The History of Beyng

The History of Beyng

The History of Beyng

The History of Beyng

Synopsis

The History of Beyng belongs to a series of Martin Heidegger's reflections from the 1930s that concern how to think about being not merely as a series of occurrences, but as essentially historical or fundamentally as an event. Beginning with Contributions to Philosophy (Of the Event), these texts are important for their meditations on the oblivion and abandonment of being, politics, and race, and for their incisive critique of power, force, and violence. Originally published in 1998 as volume 69 of Heidegger's Complete Works, this English translation opens new avenues for understanding the trajectory of Heidegger's thinking during this crucial time.

Excerpt

The present text offers a translation of Martin Heidegger’s reflections Die Geschichte des Seyns, composed during the period 1938–40, and of the treatise Κοινόν. Out of the History of Beyng, which dates from 1939 to 1940. Together these are published under the title Die Geschichte des Seyns as volume 69 of the Gesamtausgabe, the “Complete Edition” of Heidegger’s works. the German edition first appeared in 1998, with a second, revised edition, published in 2012. the present translation was prepared on the basis of the 1998 edition and subsequently revised to incorporate several corrections in the second edition and one correction for a projected third edition.

With regard to its philosophical significance, The History of Beyng belongs to a series of reflections dating from the mid- to late 1930s that begin with the Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis) (1936–38) and are continued in Besinnung (1938–39). All of these reflections, which have an exploratory and often tentative character, are concerned with thinking “being” (Sein) in a non-metaphysical sense as “event” (Ereignis). in each of these texts, Heidegger generally uses Seyn, an archaic spelling of Sein, to mark this understanding of being as event. Accordingly, we have used “beyng,” an archaic spelling of “being,” to render Seyn throughout the present translation. in addition to this endeavor to think “beyng” as event, the reflections contained in The History of Beyng are especially important for their meditations on the oblivion and abandonment of beyng intrinsic to beyng’s history, for their remarks on politics and “race,” and above all for their incisive critique of power, force, and violence. This critique of power, it may be recalled, arrives in the wake of Heidegger’s monumental lecture courses on Nietzsche and the “will to power,” lectures delivered during the years 1936–39. the treatise Κοινόν. Out of the History of Beyng, written during the period of the outbreak of World War ii, comprises a reflection on the contemporary historical actuality from the perspective of the history of beyng and is notable for its analyses of “machination” (Machenschaft) as the configuring of power in the era of modernity and of communism as the culminating form of such machination.

On account of its exploratory and tentative character as a text in which Heidegger is in search of a language able to articulate a nonmetaphysical thinking of beyng as event, the volume The History of Beyng is particularly resistant to translation. Several translation issues that run throughout the text deserve to be noted here at the outset:

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