The Happening of Ereignis: The Presence of Greek Ritual in Heidegger's Concept of Enowning
There is general agreement among scholars that Martin Heidegger’s philosophy underwent a major “Turn” (Kehre) after the publication of his seminal work Sein und Zeit (1927) and that the driving concept in this process was the notion of Ereignis. Heidegger elaborated this concept in two books written between 1936 and 1942: Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis) and Das Ereignis. As one commentator has observed, it appears evident that Heidegger became unsatisfied with thinking about time and space in terms of Dasein’s fundamental temporality and spatiality as he uncovered these in Being and Time. After the “turn,” he was more interested in the “time-space” (Zeit-Raum) that unfolds and enfolds Dasein. His focus shifted to the time-space of Being itself, this free and open and giving expanse, this “play space,”“leeway,” or “elbow room” (Spielraum) in which all beings, including Dasein, are let be and allowed to flourish in the first place. The later Heidegger attempted to think time-space, what he called “this puzzling onefold,” in a more primordial way than he was able to in Being and Time, but he approached this by offering evocative indications rather than a sustained analysis. (Capobianco 1) Unlike the earlier foundational concept of Sein (Being) in Being and Time, which demarcated the parameters of an ontology of Being, Ereignis is a dynamic concept, one that seeks to capture the emergence of Being, its movement within the world. As Heidegger tells us at the beginning of Beiträge zur Philosophie, “unausmessbar ist der Reichtum des kehrigen Bezugs des Seyns zu dem ihm ereigneten Da-sein, unerrechenbar die Fülle der Ereignung” (7). Ereignis makes Being “come to pass or arrive, in its own way, in its own space and time” (Gans 130). As Julian Young further notes, Ereignis is the happening of truth and is associated with related terms such as “the clearing,”“being,”“the being of beings,” “presence,” or “presencing.” But it is also an act of appropriation, an experience: “the ‘event’ appropriates us. When we are aware of this appropriation, we have an Ereignis ‘experience’” (106).
Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies
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