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Heidegger and the Jews: The Black Notebooks

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Heidegger and the Jews: The Black Notebooks

Donatella Di Cesare

ISBN: 978-1-509-50386-5 August 2018 Polity 288 Pages

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Philosophers have long struggled to reconcile Martin Heidegger's involvement in Nazism with his status as one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century. The recent publication of his Black Notebooks has reignited fierce debate on the subject. These thousand-odd pages of jotted observations profoundly challenge our image of the quiet philosopher's exile in the Black Forest, revealing the shocking extent of his anti-Semitism for the first time.

For much of the philosophical community, the Black Notebooks have been either used to discredit Heidegger or seen as a bibliographical detail irrelevant to his thought. Yet, in this new book, renowned philosopher Donatella Di Cesare argues that Heidegger's "metaphysical anti-Semitism" was a central part of his philosophical project. Within the context of the Nuremberg race laws, Heidegger felt compelled to define Jewishness and its relationship to his concept of Being. Di Cesare shows that Heidegger saw the Jews as the agents of a modernity that had disfigured the spirit of the West. In a deeply disturbing extrapolation, he presented the Holocaust as both a means for the purification of Being and the Jews' own "self-destruction": a process of death on an industrialized scale that was the logical conclusion of the acceleration in technology they themselves had brought about.

Situating Heidegger's anti-Semitism firmly within the context of his thought, this groundbreaking work will be essential reading for students and scholars of philosophy and history as well as the many readers interested in Heidegger's life, work, and legacy.

Foreword page vii

I Between Politics and Philosophy 1

1. A Media Affair 1

2. A Nazi by Chance . . . 3

3. Biographical Detail, or Philosophical Nexus? 4

4. Heidegger, an Anti-Semite? 6

5. What Has Been Left Unsaid about the Jewish Question 8

6. The Black Notebooks 9

7. Reductio ad Hitlerum: On the Posthumous Trial of Heidegger 11

8. A Calling to Account? 13

9. From Derrida to Schürmann: Toward an Anarchic Reading 14

10. Taming Heidegger 18

11. The Exclusion of Nazism from Philosophy 19

12. Philosophical Commitment and Political Decision 20

II Philosophy and Hatred of the Jews 22

1. Luther, Augustine, and “the Jews and Their Lies” 22

2. The “Jewish Question” in Philosophy 26

3. Kant and the “Euthanasia of Judaism” 32

4. Hegel and the Jew without Property 36

5. “Anti-anti-Semite?” Nietzsche, the Antichrist, and the Falsification of Values 46 6. Lies and Fakery: The Non-being of the Jew in Mein Kampf 59

III The Question of Being and the Jewish Question 65

1. The Night of Being 65

2. In An Esoteric Tone . . . 68

3. Anti-Semitism and Never-dispelled Doubts 69

4. Metaphors of an Absence 75

5. The Jew and the Oblivion of Being 77

6. The Greeks, the Germans – and the Jews 80

7. The Rootless Agents of Acceleration 84

8. Against the Jewish Intellectuals 88

9. Geist and ruach: The “Original Fire” and the Spectral Breath 93

10. Machination and Power 96 11. The Desertification of the Earth 99

12. The Apocalyptic and the “Prince of This World” 101

13. The Deracification of Peoples 103

14. Race or Rank? 106 15. The Metaphysics of Blood 110

16. “My ‘Attack’ on Husserl” 115

17. Heidegger, Jünger, and the Topology of the Jew 123

18. The Enemy: Heidegger versus Schmitt 129

19. Polemos and Total War 142

20. Weltjudentum: The Jewish World Conspiracy 148

21. Judeo-Bolshevism 154

22. Weltlos – Without World: The Jew and the Stone 161

23. Metaphysical Anti-Semitism 164

24. The Jew and the “Purification” of Being 169

25. “What Is It about No-thing?” 172

IV After Auschwitz 175

1. Bellum judaicum 175

2. To Abdicate to Silence? 178

3. “The Production of Corpses” and Ontic Indifference 184

4. The Ontological Massacre: Parmenides and Auschwitz 188

5. “Do They Die? They Do Not Die, They Are Liquidated. . .” 191

6. Positionality, Technology, Crime 193

7. The Northeast Wind: Heading Toward Defeat 196

8. Selbstvernichtung: The Shoah and the “Self-Annihilation” of the Jews 199

9. The Betrayal of the “German Essence” 202

10. If Germany is a Lager, Then Who Is the Victim? 206

11. The “Question of Guilt” and the Crime Against the Germans 211

12. The “Note for Jackasses”: Against the Jewish Prophecy 212

13. World Democracy and the Dictatorship of Monotheism 218

14. “An Old Spirit of Revenge Makes its Way upon the Earth” 220

15. Whether It Is Possible to Forgive a Rabbi 223

16. Cousin Gross and Cousin Klein: Jews and Family Resemblances 224

17. The Oblivion of the Jew: The Hidden Debt 229

18. Where Paul is Hidden 233

19. The Future of Being and the Hebrew Name 238

20. A Pagan Landscape 240

21. The Other Beginning, the Beginning of the Other: Anarchy, Birth 241

22. An Angel in the Black Forest: Apocalypse and Revolution 243

Notes 248

Index 303

"Donatella Di Cesare’s book restores philosophical balance to the debate on Heidegger and the Jews. It is a tour de force combining intellectual history and philosophical reflection on both the man and the thinker that goes well beyond the all-too-routine alternative of rabid condemnation or doggedly blinkered defense."
Babette Babich, Fordham University