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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

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

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

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

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

Jonas says: No! What does Dr.. 214.HEIDEGGER AND GOD 19 ized Christianity in Heidegger's thought and language. concern. shepherd. . however. For the sake of clarity and consistency in the exposition that folIows. not forgotten . authenticity-inauthenticity. if I take them. But herein lies the danger : .. Hereafter cited as: H. 1933.12 Whatever the purely philosophical value of the notion of Being as fate-ful. call of conscience. and in the later period such terms as hearing. revelation. Thinking's lot is cast by Being. 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. there is one exanlple of such a conception of destiny that Dr. 207-2. The following quotation from a proclamation by Heidegger (then Rector) to the students oI the University of Freiburg in Novernber. I hope. thanksgiving-all oi these characteristically Heideggerean terms have a profoundly Christian resonance. serves as an example: "Not theorems and 'ideas' be the rules of your Being. Thinking about Being . "Heidegger and Theology. we have taken the liberty of eapitalizing the word "Being" in Professor J onas' text whenever it c1early refers to Heidegger's Sein." Citations in the present article have been made to conform to the published version. p. anxiety. 215. has a fate-like character (or: is "fate-Iaden": geschicklieh ) .33.. resolution. . "Heidegger and Theology. J onas. "Heidegger and Theology. Being speaks to thought. J onas. response. It looms large in Heidegger's thinking and in his idea of thinking. This accounts for the affinity that the Christian thinker feels with Heidegger's thought and explains the desire to profit fron1 it. . . In the early period." Review 01 M etaphysics XVIII (DecembeL 1964). . 11 Can Heidegger's philosophy be assimilatedby the Christian thinker in part without taking the whole? Dr. . . . it is an occurrence of unveiling. 12 H. and what it speaks is thought's lot. 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. The Führer 11 H. will 1 take with them? . which slightly expands and emends the text as delivered. . . Jonas. a call of Being all right.. a fate-laden happening upon thought: so ""Tas the Führer and the call of German destiny under hirn: an unveiling of something indeed. mission.. such concepts as guilt. on record and. Jonas is painfully aware of: But as to Heidegger's Being. Heidegger's own answer is." p. fallenness.. l-'he theologian must ask. to the shame of philosophy. 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. .

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

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

does Being mean? To what extent (why and how) does the Being of beings unfold in the four modes which Aristotle constantly affirms.22 THOUGHT HEIDEGGER 1. einheitliche Bestimmung von Sein? Diese Frage weckt die folgenden: . What sense of Being comes to expression in these four headings." Latent in this phrase is the question that determined the way of my thought: what is the pervasive. 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 ". but whose common origin he leaves undetermined.. At the age of eighteen.) Of this first experience Heidegger writes in 1962: . Stretching over more than fifty years. In diesem Satz verbirgt sich die meinen Denkweg bestimmende Frage: Welches ist die alle mannigfachen Bedeutungen durchherrschende einfache. entitled The Manifold Sense 0/ Being in Aristotle (where "being" translates the German Seiendes and the Greek on. Being as schema of the categories. as no doubt that of any major thinker. Being as possibility and actuality. 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. may be viewed either in its unity or its diversity. unified determination oE Being that permeates all of its multiple meanings? This question raised another: what. Brentano setzte auf das Titelblatt seiner schrift den Satz des Aristoteles: to on legetai pollachäs. Synoptic View The indictment is a heavy one. Being as truth. But I should like to review the main lines of Heidegger's effort. Heidegger's efIort. simple. I translate: "A being becomes manifest (sc. It is impossible to reply to it all. Conrad Gröber. a copy of the doctoral dissertation of the neoscholastic thinker Franz Brentano. while still a student in the Gymnasium at Constance. written in 1862. Brentano quotes Aristotle's phrase: to on legetai pollachös. On the title page of his work. For the sake of clarity of presentation. when he was at the education level of a college sophomore. synoptically or genetically. with regard to its Being) in many ways. .. then. . But even a synoptic view cannot dispense from a look at the first moment fifty-eight years ago when the long way began. he received from a priest-friend. let us begin with the synoptic view. underlining those elements that have reference to the question of God. Ich übersetze: Das Seiende wird (nämlich hinsichlich seines Seins) in vielfacher Weise offenkundig.

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) . then. "Preface" to W.22 The influence oI Husserl.HEIDEGGER AND GOD 23 It is irnportant that we understand clearly how Heidegger experiences beings an. For the sake of clarity. 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. J. xi. und es bedurfte vieler Um. 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. Heidegger: Through Phenomenology to Thought. Sein als Wahrheit.d how he poses the questiün about the Being oI beings.. To gain this clarity three insights were decisive.e early and we cannüt exaggerate its importance. Hierbei spielt die Rückbeziehung auf die entsprechend ausgelegten Grundworte des griechischen Denkens: logos (offenbar machen) und phainesthai (sich zeigen) eine massgebende RolIe. um von dem zunächst unvereinbar Erscheinenden betroffen zu werden: Sein als Eigenschaft. . Sein als Schema der Kategorien."-M.J. Was heisst denn Sein? Inwiefern (weshalb und wie) entfaltet sich das Sein des Seienden in die von Aristoteles stets nur festgestellten. "Preface" to Richardson.. für the whüle interrogation üf Being and beings is conditioned by the initial experience oI the phenomenologist: that a being is that which appears. Phaenomenologica. wenn zuvor gefragt und geklärt wird: Woher empfängt das Sein als solches (nicht nur das Seiende als Seiendes) seine Bestimmung?"-l\1. to be sure. ~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. in ihrer gemeinsamen Herkunft unbestimmt gelassen vier Weisen? Es genügt. is a being für hirn ünly insofar as it appears. der in der Einleitung zu "Sein und Zeit" (§7) dargestellt ist. Dafür waren drei Einsichten entscheidend. not yet sufficient for the venture of analysing the Being-question as a question about the sense of Being. Durch die unmittelbare Erfahrung der phänomenologischen Methode in Gesprächen mit Husserl bereitete sich der Begriff von Phänomenologie vor.und Abwege durch die Geschichte der abendländischen Philosophie hindurch. bis auch nur die genannten Fragen in eine erste Klarheit gelangten. though. S. die freilich noch nicht ausreichten.. Sein als Möglichkeit und Wirklichkeit. 13 (The Hague: Nijhoff. No. p. Heidegger. xi. Richardson. p. diese in der Sprache der philosophischen Überlieferung auch nur zu nennen. . 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. um eine Erörterung der Seinsfrage als Frage nach dem Sinn von Sein zu wagen. H eidegger: . cam. 1963).) 22 "Indes verging ein Jahrzehnt. Heidegger.

