Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How to be Religious

7/4/2012—Happy Independence Day.

There is a new translation of Martin Heidegger’s great work, Contributions to Philosophy (Of the Event), by Richard Rojcewicz and Daniela Vallega-Neu. If you want to glimpse the future, look at it.

I had tried years ago to read Contributions in an earlier translation and it had proved impossible. Richard’s new translation is marvelous. You hear Heidegger’s voice.

My teacher says of Heidegger, he is showing us here a way to yet be religious. And that is indeed the issue. Heidegger lays aside all of our stale religious issues—the existence of God/the rational life. Heidegger tells us, the “genuine believers” are the “questioners.” (12).

I want to share with you a public document. It is the course description of Religion and Law and Philosophy of Law at Duquesne this coming year. It shows you what is possible under Heidegger’s influence. The courses will be taught by Robert Taylor.
I am delighted to announce that I will be offering two courses sought after by students for this coming academic year (2012-2013): Religion and Law (Fall Semester) and Philosophy of Law (Spring Semester). Each is a two-credit course with a take-home exam. For Religion and Law, no books will have to be purchased as materials will be supplied.

No culture or society exists or has existed without religious foundations. Therefore, in this course, we will consider various universal religions of the world as they shape the ways of life of a people (not limited to, but including their way of lawyering and law itself).

But for us today, religion either comes far too easy or much too hard. Accordingly, this course explores this state of affairs, particularly as set forth in the thinking of one of the greatest thinkers of our modern age, indeed of any age, the philosopher-poet Martin Heidegger.

In Philosophy of Law, we will consider the way or paths by which we see and that what we see is, in turn, determined by how we see from the paths we are on (including, but not limited to law). This will require the purchase of a book by the philosopher Martin Heidegger entitled “Country Path Conversations”. (Able to be purchased on or can be ordered in our bookstore)

Let me put the foundations of both courses quite simply. In Religion and Law we ask the question: To what do we actually belong? In Philosophy of Law, on the other hand, we focus on the question: Just how do we belong to that which we actually belong? Both questions are what determine what holds sway and thus governs us as we human beings pursue our path of life in general and law in particular.

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