Gottwesen and the De-Divinization of the Last God: Heidegger’s Meditation on the Strange and Incalculable

  • Elliot R. Wolfson


Heidegger’s last god marks the transition from the end of metaphysics to the other beginning through the twofold movement of being’s bestowing withdrawal, the self-concealment that is the unconcealment of the refusal. Through a close reading of passages in the Black Notebooks, I argue that the last God signifies the fissure of being—the space of oscillation—that opens and closes itself in relation to those who practice restraint. Most notably, the epoch of the last god signifies the time when the gods will be over and done. In response to Nietzsche’s death of god, the last god is the god after there are no more gods, the god depleted of godhood, the god that is neither transcendent nor immanent. Those who would use Heidegger as a foundation to construct a new theological edifice have not grasped the collapse of the polarity of theism and atheism intimated by the intimation of the last god. It is in the nonshowing that the essence of the godship shows itself, for there is no reality beneath the veneer of appearance; being is nothing but the appearance behind which there is nothing but the appearance of being.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elliot R. Wolfson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

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