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re: Heidegger's Influence

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  • Stevan Davies
    Another try.... ... Surely the question what did Jesus say versus what did people attribute to him that he didn t say would arise under any modern
    Message 1 of 15 , Nov 4, 1998
      Another try....

      Shawn Kelley wrote:
      > What has this to do with the Synoptic Problem? Nothing directly, I suppose,
      > but I do think that it intrudes on the issues in a number of ways.
      > i) Arguments about earlier/later or primitive/more developed may be influenced
      > by Heidegger's aesthethic and philosophical views on primordiality and
      > authenticity. One must be on guard.

      Surely the question "what did Jesus say" versus "what did people
      attribute to him that he didn't say" would arise under any modern
      circumstances. But I do think that there are criteria for
      "authenticity" that may indeed be influenced by factors that are not
      strictly historical.

      > ii) Parable scholarship is particularly vulnerable here, given the desire to
      > have the parables do so much. This could effect arguments about early/late
      > parables in Thomas, Q, Jesus or Mark. I hope, ultimately, to help rethink the
      > rather standard assumptions about the antithesis between parable and allegory.

      There is at least one third category, the "example story" e.g. Luke's
      Prodigal Son and Good Samaritan. People do indeed want parables to
      do "so much." I found at least 12 parables experts writing about how
      parables were psychologically transformative in dramatic ways, a
      notion that fit my own theories, but I have yet to think that they
      make good cases for such dramatic effect. I just hoped they knew what
      they were talking about... but now wish I hadn't done so in print.

      The canon within a canon, which is the authentic Jesus sayings has a
      canon within it too, which is the parables.

      > iii) Some literary readings of Gospels are influenced in the same way. Fowler,
      > for example, reads Mark as a parable that gets flattened out and allegorized by
      > Matthew. He makes a number of moves that are questionable from a literary
      > point of view (i.e. he doesn't follow Mark's plot), because he is guided by
      > aesthetic assumptions about parable/allegory, authentic/inauthentic. Thus
      > particular arguments on the relation of Matthew or Luke to Mark must be
      > carefully scrutinized.
      > iv) In a similar way, there is a long history of reading Luke-Acts through the
      > eyes of Conzelmann and Haenchen- with Luke ruining the primitive Christian
      > eschatology and kerygma through his disreputable salvation history. One must
      > be careful in employing such categories for Luke.

      In my opinion there is an enormous amount of Protestant thinking
      behind all of this. As I see it the Protestant restorationist view is
      that there once was a time of Christian perfection, the time of the
      NT, and everything deviating from that time is ruining the
      perfection. Thus we may dismiss everything from 120 to 1500
      categorically. But before 120 Protestant leaders (I think of Luther)
      do tend to separate out the more perfect from the perfect, favoring
      let us say Romans over James, Matthew over Revelation. So we do
      have a period of mythic time, the NT period, and within that mythic
      time, with only the slightest input of sophistication (i.e. the texts
      are not all of one point of view), the desire to separate out the most
      perfect exemplars of that mythic time. The historical Jesus quest
      then favors, not Romans, but Jesus.

      But... I would say that this sort of thing is ongoing well before
      Heidegger. From your analysis I thought him quite representative of
      the protestant worldview and am surprised to learn he was raised
      Catholic.

      > v) The popularity of Q, particularly for Mack, is in some way related to the
      > long history of the reception of Heidegger. This may help explain why someone
      > like Goulder gets no respect here in the US. Q may well be embraced, by some,
      > for ideological reasons. If Goulder gets rid of Q, then it makes sense to
      > ignore him.

      I would suggest severing the hypothesis of Q as a literary source-
      critical theory from the use of Q as a most authentic text. I do not
      think these are the same thing. I could, then, agree with your first
      sentence in v) above but disagree with the second. The popularity of
      Q is one thing, the almost universally perceived incompetence of
      Goulder is another thing. One might argue vis a vis Q (as people do
      vis a vis Thomas) that even conceding that each text contains less
      mediated Jesus sayings than do the canonical texts, nevertheless each
      is so thoroughly mediated that neither is thereby more useful, as
      texts, than are the canonical texts. Thus we cast aside all texts,
      including Q, and construct a new text of "authentic" sayings. Now,
      whether that "authentic" is Heidegger's "authentic" depends I think
      on the claims made for it and not the notion of historical
      reliability, which also is called "authenticity." Watch out for
      equivocation on "authenticity."

      Hmmm.

