File spoon-archives/heidegger.archive/heidegger_2001/heidegger.0105, message 30

Subject: Re: phenomenology of religion
Date: Wed, 23 May 2001 12:31:03 +0200

From: "P. Johnston" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 4:32 AM
Subject: Re: phenomenology of religion

> Henk expounds Heidegger thus:
> >In GA60:116:125 Heidegger describes how Paul's
> >letters are no longer about a doctrine (hae basileia
> >tou theou - Luc. 16:16) but about a way of life
> >(Rom 1:3; 10:9).
> Leaving aside Heidegger's questionable exegesis (that
> is, first century Jews did not tend to consider Torah
> [ho nomos kai hoi prophetai -- "the law and the
> prophets"] to be a matter of doctrine, but precisely
> the manner in which life might authentically be lived;
> Heidegger is simply not doing adequate Biblical
> exegesis here), one has to wonder just how restricted
> a role he is leaving doctrine.

Paul and Allen,

If there is a distinction between the evangelists and Paul - isn't it
precisely the distinction between what and how? What happened - and how to
live with it?

In GA60:112 Heidegger wonders about the restricted role of doctrine in
Paul's letters: "The situation is not one of theoretical proof" (Die
Situation ist keine solche des theoretischen Beweises). - See Allen's
reference to Aristotle.

> Is he dismissing it
> outright, as one might well imagine?  (As Allen seems
> to imagine?)  Or is he leaving it a real but
> subordinate role within a religious form of life which
> has non-objectifying presence before God as its
> overall teleology?  In which case, traditional
> doctrine might be preserved intact and carry a certain
> normativity, but as an instrumental means for
> cultivating the form of life in question (something
> like the position in George Lindbeck's _The Nature of
> Doctrine_ which revolutionized theology a couple of
> years back; also closer to Jesus' and Paul's attitudes
> towards the law and the prophets as these are
> represented in the canonical NT.  That is,
> Christianity is not about keeping the law and the
> prophets, but it inevitably keeps them -- Heidegger's
> NT citation continues "it is easier for heaven and
> earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter in
> the law to be dropped" and hardly endorses an
> antinomian or anti-doctrinal spirit).

Following Heidegger Paul is no longer trying to found the how in the what.
The what only becomes understandable in the how.(Das Dogma als abgeloester
Lehrgehalt in objektiv-erkenntnismaessiger Abhebung kann niemals leitend
fuer die christliche Religioesitaet gewesen sein, sondern umgekehrt, die
Genesis des Dogmas ist nur verstaendlich aus dem Vollzug der christlichen
Lebenserfahrung. - GA60:112).

> And, regardless of what Heidegger might say on this
> matter, what do you think about it, Allen and Henk?
> Of what value (if any) is doctrine to the cultivation
> of a religious way of life?  If it is valuable, what
> makes it so?  I waffle, but I think I'll bank on
> Lindbeck when all is said and done.  If Allen were to
> bank on Mordecai Kaplan, would it be the same thing as
> to bank on Lindbeck?  (and as to bank on Heidegger)?
> Paul of St. John's Towne (Johnston),
> Not an Apostle of Christ Jesus.

A religious way of life is essential for the cultivation and preservation of
a religious doctrine - if we may believe Heidegger. I tend to agree with


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