 1963. I am certain that this work will fructify research in the history of ideas in many regards. Trans. The New Hermeneutic. joined hirn on the faeulty at Marburg and their elose assoeiation began.. Buhmann. M. 3l.

a call of Being all right. I hope. This accounts for the affinity that the Christian thinker feels with Heidegger's thought and explains the desire to profit fron1 it. . call of conscience. resolution. 1933. Thinking's lot is cast by Being. if I take them. The Führer 11 H. revelation. In the early period. before he re-imports his own original product: what have you done "vith my little ones? in what company did you bring theIn up? are they still my uncorrupted children? can 1 take them back f rom you? and what.. will 1 take with them? . l-'he theologian must ask.12 Whatever the purely philosophical value of the notion of Being as fate-ful. anxiety. . 12 H. fateladen in every sense: neither then nor now did Heidegger's thought provide a norm by which to decide hO\iv to answer such calls. "Heidegger and Theology..33. 11 Can Heidegger's philosophy be assimilatedby the Christian thinker in part without taking the whole? Dr. has a fate-like character (or: is "fate-Iaden": geschicklieh ) . fallenness. "Heidegger and Theology. J onas. however. Jonas. .. For the sake of clarity and consistency in the exposition that folIows. The following quotation from a proclamation by Heidegger (then Rector) to the students oI the University of Freiburg in Novernber. Heidegger's own answer is.. p. we have taken the liberty of eapitalizing the word "Being" in Professor J onas' text whenever it c1early refers to Heidegger's Sein. and in the later period such terms as hearing. . response. shepherd. such concepts as guilt. on record and. Hereafter cited as: H. .HEIDEGGER AND GOD 19 ized Christianity in Heidegger's thought and language. which slightly expands and emends the text as delivered. Jonas see as belonging to the whole of Heidegger that the Christian must accept if he takes the part? Firstly he must accept Heidegger's so-called "fatalism" : Let us start with the idea of fate. authenticity-inauthenticity. . Being speaks to thought." Review 01 M etaphysics XVIII (DecembeL 1964). to the shame of philosophy. . it is an occurrence of unveiling. 215. Jonas says: No! What does Dr. not forgotten . J onas.. "Heidegger and Theology. mission.. But herein lies the danger : . and what it speaks is thought's lot." Citations in the present article have been made to conform to the published version. . . 214. thanksgiving-all oi these characteristically Heideggerean terms have a profoundly Christian resonance. Jonas is painfully aware of: But as to Heidegger's Being. a fate-laden happening upon thought: so ""Tas the Führer and the call of German destiny under hirn: an unveiling of something indeed. . concern. there is one exanlple of such a conception of destiny that Dr. . 207-2. It looms large in Heidegger's thinking and in his idea of thinking. serves as an example: "Not theorems and 'ideas' be the rules of your Being. Thinking about Being ." p.

85.. for such was the version which was delivered at Drew. Heidegger deifies the world." Respecting.. 217. apparently. 218. he de-divinizes God'. and which occasioned the headlines in the New York Times on the day following. "Heidegger and Theology. was das Word 'Gott' nennen soll. hut an event invalidating all the dicta of fate and overruling the words which fate speaks toman. Jonas makes his point by a display of verbal jiujitsu that he calls a "stretch of rigorous dialectics." p. Jonas. . He cites Heidegger's Letter on Humanism: " . p. "Heidegger and Theology. H. Prof. too-paganism that deifies the world at the same time that it de-divinizes God. Jonas' itali~~ . the difference between a being (that which is) and Being itself (the process by which it is). Erst im Lichte des Wesens von Gottheit kann gedacht und gesagt werden. that which saved hirn was. "Heidegger --------------------and Theology. p. Erst aus dem ""Vesen des Heiligen ist das Wesen von Gottheit zu denken." M. In citing Professor Jonas here we take the liberty of appending the footnote to the main text. 1947). . Jonas claims. then. Cp.14 But it is not only Heidegger's fatalism that is repugnant to ChrisDr. "15 Is this not todeify the World? But not only does Heidegger deify the world. hy the understanding of faith as distinct from the understanding of the world. Second and more so. Dr. Learn ever deeper to know: that from now on each and every thing demands decision. according to hirn. . it is his paganism. that is. is essentially immanent in the world..•. Only from the truth of Being can the essence of the Holy be thought. including note 7." p. . Jonas. responsihility.. 102. 220.. 15 " ••• Erst aus der Wahrheit des Seins lässt sich das Wesen des Heiligen denken. what Heidegger calls the ontological difference.20 THOUGHT himse]J and alone is the present and future German reality and its law.4 H. nor destined ever to become fate or part of fate itself.v a Christian-it is clear-and therefore the Christian theologian must reject any such idea of fate and history : . is the Being that reveals the beings of this world-ho kosmos houtos. and every action. the Christian is said to be saved from the power of fate . Jonas' italies. For one thing. . not an event of the world and thus not an event of fate. Mit einem Brief über den "Humanisrnus" (Bern: Francke. Yet Being is conceived as the Holy. including the words of selfunveiling Being... Prof. Being. Only from the essence of the Holy is the essence of deity to be thought. Heidegger. Trans. Heil Hitler! "13 No. Only in the light of the essence of deity can that be thought and said which the word 'God' should name. 13 H." p. Jonas. 1. D-r. Jonas argues thus: tianity~.. Platons Lehre von der Wahrheit. . for Being.

