Volume 21, Issue 1, Spring 2016
Faith in the Web of Evanescent Meaning
Reading Heidegger through the Cross
On Eberhard Jüngel’s Heideggerian Ontology
This article is concerned with how a particular concept of ontology switched from theistic to atheistic to theistic again due to the influences and disciples of Martin Heidegger. It is agreed that Heidegger took aspects of Christian thought, namely from Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther, and Søren Kierkegaard, stripping them of their relation to God and instead orientating them to nothingness. Despite Heidegger’s methodological atheism, his ontology was taken up by a number of theologians such as Ernst Fuchs and Rudolf Bultmann, who in their turn influenced Eberhard Jüngel, who in turn mentioned the direct influence that Heidegger has on his thought. Whilst Jüngel acknowledges his debts to Heidegger in the area of ontology, Jüngel also seeks to incorporate the history of God into ontology, where the history of God as Trinity is defined by the passivity of Christ on the cross, and how that event redefines evil’s work in nothingness. This article initially explores how Heidegger formulated his account of ontology, then explores how Jüngel re-Christianized Heidegger’s ontology; evaluating what can be drawn from these shifts about the relationship between ontology and history.