Master of Arts (MA)
Philosophy and Religious Studies
Following his newfound celebrity upon publication of Being and Time, Martin Heidegger delivered a lecture in 1927 and 1928, titled “Phenomenology and Theology,” where he discussed how his recent groundbreaking work in existential phenomenology relates to Christian theology. Far from offering his philosophy as a method for theology, he instead attempted to utterly separate the two, setting the former as fundamental ontology and the latter as a positive science more akin to history, with the Christian faith as its positive object of study. The lecture was left unpublished until 1969, when Heidegger added an appendix, a piece exemplary of the later Heidegger’s thought. The point of this thesis is to properly expound the lecture and provide critique regarding his classification of theology as a positive science. Due to his existential description of Christian faith, his formula of theology as the study thereof sets that science as an ontology more akin to philosophy than he allows. Rather than correct this problem, it is more fitting to let stand Heidegger’s existential definition of faith and elucidate its consequences for Christian theological praxis. This leads to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Act and Being, a dissertation on the role of ontology in Christian theology which addresses Heidegger’s phenomenology. Bonhoeffer claims that the Cross event in Christianity requires a Christian existential analysis independent of Heidegger’s own analytic of pre-Christian Dasein. Here I conclude that this provides an opening for theological work in ontology, one which theologians must take if they wish to assert independence from and fruitfully engage with philosophy. I then provide an epilogue concerning the appendix, where I suggest the later Heidegger himself recognizes this need for theology, though only in a subtle manner
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Spinks, Casey Garrett, "The Ontological Nature of Theology: On Heidegger's "Phenomenology and Theology"" (2017). LSU Master's Theses. 4493.