Salvatore Spina - “Sacrificing for Being”: Opfer and Seinsfrage in Heidegger’s Black Notebooks

This episode of our podcast is a paper from Salvatore Spina (University of Messina). This recording comes from the ‘JBSP 50th Anniversary Conference: On the History of Being – After the Black Notebooks’ (2019) which was held in celebration of fifty years of the ‘Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology’.

 

ABSTRACT: Taking Heidegger’s Black Notebooks as a starting point and moving beyond it, the aim of my paper is to show that the question of sacrifice has in Heidegger’s philosophy an ontological meaning. At the beginning we will start analyzing the religious and political meanings of the concept ‘sacrifice’ and try to show how they represent in Heidegger’s thought only a preliminary characterization. The first part of my work will demonstrate how Heidegger, despite his religious education, releases the interpretation of sacrifice from its Christian characterization. In his own words: “Opfer freilich klingt prahlerisch und christlich. Anderes ist gemeint” (GA 94, p. 373). At the time of his rectorate at the University of Freiburg, Heidegger uses the word sacrifice in a political meaning: it names the way to think a university’s renewal. In the Black Notebooks he writes: “Die neue Universität kommt nur, wenn wir uns für sie opfern” (GA 94, p. 111). After the resignation from the rectorate of Freiburg university and his progressively more critical stance to the Nazi Party, and in conjunction with the ontologization of Heidegger’s thought, the concept of sacrifice assumes a new characterization, thereby losing its political meaning. Now it has an ontological meaning and names the way of the relationship between the human being (Dasein) and Being (Sein). Sacrifice is the name used by Heidegger to indicate one of the moods (Stimmungen) of the human being in relation to Being and its Event (Ereignis des Seins). In this paper I will try to show the development of the concept of sacrifice in Heidegger’s philosophy and to underline its ontological characterization. 

 

‘Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology: Special Issue – Heidegger and the Black Notebooks’ (Volume 51, Issue 2, 2020). Other papers presented at JBSP 50th Anniversary Conference have been reworked and published as essays in this special edition: https://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/jbsp-volume-51-issue-two-2020-heidegger-special-issue/

 

The ‘JBSP 50th Anniversary Conference: On the History of Being – After the Black Notebooks’ (2019) celebrated 50 years of the journal. The British Society for Phenomenology held a three-day conference at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester, UK from 31 May to 2 June, 2019. The aim of the event was to examine the contribution of Heidegger’s Schwarze Hefte (Black Notebooks) to an understanding of the question of the history of being: https://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/anniversary-conference-2019/

 

The British Society for Phenomenology is a not-for-profit organisation set up with the intention of promoting research and awareness in the field of Phenomenology and other cognate arms of philosophical thought. Currently, the society accomplishes these aims through its journal, events, and podcast. Why not find out more, join the society, and subscribe to our journal the JBSP? https://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/

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