Understanding Heidegger's critique of metaphysics as onto-th

title got cut off… “Understanding Heidegger’s critique of metaphysics as onto-theological”

I noticed the religion in post-modernist era thread, but what I would like to discuss is focus directly at Hiedegger and what his writing have done to change the landscape of theological discussion.

I’d been years since I’ve posted on here. Since then I’ve grown up, gotten a little college under my belt, and am looking at areas of specialization to do a senior thesis and graduate school on.

I’m presently looking for discussion/elucidation on Heidegger’s piece “The Onto-Theo-Logical Constitution of Metaphysics,” as it pertains to making theological statements about God. If you are unfamiliar with the piece, I highly recommend reading it since many contemporary ideas about how one can and cannot speak about God stem from it.

What the essay boils down to seems to me to say: First, all theology is ontology and all ontology is theology since they both deal with opposite sides of the same coin; namely, ontology on the existence of beings, and theology with the highest being’s existence. Both try to provide a ground for being and its place within the whole. Metaphysics is grounded in onto-theologic thought insofar as it deals with both of these veins, being in general (ontology) and being in the highest (theology). Heidegger contends that God enters into the equation when metaphysics questions the grounding of being, namely, how being can be accounted for. This question is answered by the name “causa sui,” which becomes the God of philosophy. He then writes, “man can neither pray nor sacrifice to this god. Before the causa sui, man can neither fall to his knees in awe nor can he play music and dance before this god.”

Then there are three implications: 1. that the entire language of onto-theology and metaphysics begins with the causa sui which persists through it, rendering statements about god reducible back to the causa sui, which is no God, at least not in the sense of Kierkegaard, Augustine, or Abraham. 2. theologic statements are ontological statements, thus God is reduced in theology to the realm of being and our categories which limits and caricatures God. 3. any God worth worshiping must lie beyond being, but is then unknowable and unspeakable.

Okay, that’s my distillation of the essay, the version of which I read from The Religious, edited by John D. Caputo, a part of the Blackwell Readings in Continental Philosophy series.

I would appreciate the help of anyone who can foremost point out any spots where my distillation can be refined, any blind spots or important things I left out. I know Heidegger is dense and I’ve basically only scrapped off a little zest and left the whole rest of the orange behind, but nevertheless, if you’re familiar with him, please go over it and the implications to be sure they’re correct.

Second, this critique places a huge amount of strain on theological conversation. I’m curious about if there is any way to salvage the medieval tradition in light of Heidegger, especially considering how indebted they were to the metaphysics and ontology of Plato and Aristotle. Medievals spent a lot of time writing about the nature of God and subsequently have been attacked for trying to put God in neat and tidy philosophical categories.

My personal inclination is to shift emphasis in thought to a more apophatic or mystical tradition; however, I question the practicality of that, besides which it seems that one still runs into similar problems even working with apophatic or mystical theology then you just want to say something about God.

Hey Q.

Ya, I’d be interested in this. I almost read it about 15 years ago, but someone borrowed it and didn’t return… I’ll attempt a repossession. Might take a little timebeing…