Intersubjectivity and openness to change

The work of the German philosopher Michael Theunissen spans a forty-year period from 1958, when he published his doctoral thesis The Concept of Earnestness in Søren Kierkegaard, to the present. [1] His general intellectual trajectory can be divided into four loosely distinct phases, developing from an early interest in existentialism, via a period focused on communication theory, through his Hegelian works of the 1970s, on to his last writings, which mark a return to Kierkegaardinfluenced thought, now mediated through a commitment to hermeneutics and communication theory. The work most widely known in English, The Other (1965; translated 1984), dates from the second period. Two books, Hegelʼs Doctrine of Absolute Spirit as a Theologico-political Treatise (1970) and Being and Appearance (1978), are the major products of his Hegelian period.

Theunissen describes his position in German philosophy as a simultaneous commitment to Kierkegaardʼs philosophy of interiority, as the reality ʻwhich we ourselves areʼ, and to Marxʼs materialist dialectics, as the ʻreality of our world.ʼ [2] In this regard, he explores the interface between two different but often related areas of German thought. His ideas are situated in the margins of critical theory, as an unorthodox brand of neo-Marxism. But he also retains an attachment to the radical Protestant theology of Kierkegaard and his German interpreters, for the Kierkegaardian quest for true subjectivity forms the basis of his social critique. If the critical theories of Adorno and Horkheimer may be considered a negative ontology of social phenomena, in which determinate negation charts social and cultural domination, Theunissenʼs thought can be viewed, in a Kierkegaardian–Marxist sense, as a negative theology of social being. In contrast to the partial anti-subjectivism of Adorno, Benjamin and Horkheimer, Theunissenʼs thought links the critical potential of socio-political reflection with the vision of redeemed, integral subjectivity.

This connecting of Kierkegaardʼs ontological interiority with Marxʼs political economy leads to a project in which the claim of the interior, as self-reflexivity, is mediated with the demand for socio-critical determinacy. The interior, as a given fact of being, is radicalized in an existential critique of social life. Kierkegaardʼs concept of despair is made into the basis of social reflection: ʻIn its despairingness the subject feels the weight of what has happened to it.ʼ [3] In this, Theunissen extends the movement towards a vision of radical interiority – the politicization of Kierkegaard – which is already present in Walter Benjamin, among others, and which, despite the anti-subjectivist turn in Adornoʼs thought, exists as a recurring undercurrent in the first-generation Frankfurt School. [4] Herbert Marcuseʼs half-forgotten early essay ʻOn Concrete Philosophyʼ is an example of such early Kierkegaardian Marxism. [5]

The key result of Theunissenʼs thinking through Marx and Kierkegaard together is that the negativity of social critique is rooted in an ontology of negative experience. The interior projects its adequate reality in a world which is different from existing social phenomena. Critique enacts the piecemeal surmounting of the world, and thus marks a negative-utopian process which is implicitly envisioned and projected by the self-reflexivity of the interior. Theunissenʼs project therefore seeks (again, like Benjamin) both to give Kierkegaardʼs ontology its determinacy in social circumstance, and to secure the ineliminable negativity of critique through the status of the suffering interior.

Intersubjectivity and openness to change Michael Theunissen’s negative theology of time

Chris thornhill

The interior indicates redemption in its determinate despair. Whilst in this regard Theunissen can be situated at the theological edge of the Frankfurt School, his general theology has broader origins.

Negative theology

The chief theological paradigms which underscore Theunissenʼs thought, and negative theology more generally, are a sense of history as profane history (Verfallsgeschichte), and a doctrine of the alien God, as the Deus absconditus. [6] The doctrine of profane history – a key moment in early Judaeo-Christian eschatology and latter-day Gnosticism and Manicheanism – situates the interior in history in a state of ceaseless rebellion against the state of materiality and temporality. [7] The doctrine of the Deus absconditus also constitutes a negative theology of time, for it intimates, as gnosis (mystical knowledge), the presence of God only as the Other of history. Theunissenʼs attempts to mediate between such theological negativism and the less recondite claims of communication theory and critical theory have been often rejected as an unnecessary theologizing gloss on serious social theory. However, to ignore Theunissen is to ignore the origins of critical theory in the negative theologies of Benjamin, Marcuse, Ernst Bloch, Georg Lukács, Adorno and Leo Löwenthal, [8] and to ignore also the ongoing politico-theological (or negative-theological) implications of this tradition. Perhaps the marginality of Theunissenʼs work in the reception of critical theory is due in part to the fact that he makes explicit theological claims about subjectivity, critique, interpretation and social redemption which are close in tone to the more exotic moods of the earliest proponents of critical theory, but which are given a secular gloss in more recent works.

