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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.

HEIDEGGER AND GOD
-AND PROFESSOR JONAS
WILLIAM J. RICHARDSON

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.

THOUGHT

14

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?
THE CONSULTATION AT DREW

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

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

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

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

. The following quotation from a proclamation by Heidegger (then Rector) to the students oI the University of Freiburg in Novernber. call of conscience.. authenticity-inauthenticity. Heidegger's own answer is. Hereafter cited as: H. response. This accounts for the affinity that the Christian thinker feels with Heidegger's thought and explains the desire to profit fron1 it. it is an occurrence of unveiling. however. has a fate-like character (or: is "fate-Iaden": geschicklieh ) . we have taken the liberty of eapitalizing the word "Being" in Professor J onas' text whenever it c1early refers to Heidegger's Sein. . revelation.. . 207-2. For the sake of clarity and consistency in the exposition that folIows.12 Whatever the purely philosophical value of the notion of Being as fate-ful. "Heidegger and Theology. J onas. J onas. such concepts as guilt. shepherd. . . In the early period. The Führer 11 H." p. "Heidegger and Theology. It looms large in Heidegger's thinking and in his idea of thinking. 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. . 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. 12 H. will 1 take with them? . 11 Can Heidegger's philosophy be assimilatedby the Christian thinker in part without taking the whole? Dr." Review 01 M etaphysics XVIII (DecembeL 1964). if I take them. Jonas says: No! What does Dr. 214. fallenness." Citations in the present article have been made to conform to the published version. . "Heidegger and Theology. a fate-laden happening upon thought: so ""Tas the Führer and the call of German destiny under hirn: an unveiling of something indeed. Jonas is painfully aware of: But as to Heidegger's Being. anxiety.. 215. I hope. mission. not forgotten . which slightly expands and emends the text as delivered. resolution. . Thinking's lot is cast by Being.33. serves as an example: "Not theorems and 'ideas' be the rules of your Being. to the shame of philosophy. 1933. Thinking about Being . concern. and what it speaks is thought's lot. there is one exanlple of such a conception of destiny that Dr. . l-'he theologian must ask. . 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. But herein lies the danger : . a call of Being all right. on record and. and in the later period such terms as hearing. p..HEIDEGGER AND GOD 19 ized Christianity in Heidegger's thought and language. thanksgiving-all oi these characteristically Heideggerean terms have a profoundly Christian resonance.. . . Jonas. Being speaks to thought.

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

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

Synoptic View The indictment is a heavy one. unified determination oE Being that permeates all of its multiple meanings? This question raised another: what. with regard to its Being) in many ways. For the sake of clarity of presentation. Heidegger's efIort. synoptically or genetically. Conrad Gröber. I translate: "A being becomes manifest (sc. underlining those elements that have reference to the question of God. Brentano setzte auf das Titelblatt seiner schrift den Satz des Aristoteles: to on legetai pollachäs. when he was at the education level of a college sophomore. let us begin with the synoptic view. Being as schema of the categories. while still a student in the Gymnasium at Constance." Latent in this phrase is the question that determined the way of my thought: what is the pervasive.. . Being as possibility and actuality. may be viewed either in its unity or its diversity. he received from a priest-friend. What sense of Being comes to expression in these four headings. Being as truth. At the age of eighteen. a copy of the doctoral dissertation of the neoscholastic thinker Franz Brentano. entitled The Manifold Sense 0/ Being in Aristotle (where "being" translates the German Seiendes and the Greek on. does Being mean? To what extent (why and how) does the Being of beings unfold in the four modes which Aristotle constantly affirms. 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. 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 ". Ich übersetze: Das Seiende wird (nämlich hinsichlich seines Seins) in vielfacher Weise offenkundig. Stretching over more than fifty years. But even a synoptic view cannot dispense from a look at the first moment fifty-eight years ago when the long way began. as no doubt that of any major thinker. . It is impossible to reply to it all. written in 1862.22 THOUGHT HEIDEGGER 1. On the title page of his work.. simple. But I should like to review the main lines of Heidegger's effort. Brentano quotes Aristotle's phrase: to on legetai pollachös. einheitliche Bestimmung von Sein? Diese Frage weckt die folgenden: .) Of this first experience Heidegger writes in 1962: . then. but whose common origin he leaves undetermined. In diesem Satz verbirgt sich die meinen Denkweg bestimmende Frage: Welches ist die alle mannigfachen Bedeutungen durchherrschende einfache.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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