Postmodernity and the Structures of Creaturely Life: A Hermeneutical Proposal

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]By Matthew A. Stanley
This article appeared in Issue 2.7 of Ad Fontes

When we conceive of finitude, we are often tempted to define this perplexing concept in opposition to infinity. Of course, because infinity is equally if not more perplexing, we find ourselves right back where we started.  How can we begin to sketch an account of finitude? One thing which we have going in our favor is that we are finite and thus find ourselves in the midst of finitude. We seem to be just the sort of beings who are fit for such an inquiry. However, this seeming advantage has often been portrayed as exactly the problem. Since we ourselves are finite, this seems to some to present an insurmountable obstacle to grasping the nature of finitude. But it strikes me as odd that we would seek to transcend our finitude in order to understand it. Would we not be better served instead by devoting ourselves to circumspectly investigating our experience of finitude in order to discover its contours, conditions, and boundaries? Does it not seem more plausible that finitude makes sense only through living it rather than trying to get outside of it? That, I propose in this paper, is the insight which can provide us with an interpretive lens for properly reading and engaging with postmodern thought. My desire for this paper is to recommend that Christians approach postmodernity with the goal of embarking on the project of enunciating the structures of creaturely life. If we adopt this hermeneutic for reading postmodern conversations and texts, we will discover in them a valuable toolbox of concepts, questions, and concerns which can serve us well as we seek to uncover just what precisely it means to be a creature.
This paper will proceed in two parts: First, I will present and comment on a specific example of postmodern philosophy, namely, Martin Heidegger’s philosophical anthropology as found in his Being and Time [1]. My goal will be to briefly consider Heidegger’s understanding of humans and their being in order to point out its potential and surprising resonances with Christian understandings of finitude. Second, I will present to the reader a critique of Heidegger’s ontology by the Catholic phenomenologist Edith Stein. My goal in examining Stein’s critique of Heidegger will be to present a model of the kind of charitable but critical engagement that I am proposing in this paper. In Stein’s engagement, I am particularly interested in her conclusion that while Heidegger does offer us a unique and stimulating account of creaturely being, he ultimately offers us an account of fallen creaturely being and thus his account will have both substantial continuities and discontinuities when appropriated by Christians. This serves to instruct the reader that our application of this hermeneutic of creaturely being always also requires a critical turn which cannot accept postmodernity’s account of finitude as ultimately satisfactory. Instead, the description of creaturely existence in postmodernity must always be re-imagined by the Christian in light of the eschatological renewal of all things through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
I chose specifically to focus on one interchange between two phenomenologists in this paper in order to combat the conception of a monolithic movement known as “Postmodernism.” A “thing” called Postmodernism breaks apart upon closer scrutiny. Rather than being a singular movement, the moniker postmodernism applies to many conversations which are disparate in origin and conceptual frameworks, but which are nonetheless united by their attempt to critique what they take to be modern thinkers’ emphasis on abstraction, universal reason, disembodiment, and a-historicity. Worldview apologists and evangelicals at large have failed the Church miserably by constructing a fictitious “Postmodernism” which prowls around like a roaring lion. The ideas and practices which arose in various postmodern conversations cannot be rightly understood outside of their context. They did not all have the same goals, questions, or historical context, and they often disagreed with one another. Ironically, evangelical constructions of a singular Postmodernism exhibit a classic example of an enlightenment de-historicized, a-contextual, and disembodied sort of knowing which postmodern thinkers want to critique. By abstracting postmodernity from its particular set of historical communities and questions, Christians have constructed a bogeyman which lacks nuance and plausibility. This bogeyman can be easily mocked or blamed for various societal ills, thus effectively insulating ourselves from honestly engaging with the questions being asked by real people or from seeing the surprising insights that postmodern thought can bring to the table.  This is deeply unfortunate and we must see that we are impoverished by this state of affairs. I hope that this paper will be be a catalyst to change that situation.

Heidegger’s Philosophical Anthropology

Heidegger begins Being and Time by clearly stating his intentions for his project, saying, “The aim of the following treatise is to work out the question of the meaning of “being” and to do so concretely. The provisional aim is the interpretation of time as the possible horizon for any understanding whatsoever of being.

