The NY Times has a review of Faye’s book on Heidegger (which I still haven’t read, but made some comments about Romano’s review of Faye’s book here):
Faye’s achievement is to demonstrate, in these texts, the very fusion of man and thinker that Heidegger was later so concerned to deny. Yet the seminars and speeches Faye analyzes date mainly from the period 1933-35 — that is, the year of Heidegger’s rectorship and just afterward, when his Nazism was flagrant. To show that he remained a Nazi until 1945, or even for the rest of his life, would require finding similar kinds of propaganda in Heidegger’s work throughout those years. But unlike the seminars Faye has unearthed, Heidegger’s writing from that later period is well known; and aside from a few notorious instances, overt Nazi rhetoric simply isn’t there.
In order to bolster his case, then, Faye must resort to some dubious methods. Quoting a memorandum written by Hitler in December 1932, Faye suggests that its language and ideas resemble Heidegger’s. Since “it appears materially impossible that the Führer could have written entirely by himself” all his speeches and memos, Faye goes on, and since “we do not know precisely what Heidegger’s activities were from July 1932 to April 1933” — well, Faye doesn’t quite spell it out, but he is clearly implying that Heidegger was functioning as Hitler’s ghostwriter.
But the weakness of this inference only underscores the problems with Faye’s overall case. What Faye really wants is not to make us think about Heidegger differently, but to excuse us from having to think about him at all, by expelling him from the ranks of the philosophers into the cesspool where Nazi ideologues like Alfred Rosenberg dwell. “In the work of Martin Heidegger,” Faye concludes, “the very principles of philosophy are abolished.”
Read the whole review (and a review of a new book about Arendt) here. Anyway, for some reason this reminded me of a debate between Heidegger, Hans Jonas and William Richardson. In a paper entitled “Heidegger and Theology,” Jonas argued rather forcefully that Heidegger’s thought was “profoundly pagan.” The paper was a version of a talk Jonas gave during a conference on hermeneutics at Drew University in 1964. Heidegger couldn’t attend, but sent his talk by post. The paper was later published as “The Problem of a Non-Objectifying Thinking and Speaking in Today’s Theology–Some Pointers to its Major Aspects,” and can be found in The Piety of Thinking. Jonas’s paper convened the conference and was a response to Heidegger’s letter (which was read at the conference by someone else). Later that year (or month) William Richardson responded to Jonas’s paper ata talk at Fordham University in which he defended Christian readings of Heidegger. This paper was later published as “Heidegger and God–and Professor Jonas.” Anyhow, at the conclusion of his response to Jonas, Richardson mentions a “gentlemen” who, at a party or reception in 1962, reminded Richardson that Heidegger’s “prolific year” of 1943 (as Richardson himself had referred to it in his book on Heidegger) was also the year that person had been in a Jewish POW camp. This person, although unnamed, was most likely Levinas. Richardson notes, in the paper, that someone else–with the same experience–asked him later on: “What can you hope for as a Christian from the thought of that God-less man?” Richardson’s reply is something like this: there is truth in Heidegger and wherever there is truth there is God. Richardson closes the article by arguing that whether Heidegger sees it or not, in the clearing in which Heidegger awaits language the voice of God, wholly transcendent, can make itself heard. It is this that Jonas (and Levinas) disagree with; one cannot hear the voice of God in the clearing and should instead answer the call of the human beyond being. Anyway, an interesting dispute to follow through the three thinkers.