The Early Heidegger And Medieval Philosophy: Phenomenology For The Godforsaken
The Early Heidegger And Medieval Philosophy: Phenomenology For The Godforsaken

The Early Heidegger And Medieval Philosophy: Phenomenology For The Godforsaken

The Catholic University of America Press
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The Early Heidegger and Medieval Philosophy is a major interpretive study of Heidegger's complex relationship to medieval philosophy. S. J. McGrath's contribution is historical and biographical as well as philosophical, examining how the enthusiastic defender of the Aristotelian-Scholastic tradition became the great destroyer of metaphysical theology.

This book provides an informative and comprehensive examination of Heidegger's changing approach to medieval sourcesfrom the seminary studies of Bonaventure to the famous phenomenological destructions of medieval ontology. McGrath argues that the mid-point of this development, and the high point of Heidegger's reading of medieval philosophy, is the widely neglected habilitation thesis on Scotus and speculative grammar. He shows that this neo-Kantian retrieval of phenomenological moments in the metaphysics of Scotus and Thomas of Erfurt marks the beginning of a turn from metaphysics to existential phenomenology. McGrath's careful hermeneutical reconstruction of this complex trajectory uncovers the roots of Heidegger's critique of ontotheology in a Luther-inspired defection from his largely Scholastic formation.

In the end McGrath argues that Heidegger fails to do justice to the spirit of medieval philosophy. The book sheds new light on a long-debated question of the early Heidegger's theological significance. Far from a neutral phenomenology, Heidegger's masterwork, Being and Time, is shown to be a philosophically questionable overturning of the medieval theological paradigm.


S. J. McGrath is associate professor of philosophy at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada.


McGrath's book is an impressive study of Heidegger's philosophy, which sheds light on almost all aspects of the early Heidegger and undoubtedly the book is an important contribution to the understanding of the relationship between Heidegger's philosophy and theology. Christian Lotz, The Medieval Review

[An] insightful new study. . . . It is no simple task to explicate Heidegger's philosophy early, middle, or late in terms that will render it somewhat accessible to readers while also supplying the backdrop to an argument about how that philosophy ought to be evaluated. McGrath succeeds admirably in this regard; his book is one of the most clearly written, lucid treatments of Heidegger to have been published in recent years. Gavin T. Colvert, The Thomist

Over the last fifteen years or so, inquiry into Heidegger has been greatly enriched by studies of Heidegger's early development. . . . McGrath's study provides a useful addition to this body of scholarship, extending our understanding of Heidegger's relation to medieval theology, while offering a novel critical perspective on the course of this relation. Glenn Branch, Philosophy in Review

McGrath offers a detailed analysis of Heidegger's early work as a way of defining his lifelong preoccupations with specific philosophical questions, especially the question concerning the meaning of God and Godforsakenness for understanding the shifts in/of his thinking. . . . McGrath's book proves itself to be one of the most insightful studies done on the early Heidegger before 1923. It offers a consistently reliable and often insightful account of Heidegger's engagement with Carl Braig, Franz Brentano, Duns Scotus, Thomas Aquinas, the medieval mystics, and the Catholic world of Freiburg in the years before WWI. Moreover, McGrath's helpful reading of Luther and of Luther's influence on Heidegger. . . Offers a model of hermeneutic care and rigor. Charles Bambach, American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

A systematic and detailed dismantling of Heidegger' deconstruction of medieval scholasticism. . . . Substantial and novel, this work offers a significant and timely

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