      Church is more authentic than anything else -- prereformation
      NT is more authentic than the church -- reformation
      Paul/Synoptics are more authentic than the NT whole -- Luther
      Synoptics are more authentic than the NT -- Quest for HJ
      Thomas[//synoptics]+Q are more authentic than the NT -- JSem
      Jesus is more authentic than Thomas/Q -- Crosstalk's presupposition

      You've brought interesting things to think about.

      Steve
    • skelley@daemen.edu
      Thanks Stevan, for the thoughtful reply. Here are a few points in response to aspects of your post. On 11/4/98 8:08PM, in message
      Message 2 of 15 , Nov 4, 1998
        Thanks Stevan, for the thoughtful reply. Here are a few points in response to
        aspects of your post.

        On 11/4/98 8:08PM, in message <199811050208.VAA07985@...>, "Stevan
        Davies" <miser17@...> wrote:

        > There is at least one third category, the "example story" e.g. Luke's
        > Prodigal Son and Good Samaritan.
        There's a new book on the example stories written by a friend of mine from
        grad school. It's got a huge amount of detailed analysis of the category in
        scholarship. Jeffrey Tucker, "Example Stories: Perspectives on Four Parables
        in the Gospel of Luke" Sheffield, 1998.

        > In my opinion there is an enormous amount of Protestant thinking
        > behind all of this. As I see it the Protestant restorationist view is
        > that there once was a time of Christian perfection, the time of the
        > NT, and everything deviating from that time is ruining the
        > perfection. Thus we may dismiss everything from 120 to 1500
        > categorically. But before 120 Protestant leaders (I think of Luther)
        > do tend to separate out the more perfect from the perfect, favoring
        > let us say Romans over James, Matthew over Revelation. So we do
        > have a period of mythic time, the NT period, and within that mythic
        > time, with only the slightest input of sophistication (i.e. the texts
        > are not all of one point of view), the desire to separate out the most
        > perfect exemplars of that mythic time. The historical Jesus quest
        > then favors, not Romans, but Jesus.
        >
        > But... I would say that this sort of thing is ongoing well before
        > Heidegger. From your analysis I thought him quite representative of
        > the protestant worldview and am surprised to learn he was raised
        > Catholic.

        I agree that the Protestant restoriationist view is behind much of it. It
        certainly was going on well before Heidegger and he took it over. At the same
        time, he secularized it and helped put this larger pattern in a whole series of
        new places and categories (i.e. authenticity, time, present, existence, art,
        etc).
        As for Heidegger, he was raised Catholic and was in a seminary (Jesuit, I
        think). He was actually a very conservative Catholic, and some of his truly
        reactionary, antimodernist writings from this period have come to light.
        (They're mentioned by Farias, but better analyzed by John van Buren and
        Theodore Kisiel). He left the seminary for health reasons, married a
        Protestant woman, began to explore intellectually, and left the Catholic
        Church- claiming respect for the intellectual heritage, but discomfort with the
        system of Catholicism. He then began a serious confrontation with Luther and
        was very strongly influenced by Luther, particularly by Luther's analysis of
        Aristotle. See van Buren's essay "Martin Heidegger, Martin Luther" in "Reading
        Heidegger from the Start: Essays in His Earliest Thought", ed Kisiel and van
        Buren. van Buren he shows that many of early Heidegger's central terms have
        their roots in Luther. I believe that Bultmann and Heidegger first began
        working together over Luther, and I have vague recollections of reading that
        Heidegger kept a quote from Luther over the door of his cabin in the Black
        Forest.
        Of course, Heidegger began drifting away from Luther by 1921 and by 1929
        was seriously engaged with fascism. By then he had discarded the Christians
        (Luther, Kierkegaard, etc) for Junger, Holderlin and his beloved Greeks.


        > I would suggest severing the hypothesis of Q as a literary source-
        > critical theory from the use of Q as a most authentic text. I do not
        > think these are the same thing.

        I agree fully, and shall try to be clearer in the future in explaining what
        I mean. I do not want to suggest that Heidegger is behind the source critical
        claim that Q exists, nor would I want to claim that close attention to
        Heidegger can resolve the disagreements between the pro and anti Q source
        theories. I do want to claim that certain recent readings of Q, particularly
        of the importance and meaning of Q1, are influenced by Heidegger through the
        mediation of Crossan's parable scholarship.