it must be thought of as somehow emerging out of a condition in which it was not manifest (in which it was concealed). x-xiii. . . For Aristotle. What is un-concealed (a being. is lethe. then. pp. his first real master was Aristotle. "Preface" to Richardson. ." The process by which this non-concealment comes-to-pass (the Being of this being) is aletheuein. 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.. Tbe question of Being as Heidegger experiences it is different from the question about beings as posed by Aristotle. that is) is a-lethes. The Being of such a being will be the process hy which it becomes un-concealed. it meant posing the question : ti to on hei on. what are beings as beings? But for Heidegger the question already was what is the Being (Sein) of beings (Seiende).. what we now call metaphysics (whatever the history of the word itself) meant "first philosophy". would be the structure or the process that enables a being to become manifest as what it is. Heidegger: •• . The alpha privative negates it. . then."-M. so that it thereby becomes un-concealed. the is-ing of what iso Now for a being to become manifest. Heidegger. Let us pause here amoment.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. for the point is crucial. and in the characterization of truth as nonconcealment.perience with Brentano was his introduction to philosophy. the coming. to-pass of truth. and to his disappointment he found that Aristotle never posed the question in these terms. is present to hirn as manifesting itself for what it iso Being itself. and it was under the aegis of the great Stagirite that he learned the meaning of metaphysics. 23 In other words. Now the Creek word for concealment. he finds in Aristotle justification for the experience of the phenomenologist that a being is that which is manifest to hirn.. as we know. For Being is not a heing. to which all self-manifestation of beings pertains. which we normally translate by the word "true. Heidegger's initial ex. in die alles Sichzeigen des Seienden gehört.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heidegger. between the word of God and the speculation of theologlans. if Dr. Duns Scotus' Doctrine on Categories and Signification. Jonas' eyes this metaphysieal God of whom he speaks. Die [(ategorien." it was clear to his students at least that the Being-Ianguage problem was central to his thought. 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. who yields so easily to his own dialectical rigor. and in answer eall God "God.metaphysics because it is not divine enough.3~3 By 1920 when he gave his course on "Expression and Appearing. between the self-revealing God and the language of Saered Scripture. It had a significanl role to play in the habilitation thesis of 1915. 33 M. Genetic Vieu) What we have said so far eoncerns the synoptie view. 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. Jonas really thinks that this is the God whose voiee comes "not out of Being but breaks into Being from without. In the years that followed the relation of Being and language was often interlaced with his work. But then he would be bemllsed to hear how this "transcendent God" ean be loeked up in a "stretch of rigorous dialeetic. There in the courses of Sacred Scripture he learned the meaning of the word "hermeneutic." 2. who accepts without protest this slavery to logieal (humanly logical) thought-Heidegger would be interested to know. he . .vould be endeavoring to explore that dimension of hUlnan experience which would enable hirn to reeognize God's voiee as "divine." 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 .HEIDEGGER AND GOD 31 ontologieal differenee. I say. We eome now to a more genetic view of Heidegger as he has developed through the years." He would be interested to know if in Dr." if He s:peaks.und Bedeutungslehre des Duns Scotlls (Tübingen: 1916)." At the same time he experieneed some vague relationship between Being and language.

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

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

Vom Wesen der Wahrheit. . (Frankfurt: Klostermann. in the same address can Dr. Dasein must say "yes" to its finite transcendence by letting Being continue to come to it through its past. Heidegger. hybris and arrogance? After Sein und Zeit Heidegger continued along the way. 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. . transcends first of aIl and most profoundly the subject-object relationship. How.. Dr.." The use that Bultmann made of this analysis is now a commonplace. 34 We shaIl return to this. most unyielding. then. M. . Let us translate "re-trieve. "Heidegger and Theology. said: . 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. and the problem of truth itself had received a lengthy development. I am in complete agreement with my friend and teacher Bultmann.. 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."35 34 35 H. speaking for hirnself as weIl as Bultmann." pp. 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. 1954).. most extreme form of objectification in which it was locked up. of letting Being come out of the future through the past. So far..34 THOUGHT Dasein's present. Being had been disengaged through the analysis of Dasein as the process of nonconcealment. Jonas at Drew. 3rd ed. To achieve authenticity in terms of this temporal structure. Jonas. a-letheia (truth). . For the moment let me remark that the notion of re-trieve. Jonas maintain that the subject-object relationship is intrinsic to the human condition as such. I think. It was not surprising then that three years later he would return to the problem. 231-232. and in 1930 he delivered for the first time the lecture known as "On the Essence of Truth. This effort to let Being continue to come out of 'the future and through the past is what Heidegger caIls Wiederholung. as transcendence. Th s the demythologizing meant the re-trieving of this substance from the most: compact.