The negative-theological dimension is not exclusive to critical theory. Indeed, through his theological negativism Theunissen is linked with a diverse variety of theoretical interlocutors. Not only Kierkegaard, but Karl Barth, the radical Protestant theologian, and Carl Schmitt, the rightist constitutional theorist, also propose important figurations of negativism and theology. Kierkegaardʼs theology, perhaps the seminal moment in modern negative-theological thinking, centres on the moment of self-choice through despair. Moments of negative theology are to be found in the earliest works of Lukács in, for example, his phenomenology of lamentation or loss in Theory of the Novel, and the utopian-redemptive status given to the novel as a formal-negative indication of salvation. In Blochʼs first major work, Spirit of Utopia, the figure of the utopian rebel, the demonic spirit of negation, can be assessed in the same light. [9] Comparably, Benjaminʼs ʻdestructive characterʼ and the destructive hermeneutic ideas which underpin his theories of allegory and citation can also be read as eschatological negativism. [10]

The negative-theological qualities in each of these examples are bound up with a theology of time. For Kierkegaard, self-choice in despair is a decision against time. The present moment of the either/or is, for Kierkegaard, a choice against being exclusively in time. [11] For Lukács, time is the ʻgreatest discrepancy between idea and realityʼ. [12] Time is inscribed in Lukácsʼs theory of the novel as ʻlifeʼs wish to remain in completely closed immanenceʼ. [13] This sense of time remains an undercurrent even in History and Class Consciousness. There, in the state of universal reification, advanced capitalism, ʻtime is everything, humanity is nothingʼ. For Lukács, reification is the final triumph of time, and the critical overthrow of reification by the identical subject–object echoes the Gnostic myth of the triumph over temporality. [14] Here already the negative-theological moment, and its implications for a theory of temporality, constitute the basis of a radical social critique.

Similarly, the negative-theological structures in Blochʼs thought insist upon the eschatological base of Judaeo-Christian thought as an emancipatory moment which speaks against theocratic and authoritarian systems of hypostatized faith. In Bloch, the legacy of Gnostic thinking in negative theology is treated most expressly, [15] but this submerged tradition informs all the thinkers mentioned here. For Bloch, the negative ʻnot-yetʼ of future emancipation rebels against the positivization of faith in established (present) forms of order. Blochʼs atheist God is the Deus absconditus of future hope. In this, the unknown time of the future presents itself as a latent but never-realized alternative to the time of the present moment.

Benjaminʼs negative theology, famously, revolves around the destructive hermeneutic moment of nowtime, in which the continuum of historical time is exploded and fleetingly suffused with the messianic time of quotation, or redemption. Benjaminʼs negative theology is expressed as a mode of destructive hermeneutics, as a hermeneutic in which the possibility of interpretation is underscored by the ultimate possibility of emancipated praxis. Interpretation of the text interprets always the redemptive moment in the text. This possibility presents itself to the continuum of time only in negation.

In these related and conflicting philosophies certain themes emerge which aid an understanding and recep-tion of Theunissen. Negative theology prioritizes the future against the past and the present; most clearly in the future-filled present of Kierkegaardʼs moment, Benjaminʼs now-time, and Blochʼs darkness of the lived moment. Negative theology speaks against the continuous or linear domination of time – against the eternal recurrence of the past and the fixity of the future. Theunissen expresses this as follows: ʻPast time which has become dominant is the dimensional extension of linear time, to which the melancholy consciousness surrenders.ʼ [16] Negative theology imagines a time and a history which are different from the time and the history dominated by the past. The idea of a present which rebels against time is grasped, negativetheologically, as a hermeneutic of the possible. In the interpretive situation of the future-filled moment, time is read under the axis of the possible, in its negation as mere time. The possible is the statement against, or negation of, the linear quality of given time and given history.