How do we inquire after this Being of beings though? Heidegger takes the very impulse to investigate Being as itself a peculiar mode of being. In contrast to beings like leaves, stars, and compasses, humans continually inquire after the meaning of being. Why do humans ask about the meaning of existence? Heidegger believes this to be a defining structure of humans, one which differentiates them from other sorts of beings.[5] We are the sort of beings who are concerned in our being about our being, that is, we have the relation to our being by caring about it. Throughout Being and Time, he uses the term ‘Dasein’ (being-there) to refer to the humanly mode of being which is guided by the principle of ‘care,’ which means that Dasein orients itself in the world in terms of what concerns it. He therefore begins his project by explicating the various structures of Dasein so that he might properly ask about the meaning of Being which Dasein already has a relationship with.
Heidegger begins his exploration of Dasein’s structures by explicating Dasein’s being as being-in-the-world, that is, as its having a world. We would be mistaken if we thought of this world as the numerical totality of all beings, for Dasein’s world is actually the horizon towards which Dasein orients itself such that the totality of beings can be called a whole. [6] Dasein finds itself already relationally connected with all beings in this world, and thus it also has the being of being-in. This means that Dasein does not first discover itself and then discover the world, but rather it discovers itself in discovering its world.[7] Putting this another way, our dwelling in the world is so foundational to who we are that we cannot develop selfhood unless we first realize our relationship with other Dasein and other objects. This primordial connectedness of being-in allows the significance of things to rise to the surface as we engage with them in lived activity.[8] For instance, by taking up a hammer, I intend this hammer as hammer which means that I intend it as this being with this possibility for being, namely, of hammering a nail. The possibility for being, the for-the-sake-of-which that I project together with this being discloses our collective significance that we already had but has now come to presentation in activity. Of course, this means that I must negotiate with this being, for perhaps this hammer is weak or the nail too stubborn, and then I am awakened to the significance of this relation in a new and interesting way. What structures these encounters is how Dasein orients itself in the world in terms of care, which means that it projects new possibilities which reveal significances about its essential interconnection with other beings.[9]
Nor does Dasein simply understand innerwordly objects in this way. Having found itself within a unity which both precedes and yet includes it, Dasein comes to understand itself through its own certain set of possibilities. Heidegger observes that we understand ourselves in terms of projections for possibilities of being in the future, and we move into the future by pursuing these possibilities and bringing them into actuality. In this way, he sees Dasein as being essentially ecstatic, that is, being itself in always being ahead of itself. Our having a history, a community, a language, and a world full of objects which possess their own distinct histories allows us to have this ecstatic identity. Heidegger calls this our ‘thrownness,’ that is, we find ourselves already being somewhere, as though we had been thrown there.[10] Our thrownness presents us with the facts of what was and this in turn presents us with the parameters and possibilities for what could be. Dasein’s being thrown into its particular history closes off possibilities for the future, but its thrownness also simultaneously gives Dasein its possibilities. Thus Dasein’s being as being-thrown is both the narrowing of possibilities but also the possibility of possibilities.
This understanding through projecting possibilities which are predicated upon our being-in relies on Dasein’s fundamental structure of ‘understanding.’ For Heidegger, understanding is not cognition or affirmation of truth propositions, but rather understanding constitutes the essential way that Dasein is in the world. Understanding is Dasein’s mode of being, not simply a cognitive activity.[11] Indeed, understanding is not even properly speaking knowing, for things like knowing, judging, and the like are derivative activities which can only be predicated upon this prior being attuned to the interconnected unity of the world. Because Dasein is the being which is oriented by care, Dasein acts as the clearing where the significances of itself and other beings can come to presentation. Therefore, if care is to disclose a thing’s possibilities for being, and Dasein is the clearing where these possibilities in relation can be disclosed,[12] then Heidegger’s claim that understanding is a mode of being amounts to the claim that possibility is the fundamental shape of being.
If possibility is the underlying structure of understanding, then the understanding which gives rise to knowledge must have the shape of ‘projecting’ just like Dasein. In this way, we see also that our being is fundamentally hermeneutical, that is, understanding is interpretive. Interpretation is not an element added on to knowledge, but rather every act of knowledge is interpretation.[13] Why? Because it has the dynamic structure of fore-having an understanding which then projects possibilities for being, which then comes to actualization through a temporal process.[14] Heidegger here offers something of an answer to Meno’s Paradox, and his answer has striking similarities to Plato’s. Heidegger says that Dasein already has it in an understanding way, that is, through its essentially already relational mode of being, but it must “come to itself” in an act of knowledge.[15] This act of knowledge is interpretation because it possesses the shape of projecting a possibility for being on the basis of already fore-having understanding.[16] In a way then, Heidegger seems to be working out a new ontology of possibility, arguing that a possibility is not simply that-which-is-not-here-yet nor is it simply abstract logical possibility, but possibility as an ontological mode is that which already possesses what it will become.
How then am I supposed to be? Heidegger devotes §45 – 60 of Being and Time to investigating what he takes to be the most authentic way for Dasein to be. This question arises because Heidegger sees that Dasein’s way of being can be profoundly scary to us humans. He thinks that anxiety arises when we are confronted by the essential contingency of the world. Whereas fear is directed at specific innerworldy beings, anxiety is Dasein’s being anxious in itself about Being itself. Dasein is anxious because it always and everywhere confronts the nothingness of death. This means that Dasein’s being is a being-towards-death. Heidegger takes great pains to disabuse us of the notion that by death he means simple biological cessation. He does not mean the future moment of our death. No, he means the ever present possibility of having no possibilities. To have possibilities always presupposes the essentially prior possibility of having no possibilities at all, and this is what Heidegger means by death. Thus Dasein lives into the future with nothingness as its fundamental ground. Throughout Being and Time, Heidegger explores the various ways that humans deal with this terrifying reality, such as retreating into what he calls the “they-self” or through burying ourselves in an absorption in innerworldy objects. These are all ways of living in-authentically because they constitute a fleeing from Dasein’s true mode of being. Instead, Heidegger believes that Dasein lives most authentically by hearkening to the call of conscience, which is Dasein’s call which wells up from within itself to call itself back to itself, and to thereby resolutely live into the possibility of nothingness by boldly projecting its ownmost possibility for being.