        >
        > Church is more authentic than anything else -- prereformation
        > NT is more authentic than the church -- reformation
        > Paul/Synoptics are more authentic than the NT whole -- Luther
        > Synoptics are more authentic than the NT -- Quest for HJ
        > Thomas[//synoptics]+Q are more authentic than the NT -- JSem
        > Jesus is more authentic than Thomas/Q -- Crosstalk's presupposition

        Yes, in a nutshell, that is the pattern I'm questioning.

        Shawn Kelley
        Daemen College
      • skelley@daemen.edu
        Thanks, Yuri, for your thoughtful response to my Heidegger post. Let me open with a general point, and then reply to some of your specifics. I) One of your
        Message 3 of 15 , Nov 5, 1998
          Thanks, Yuri, for your thoughtful response to my Heidegger post. Let me open
          with a general point, and then reply to some of your specifics.

          I) One of your points is that I overstate the influence of Heidegger both in
          biblical scholarship and in the larger intellectual world. I hope that
          subsequent posts of mine have clarified, at least a little, where I see
          Heidegger influencing biblical scholarship. Let me summarize. I see at least
          4 distinct moments where biblical scholars consciously employed Heideggerian
          categories in developing their own position:
          a) Bultmann- in his demythologizing program, in his reading of Paul, and in
          his NT theology.
          b) Bultmann's students, in their exegetical reading of the NT. I'm
          thinking especially of Kasemann's reading of Paul, Haenchen and Conzelmann's
          reading of Luke, and Bornkamm's reading of Matthew.
          c) The New Hermeneutic- which tries to do theology and historical Jesus
          research by combining the later Heidegger with Bultmann.
          d) American parable scholarship of Funk and Crossan.
          These are hardly the only positions taken throughout this century on Paul,
          Luke, Matthew, the parables or theology. I would say, however, that they have
          been important ones. Heidegger is not the shadowy figure behind everything,
          but his thought is a very important aspect in the thought of many scholars who
          have been extremely influential.

          A more difficult question is whether some recent scholarship, that is not
          directly claiming Heidegger's mantle, is also influenced by his thought. I
          think that much current Q scholarship, and some current literary analysis of
          the NT is in this position. The link here is not Heidegger himself, but the
          earlier Bultmannian scholarship and Crossan's parable scholarship. I realize
          that I am suggesting this as a possibility rather than convincingly proving it,
          and I thank the members of the list for allowing me to think out loud here.

          For a few specific points:

          On 11/3/98 1:22PM, in message
          <Pine.BSI.4.02.9811031214430.25856-100000@...>, Yuri Kuchinsky
          <yuku@...> wrote:


          > > i) Arguments about earlier/later or primitive/more developed may be
          > > influenced by Heidegger's aesthethic and philosophical views on
          > > primordiality and authenticity. One must be on guard.
          >
          > But isn't the whole Bible based on the idea of the Fall from Grace?
          > Weren't we all in the Garden orginally, from which, being unworthy, we
          > were banished? You know, you may be confusing H. with the Demiurge...

          I would not agree that the whole Bible is based on the Fall from Grace.
          Some of it is, much of it isn't. This seems to me to be the sort of
          theological conclusion that one must be wary of importing into reading the NT.

          >
          > > ii) Parable scholarship is particularly vulnerable here, given the
          > > desire to have the parables do so much. This could effect arguments
          > > about early/late parables in Thomas, Q, Jesus or Mark. I hope,
          > > ultimately, to help rethink the rather standard assumptions about the
          > > antithesis between parable and allegory.
          >
          > Parables do much, whether we like it or not.
          >

          I suppose. But it is not clear what they do, how they do it, or why we
          want them to do it. I hope to be able to show that much of what some people
          want parables to be able to do comes from a combination of Heideggerianism and
          Romanticism.

          > >
          > What if H. was not really so big even in his influence on other
          > philosophers? And what about his influence on society at large? I would
          > say Marx had a 100 times more influence in real life than H. What about
          > Marxian influence on biblical scholars? Now, that's one for the future,
          > eh?

          Yes, Heidegger's importance outside of the NT is limited. Most modern
          intellectuals who read Heidegger make him one figure among many in their own
          analysis amd they work through him rather than simply following him. Derrida
          is a good example. NT scholars tend to be more devoted and tend to follow a
          very particular (and idiosyncratic) reading of Heidegger. This is something
          that puzzles me. Why are there 4 distinct moments of Heideggerian
          appropriation, and few conscious moments of appropriation of Marx or Freud? I
          don't know.