However, whilst negative theology is a form of theological thinking which presents the unrealized difference of the future as the other of the present, it is also centrally a theology or philosophy of origin. [17] The statement of the future against the present is also the voice of lamentation for a lost origin, expressed most clearly in the often-cited dictum of Karl Kraus, the Viennese satirist, and distant mentor of Benjamin and Adorno: ʻUrsprung ist das Zielʼ (origin is the goal). This does not imply, of course, that negative theology seeks a simple restitution of loss. But the fact of loss is filtered into the historical hermeneutics of each of these thinkers, however fragmented and ephemeral its presence may be. [18] The negative theology of time is thus a philosophy which is interested in difference from mere time, and which figures both the lost sacrality of origin and the not-yet of the future as possible breaches in time. Therefore, whilst negative theology is about future and past, it is crucially also about the present as the fleeting locus for the disruption of time. Theunissenʼs negative theology of time, particularly, mediates from the outset between retrospective metaphysics and forward-looking eschatology. As we shall see later, Theunissen seeks to work together the metaphysics of origin and the dream of redemption in a critical historiography of the present, in which origin and expectation provide the axis for determinate reflection on social experience. In such ideas, clearly, Theunissenʼs negative theology brushes shoulders with conventional revelation theology, for revelation itself (in modern Protestantism) marks the destructive hermeneutic moment, as real time, in time, between origin and redemption. In less obviously sacral terms, it is precisely this hermeneutic sense of revelation which Theunissen invokes as the normative basis for social critique. The absence and possibility of real time motivate social reflection. Theunissen is keen to emphasize, in his earliest writings, the central status of revelation as the source of Kierkegaardʼs thought. [19]

In a complex manner, the mediation between origin (or metaphysics) and redemption (or eschatology) forms a sub-current which emerges repeatedly throughout Theunissenʼs entire intellectual development. His intention in this mediation is to suggest a life-hermeneutic which has its historicality through origin and its critique through hope. Theunissen formulates this as follows:

The conclusion drawn from a critical representation of the concept of metaphysics would be as follows.

Timeless eternity becomes, if thought in isolation, an eternity of time. Completely distinct from an eternity of time, however, is eternity in time. Eternity in time is the trace left in modernity by aeonic eternity. The concern of the Ancients with the aeon anticipates this, however, insofar as it refers us to living-time. The time in which we modern people can grasp our own manner of eternity is the time of living, fanned out into past, present and future. [20]

Here, Theunissen implies that real time remains the time of metaphysical origin, but only when it is given the dimension of futurity through individual life.

This mediation between origin and future remains, however, non-synthetic, as a loose constellation of moments. In the real moment of present time (Gegenwart), the ontological metaphysics of origin and the indeterminacy of eschatological future deconstruct each other as the counter-claims of recuperative memory and soteriological expectancy (expectancy of salvation). [21] Theunissenʼs negative theology refuses the settlement of metaphysics in memory, but refuses also the absolute otherness of redemption. It seeks to introduce the real time of memory and the real time of redemption into the situatedness of social being. He explains this correctively, as a description of the pathology of individual unhappiness in modern life: ʻLack of present is grounded either in self-losing in the future or in self-losing in the past; self-losing in the moment is grounded in the absence of future and past.ʼ [22] The opposite of this, again correctively, is implied as the condition of good life:

Now we can see what has to be corrected in order for unhappy life to become happy life: unpresentness. The present which opens in the freedom from time appears to owe its breadth, which ensures its quality of presentness, to the fact that the wholeness of time is gathered in it through the synthesising of future and past. [23]

Different configurations of negativism and theology are found in the related post-Kierkegaardian works of Karl Barth and Carl Schmitt. In his commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, Barth protests against the historicizing tradition of modern Protestantism by stating Godʼs presence through a hermeneutic of absolute alterity, revelation. In Barthʼs thought, the hermeneutic of Godʼs presence is the Kierkegaardian moment of the decision (Entscheidung). [24] Decision in the Barthian sense is also the now-time of the futuredirected origin, [25] which is intended both as a critique of positive and natural Christianity, and as a return to the eschatological waiting of the earliest Christian communities. Indeed, Barth is clearly sympathetic to the early heresies in Judaeo-Christian negative theology. [26] Schmittʼs Roman Catholic negative theology represents human history as decline (Verfallsgeschichte), and transposes the thin strait of the Kierkegaardian–Barthian decision for God into the decision of the sovereign, a decision which creates law. The hermeneutic decision for the text of God becomes the hermeneutic decision over the text of law. For Schmitt, the personal decisionistic basis of law is the sole preserver and representative of Godʼs original order against the inexorability of political neutralization, or secularization. [27] In each case, the moments of revelation, origin and the fundamental critique of time which characterize negative theology are assimilated into an ontological hermeneutic of anti-modernity. [28]

One striking feature of modern negativetheological thinking is its tendency to resist its own conclusions. The works of Lukács, Bloch, Benjamin and Schmitt all carry foregone guarantees against the final domination of time. The construct of the identical subject– object in Lukácsʼs phenomenological Marxism mirrors the vault out of fallenness performed by Benjaminʼs angels and his melancholics. [29] Blochʼs idea of the mediated co-productivity of humanity and nature turns implicitly against the Gnostic overtones to his earliest writings. The central category of origin in Benjaminʼs writings figures, ontologically, the underlying presence of real time within the continuous history of late capitalism. Similarly, by the late 1920s Barthʼs negativism was supplanted by a hermeneutics of sympathy. Schmittʼs negative theology speaks at all times against its own negativism through its willingness to ontologize power.

