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Religions 2019, 10(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010015

The Inversion of Mysticism—Gelassenheit and the Secret of the Open in Heidegger

Department of Culture and Learning, Södertörn University, 141 89 Huddinge, Sweden
Received: 2 October 2018 / Revised: 18 December 2018 / Accepted: 24 December 2018 / Published: 28 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phenomenological Studies of Religious Life)
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Abstract

The article explores the topic of Gelassenheit (releasement) in Heidegger, through the lens of the ambiguous role of Christian mysticism in general and Eckhart in particular in and for his thinking. In an analysis of how mysticism appears in his early lectures on religion, it explains why he is critical of this concept and of how it is commonly understood. It also gives reasons for why we too should be cautious in using it to describe his position in his later writings where he explicitly reconnects to themes and concepts from Eckhart. The text provides a critical rehearsal of Eckhart’s understanding of both “Abgeschiedenheit” (detachment) and “Gelassenheit” and how Heidegger relates to it both in his early lectures and in his later essays. Ultimately it outlines a phenomenological understanding of what is commonly referred to as a “mystical” comportment more along the lines of a heightened openness and awareness, in Heidegger’s words as a “releasement toward things and an openness to the secret”. Thus, instead of seeing Heidegger’s later writings as a sort of crypto-mysticism, the text seeks to show how his critical appropriation of Eckhart explicitly points beyond a standard dichotomy between the rational and the mystical, in an effort to develop a comportment of thinking than can respond to the demand of modern technological predicament. View Full-Text
Keywords: Heidegger; Eckhart; mysticism; Gelassenheit (releasement); open; secret Heidegger; Eckhart; mysticism; Gelassenheit (releasement); open; secret
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Ruin, H. The Inversion of Mysticism—Gelassenheit and the Secret of the Open in Heidegger. Religions 2019, 10, 15.

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