he speIls out certain un-Christian consequences that the Christian theologian would have to aecept if he wished to strueture his thought in those terms. favoring him.11 Once Dr. 221." pp." p.. arnazement that they are at all.HEIDEGGER AND GOD 21 Beings are occasions for the experiencing of Being. appropriating hirn into its own care." p. Jonas. Indeed how can one speak of Being's activity and man's receptivity. "Heidegger and Theology.16 All this is said with a lip service to the ontological difIerence. the claim to be. following the insinuation of Nietzsehe's lllocking allusion to Schopenhauer. the ventriloquist of Being. the claim that througll him speaks the essence of things itself. does this "difIerence" really make much difIerence? Does not Heidegger really coneeive of Being as a being after all? .." pp. clearing or ohscuring itself in such thought. H. But when all is said and done. p. a relationship which Jonas sees as a God-given privilege of the human condition as such. 18 Secondly he would have to live with the enormous arrogance oI Heidegger's thought. 230. 19 Not the least sign of that . Le... not only making possible thought hut giving thought. Jonas has underscored Heidegger's apparent fatalism and paganism. heing event. Jonas. Jonas. 223. 16 11 . thus the experiencing of Being in the encounter with God is the thinking of the not-being and the contingency of God. that is. "Heidegger and Theology. enlisting his loyalty. "Heidegger and Theology. of the forrner's having and heing a fate. 2D H. "Heidegger and Theology. having voice.. where future revelations are not prejudged by past revelations and no one revelation supplies an authoritative criterion by which others are to he judged.. when encountered. thus God..arrogance for J onas is the abiding desire of I-Ieidegger to transcend the world of subjeets and objeets. First he would have to face the consequences of apermanent Tevelation. entrusting itself to man's care. J onas. 19 H. J onas. summoning his gratitude. hut also needing him-how can one attribute all this to it unless one understands it as an agency and apower. is an occasion for the experiencing of Being. 2Ü H.. God is a being. calling to man. as some sort of subject? . thus the experience of Being in God is amazernent at his existing at alle Amazement at something heing at all is to think with its Being its not-heing or its contingency. 18}-1. Being is experienced in heings as amazement at their heing (existing). "Heidegger and Theology. 228-229. 225-228.

At the age of eighteen. written in 1862. Brentano quotes Aristotle's phrase: to on legetai pollachös. I translate: "A being becomes manifest (sc. On the title page of his work. unified determination oE Being that permeates all of its multiple meanings? This question raised another: what. Stretching over more than fifty years. with regard to its Being) in many ways. In diesem Satz verbirgt sich die meinen Denkweg bestimmende Frage: Welches ist die alle mannigfachen Bedeutungen durchherrschende einfache. a copy of the doctoral dissertation of the neoscholastic thinker Franz Brentano. may be viewed either in its unity or its diversity. he received from a priest-friend. when he was at the education level of a college sophomore. Conrad Gröber. What sense of Being comes to expression in these four headings. Being as possibility and actuality. entitled The Manifold Sense 0/ Being in Aristotle (where "being" translates the German Seiendes and the Greek on. But I should like to review the main lines of Heidegger's effort.." Latent in this phrase is the question that determined the way of my thought: what is the pervasive. then. Heidegger's efIort.. underlining those elements that have reference to the question of God. simple. It is impossible to reply to it all. Being as truth. . does Being mean? To what extent (why and how) does the Being of beings unfold in the four modes which Aristotle constantly affirms. Brentano setzte auf das Titelblatt seiner schrift den Satz des Aristoteles: to on legetai pollachäs. One need but run over the names assigned to them in the language of the philosophical tradition to be struck by the fact that they seem at first irreconcilable:: Being as property. Synoptic View The indictment is a heavy one. Being as schema of the categories. Ich übersetze: Das Seiende wird (nämlich hinsichlich seines Seins) in vielfacher Weise offenkundig.) Of this first experience Heidegger writes in 1962: .22 THOUGHT HEIDEGGER 1. How can they be brought into comprehensible accord? This accord can not be grasped without first raising and settling the question: whence does Being as such (not merely beings as beings) receive its determination ?21 21 ". while still a student in the Gymnasium at Constance. as no doubt that of any major thinker. synoptically or genetically. . einheitliche Bestimmung von Sein? Diese Frage weckt die folgenden: . For the sake of clarity of presentation. but whose common origin he leaves undetermined. But even a synoptic view cannot dispense from a look at the first moment fifty-eight years ago when the long way began. let us begin with the synoptic view.

though. Phaenomenologica. 1963). und es bedurfte vieler Um. Dialogues with Husserl provided the imlmediate experience of the phenomenological method that prepared the coneept of phenomenology explained in the introduction to Sein und Zeit. is a being für hirn ünly insofar as it appears. wenn zuvor gefragt und geklärt wird: Woher empfängt das Sein als solches (nicht nur das Seiende als Seiendes) seine Bestimmung?"-l\1.e early and we cannüt exaggerate its importance. not yet sufficient for the venture of analysing the Being-question as a question about the sense of Being.J. the reader should be aW8lre that the word "being" when capitalized (Being) translates Heidegger's Sein and when not capitalized (being) translates Heidegger's Seiendes (that-which-is. Durch die unmittelbare Erfahrung der phänomenologischen Methode in Gesprächen mit Husserl bereitete sich der Begriff von Phänomenologie vor. xi.HEIDEGGER AND GOD 23 It is irnportant that we understand clearly how Heidegger experiences beings an. für the whüle interrogation üf Being and beings is conditioned by the initial experience oI the phenomenologist: that a being is that which appears.22 The influence oI Husserl. Heidegger: Through Phenomenology to Thought. um von dem zunächst unvereinbar Erscheinenden betroffen zu werden: Sein als Eigenschaft."-M. in ihrer gemeinsamen Herkunft unbestimmt gelassen vier Weisen? Es genügt. Richardson.. In the same text üi 1962 he continues: Meanwhile a decade went by and a great deal of swerving and straying through the history of Western philosophy was needed for the above questions to reach even an initial clarity. um eine Erörterung der Seinsfrage als Frage nach dem Sinn von Sein zu wagen. to be sure.) 22 "Indes verging ein Jahrzehnt. H eidegger: .d how he poses the questiün about the Being oI beings. Hierbei spielt die Rückbeziehung auf die entsprechend ausgelegten Grundworte des griechischen Denkens: logos (offenbar machen) und phainesthai (sich zeigen) eine massgebende RolIe. Sein als Schema der Kategorien.. 13 (The Hague: Nijhoff. "Preface" to W. p. die freilich noch nicht ausreichten. Sein als Möglichkeit und Wirklichkeit. Sein als Wahrheit. No. Heidegger. To gain this clarity three insights were decisive. . then. . ~l eIcher Sinn von Sein spricht in diesen vier Titeln? Wie lassen sie sich in einen verstehbaren Einklang bringen? Diesem Einklang können wir erst dann vernehmen. der in der Einleitung zu "Sein und Zeit" (§7) dargestellt ist. Was heisst denn Sein? Inwiefern (weshalb und wie) entfaltet sich das Sein des Seienden in die von Aristoteles stets nur festgestellten. bis auch nur die genannten Fragen in eine erste Klarheit gelangten. In this evolution a normative role was played by the reference back to fundamental words of Creek thought which I interpreted accordingly: logos (to make manifest) and phainesthai (to show oneself) . Dafür waren drei Einsichten entscheidend. For the sake of clarity. J. cam. diese in der Sprache der philosophischen Überlieferung auch nur zu nennen. xi. S. "Preface" to Richardson. p.und Abwege durch die Geschichte der abendländischen Philosophie hindurch. Heidegger..

would be the structure or the process that enables a being to become manifest as what it is. then. 23 In other words. The Being of such a being will be the process hy which it becomes un-concealed. . What is un-concealed (a being. For Being is not a heing. . it must be thought of as somehow emerging out of a condition in which it was not manifest (in which it was concealed). to-pass of truth. and to his disappointment he found that Aristotle never posed the question in these terms. Let us pause here amoment. the coming. The alpha privative negates it. Tbe question of Being as Heidegger experiences it is different from the question about beings as posed by Aristotle. Heidegger's initial ex. . the is-ing of what iso Now for a being to become manifest.. what are beings as beings? But for Heidegger the question already was what is the Being (Sein) of beings (Seiende). and it was under the aegis of the great Stagirite that he learned the meaning of metaphysics. it meant posing the question : ti to on hei on. which we normally translate by the word "true. for the point is crucial. so that it thereby becomes un-concealed. Heidegger: •• . is present to hirn as manifesting itself for what it iso Being itself. he finds in Aristotle justification for the experience of the phenomenologist that a being is that which is manifest to hirn. in die alles Sichzeigen des Seienden gehört.perience with Brentano was his introduction to philosophy. . x-xiii.24 THOUGHT But it was not only Husserl that marked hirn: A renewed study of the Aristotelian treatises (especially Book IX of the Metaphysics and Book VI of the Nicomachean Ethics resulted in the insight into Aletheuein [the verbal form of the Greek word for truth] as the process of revealment. as we know. For Aristotle. and in the characterization of truth as nonconcealment. is lethe." The process by which this non-concealment comes-to-pass (the Being of this being) is aletheuein.. that is) is a-lethes."-M. his first real master was Aristotle. Now the Creek word for concealment. what we now call metaphysics (whatever the history of the word itself) meant "first philosophy". to which all self-manifestation of beings pertains. Through Brentano. In the Letter on Humanism (1947) he writes: 23 "Ein erneutes Studium der Aristotelischen Abhandlungen (im besonderen des neunten Buches der 'Metaphysik' und des sechsten Buches der 'Nikomachischen' Ethik) ergab den Einblick in das aletheuein als entbergen und die Kennzeichnung der Wahrheit als Unverborgenheit. Heidegger. then. pp.. "Preface" to Richardson.

13 [The Hague: Nijhoff. ein Tier. the process of nonconcealment (truth.. Yet this nearness remains farthest removed from hirn. works of art. and if for amoment. or hides it within the beings it lets be (manifest). or detailed documentation from the works of Heidegger himself. If these beings be "subjects" or "objects. nor [same] ground of the warld. Phaenomenologica. enabling the encounter between subject and object to come about. then the most we can say about it. Yet it is farthest removed from hirn because it is not a being with which man. Heidegger: Through Phenomenology to Thought. what is Being? . Being isbroader than all beings-and yet is nearer to man than all beings. Das Sein ist weiter denn alles Seiende und ist gleichwohl dem Menschen näher als jedes Seiende.. will be able to find them in the Jonger study with the help of its General Index. As a result.HEIDEGGER AND GOD 25 Being. Platons Lehre von der Wahrheit. it is Nothing (Nichts). constricts. Preface by Martin Heidegger. sei dies ein Fels. ein Kunstwerk. In the early years. Das ist nicht Gott und nicht ein Weltgrund. Heidegger.. . Translations are the writer's own. 25 If Being is not a being. Being precisely as No-thing (Nichts) is thema. Being is adomain of openness precisely hecause it is the lighting process hy which heings are lit up.. eine Maschine. sei es ein Engel oder Gott. angels or God. Doch die Nähe bleibt dem Menschen am weitesten. if we try to describe Being merely in terms of tlle beings that it is not. p. because it is that which enables heings to he manifest (unconcealed) to man and men to each other. . Das Sein ist das Nächste. S. structUTed as he is to deal with beings.24 "Doch das Sein-was ist das Sein? . is that it is not a being. ." then the light itself is neither subject nor object but "between" them hoth. nor the surn total of them. indeed. it is No-thing. . Being is what is nearest [to man]. and simply for purposes of exposition. From the point of view of heings. whether they are rocks. .:24 Being lis not a being. J. the writer is utilizing the entire textual basis on which his Ionger study (W."-M..J. or truth-ing) has a built-in "not" character to it that contracts. It is not God. . The reader who wishes a fuller explanation than is offered in the present article. 76 (Writer's translation). 1947). can comport himself. animals. perhaps." theu Being is not a thing. Being (Sein) and Nothing (Nichts) are one. machines. just as a domain of openness encompasses what is found within it. 25 Here and in the exposition that folIows. Being encornpasses them all. No.. Richardson. 1963]) rests. we call every being a "thing. It is nearest to man hecause it makes him to be what he is. Mit einem Brief über den "Humanismus" (Bern: Francke. In principIe we shall footnote in these pages only the sources of direct citations.

mG H. as what they are. not beings. to meditate the things that are near precisely in their dimension of nearness. Thus begins the essay entitled "The Thing. then. by a "foundational" thought. But if it is Being that lets the beings of metaphysics be manifest to the metaphysician. that is. In the later years he speaks rather of overcoming metaphysics. Again. they are genuinely neal' only when they are comprehended in that which renders them near. it is its foundation 01' ground. that is. is concerned with beings as beings. as laying the foundation of metaphysies. To interrogate "beings as beings" involves. Heidegger." In this sense meta· physics is identical with ontology (01' onto-Iogy) though the word was not used before the seventeenth century. . a certain ambiguity. For example. that is. This means to meditate them as near. as Aristotle describes it and the tradition after hirn conceives it. That is why Heidegger conceives his task as laying the foundation (digging the ground) for metaphysics. Heidegger's primary concern is Being. to consider "beings as beings" may mean to consider them in their ultimate ground in some sort of supreme being normally called "divine. It is important for our undel'standing of the problem of God that we understand how Heidegger conceives the structul'e of metaphysics. Yet diminished distance need not mean that things are genuinely nearer to man. the Being question is the ground question of metaphysics. he claims." 01' 26 M. 1954). As Heidegger proceeds along the way. by thinking precisely the origins (Wesen) of metaphysies. The phrase might suggest the common denominator of beings.26 THOUGHT tized often enough. and if metaphysics." Vorträge und All/sätze (Pfullingen: Neske. Being is more disengaged as something positive. that is. 163·185. what scholastics call "being in general. in 1950 he meditates it precisely as nearness. pp. In Sein und Zeit he describes his task as developing a fundamental ontology. then Heidegger is not concerned with metaphysics at all. and he cloes so by a wesentliches Denken. for no matter how close they come to hirn physically. "Das Ding. then Being lies at the basis of metaphysics. He takes as his starting point the fact that modern means of travel and communication have reduced enormously the distance between man and the things with which he deals. He proposes. then. to meditate things as things. in their nearness as such.

its Beillg (Sein). Now the ambiguity that perrnits metaphysics to become on the one hand onto-Iogy and on the other theo-Iogy. or both that the interrogation of on hei on can evolve either as a meditation on being in general (onto-Iogy) or as ultimate ground (theo-Iogy). Why is it. Jonas-and God. But what is this ambivalence. a being (Seiendes). of beings and Being. That is why he maintains that metaphysics is of its own nature onto-theo-Iogy. or beings. of correlation at all unless there were a diIJerence between Being and beings. and from the very beginning Heidegger has called it the "ontological difference. Now we could not speak of ambivalence. independently of "where" they might have come from. is. can be (manifest) as beings? In other words. In other words. One more step and we come to Dr. taken as a verbal adjective. that is." that is. the onto-theo-Iogical structure of metaphysics for Heidegger is rooted ultimately in the intrinsic ambivalence of on. of course. when taken as a noun. we mnst know"). for Heidegger. More precisely. the question means: How is it possible that beings. means that which is. "who" or "what" may have "caused" them as metaphysics understands these terms. after all ? Nothing else but the correlation in a single word of "being" as noun and "being" as verbal adjective. after all. that the formula gives rise to this anlbiguity? The reason. This is clear if we recall for a moment the inaugural address of 1929 when he formulates the ground question of metaphysics by using the formula of Leibniz: "Why are there beings at all and not much rather Non-being?" For Leiblliz. on. of duality. For Heidegger. it is a question . Metaphysics in this sense would inevitably be a theology. we are told. The word itself. "can a human being live on the moon ?") or as an adjective with a verbal sense ("being anxious to explore the moon. lies in the nature of on itself. the formula asks effectively about a Supreme Being that grounds all other beings and therefore is an eminently metaphysical question. comporting both senses is intrinsically ambivalent and it is because on can mean either Being. Grammatically it is a participle and as such may be used either as a noun (for example.HEIDEGGER AND GOD 27 "god" (theos). it designates the process by which a being (as noun) "is. built into tlle fonnula on hei on itself. then." l~he process of truth or truth-ing by which beings emerge out of concealment into nonconcealment is nothing more or less than the coming-to-pass of the ontological difference.

Unterwegs zur Sprache (Pfullingen: Neske. He seized the opportunity to show how his own philosophical reflection differed from that of HegeL In the hriefest terms it is this: Hegel supposes the ontological difference in order to think heings in terms of Being. Heidegger thinks the ontological difference as 27 " • • • Das Ereignende ist das Ereignis selbst-und nichts ausserdem. that which brings about the e-vent is the e-vent itself.. . "Zeit und Sein. he took as his theme Zeit und Sein. . das sich in dem Namen Aletheia verbirgt. But what is the Es that gibt? What is it that does the granting? Answer: Ereignis."-M. . the primal ancient that hides itself under the name Aletheia. das Uralte." The title was deliberately evocative. 28 " • • • dass dieses [Ereignis] nicht einmal etwas Neues ist. Heidegger hirnself took over the closing session of a seminar that had meditated Hegel's Science of Logic. sondern das Älteste des Alten im abendländischen Denken. This [e-vent] is not some· thing new hut the most ancient of ancients in occidental thought... .'m Now in 1962 he says: " . As time goes on and his language clarifies. for everyone knows that his major achievement Sein und Zeit was only the first pa-rt of a projected work.. In later years he meditates it under different guises: sometimes as Unterschied (difference). sometimes as Austrag (the issuing forth of Being-beings). To deliberately choose "Time and Being" as the title of a public lecture at Freiburg (of a11 places) was to deliberately court the impression that the lecture itself would indicate the continuity of his present thought with the first work. 1957. 1962. What did the lecture turn out to he? A meditation on the formulae es gibt Sein. Most recently. sometimes as Ereignis (the e-vent out of which the difIerence arises). . 258. . 1959). p.28 THOUGHT ahout the coming-to-pass of the nonconcealment of beings.. delivered at Freiburg.. In 1959 he had said " . m8 Very nice. "Time and Being."-~I. January 30. Tbe second part neveJr appeared hut was to have been entitled Zeit und Sein (Time and lBeing). Heidegger.the e-vent of the ontological difference. in a lecture still unpublished (as far as I know) .." "Time is granted") together with the correlation between the nl"O.. Heidegger. hut what has a11 thatto do with God? In Fehruary..." cited according to auditor's notes with Professor Heidegger's permission. it hecomes more and more clear that what rea11y interests hirn is not so much the meaning of Heing hut the meaning of the ontological difference as such. . conceived as Ahsolute Tbought. ahout the emergence of the ontological difference. es gibt Zeit ("Being is gramted.

profoundly pagan because it deifies this world. by a thought directed only toward beings. that is. Heidegger. . Dies sagt nur: Es ist freier für ihn. even as Causa sui. pp. it reduces God. . Metaphysical thought. Vor dem Causa sui kann der Mensch weder aus Scheu ins Knie fallen. 2'9 And now a word for Dr. Furthermore. a foundational thought which does not pose the question of God hut only interrogates the ontological differenee]. presentative. whence comes this onto-theo-Iogieal structure? For Heidegger. as Heidegger sees it. als es die Onto. however. 70·71. he proceeds to meditate the e-vent of the ontological differenee as it gives issue to metaphysics in its essentially onto-theo-Iogical structure. I take hirn to mean that Heidegger's Being is essentially a Being of this world and that it deifies this world because.. Before the Causa sui man can not fall on his knees in awe. Identität und Differenz (Pfullingen: Neske. is essentially conceptual. objectifying thoughtwhen all is said and done. ofthought. dem göttlichen Gott vielleicht näher. to an object. Here this says only: [such a thoughtJ is freer f or [the divine God] than ontotheo-Iogic would care to admit. as the e-vent out of which Being and beings issue. in the Cartesian-Spinozan sense of that term.e. is perhaps eloser to the God who is divine. The significallt question for Heidegger is not: How does metaphysics come to God. the God of metaphysics is accessible only by a metaphysical thought. in the presence of a God like this he can not make musie and danee. "The Onto-theo-logical Structure of Metaphysics. then. So it is that a god-Iess thought [i. Jonas. Demgemäss ist das gott-lose Denken. whieh must forfeit the God of philosophy. If this be the God of metaphysics. about some object of thought. The lecture itself is entitled. den Gott als Causa sui preisgeben muss. Cause of Hinlself-Causa sui. noch kann er ihm opfern. das den Gott der Philosophie. he would say." and after sketching his own differentiation from Hegel. that is. noch kann er vor diesem Gott musizieren und tanzen. that is. He criticizes the so-called "immanentism" of Heidegger. but rather."-M.Theo~Logik wahrhaben möchte. Ultimately such a thought is controlled by the laws of logic which is always thought about something. that is. Jonas' 29 " • • • Zu diesem Gott kann der Mensch weder beten. Heidegger says: . the God of metaphysics is conceived fundamentally as Supreme Being who is essentially Cause-Cause of Ibeings other than Hirnself. God as Causa sui. 1957). To [such a] God man can neither pray nor offer Dr. How does Gad come into metaphysics. .HEIDEGGER AND GOD 29 such.

" p. Erst im Lichte des Wesens von Gotthei t kann gedacht und gesagt werden. Having shared that experience.. Jonas' "stretch of rigorous dialectics" in which he speaks oI this "radically transcendent" God. . then. one thing that Heidegger does not do is deify the world."32 As Heidegger sees it.. as given at Drew. 31 ." This is why Heidegger has insisted so strongly from the beginning that Being itself. he too would want to guard the radical transcendence of God "whose voice comes not out of Being but breaks into the kingdom of Being from without. Only in terms oI this essence of the Holy is the essence of divinity to be thought. Jonas ." this came abaut because it was under this guise that he :finds Being in the experience of the German poet. call this paganism? Whatever his limitations. whose voice comes not out of Being but breaks into the kingdom of Being from without.. lleing is identical vvith God." As a matter of fact he would be rather interested himself to hear Dr. H. Jonas cites the passage): ". and by Dr. wherein beings "are" insofar as they are manifest. Why. "Heidegger and Theology. .30 THOUGHT eyes. Platons Lehre von der Wahrheit. p.. Jonas. Mit einem Brief über den "Humanismus" (Bern: Francke. Being. nor that it should be "of this world."30 It is important here to keep clearly in mind that we are concerned for the moment with Heidegger hirnself and not with the use that has been nlade of hirn by theologians. He would at first be chagrined perhaps that any student oI his could so grossly have misunderstood the phenomenological character oI the 30 H."-M.. . 32 ". theology should guard the radical transcendence of God. he can now write (and Dr. 1947). Friederich Hölderlin. Heidegger is a philosopher and pretends to be no more. " . ."Heidegger and Theology. :philosophy is the "elucidation of the nature of reality by secular thought.. Heidegger. as he has experienced it. then. was das Wort 'Gott' nennen soll. Erst aus dem Wesen des Heiligen ist das Wesen von Gottheit zu denken. as that which enables beings to becomemanifest. then. Against this."31 "The nature of reality" as elucidated by Heidegger is "reality" as experienced by the phenomenologist. It should not be surprising that the revelation continues as long as beings are. Jonas' own definition. . Only in the light oI the essence of divinity can be thought and uttered what the word 'God' should name. is not and cannot be God.. II Heidegger speaks of Being as the "Holy." p. 102. 219. insoIar as they appear to man. is essentially revelation-revelation of a secular kind. 210.

We tried to gather into single foeus what seems to he the heart of Heidegger's thought: to interrogate the foundations of n1etaphysics in ternlS of the e-vent of truth (A-Ietheia) out oi which hoth Beings and beings issue forth. who accepts without protest this slavery to logieal (humanly logical) thought-Heidegger would be interested to know. Die [(ategorien. who yields so easily to his own dialectical rigor." At the same time he experieneed some vague relationship between Being and language. Genetic Vieu) What we have said so far eoncerns the synoptie view. We eome now to a more genetic view of Heidegger as he has developed through the years." 2. he . and in answer eall God "God." if He s:peaks. I say. Jonas really thinks that this is the God whose voiee comes "not out of Being but breaks into Being from without. between the word of God and the speculation of theologlans. It had a significanl role to play in the habilitation thesis of 1915.HEIDEGGER AND GOD 31 ontologieal differenee." it was clear to his students at least that the Being-Ianguage problem was central to his thought.metaphysics because it is not divine enough. But then he would be bemllsed to hear how this "transcendent God" ean be loeked up in a "stretch of rigorous dialeetic. After Heidegger left the GymnasiunL in Constanee he began his advanced studies at Freiburg and spent his first three semesters as a seminarian studying theology.und Bedeutungslehre des Duns Scotlls (Tübingen: 1916). 33 M. Jonas' eyes this metaphysieal God of whom he speaks.vould be endeavoring to explore that dimension of hUlnan experience which would enable hirn to reeognize God's voiee as "divine.3~3 By 1920 when he gave his course on "Expression and Appearing. between the self-revealing God and the language of Saered Scripture. ." He would be interested to know if in Dr. Duns Scotus' Doctrine on Categories and Signification. if Dr. In the years that followed the relation of Being and language was often interlaced with his work." Is this the God before whom David daneed? In meditating Being as the Holy I take Heidegger to intend that while rejecting the God of . There in the courses of Sacred Scripture he learned the meaning of the word "hermeneutic. Heidegger.

but interpretation itself would be conceived in terms of a still more fundamental process of hermeneutic. who had given to the word the broad meaning of an art by which one correctly understands and judges thewritings of another.32 THOUGHT In the summer semester of 1923. to make something manifest (Dar. Hermeneuein for the mattLring Heidegger came to mean to play the role of herald. he found it again in Dilthey who had taken it from the same source. If "hermeneutic" retains a nuance of its own. came for Heidegger but one. is the Being of beings in its difference from beings. It would mean for hirn not sim· ply a manner of interpretation. he maintains. and the combination of phainomenon (that which manifests itself) with legein (to let-be-manifest) joined each other to such an extent that "hermeneutic" and "phenomenology" be. theology-in particular from the theological writings of Schleiermacher. the young Heidegger gave his first loyalty to phe. It is easy to see how "hermeneutic" (the process of letting-be-manifest). As Sein und Zeit crystallized. All this matured slowly. or. so as to give to it a rightful place in the philosophical tradition of the West. this is the connotation of language. the effort to lay the foun· dation of metaphysics. to bear tidings. even of the plastic arts. more simply. Assistant to Husser! until invited to Marburg in 1923. legen). What for hirn must be made manifest. Sein und Zeit began to take writ· ten form. nomenologyand sought simply to think the essence of phenomenology in its origins. herald of the gods. bears profound affin· ity with the Creek god. At any rate. how did the hermeneutic proceed? It is familiar . How was the process to be understood? Heidegger went to the rad· ical sense of hermeneuein." After meeting the word first in his theology courses. ever since the philosophical awakening with Brentano. But at the start. So it happened that "hermeneutic" came to mean the entire effort to let Being be manifest. and for the first time the word "hermeneutic" appeared in the title of a university lecture course on "Ontology. In Sein und Zeit. which. it was not explicitly the foundation of metaphysics as such that preoccupied hirn. It was an easy step to expand this mean· ing of "hermeneutic" still further so that it could apply to any type of interpretation whatever. the author began to conceive "hermeneutic" more radically still. Hermes. it was because phenomenology seemed to offer promise of unfolding the hermeneutic that Heidegger dedicated Sein und Zeit to Edmund Husserl.

Finally Dasein is not destined to be forever. There is one being among the rest endowed with a privileged comprehension of Being.asein is.end. it simply finds itself in the World as a matter of fact. Dasein is not capable of comprehending Being except in terms of beings. renders them present to Dasein and Dasein to them. when it consents to its own negativity. Dasein is finite transcendence and its ultimate meaning (that is. It accepts itself as transcendence. Dasein is not independent of other beings. Dasein. 1t is Being-unto-en. the source of its unity) is time. that is. Dasein is continually passing beyond beings to Being. whose ultimate meaning is time. it is inextricably related to them. As transcendence. but simply in the sense of letting itself be. He will let it be. therefore for Dasein Being is essentially not-a-being. it is destined to . Heidegger will attempt to disengage the sense of Being. D. because Being comes to Dasein it renders beings manifest. But Being comes to a Dasein that already is. comes as future to Dasein through Dasein as paste Finally. This transcendence is finite. it is Beingunto-death. will he the phenomenon par excellence.d and in man that end is death. It achieves its own authenticity when it recognizes and accepts itself as what it is. a tendency to lose itself among them and forget its privilege of transcendence. when it overcomes its tendency to lose itself among beings and to forget the Being that lets them he. What does the analysis reveal Dasein to be? Transcendence that is finite. it passes beyond all beings (including itself). Heidegger will let it show itself for what it is. seems to be simply thrown there. beyond that level where beings are conceived as objects opposed to subjects (that is. That is . it has a built-in "not"-eharacter (negativity). Dasein is transcendent. is continually coming to Being in such a way that Being is continually coming to Dasein. then. thereby achieving its freedom. Dasein is not only related to other beings hut has a sort of drag toward them. This continual coming is Dasein's future. then.HEIDEGGER AND GOD 33 to us. called Dasein. and this condition of already-having-heen-this is Dasein's paste Being. that is. transcendence that is finite. tllat is. that makes it limited indeed: Dasein is not master of its own origin. Non-being (Nichts). not in the sense of su-rrendering to an ineluctable fate. beyond all subject-ohject polarity) to the Being of beings. that is. then. It accepts itself as finite.

I think. Dasein must say "yes" to its finite transcendence by letting Being continue to come to it through its past. hybris and arrogance? After Sein und Zeit Heidegger continued along the way. (Frankfurt: Klostermann. . M. as transcendence. Being had been disengaged through the analysis of Dasein as the process of nonconcealment. Th s the demythologizing meant the re-trieving of this substance from the most: compact.. Now the unity of future-past-present constitutes the unity of time so that the source of unity of Dasein is the unity of time itself.. transcends first of aIl and most profoundly the subject-object relationship. and the problem of truth itself had received a lengthy development. 1954).." pp. Jonas at Drew. speaking for hirnself as weIl as Bultmann. Heidegger. then. 231-232.34 THOUGHT Dasein's present.. most unyielding. and in 1930 he delivered for the first time the lecture known as "On the Essence of Truth."35 34 35 H." The use that Bultmann made of this analysis is now a commonplace. I am in complete agreement with my friend and teacher Bultmann. Vom Wesen der Wahrheit. "Heidegger and Theology. So far. Let us translate "re-trieve. To achieve authenticity in terms of this temporal structure. and here indeed the categories evolved in Heidegger's analysis of existence in Sein und Zeit offered a superior means of bringing to light the ground from which the projections of doctrine had risen and which contain their truth.. a-letheia (truth). as indeed the whole analysis of Dasein upon which Professor J onas' "friend and teacher Bultmann" built his whole theology is based upon the principle that Dasein. most extreme form of objectification in which it was locked up. in the same address can Dr. How. Jonas maintain that the subject-object relationship is intrinsic to the human condition as such. . It was not surprising then that three years later he would return to the problem. Jonas. 34 We shaIl return to this. of letting Being come out of the future through the past. Dr. This effort to let Being continue to come out of 'the future and through the past is what Heidegger caIls Wiederholung. 3rd ed. For the moment let me remark that the notion of re-trieve. I would simply underscore the fact that nothing influenced hirn more profoundly-and the whole conception of demythologizing is the proof-than this notion of re-trieve. . to the extent that Heidegger's effort to think beyond it would be the consummate form of his presumption. said: . .