Edith Stein and the Unredeemed Being of Dasein

While Edith Stein was a peer of Martin Heidegger’s and a fellow student of Edmund Husserl, their lives could not have been more different. Whereas Heidegger was raised in rural Germany as a Roman Catholic but later deviated from the faith,  Stein interacts with Heidegger’s work with nuance and gravity, always seeking to understand its potential, but without leaving her Christian commitments at the door. In fact, her grounding Christian commitments are what allow her to discern in Heidegger’s work all of the stimulating half-truths and pregnant lacunas which she thereby seeks to draw on in order to simultaneously incorporate his thought and transcend it.

Edith Stein (ca. 1938-1939)

While Stein reveals tantalizing ambiguities in Heidegger’s account of Dasein and asks deeply probing questions throughout her lucid summary and critique of Being and Time, her most extensive and fundamental critique of Heidegger comes near the end of her discussion of his concept of being-towards death. In her critique, she hones in on Dasein’s utter insufficiency in itself unto itself and the significant gap this creates in Heidegger’s account of creaturely being. Heidegger uses the word ‘being-guilty’ to refer to the essential structure of Dasein in which its resolute choice to project a possibility for being necessarily involves rejecting another possible choice.[18] But Stein wants to probe this experience where Dasein seems to long to be more than it can be within the horizon of temporality. Where does this yearning for an abundant life which overflows and bursts the limits of our creaturely frame come from? Stein takes it that this longing need not be quashed, but is actually indicative of the fact that we are not yet what we will be. Whereas Heidegger sees that same desire as a fleeing from the harsh individual responsibility of choosing to actualize one possibility amongst many, Stein sees this yearning as indicative of Dasein’s insufficiency to be all that it wants to be.  She says, “The inability of our temporal being to fully unfold our essence, to express what we are bid to assume into ourselves and possess ‘as a whole,’ points to the fact that the ‘authentic’ being which we in temporality are capable of… is still not our final authentic being.”[19] Thus, Dasein’s overwhelming desire to be united with the totality of things, to truly possess communion with some sort of whole, constitutes a simultaneous orientation towards the transcendent and a testimony to the inadequacy of Dasein to fulfill itself.
As mentioned earlier, Heidegger takes ‘care’ to be the primary principle that Dasein understands itself in terms of. This care is concerned with its own being, that is, it must constantly be becoming through positing itself in terms of its possibilities. Stein cannot accept this flattened out picture of life though. Is not Heidegger’s view simply an eternal deferral of satisfaction? Stein is convinced that a desire exists because it longs for satisfaction, not Heidegger’s “sequence from nothing to nothing.”[20] The picture of human life that Heidegger has painted for us consists in Dasein continually casting itself forward, grounded on nothing, facing death at every moment, precisely because it is driven forward by the concern within itself for its own being. Of course, for Heidegger, this is just the way things are and the situation is to be faced with a heroic resoluteness that lives towards the ever present possibility of nothingness. But Stein finds this picture implausible because it cannot comprehend a being satisfied or a fullness of being. What is Dasein seeking? What is it moving towards? What would truly satisfy it? Heidegger’s Dasein finds itself adrift on an ocean of nothingness, and the only life it possesses is the one it can wrench from the jaws of nothingness before it is inevitably swallowed. But what sort of life is this and could there be something more?
Stein’s alternate proposal seeks to ask what it might look like for these seemingly unfulfillable desires to be fulfilled. If ‘care’ and ‘temporality’ testify to their own incompleteness, their own unfulfilled longing, this seems to give us grounds to doubt their finality. Stein says, “A being that has reached its full possession of its own being is no longer concerned for it.”[21] At precisely the moment that a being comes into full possession of its being, it no longer needs to orient itself towards the future in terms of care. Instead, this being may enter into a state of “abandonment” and “the relaxation of the self-forgetting gift of self to eternal.”[22] Stein is a good Thomist. She is committed to the conception of eternal fulfillment in the Beatific Vision, which she describes as that which Dasein longs for, saying, “Joy without end, happiness without shadows, love without boundaries, the most intense life without sleep, the most powerful action which at the same time is complete stillness and freed from all tension – this is eternal bliss. This is the being about which human existence is.”[23] She does not use such language as ‘God’ and ‘beatific vision,’ but her meaning could not be more clear. Heidegger’s ontology finds itself groundless, empty, and unsatisfied because it can only look to itself, and thus finds itself utterly impotent to fulfill itself. There is a fullness that Dasein longs for and that is why it continually projects itself, grasping at a future, desperately trying to ‘give itself time.’[24] Thus, contrary to Heidegger, Stein interprets temporality as “the way in which the finite gains participation in the eternal.”[25]
