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The Banality of Heidegger$
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Jean-Luc Nancy

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823275922

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823275922.001.0001

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The Banality of Heidegger

Jean-Luc Nancy

Jeff Fort

Fordham University Press

Rather than asking about the provenance and place of Judaism in the West, Heidegger posits a single and continuous process in which the metaphysics of beings passes through its historical epochs. There are two schematic reasons for this lack of inquiry. The first has to do with Heidegger’s philosophical reading of history, which precluded any consideration of a development as a succession of events. The second involves the history of Judaism in relation to Christianity as the latter developed out of it. Christianity from the beginning set about denying its origins in Judaism, for the sake of a new beginning that, while distinct, is at least analogous to Heidegger’s thinking of the historiality of being. One aspect of this repudiation is an attempt to displace Judaism entirely, and to make Christianity the only true religion, thereby associating the Jews with a curse and a misfortune, which then becomes the curse of the West itself, one that must be destroyed. At the same time, there are indications in Heidegger of another understanding of Christianity that might have allowed a different grasp of its history, and of history itself, in its differentiated and disordered succession of events, irreducible to a single history of being.

Keywords:   anti-Semitism, Christendom, Christian rejection of Judaism, Christianity, gemellity of Judaism and Christianity, Heidegger, historiality, rabbinical Judaism

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