that is. for example. In the years that follow. as nonconcealment. or e-mits (sich schickt) itself to Dasein. now. in revealing itself in beings as beings. Dasein is com-mitted (Schicksal) in the e-vent. that Being sends itself. that is. then. it conceals itself in them as weIl. It sends itself to Dasein. Sometimes the epoch is conceived rather narrowly. Dasein is the Da des Seins. To really think the Being-process. the epoch/mittence' of "Absolute Idealism" in Hegel. of course .then tl1ere is no revealing unless there be someone or sorne being to whom and for whom (better perhaps: in whom) the revelation is made. This process of revealment-concealment.that is. aseries of epochs/mittences (Geschick-e) constitute "intermittence" (Ge-schick-te) and this inter-mittence is what Heidegger means hy history. for example. This is the e-vent out of which the ontological difference issues forth. out of which the ontological difference arises. in terms of a single person that characterizes it. the process of nonconcealment. then. he gradually came to the realization that the concealment somehow precedes the nonconcealment (darkness somehow precedes the emergence into light).how does Heidegger endeavor to think the Being-process from the viewpoint oI Being itself? Being is still fund. But since Being reveals itself only in beings. sometimes it is conceived very broadly. so that the revealing process is somehow prior to Dasetri and reveals itself (albeit in beings) to Dasein. the There among beings where the e-vent of a-Ietheia . In any case. therefore Dasein is part of the process. should one not try to think it from the point of view of Being itself as revealing itself to Dasein. That being is Dasein.HEIDEGGER AND GOD -35 What is noteworthy is this: in meditating truth as a-letheia. Being-as-history (Geschichte). Taken together. What constitutesany epoch of time. as the whole history of metaphysics. this e-n1itting of Being and com-mitting of Dasein may he described as a unified e-vent and called "mittence" (Geschick). Let us say. . every revelation is finite. of revelation-a very secular revelation. is precisely this mittence oI Being. rather than from the point of view of Dasein as was done in Sein und Zeit? With this new insight the so-called "later" Heidegger begins to appear. What is the role of Dasein in all this? If Being is essentiaIly a process of nonconcealment. may be interpreted as if Being were sending itself to Dasein. when it is thought as proceeding from Being.amentally a-letheia.

To think historically the mittence of Being to Kant means to recognize at the outset that this mittence was finite. Jonas and DrewI 'The first concerns thought. 207·229. ." Vorträge und Au/sätze (Pfullingen: Neske. then. it lets the Being-process take place. means to 'respond to the hail. as the Being-process of gathering together beings unto themselves. But in 1944 he achieved areal hreak-through when he explicitly meditated the word logos as it appears in Heraclitus. to layout in the open (therefore to make manifest). Sometimes the spontaneity oI Being is conceived as an address 01' a hail to Dasein.THOUGHT 36 comes-to-pass. By dialoguing in this historical fashion with Heraclitus. it is correlative to Being. Thought of such a kind that thinks Being-as-history must be historical thought. Thought oI this nature that is structured by the unity oI Iuture-past-present is proIoundly historical thought. This amhiguity plagued Heidegger. This acquiescence to Being as it comes-to-pass in finite ndttences-this is what Heidegger means hy thought. na. to correspond with Being. Its task is to be correlative with Being. is as such the origin of language. and. The There is essential to the process. Heidegger makes another re-trieve" We recall that in describing the phenomenology of Sein und Zeit as "hermeneutic" there was implied a certain ambiguity of the word legein as meaning.mely this: that logos. Two precisions and we come immediately back to Dr. What this means we see most clearly in th~ case of dialogue with another thinker. Let us take the mittence oI Being to Kant (the whole Kant book is an example of this). on the other. to acquiesce to Being's need. "Logos. Again and again he approached it in terrns oI the problem of Logic (logos)." To dialogue with Kant means to re-trieve that mittence to Kant: to let Being come again (future) through what Kant said (past) and acquiesce to it by rendering it present in language now (present). it "tends" Being in heings--in this sense it is the "shepherd" oI Being. permeated by a "not. 1954). Heidegger. The second precision is more concerned with Being. And it means that the thinker may learn to say not what Kant said hut what he did not say and could not say because the mittence was finite. 36 Heidegger endeavored to let Being come again to himselI through what Heraclitus said about logos and articulate in the present what Heraclitus did not say and could not say. to articulate speech. Here at last 36 M. Dasein's correlation. on the one hand. pp.

I think. 223. that is." p. "Heidegger and Theology. Jonas. really conceives Being as a being: ". "Heidegger and Theology. .\\1 it is on Being itself. Jonas' incisive critique should cut into the issue so deep. . Everything that has been said up to now about the Being-process as the e-vent out oI which the ontological difference issues is now to be said of aboriginal Language.this is said very respectfullywhether Dr. For surely a 'Being' that acts must be. Being and Language-that is. . either. there is one curious fact. must be conceived as prior to man. nO. whereby Dasein achieves its authenticity because it lets Being come continually through the paste And yet foundational thinking of Being-as-event is nothingmore than letting Being come again through what has been said by another poet or thinker. What is the difference? In Sein und Zeit the accent was on Dasein. as -lethe [concealment] which precedes revelation).HEIDEGGER AND GOD 37 was the secret of hermeneutic: Being is not simply related to language. then. . . Language in its origins . 37 My second point concerns the claim that Heidegger. the problem is one of language rather than of con31 38 See H." p. What more needs to be said hefore we conclude? In the first place. that which takes the initiative must exist. No wonder."38 belng Here. through the past. then. Being for the contemporary Heidegger is thought not only as A-letheia.are one. the notion oI re-trieve) if they are not willing to accept hirn whole. what reveals itself had a before when it kept hidden and thus has a · beyon d the act 0 f revea1·lng. Jonas. Jonas can accept re-trieve in the early Heidegger and 'reject it now when the only shift is one of accent imposed by fidelity to the fundamental experience itself? I would wonder . No wonder. when all is said and done. . Being "is" Logos as weIl. 215. that in the Consultation on Hermeneutics Heidegger's notion of foundational thinking should be at issue. original Language. Foundational thought of the later Heidegger has exactly the same structure as re-trieve in Sein und Zeit. How is it. together with his "friend and teacher Bultmann" have 'any right to part of Heidegger (that is. But the shift of accent was imposed on Heidegger by a realiza'tion of the nature of Being that Sein und Zeit discerned: Being as a-letheia (that is. that Dr. that Dr. J onas is quite willing '10 make his own Heidegger's notion of re-trieve in Sein und Zeit. J onas. H. Dr.

