Author: Jason LAM Tsz Shun, Research Fellow in Insititute of Sino-Christian Studies, Adjunct Professor in School of Humanities, Tongji University.
Formal indication is regarded as the core concept of Heidegger’s early thought, which is mentioned systematically for the first time in his posthumous work Phenomenology of Religious Life. This article looks into Heidegger’s own account of this work in his course “Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion” (1920-21) of this work and explores how he constructed his “methodology” of phenomenology. We find that the central idea was illustrated by Heidegger’s interpretation of Pauline epistles and that many of the important notions were carried forward to his renowned work Being and Time. Moreover, the initiative for this academic direction can be traced back to Heidegger’s Habilitationsschrift on Duns Scotus (1916-19), which is deeply intertwined with Heidegger’s early interest in medieval Christian thought. This religious backdrop provided an impetus to the development of his thought and the “method” of formal indication can even be detected in “Phenomenology and Theology,” which appeared right after Being and Time was published. Seen against these, it is reasonable to conclude that the thought of this influential thinker has often been found to have an ambiguous relationship to Christian theology.
formal indication, phenomenology, religion, history, being
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