Slightly more complex are the resolutions of negativism and theology in the thinking of Kierkegaard and Adorno. The negative moment in Kierkegaardʼs atheist theology is never finally attenuated. The end of the tunnel of being is glimpsed only in the everdisappearing relation of the self to itself in God. Possibility is glimpsed thus only as impossibility, only in the never-successful quest to be a self, legitimized in selfhood by God. Impossibility is the only hope of legitimate existence, in God. Despair is the index of this impossibility, and of the impossible possibility of authentic self-being which it cloaks. Kierkegaard asserts this impossibility, however, as a corrective moment against all aesthetic and ethical compromises with sociality and historicality. In Adornian fashion, therefore, Kierkegaardʼs thought retains the quality of dialectical negativism which is sacrificed by other self-avowed practitioners of negative dialectics. Reconciliation is articulated by Kierkegaard, negatively, only as a disappearing statement of what is not. Although Adorno, not without reason, condemns the historical indeterminacy of Kierkegaardian despair, [30] his own thought shadows Kierkegaard to the extent that he insists on the ineliminable negativity of negation. This informs his reflections on the prohibition of the image, his negative foundation of reflexivity, and his vision of restituted nature. [31]

To summarize, therefore, Theunissenʼs writings, although marginal in contemporary debate, relate to a complex fabric of reflection in modern German thought, connecting critical theory, hermeneutics and radical Protestantism. In so doing, they emphasize the hermeneutics of revelation, which is present more or less obviously in each of these traditions. Especial consideration is given here to the thought of Adorno and Kierkegaard, for it is on the axis between their ideas that Theunissenʼs position is situated.

dialectics, alienation, time

The connection between Adorno and Kierkegaard in Theunissenʼs thought is disclosed primarily in Theunissenʼs critique of Hegel, and in the theory of temporality which results from it. Theunissenʼs reception of Hegel is set out most extensively in Being and Appearance (1978). Like both Kierkegaard and Adorno in their respective debates with Hegel, Theunissen insists on the status of the dialectically non-identical, the residue which resists the operative subsumption of Hegelʼs concept (Begriff). Also like Kierkegaard and Adorno, he protests at the ʻdomination of the whole over the otherʼ in Hegelian dialectics. [32] Unlike Adorno and Kierkegaard, however, Theunissen does not imagine the non-identical other either in the self-relation of the self or in negative dialectics, but as intersubjective correspondence in communicative freedom. [33] Theunissen suggests that the possibility of communication, outside the (allegedly) totalizing dialectic of Hegel – which stands as a cipher for the totalizing character of modern culture and, through Marxian mediation, of the capitalist economy – is intimated only in the fact of alienation. For Theunissen, those moments in which Hegelʼs system produces alienation are precisely the gaps where the dialectic has to be supplemented with a hermeneutic, or communicative shift. Implied here is that Hegelʼs inability to conceive of otherness except as strangeness (Fremdheit) remains an aspect of systemic logic in which the dialectic indicates itself as ideology.

The dialectical production of alienation is, for Theunissen, a key moment in Hegelʼs both objective and subjective logic. He explains this as follows:

As strangeness enters the self-relation from the relation, it sublates itself in such a manner that it is also increased. Whatever is indifferent to itself, relates to itself as something foreign. Internalisation, as such the sublation of strangeness, actually augments it – insofar as it is actually estrangement, the becoming strange of what is oneʼs own.… The history of strangeness runs thus from its beginnings in indifference towards otherness to its dialectical self-sublation in indifference towards itself, and is parallel to the process which drives the other into the other of itself. [34]

Broadly, Theunissen here proposes an interpretation of the dialectic which criticizes the subsumption of alterity by the subject, and which envisions the free recognition of alterity as an alternative to it. Implicit in this is the idea that, in dialectics, neither truthful subjectivity nor truthful objectivity is possible. The subjectʼs (alleged) indifference towards alterity becomes, through dialectical internalization, indifference towards itself. The limits of dialectic are thus shown up through subjective alienation. Subjective indifference towards otherness cannot fail to produce alienation in the subject itself. Through this process, the dialectic, counter to its conception, indicates the end of subject-based subsumption. In extension of this, Theunissenʼs interpretation of Marxian dialectics also bemoans the absence of space in dialectics for communication with alterity:

Marxʼs social theory collapses because the exclusion of the other – of the other generally, not only the completely other – from the realization of humanity prevents him from thinking what he sets out to think – communicative freedom. [35]

However, rather than abandoning dialectical thinking, Theunissen restructures Hegelian-Marxist dialectics around both a Kierkegaardian–Adornian and a hermeneutic impulse. As seen in the citation above, he suggests that the dialectical process, in both subjective and objective logic, always produces alienation or estrangement. The very nature of the dialectical relation alienates the subject from itself and the object from itself. But this is not finally a critique of dialectical processes. On the contrary, it is through reference to the very production of estrangement, of the needs of the subject through the other and of the other through the operations of the concept, that Theunissen asserts, negatively, the validity of dialectic. He views the moment of estrangement in Hegelʼs logic as the internalization of the relation to alterity, or as the pure self-relation, [36] and therefore as latent indifference towards alterity. Indifference is itself the foundation of domination, both conceptual and political. [37] However, this is grasped in such a way that the dialectically alienating function of the concept in Hegelʼs dialectics intimates a communicative potential not foreseen by its own processes. Theunissen explains this as follows:

Domination based on subsumption is, as long as it remains fixed upon itself, untrue, because the alterity arising from it in the relation of reality to its concept also creates alienation.… Its sublation becomes present reality where the correspondence reaches concretely out beyond itself. [38]

In other words, alienation is itself a utopian moment in Theunissenʼs interpretation of Hegel, for alienation is the index of truly relational being. On one level, alienation is the source of despair, for it marks, subjectively, the difference between concept and reality, and, objectively, the violence done to reality by its dialectical subsumption. But it is also the source of hope. Alienation indicates alterity in its difference from the mediations of subjective logic. The possibility of communication arises from the fact of alienation, of the concept from reality and of reality from the concept. [39] Alienation remains for Theunissen the residue which resists dialectical, social and economic subsumption. Communicative freedom is both the crisis and sublation of this subsumption. Theunissen formulates this shift as follows:

When the concept has purified reality into its own, its free power (so to speak) moves over to this reality. A dialogue unfolds between them which is free from the limits of dialectical correspondence.

Dialectic, in this extreme case, opens a perspective in which even true domination is sublated. The utopia of the sublation of all relations of domination can hardly, however, be imagined by dialectics, as a theory of power, without it sublating itself at the same time. [40] In this manner, like Adorno and Kierkegaard before him, Theunissen attempts to read Hegelʼs dialectics against the grain, implying that the relation to alterity possesses, potentially, the power to go beyond the self-relation of subsumption, in the moment of direct (hermeneutic) correspondence with the non-identical reflected object. He attempts thus to think the salvation of dialectics in its collapse, in hermeneutics, personal revelation. This again refers back to Kierkegaardʼs attempt to figure revelation as personal correspondence in his critique of Hegelʼs philosophy of religion. [41]

Theunissenʼs correction of Hegel also involves a correction of Adorno and a correction of Kierkegaard. Theunissen follows Adorno and Kierkegaard by reading subject–object difference against Hegel, but he supplements their critiques with an attempt to found a utopian hermeneutics in the fact of systemic suffering or subjective alienation. This hermeneutic is of special significance for Theunissenʼs theory of time. Theunissenʼs attempt to fuse Kierkegaard, Adorno and Hegel forms a structure of negative hermeneutics which suggests a release from the domination of systemic time. This release is projected in hermeneutic correspondence, itself a practical-critical realization of the potential future. Theunissen explains this as follows:

Correspondence is generality.… Its realization is, however, essentially distinct from the reproduction of immediacy, to which Hegel commits himself at the end of the Logic, when its utopian content has long since been discarded. It is not ʻthe production of first immediacy, of simple generalityʼ, but pure production, the active realization of what has never before existed – which the false appearance of the being obscures. [42]

Here, the hermeneutic of correspondence, outside all relations of dialectical domination, is, simply, the new.