What can we learn from Stein’s engagement with Heidegger’s work? I take Stein’s work to be instructive for us in two primary ways. First, Stein treats Heidegger’s work with the seriousness that one human owes to another. One crucial way she does this is by thoroughly understanding his work before commenting on it. In fact, she devotes the first ten pages of her critique to a dense and masterful explanation of Heidegger’s project and main concepts before she even gets to the point of raising questions. Further, she orients herself towards his work by taking him to be attempting to speak truthfully about human experience, and consequently as speaking about issues and raising questions that are as much his as they are hers. Also, even as Stein critiques Heidegger’s work, she seeks to affirm and find plausibility in Heidegger’s work as much as she can. In her final assessment, she says concerning his work, “it is accurate in a certain sense, in [the sense namely] that it reveals something of the basic constitution of the human being, and sketches a certain way of being human with great clarity.”[26] She even describes his descriptions of the constitutive processes of Dasein as “masterly.” Do not take this to mean that I think we ought to sprinkle our conversation with postmodern individuals with tidbits of praise. Rather, I believe Stein is admitting that she finds much in Heidegger’s description which resonates with her experience and which she finds to be genuinely illuminating. As I said before, she finds commonality with Heidegger in the sense that they are both asking fundamentally human questions and there is significant overlap in their experience of this creaturely life.
But, and this brings me to my final point, Stein cannot accept Heidegger’s account wholesale. Inevitably, she finds that mixed amongst the illuminating insights are equally illuminating omissions. She uncovers his idiosyncracies which serve to cover over other aspects of human life. She finds herself ultimately unsatisfied with his account of Dasein’s being which projects itself in terms of care and temporality, because she takes these two terms to be indicative of a deeper desire which speaks of satisfaction. Heidegger’s finite being requires a participation in Eternal being in order to achieve the fullness that it longs for. This is why Stein describes Heidegger’s work as a description of “unredeemed being.”[27] Here we have Stein espousing the hermeneutic that I too am proposing, and she does so with a crucial nuance. While she takes Heidegger to be offering an instructive and even masterly description of creaturely life, this account will always be incomplete and thus require re-imagination in light of the work of God in Jesus Christ. One cannot simply describe the creature in abstraction, but must describe the creature in its concrete experience of sin and misery.  When the creature finds itself in this state of sin and misery, the world appears distorted, but it is nonetheless the world which appears to the sinful creature. The reality of sin is that it fails to achieve its goal of total freedom from God and thus inevitably finds itself blundering through God’s world. Heidegger’s analysis of fallen being therefore illuminates for us crucial elements of what it means to be human and finite, but his account also inevitably requires a critical analysis which is only made possible by the internal renewal of creation through the Spirit of the Risen Christ.
In his book Truth and Method, Hans-Georg Gadamer offers a comment on his teacher’s work, saying,  “Interpreting being from the horizon of time does not mean, as it is constantly misunderstood to mean, that Dasein is radically temporal, so that it can never be considered as everlasting or eternal but is understood only in relation to its own time and future.”[28] This interpretation, which Gadamer calls a misunderstanding, seems to be precisely what Stein is saying. What does Gadamer propose instead? “In disclosing time as the ground hidden from self-understanding, it does not preach blind commitment out of a nihilistic despair, but opens itself to a hitherto concealed experience that transcends thinking from the position of subjectivity, an experience that Heidegger calls being.”[29] Could it be that we can appropriate Heidegger’s thought more fruitfully by not accepting Stein’s interpretation of Dasein as transcendentally closed and radically immanent? If we follow Gadamer, can we perhaps open up new vistas in Heidegger’s thought which allow for Dasein to take more from Heidegger than Stein does by envisioning Dasein’s eschatological fulfillment differently than Stein does?[30]

