Heidegger’s Apophaticism: Unsaying the Said and the Silence of the Last God

Part of the Palgrave Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion book series (PFPR)


In this chapter, Wolfson reflects on the impact of negative theology in Heidegger’s later thinking from the vantage point of the overcoming of ontotheology as preparation for the appearance of the last god. Dasein is accorded the special role of guarding the clearing wherein language and being are juxtaposed in the sameness of their difference. The showing-saying of language thus exposes the being that remains hidden precisely as a result of its being exposed. The poet is privileged as the purveyor of the mystery of language that bears witness to the breakaway through which being becomes word. By saying the unsaid in unsaying the said, the poem mimics the simultaneous disclosure and concealment that is characteristic of the truth of being. Poetic language proffers a context wherein the withholding bestowal of the nihilating nonground is dramatized. The example of poetry exemplifies that language more generally is disclosive of nothing, which denotes not the negation of something positive, but the advent of the retreat of the appropriating event that precedes the fissure into being and nonbeing.

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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of California, Santa BarbaraGoletaUSA

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