“Destruction Theology” An Overview of the Origins and Nature of Early Heidegger’s Religious Thinking

Document Type : Research Paper


Associate Professor of Department of Philosophy, University of Tabriz


The turbulent social, political and cultural situation in Europe (and especially Germany) in the early twentieth century led young Heidegger to the question “what is the role and responsibility of the intellectual in society?” He maintained, in this regard, an important role on his own personal religious education, convictions and interests, because he believed that by creating interaction between religion and philosophy one can shape the unique intellectual and cultural heritage for the whole people of Europe, and thereby, play his own responsibility as an intellectual against that unfortunate situation. Accordingly, his response to this situation was Destruction Theology. It enables him to transform the past (i.e. the early Christian tradition) into both a critical measure of the present (i.e. uncertain philosophical and religious tradition of the west) and a possibility for the future life (i.e. authenticity).Therefore, the aim of this paper is to show that Heidegger’s solution to create a unique intellectual and cultural heritage, which eventually led to the formation of destruction theology, causes, on the one hand, an empathy or dialogue with the early Christian tradition and some of its great characters (such as Paul, Augustine, Eckhart, Luther, Schleiermacher and Kierkegaard) , and provides background, on the other hand, for serious criticism of traditional philosophy and theology (or what Heidegger calls the Onto-Theo-Logical nature of the west). 



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