Gatherings: The Heidegger Circle Annual, 3 (2013): 30-49.
On Heidegger's Reading of Saint Paul
In this paper, I would like to focus on the experience of faith in the proto-Christian life, within the context of the young Heidegger's thought. My thesis is that the notion of faith, within this context, rep- resents the paradigmatic figure of the very type of knowledge that Heidegger strives to describe and unfold through his phenomenological hermeneutics of facticity. This specific type of knowledge is called, in the young Heidegger's words, "formal-indicative" or "based on formal indications" and he considers it to be the most originary grounding for any originary and authentic philosophy. In order to understand the philosophical implications and scope of this paradigmatic use of the experience of faith in Heidegger's lectures, I follow three steps:
1. The first step is a presentation of some important features of Hei- degger's hermeneutics of factical life. These remarks are impor- tant to understand what exactly the proto-Christian experience is a paradigm of. I mainly insist on two fundamental, although a bit technical, notions that sustain the rest of my analysis: the notion of "formal indication" ( formale Anzeige) and the notion of enactment-sense (Vollzugssinn).
2. The second step is a description of the phenomenon of faith, as Heidegger understands it in the light of those two notions (for- mal indication and enactment-sense). In addition to representing the original orientation for Heidegger's phenomenology of life in
general, they provide him with the specific criteria that make it possible to recognize, in the experience of faith, an originary type of pre-theoretical knowledge.1
3. The third step is an analysis of how this peculiar knowledge, i.e., faith's knowledge, is incarnated in two fundamental Chris- tian ways of behaving: "serving" and "waiting." According to Heidegger, these are the two fundamental characteristics of the proto-experience of Christianity, as described by Paul. But through them we are also able to see how the authentic sense of factical life in general shows up.
I . ENACTMENT-SENSE AND FORMAL INDICATION IN THE HERMENEUTICS OF LIFE
As early as 1919, Heidegger stated that the vocation of philosophy is to be an "originary pre-theoretical science,"2 capable of accounting for the disquieting mobility of factical life, without fixing it in advance within a formal and theoretical frame. The whole challenge, in this regard, is to find concepts that express the constantly moving significance of the phenomenon of life. In other words, Heidegger looks for concepts that do not immobilize, devitalize, or de-historicize the lived event of sense (GA 56-57: 74/59, 89-90/69-70, 116/88-89; GA 58: 77, 78). That does not mean that a phenomenological interpretation of life is totally open and without any landmarks. It certainly requires antici- pations or pre-conceptions...