The foundation of Theunissenʼs theory of time can be traced all through the many fluctuations in his lengthy reception and critique of Hegel. In his first major work on Hegel, Hegelʼs Doctrine of the Absolute Spirit as a Theologico-political Treatise, Theunissen puts forward a reading of Hegel which inquires into the relation between metaphysics (or archaeology) and eschatology in Hegelʼs thinking. Here he explains Hegelʼs thought as follows:

The reconciliation partly brought about by God and partially realized by humans can be perceived as the past only in an archaeological attitude, as the final purpose of the world only in eschatological attitude – so that the objective identity of the past, and the futurity of the final purpose motivate an identity of archaeological and eschatological attitude. [43]

Theunissen seeks to put forward a hermeneutic reading of Hegel. He suggests that Hegelʼs philosophy of the absolute spirit seeks to mediate Judaeo-Christian eschatology with Greek metaphysics. [44] By doing so, he intimates, it creates a hermeneutic of the specific historical situation, in which the present is understood both archaeologically, as a product of history, and eschatologically, under the index of futurity. This is underlined more emphatically in the later work on Hegel, Being and Appearance: Now ʻtheologyʼ does not mean only metaphysical theology, but also the theology in which Chris-tian belief secures itself. The fact that objective logic seeks to liberate theology from the tendency towards objectivisation in traditional ontological thinking means that conceptual logic is given access to the theology of revelation as the absolute Other of metaphysics, which since its birth from the spirit of Greek culture has always been ontology. [45]

Here, too, Theunissen understands Hegelʼs thought as a hermeneutic mediation between origin and redemption. The opening of theology from ontology is its decisive futurity. Its groundedness in ontology is its determinate historicality.

Hegelʼs philosophy of religion, seen thus at the intersection between lost past and revelation, prefigures Theunissenʼs own theologically informed hermeneutics. In Negative Theology of Time, Theunissen gives the clearest illustration of his personal version of metaphysical–eschatological hermeneutics: ʻThe unique eternity which I experience when I remember the past and when I expect the future, makes me co-present with the eternity of the present.ʼ [46] The distended, but non-synthetic, temporal perspective of recollection and expectation (origin and redemption) is the hermeneutic axis under which the present, in its archaeology and its future, can be most truly interpreted.

The moment of interpretation in Theunissenʼs construction of Hegel draws simultaneously from past and future, for future is only projected from (or as difference from) the past, and past is only realized in the future. The dialectical intersection of these is therefore a hermeneutic of presentness. Theunissen describes in this regard Hegelʼs ʻDe-cision against metaphysical theology and for the communicationtheoretical approachʼ. [47] Indeed, whether intentionally or not, Theunissen touches here upon the crucial importance of decisionism in secular theology. The de-cision attempts to overcome the division between history and truth by thinking temporal legitimacy as a reflex against the stasis of the metaphysical. It supplants the metaphysical with revelation (the communicable moment), as the de-ontologization of origin. These observations serve to illuminate not only Hegel, but the entire tradition of politico-theological decisionism which emerged in Hegelʼs wake, from Kierkegaard to Schmitt. In Theunissenʼs related suggestion that Hegel exaggerates the ʻaspect of domination in the Christian concept of Godʼ, [48] he offers a model for examining the secularization of metaphysics as state-theory.

The hermeneutic which Theunissen develops in his reading of Hegel is therefore, in true negative theological manner, a structure of interpretation which, unlike Gadamerʼs hermeneutics, does not cast itself ontologically in tradition, but rather operates between the reconciliatory claim of the future, which it awaits, and the determinate facts of the present and the past, which it recuperates. [49] This interpretation of Hegel clearly offers important insights into Theunissenʼs own project. Through his scrutiny of Hegel, he develops a philosophical structure which negativizes metaphysics, soteriology, dialectics and hermeneutics. Each of these is mediated with its own counterpoint: origin with future, expectancy with interpretation. He thus proposes a negative metaphysics (in which origin is the critical moment in the future), a negative hermeneutics (in which interpretation occurs under the restricting term of the not-yet), and a negative dialectic (in which communication with estranged alterity resists the subsumptive course of the Begriff).