          >
          > As to H's Nazi links, he was certainly not alone among German philosophers
          > in this. Hans Sluga reports that by 1940 about half of all of Germany's
          > philosophers were members of the Nazi party. And again, one also needs to
          > look at what H. borrowed from other philosophers, such as Husserl,
          > Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche, to name but a few. Why should he be seen as so
          > uniquely and specially influential?

          Again, a good question. My point is that, as a historical matter, he is
          quite influential among particular biblical scholars who themselves have been
          important. I am not writing on behalf of Heidegger, nor advocating a form of
          Heideggerian biblical scholarship in the future. I would rather see other
          modern figures enter into the fray. I am doing historical analysis of the way
          that NT scholars have used him in the past, and may be using his ideas
          indirectly in the present.

          Thanks again for the thoughtful response.

          Shawn Kelley
          Daemen College

          >
        • Stevan Davies
          ... Interesting. And it means that we can go from Heidegger to Bultmann to Van Buren to Davies. Van Buren was a prof of mine at Temple. What s this six
          Message 4 of 15 , Nov 5, 1998
            Shawn wrote:
            > Heidegger then began a serious confrontation with Luther and
            > was very strongly influenced by Luther, particularly by Luther's analysis of
            > Aristotle. See van Buren's essay "Martin Heidegger, Martin Luther" in "Reading
            > Heidegger from the Start: Essays in His Earliest Thought", ed Kisiel and van
            > Buren. van Buren shows that many of early Heidegger's central terms have
            > their roots in Luther. I believe that Bultmann and Heidegger first began
            > working together over Luther, and I have vague recollections of reading that
            > Heidegger kept a quote from Luther over the door of his cabin in the Black
            > Forest.

            Interesting. And it means that we can go from Heidegger to Bultmann
            to Van Buren to Davies. Van Buren was a prof of mine at Temple.
            What's this "six degrees of Heidegger"?

            I remember once that we and VB were looking into "demythologization"
            and tossing out all of the nature miracles and virgin births and so on.
            When it came to the resurrection I said something to the effect,
            "well, out it goes!" but NO. The resurrection isn't to be
            demythologized. I never knew why.

            > I do want to claim that certain recent readings of Q, particularly
            > of the importance and meaning of Q1, are influenced by Heidegger through the
            > mediation of Crossan's parable scholarship.

            We do tend to end up with a non-Jewish Jesus this way. Also
            Mahlon Smith's reconstruction, I think. And, of course, the cynic
            proponents. Or, I suppose, rather, a Jewish Jesus with a non-Jewish
            message. In its way quite a Christian-like result.

            > > Church is more authentic than anything else -- prereformation
            > > NT is more authentic than the church -- reformation
            > > Paul/Synoptics are more authentic than the NT whole -- Luther
            > > Synoptics are more authentic than the NT -- Quest for HJ
            > > Thomas[//synoptics]+Q are more authentic than the NT -- JSem
            > > Jesus is more authentic than Thomas/Q -- Crosstalk's presupposition
            >
            > Yes, in a nutshell, that is the pattern I'm questioning.

            What would be the alternative? To give equal credence to each text
            as it stands? That works from a literary critical perspective, but
            it would be the end of historical inquiry, wouldn't it? The texts
            would no longer be sources of information for something outside
            themselves. Historical inquiry does tend to take the texts as
            evidence for something more authentic than themselves, e.g.
            the patterns of activity that preceded and gave rise to the texts.

            Steve
          • Maluflen@aol.com
            In a message dated 98-11-04 21:09:51 EST, miser17@epix.net writes:
            Message 5 of 15 , Nov 5, 1998
              In a message dated 98-11-04 21:09:51 EST, miser17@... writes:

              <<
              Church is more authentic than anything else -- prereformation
              NT is more authentic than the church -- reformation
              Paul/Synoptics are more authentic than the NT whole -- Luther
              Synoptics are more authentic than the NT -- Quest for HJ
              Thomas[//synoptics]+Q are more authentic than the NT -- JSem
              Jesus is more authentic than Thomas/Q -- Crosstalk's presupposition

              You've brought interesting things to think about.>>

              May I lightly edit the last four items on the list above?

              Paul is more authentic than the NT whole -- Luther
              Synoptics are more authentic than Jn -- Quest for HJ
              Thomas and Q are more authentic than the Synoptics -- JSem
              Jesus is more authentic than Thomas/Q -- Crosstalk's presupposition

              Thanks, Stevan, for this intriguing sequence. It illustrates that Shawn
              Kelly's work has already proven to be thought-provoking.

              Leonard Maluf
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