It is really sexy these days for philosophers to talk about Paul. One of the first to do it was Martin Heidegger in “The Phenomenology of Religious Experience.” Dr. Markus Höfner visited Claremont to deliver a lecture titled “Back to the future? On Heidegger’s reading of Paul’s eschatology” as part of his’ Templeton Prize for theological promise’ tour. He visited a class I am auditing on “Paul and the Philosophers.” The official lecture synopsis is below and you can grab the audio HERE. The lecture is awesome and so is the book that inspired it. Thanks Dr. Höfner for visiting!
Synopsis: In analysing Martin Heidegger’s early philosophical exegesis of Pauline letters, the paper proposes two thesis: Learning from Heidegger, philosophy of religion should aim not at a universal justification of religious beliefs, but at a critical understanding of religious forms of life in their pragmatic enactment. And theologcial reflection should learn from Heidegger that Christian hope in the future can only be properly explicated in relation to present Christian hoping. In order to substantiate these theses, the paper first gives an outline of Heidegger’s phenomenological approach to Paul’s letters as a decidedly philosophical, not theological strategy. It then presents an analysis of Heidegger’s picture of the Christian life as a pragmatic form of life, shows how Heideggger interprets Christian hope in the‚ parousia’ of Christ as an enactment of temporality and explicates why Heidegger’s notion of ‚conversion’ to a Christian form of life implies a critique of onto-theology. Finally, the paper explores the limits and aporias of Heidegger’s interpretative strategy and profiles the insights that can be gained from his reading of Paul both philosophically and theologically.