I quote Gadamer here because, despite my commendation of Stein’s work to the reader, I still possess reservations about whether her alternate proposal succeeds in supplanting Heidegger’s work. Stein’s critique accepts what she can from Heidegger’s model, and seeks to move beyond it on the basis of her commitment to communion with God as the ultimate telos of humanity, but in this process she operates with a particular interpretation of the eschaton as a state of arrival or completion, and I think that this question can remain open for us as Christians. What if this state of Dasein’s being satisfied does not consist in a state of having arrived, but a state of utterly fulfilled activity? Some of Stein’s statements could be read that way, but others seem to point towards a more static conception too. Further investigation would be required to get clear on that point of interpretation in Stein, but I take this to demonstrate that the question can remain open amongst Christians for how postmodern philosophy must be appropriated . This question relies for an answer on which models of eschatological restoration we find more persuasive. Will we experience time in the new heavens and the new earth? How? What will we be doing? What were we made for? How will we use language? Signs? Thought? In short, what does redemption tell us about what is essential to being a human and how do we therefore understand ourselves this side of the eschaton?

Concluding Remarks

In Heidegger’s description of Dasein, even if we do not have all the details that we may want, we have here a compelling and useful schema for understanding creation and especially the human’s nature and role within it as a fellow creature. Heidegger’s proposal seeks to remedy past understandings of the human person which see us as an isolated ego searching for indubitable knowledge, being primarily rational beings who are motivated by ideas, or as beings who must abstract ourselves from our time and place in order to know the world aright. Instead, the picture of humans that we get in many postmodern thinkers complicates the simple conceptions that many evangelical Christians are tempted to operate with. Instead of being primarily ‘thinking things,’ Heidegger argues that we are fundamentally oriented in this world by cares, desires, needs. We understand ourselves only in terms of a historic set of possibilities in which we find ourselves and these compose our concrete existence. We understand ourselves primarily therefore in terms of that which we can become and we do this by projecting possibilities for being. Further, he shows us the complex structure of selfhood. We are not selves first and foremost, but we actually become a self only through our relations which position us within a totality, a world.  Knowledge of self does not precede knowledge of the world. Knowledge of ourselves is equiprimordial with our knowledge of the world; they arise co-dependently. This finally leads us to see that our living and knowing are intertwined and embedded in our concrete existence within a time, place, culture, language, and community. This opens up a host of possible lines of inquiry whereby we can examine those processes, activities, and symbols which function in our lives as the conditions of knowing. From Foucault to Barthes, to Derrida to Deleuze, all these figures are interested in these distinct but ineliminable structures which compose the walls, beams, and supports of our experience, giving it its shape and texture.
Though these conversations are varied and unique, the Christian can find edification nonetheless in engaging these conversations in a piecemeal manner by employing the conceptual unity which I have proposed here, namely, that of exploring the structure of creaturely life. Karl Barth once said, “After all, is it our job as Christians to accept or reject worldviews? Have not Christians always been eclectic in their worldviews – and this for very good reason?”[31] Here I see Barth endorsing a principled eclecticism which seeks to dismantle systems and salvage them for various useful parts, and which engages in this seemingly haphazard inquiry by allowing its deepest convictions to provide guidance throughout. This means that our road will appear winding and move at odd angles, but we need not be terribly concerned about this. We are not accountable to any abstract principle which would presume to dictate the shape of our inquiry for us ahead of time. Our inquiry will always be motivated by our own questions and will require each Christian to engage in an inquiry which picks and chooses for the sake of their own personal project. In short, I propose that we view the many postmodern conversations from this angle of seeking to enunciate the warp and woof of creaturely being. By contextualizing postmodern thought within the Christian’s theological commitments in this way, we can allow the story of creation’s eschatological redemption through the work of its Creator and Lord Jesus Christ to become the tool which allows us both to see the value in postmodern thought and also to engage in the internal conceptual renewal which will be necessary in any act of its appropriation.

