Farin, Ingo and Jeff Malpas, Eds. Reading Heidegger's Black Notebooks: 1931-1941

By Pietropaoli, Matthew | The Review of Metaphysics, March 2017 | Go to article overview

Farin, Ingo and Jeff Malpas, Eds. Reading Heidegger's Black Notebooks: 1931-1941


Pietropaoli, Matthew, The Review of Metaphysics


FARIN, Ingo and Jeff Malpas, eds. Reading Heidegger's Black Notebooks: 1931-1941. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2016. xiv + 361pp. Cloth, $38.00--Reading Heidegger's Black Notebooks: 1931-1941, a compilation of nineteen essays penned by various scholars, tackles the complex and controversial topics contained in Heidegger's Black Notebooks, his private journal entries published in German in 2014. Reading Heidegger's Black Notebooks is divided into four parts: (1) a discussion on the appropriate hermeneutical methods for reading the Black Notebooks-, (2) a situating of the Black Notebooks within the larger context of Heidegger's thought and work; (3) a set of essays on concerns specific to Heidegger's thought on Jews and Christians; (4) an examination of the connection between "Philosophy, Politics, and Technology." (This division is not airtight. In fact, many essays discuss several such categories, if not all of them, especially the issue of Heidegger's thoughts on the Jews.)

In section 1, the first point of note is that Black Notebooks "is inseparable from other aspects of his overall thought, such as 'the place of Being."' We see also that the Black Notebooks represent a transition in Heidegger from ontic to more ontological philosophy and thus lay the ground for proper thinking. We see next how Heidegger's "deconstruction" of the history of metaphysics and its attendant interpretations of being led him toward Nazism as a new beginning outside this Western philosophical tradition.

Within section 2, we see that in the Black Notebooks Heidegger made clear his growing frustration with Being and Time, although he still wished to ponder its guiding issue: "the emergence and thus ... the temporality of Being" and "the meaning of existence itself." We likewise see that even for a writer as nontraditional as Heidegger, the Black Notebooks still stand out as "entirely different." Finally, this section explores how the theme of the event and its fourfold structure is central to the Black Notebooks, albeit in less poetic form than the later Heidegger.

Section 3 directly addresses the Jewish issues in the Black Notebooks. Heidegger's statements on the rootless, global phenomenon he labeled a "World-Jewry" is discussed frequently. In turn, it is shown that Heidegger's contentions about the homelessness of the Jews is actually, paradoxically, a frequent theme of Jewish thought. Likewise, we see how Heidegger connected the Jews to the issue of modern technology and how he tried to understand them in light of his Germancentric mode of thinking. Finally, we read how in the Black Notebooks Heidegger wrestled with his Christian faith and its connection to the Western metaphysics he critiques. …

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