It is in this hermeneutic dialectic of anticipation and recuperation that Theunissen elaborates further his figuration of temporality. Real time, for Theunissen, is the fullness of the present and the fullness of the future: it is future against the fixity of the present, present against the indeterminacy of future, each a claim against the other. Present and future exist as ontological facts for and against each other, in a relation of negative or deconstructive ontology. This figuration of time provides a critical base for a hermeneutic which is distinct from the relativist interpretation of tradition. It offers also a base for a critical theory of society which motivates its critiques through the determinate historical experience of simultaneously self-reflexive, immanent and critical being in the world. In Theunissenʼs Hegelian hermeneutics, therefore, the mind interprets the world as it is found, but its interpretation is motivated by an interest in the world in its futurity, by despair that the world is not as it should be. [50] Indeed, it appears that Theunissen wishes to suggest estrangement – or despair – as the foundation for a hermeneutic of interestedness. In a closely related context, the commentator on Kierkegaard Kurt Weisshaupt has put forward an interpretation of Kierkegaard which grasps despair as a bridging moment between hermeneutics and critical theory: ʻThe other is the title for all esse – for the facticity of existing subjectivity, as for all other being – which acts as a determinant in the inter-esse.… Interest as despair is coexistent with the self, as its original basic movement.ʼ [51]

Time, revelation and speech

The submerged figure in Theunissenʼs reading of Hegel is Franz Rosenzweig, whose theological and dialogical writings so strongly influenced Benjamin in the 1920s. [52] The hermeneutic of expectation that Theunissen suggests is anticipated in Rosenzweigʼs Star of Redemption. [53] It is striking, indeed, that in Theunissenʼs indebtedness to Rosenzweig it is precisely Rosenzweigʼs elaboration of a hermeneutic of Jewishness which Theunissen appears to replicate. Rosenzweig describes the cosmological position of the Christian as follows:

The moment does not represent eternity to the Christian as a moment, but as the middle-point of Christian world-time. And this world-time consists, as time which does not pass, but stands still, only of such middle-points.… In this manner – by making the moment an epoch-making epoch – Christianity triumphs over time. [54]

He then describes the Jew in the following terms: ʻThe moment shows us eternity differently: not in our brother, who stands closest to us, but in those furthest away from us in time, in the oldest and the youngest.… Thus we see the bridge of eternity.ʼ [55]

In this, Rosenzweig contrasts the distended (Jewish) structure of simultaneously expectant and recuperative time with Kierkegaardʼs (Christian) figuring of real time as the historical centre of being. It is exactly this sense of temporality which Theunissen elaborates in his reading of Hegel. Rosenzweigʼs figure of Jewish time enters Theunissenʼs thought as a negative correction of Hegel, as a prohibition on accommodation with the given circumstances of social life. Theunissen argues that the Christian, speaking from the historicalness of redemption, is always inclined to project the givenness of reconciliation onto the facts of life, whereas the time of the Jew is time in which the recuperation of social experience is always thought together with the attitude of absolute waiting. [56] In this structure, Theunissen (like Rosenzweig) refuses to see real time as the centre of being, but projects rather a conception of diachronic time, in which future and past intersect but remain distinct; in which future is not future as the wholly other of the present, but as the critical moment in the present, as the present is the critical moment in the future. [57] In this light, both Theunissenʼs critique of Hegel, and his suggestions for a combination of critical theory and hermeneutics, have more than passing similarities with Rosenzweig.

Like Theunissen after him, Rosenzweig formulates real time in the hermeneutic moment of dialogue. [58] Rosenzweigʼs own critical exposition of Hegelʼs political thought also leads him towards a dialogical reconstruction of Hegelʼs dialectics. [59] In this, Rosenzweig anticipates much later debates on the relations between dialectics and hermeneutics. [60] The crucial fusion between hermeneutics and dialectics in Rosenzweigʼs thinking occurs in the construct of revelation. Revelation indicates, for Rosenzweig as for Theunissen, a communication-theoretical mediation of origin into the social horizon. [61]

Rosenzweig represents the history of the world, naturally, as the history of past, present and future. The moment of the past is creation, the moment of the present is revelation, and that of the future is redemption. The dialectic which connects past, present and future is, however, not the dialectical course of the absolute spirit, but the dialectic of speech, in which speech replaces the unity of spirit and object with the correspondence of speakers. Speech is the moment of revelation. In the real word, humanity is in the centre of time. [62] Speech is the supreme moment of presentness, full also with past and future. It is the moment which illumines the past of creation, [63] and also the moment of colloquy between person and God. In this representation, past (creation), present (revelation) and future (redemption) are all operative in the hermeneutic situation of speech with the world. The individual subject remains residually an isolated subject, but it processes its uniqueness in the speech-acts of worldly life. These speech-acts occur both under the recuperative axis of individual and collective life-history, and beneath the open horizon of the future. [64] The speaker carries the history of creation in speech. The speaker also enters revelation in speech, for dialogue itself is revelation. In language, the other is revealed to the participant in speech. And as revelation, speech also shares in the last time of redemption.