Matthew A. Stanley is a graduating senior in the Philosophy program at Wheaton College (IL). His interests range from 20th century Continental philosophy (Gadamer, Heidegger, etc.), to Reformed Protestant Dogmatics (Calvin and Barth), to Japanese Buddhism (Zen and the Kyoto School). His unifying project throughout his intellectual wanderings is the exploration of the nature of being finite. He is currently postponing further graduate work in order to live for a time outside of academia and thereby clarify his vision for future academic inquiry.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row equal_height=”yes” content_placement=”middle” css=”.vc_custom_1521489009659{padding: 15px !important;background-color: #efefef !important;border-radius: 10px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”15192″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Read Our Magazine,” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:50|text_align:center|line_height:1.5″ google_fonts=”font_family:Playfair%20Display%3Aregular%2Citalic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_custom_heading text=”AD FONTES!” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:50|text_align:center|line_height:1.5″ google_fonts=”font_family:Playfair%20Display%3Aregular%2Citalic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_separator color=”black”][vc_btn title=”FREE SUBSCRIPTION – SIGN UP” style=”flat” color=”inverse” align=”center” button_block=”true” link=”|||”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]


[1] I say this to differentiate my articulations from the Later Heidegger. First, because Being and Time, strictly speaking, is an aborted project. Heidegger ends the final page of the work with the same question that he began with, presumably because he genuinely wonders if he has succeeded or not. Further, earlier in the book he speaks of a planned third part to the work which was never written. Second, the Later Heidegger moves away from this early work and shifts towards language and poetics, a shift which I personally have not studied in enough depth to comment on fruitfully.
[2] Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. Joan Stambaugh (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2010), marginal page 1.
[3] Heidegger, 4.
[4] Heidegger, 23 – 26, §19-21.
[5] Heidegger, 7, 12.
[6] Heidegger, 63-65.
[7] Heidegger, 54- 59.
[8] Heidegger, 59-62.
[9] Heidegger, 67- 70.
[10] Heidegger, 135.
[11] Heidegger, 143 – 144.
[12] Heidegger, 146.
[13] Heidegger, 150.
[14] Ibid.
[15] Heidegger, 62.
[16] Heidegger, 144.
[17] For a gripping presentation of Stein’s life, see Sarah Borden, Edith Stein (New York: Continuum, 2003).
[18] Edith Stein, “Martin Heidegger’s Existential Philosophy,” translated by Mette Lebech, Maynooth Philosophical Papers 4, (2007): 79, and Heidegger, 269.
[19] Stein, 79.
[20] Stein, 80.
[21] Ibid.
[22] Ibid.
[23] Ibid.
[24] Heidegger’s phrase. But Barth actually uses this same phrase to describe how sinful being attempts to ‘give itself time’ because it is struggling against the fact that God is the one who gives us time.
[25] Stein, 80.
[26] Stein, 81.
[27] Stein, 81.
[28] Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, 2nd edition, trans. Joel Weinsheimer and Donald G. Marshall (New York: Continuum, 1989), 99.
[29] Gadamer, 99.
[30] I believe we can begin to see the payoff of this approach in the final chapter of Gadamer’s Truth and Method. Through drawing on Nicholas of Cusa and employing the relation between the Father and the Son as an analogy of the relation between being and language, Gadamer begins to gesture towards the potentially Christological structure of finite understanding, particularly, Truth and Method 418 – 430.
[31] Karl Barth , Church Dogmatics, Volume III, Part 2, trans. G. W. Bromiley and T. F. Torrance (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1960), 447.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


Related Articles

Join our Community
Subscribe to receive access to our members-only articles as well as 4 annual print publications.
Share This