"41 Finally I eome to the so-ealled "fatalism" of Heidegger.• Thediffieulty. Mit einem Brief über den "Humanismus" (Bern: Francke. remains a metaphysieal Ianguage .und Zeii: " . 1947). Heidegger. But no one is more aware of the problem than Heidegger. 212. " . "lies in language. . For the lallguage of Sein und Zeit. so much so that if one were to re· proach hirn in this regard I would think it more valid to say not that 39 "Das Schwierige liegt in der Sprache. Sein und Zeit. The word "fateful" translates geschicklieh. In any ease. he is reaffirming with a different aecent 'what he said in Sein . what Heidegger is insisting on is that Dasein is not its souree.that is. 'gibt es' Sein. Heidegger.. .. onto-theo-logieal in nature. Geschicklieh therefore means not "fateful" hut "mittent. it 'would be in the notion of matter-of-factness (Faktizität) or thrown-ness (Geworfenheit) of Dasein. reveals-coneeals itself. despite Heidegger's own best efforts. p."-M. what is significant only is that it as a matter of fact takes plaee.38 THOUGHT eeption. (Tübingen: Niemeyer. 41 "Allerdings nur solange Dasein ist . Unsere abentländischen Sprachen sind in je verschiedener Weise Sprachen des metaphysischen Denkens. By that I mean that whatever is said about it is said in terms of that process of a-letheia that lets beings be un-concealed to Dasein. 1957). . Heidegger has more than once repudiated any notion of ineluctable necessity. The essential. . .und Differenz (Pfullingen: Neske. . such as a dialectical process suggests. 40 See M. . 72. . Heidegger. is that his conception of Being in the later period is as rigorously phenomenologieal as ever it was in Sein und Zeit. When Heidegger speaks of Being as holding the pri1macy. the question is whether his insight is legitimate. 'there is' Being only so long as Dasein is. Platons Lehre von der Wahrheit. Identität ." he writes in 1957. p.. 4 'O But the question is not whether or not Heidegger's language is always llappy. "39 The reason why the second part of Sein und Zeit never appeared is that the neeessary language failed. the adjectival form of Geschick (that is. ."-M. ... Our oeeidental Ianguages are [all] in one way or another languages of metaphysieal thought.. addresses a hail to Dasein. 72. But when he speaks of the eorrelation (Zusammengehörigkeit) of Being and Dasein." Here as hefore Heidegger is eoncemed with a phenomenon. of Being's need for its Da. p.. If we were to look for its proper equivalent in Sein und Zeit. 1960). • . that it e-mits itself. "mittence" of Being). as far as I can see. 9th ed.

but rather that it has no unity at all. or Heidegger's own Nazi past. 219. "42 42 H. I think the answer is "no." On another more forlmal occasion. I should like it understood that it is not my business to justify before the eyes of men Heidegger's personal history. my Christian friendsdon't you see what you are dealing with? Don't you sense if not see the profoundly pagan character oi Heidegger's thought? . Father. are philosophically irrelevant. It was a very prolific year indeed.sophy of Heidegger that compelled a surrender to Nazism? With reserve for better judgment. regaling them with amusing stories-they laughed and laughed. someone who had read my book made reference to the chapter on the Epilogue to What is Metaphysics? that begins (banally enough) hy saying: "1943 was a prolific year." p. an e-vent of nonconcealment out oi which the difference between Being and beings emerges. But for my part I am interested in the philosophy of Heidegger. The question is: Is there anything in the philo." The gentleman said: "I rememher 1943 weIl. You know in 1943 I was in one of the concentration camps. Jonas' reproach to the theologians at Drew: "My theological friends. I have not nlarried hispolitical paste I suggest that we examine his philosophical experience and leave his conscience to God. "Heidegger and Theology. . Jonas.I 39 HEIDEGGER AND GOD history is unified by ineluctable necessity for Heidegger. Heidegger's primal concern is viith the interrogation of that difference as sueh in its basic structure.. In its deepest intention all ontic considerations. whether in terms of politics. sociology. The worst that can be said out of fairness to his philosophy in the context of the Nazi experience is not that his philosophy compelled the capitulation but that it was unable to prevent it. CONCLUSION Two years aga at a reception. existentialism.. psychology. I was just talking Ito some of your friends about it. the same question lies behind Dr. If mittence is not fate." An epoch of history is a mittence of Being. how explain Heidegger's capitulation to Hitler? Here. someone with the same experience asked: "What do you see in Heidegger? What can you hope for as a Christian from the thought of that God-less man?" In effect. anthropology.

It would be based on the analogy that would say: as foundational thinking is to the e-vent of the ontological dif· ference. This is the advent in which a Christian hopes: the voice of a radically transcendent God comes not out of Being-a phenomenologist's Being-but breaks into this kingdom from without... What do we Christians hope for from Heidegger? That he quit his way. and at one moment in His history. For my part 1 would hope that he would simply be true to hirnself. Perhaps there is in hirn a theological truth. . may be difficult to say." then perhaps he will recog· nize that voice if it speaks and at long last be able to call God "God. pursue his way to the end.. For a Christian the Word of God." What precisely that truth in Heidegger may be. But that much would be gain. 6.. Whether or not there is truth to be gained in Heid· egger's own suggestion of the analogy between his thinking and theology remains to be seen. it is My voiee that he hears. follow his call." the voice of a radically transcendent God can at least make itself heard. the truth . He said "I am .THOUGHT 40 Why are Christians interested in Heidegger's thought though his thought is a God-Iess thought? Because there is truth in Heidegger and wherever there is truth there is God. Perhaps it is only a philosophical truth: the ontological difference as such. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice. quiteaware of the malice of men. and 18: 37. If any man is true to hirnself within the "kingdom of Being." 43 lohn 14.."43 We may take this to mean "I am the truth. Heidegger responds to Being as Holy and begins to comprehend the meaning of "divine. so theological thinking (the thinking of faith) is to the revealing word of God." if he remains attentive to "the most ancient of ancients in western thought -the primal ancient that hides itself under the name of truth. true to himself. The question is not how Heidegger comes to God but how God comes to Martin Heidegger. the eternal Logos. If anyone attends to the truth. If. do penance and return to the Father's house? Not necessarily. Will this bring hirn to God? That is beside the point. became man. But here the matter is difficult and it must be left to the theologians themselves.