What is the role of Dasein in all this? If Being is essentiaIly a process of nonconcealment. What constitutesany epoch of time. for example. it conceals itself in them as weIl. To really think the does Heidegger endeavor to think the Being-process from the viewpoint oI Being itself? Being is still fund. This process of revealment-concealment. That being is Dasein. that is. sometimes it is conceived very broadly. of course . in terms of a single person that characterizes it. Being-as-history (Geschichte). aseries of epochs/mittences (Geschick-e) constitute "intermittence" (Ge-schick-te) and this inter-mittence is what Heidegger means hy history. Sometimes the epoch is conceived rather narrowly. when it is thought as proceeding from Being. should one not try to think it from the point of view of Being itself as revealing itself to Dasein.that is. he gradually came to the realization that the concealment somehow precedes the nonconcealment (darkness somehow precedes the emergence into light). then. for example. the process of nonconcealment. as nonconcealment. 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. therefore Dasein is part of the process.amentally a-letheia. In any case. This is the e-vent out of which the ontological difference issues forth. so that the revealing process is somehow prior to Dasetri and reveals itself (albeit in beings) to Dasein. is precisely this mittence oI Being.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. . as the whole history of metaphysics. out of which the ontological difference arises. Taken together. or e-mits (sich schickt) itself to Dasein. may be interpreted as if Being were sending itself to Dasein. every revelation is finite. But since Being reveals itself only in beings. that Being sends itself. Dasein is com-mitted (Schicksal) in the e-vent. the epoch/mittence' of "Absolute Idealism" in Hegel. In the years that follow.HEIDEGGER AND GOD -35 What is noteworthy is this: in meditating truth as a-letheia. in revealing itself in beings as beings. now. of revelation-a very secular revelation. that is. the There among beings where the e-vent of a-Ietheia . Let us say. Dasein is the Da des Seins. then. It sends itself to Dasein. this e-n1itting of Being and com-mitting of Dasein may he described as a unified e-vent and called "mittence" (Geschick).

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

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

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

. existentialism. I have not nlarried hispolitical paste I suggest that we examine his philosophical experience and leave his conscience to God. 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." The gentleman said: "I rememher 1943 weIl. but rather that it has no unity at all. But for my part I am interested in the philosophy of Heidegger. regaling them with amusing stories-they laughed and laughed. I think the answer is "no.I 39 HEIDEGGER AND GOD history is unified by ineluctable necessity for Heidegger. You know in 1943 I was in one of the concentration camps. Heidegger's primal concern is viith the interrogation of that difference as sueh in its basic structure." p. "42 42 H. 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. psychology. or Heidegger's own Nazi past. Jonas. Jonas' reproach to the theologians at Drew: "My theological friends. The question is: Is there anything in the philo." An epoch of history is a mittence of Being. 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. Father. how explain Heidegger's capitulation to Hitler? Here. anthropology. the same question lies behind Dr. are philosophically irrelevant. CONCLUSION Two years aga at a reception. I should like it understood that it is not my business to justify before the eyes of men Heidegger's personal history. 219. an e-vent of nonconcealment out oi which the difference between Being and beings emerges. whether in terms of politics." On another more forlmal occasion.. 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? . If mittence is not fate. sociology.sophy of Heidegger that compelled a surrender to Nazism? With reserve for better judgment. It was a very prolific year indeed.. In its deepest intention all ontic considerations. I was just talking Ito some of your friends about it. "Heidegger and Theology.

the truth ." if he remains attentive to "the most ancient of ancients in western thought -the primal ancient that hides itself under the name of truth. It would be based on the analogy that would say: as foundational thinking is to the e-vent of the ontological dif· ference. Will this bring hirn to God? That is beside the point. true to himself." What precisely that truth in Heidegger may be. became man. He said "I am . may be difficult to say."43 We may take this to mean "I am the truth. But that much would be gain.. it is My voiee that he hears. 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. 6. But here the matter is difficult and it must be left to the theologians themselves. ." 43 lohn 14. For my part 1 would hope that he would simply be true to hirnself. Heidegger responds to Being as Holy and begins to comprehend the meaning of "divine. and 18: 37. Perhaps there is in hirn a theological truth. If anyone attends to the truth.... and at one moment in His history. follow his call.." then perhaps he will recog· nize that voice if it speaks and at long last be able to call God "God.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. pursue his way to the end. If any man is true to hirnself within the "kingdom of Being. If. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice. do penance and return to the Father's house? Not necessarily. Perhaps it is only a philosophical truth: the ontological difference as such. the eternal Logos. The question is not how Heidegger comes to God but how God comes to Martin Heidegger. What do we Christians hope for from Heidegger? That he quit his way. 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. quiteaware of the malice of men. so theological thinking (the thinking of faith) is to the revealing word of God." the voice of a radically transcendent God can at least make itself heard. For a Christian the Word of God.