jesus as a reconfiguring (heideggerian) work of art

If you’ve ever wondered what an atheist jewish heideggerian philosopher’s take on the Gospel of John would be, here is where to listen. This is a podcast of Hubert Dreyfus’s latest philosophy class at Berkeley.

It was fascinating for an ex-theologian like myself to hear a completely different perspective on this age-old text. And i must say that Dreyfus did exactly what i think we need to do with religion nowadays: he completely ignored the dogmatic claims and re-interpreted the story along completely different, heideggerian-aesthetic, lines. Jesus becomes a work of art that reconfigures how we view the world: he is the creator (as opposed to producer) of the world and at the same time inhabits that world because he is showing us (as the light that shines in a darkness that does not understand it) a new way of seeing the very world he also lives in.

Dreyfus is taking Jesus and the christian religion (at least the johannine version of it) very seriously, trying to understand exactly what it means and how it has changed us. This seriousness does not, however, take seriously what the current crop of christians claim is the serious stuff. The californian philosopher takes what he thinks is important seriously. Religion becomes important and useful for helping us move forward – nor for holding us back.

Dreyfus’ heideggerian use of christianity has very little to do with a hegelian, speculative use: Dreyfus is not trying to find the fundamental truth of christianity and use that to interpret the entire world: he is going the other way around and simply peaking into christianity from an outside perspective to see if this old religion – actually a specific textual witness to it – has any small insights to offer us. There is no grand meta-narrative posturing going on here, no metaphysical structuring of the entire world based upon a single (more or less) christian truth, only a healthy philosopher’s curiosity at an old text which, in his capable hands, shines forth fresh light into our modern world.

Advertisements

5 Comments to “jesus as a reconfiguring (heideggerian) work of art”

  1. Did you tell us what he said? If so, I missed it.

    Your link “here” doesn’t work.

  2. here is a link to the webcasts page:
    http://webcast.berkeley.edu/course_details.php?seriesid=1906978407

    and no, i didnt go into details abt wt he said except that:

    “he completely ignored the dogmatic claims and re-interpreted the story along completely different, heideggerian-aesthetic, lines. Jesus becomes a work of art that reconfigures how we view the world: he is the creator (as opposed to producer) of the world and at the same time inhabits that world because he is showing us (as the light that shines in a darkness that does not understand it) a new way of seeing the very world he also lives in.”

  3. Thank you.

    Are you beginning to choose Reason over Mythology?

  4. i would say “_r_eason over Mythology” or reasonnable Mythology 🙂

  5. Is not all Mythology reasonable?

    Is not Religion/Mythology wired into us by evolution because Etihcs – the right way to live – is more efficient at producing offspring?

    Is that not why different religions have very similar Ethics?

Say something interesting

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: