Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Spilt religion …

 John Gray - Being Human | Literary Review | Issue 440. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
In fact, Heidegger wasn’t doing anything new. The Russian-Jewish fideist Lev Shestov (1866–1938), one of the most interesting thinkers in the history of existentialism (though not mentioned by Bakewell), recorded that when he met Heidegger in Husserl’s home in 1928, Husserl was insisting on the importance of reading Søren Kierkegaard, the heterodox Danish theologian. Heidegger had already taken the hint. As Shestov later noted, Being and Time was not much more than a translation of Kierkegaard’s ideas into Husserlian categories, with religious conceptions of the fall of man reappearing as hermetic Heideggerian notions such as ‘thrownness’.
Some years ago, when I was editing a review of a book about Heidegger, I looked up something of his in German and was astounded that I could actually understand it. I also realized at the time that Heidegger's trick was to take a traditional concept and give it a new name of his own. In this case the old concept was contingency.  I forget what term he used for it. The headline I wrote for that review was "Dasein for living."


  1. I have read some Shestov, but missed his remarks on Heidegger. If in fact, Heidegger leaned so much on Kierkegaard, it makes it the more curious that Tillich took so much from Heidegger.

  2. I never came upon Shestov's remarks on Heidegger, either. Maybe Heidegger's conversion of Kierkegaard into Heidegerrian appealed to Tillich. But you're right. It is curious.