Speech as revelation is at the heart of Rosenzweigʼs sense of time. In speech, time occurs not as linear time, but diachronically. It occurs as the juncture of the time of the self and the time of the other in dialogue, and also as the span between creation, revelation and redemption, therefore as both diachrony and synchrony. [65] It is the lack of this polychronic moment which Theunissen so vehemently condemns in other determinations of temporality, especially those of Husserl. [66] In Rosenzweigʼs construct, time occurs as the time of the present and the time of the future: the revelation of the other in speech figures present and future together. Speech-acts are themselves moments in a shared eschatology of speakers. For Rosenzweig, as for Theunissen, it is precisely in the synchronic diachrony of dialogue that time is redeemed from its quality of linearity, and that it becomes real time. Intersubjectivity is also diachrony. Speech is the vestige of creation, the moment of revelation, and the horizon of redemption. In short, as Rosenzweig puts it, ʻIn the redemption, of the world by people, of people through the world, God redeems himself.ʼ [67] Rosenzweig thus refigures Hegelʼs dialectical history of God as a dialogical and diachronic history of God, in which the moment of speech transposes God from metaphysical distance into revelatory presence. Rosenzweig ultimately proposes the dialogical situation of revelation as an alternative to the non-communication of despair. [68]

It is at this point, however, that Theunissenʼs thought is separated from Rosenzweig, and linked with his more obvious points of reference, the negative-theological moment in Kierkegaard and Adorno. [69] The Kierkegaardian point of departure in Negative Theology of Time is immediately clear in the question which frames Theunissenʼs inquiry: namely, whether happiness is possible in the conditions of the domination of time. [70] Elsewhere in this work time itself is addressed as the cause of psychological illness. [71] Time makes people ill because it passes, beyond their influence. Primarily it makes people ill because the possibility of change is negated by time which is already prefigured by the past, by the decisions of fate. [72] Time causes illness through its linearity. Nonafflictive time is, for Theunissen as for Kierkegaard, the time of the possible. The basic question in Negative Theology of Time is therefore centred on the negativity of subjectivity towards time and the negativity of time as the source of despair. This dual determination of negativity is one of Theunissenʼs many borrowings from Adorno, in whose works (against the common grain of Adorno reception) he finds a twofold form of negativity: the negativity of reflection as the index of the untrue, and the negativity of the totality of the untrue. [73] In both Theunissenʼs representation of suffering from time and in his exposition of Adorno, negativity is both the ʻuntrueʼ – totality – and the ʻuntrue for the untrueʼ – the moments of negative reflexivity which run counter to negative totality. Theunissen implicitly puts forward a very Kierkegaardian reading of Adorno, associating Adornoʼs structure of totality with the linearity of time, and the subject suffering from time.

However, Theunissenʼs resolutions for the problem of time are finally related antithetically to Kierkegaard. Theunissen follows Adornoʼs critique of Kierkegaard in pointing out the replication of myth in the non-referential monomania of the Kierkegaardian subject. This he explains most clearly in The Concept of Despair: ʻKirkegaard only commits an incorrigible error when he translates temporal self-presence into reflection, then into the reflection of despair, finally into reflection which views despair about something into despair about itself.ʼ [74] In Adornian vein, therefore, Theunissen bemoans the indeterminacy of Kierkegaardʼs despair and criticizes the vague historicality of his ontology of misery. [75] Against Kierkegaard, he proposes for history itself the status of ʻthe uncertain ground which bears all things which resists domination, the stubborn domination over time, the fleeting freedom from it and the precarious mimesis towards it. Time, however, makes sure that in history, in our own as in that of the collective, the ground always disappears beneath our feet.ʼ [76] It is here that the above excursions on Kierkegaard,

Adorno and Rosenzweig come together. In contrast to Kierkegaard, Theunissen insists on the historicalness and determinate referentiality of despair. In contrast to Adorno, he suggests that there do exist unmediated (or dialogically mediated) possibilities of redemptive action in history. In contrast to Rosenzweig, however, whose model of an eschatological–archaeological hermeneutic he partially reproduces, the redemptive moment of speech is not a celebratory colloquy with creation. Rather, it is the memory of despair and resistance, the history of despair and resistance, and the communicative recuperation of this history against the domination of time. The resisting history of despair is real history, the history of the other of time, and it is only in this history and its recuperation that the domination of time can be broken, however fleetingly: ʻA time of eternity would be wholly time. It would be the time of history, of history liberated to be itself, no longer history ruled by nature.ʼ [77]

In this, like Rosenzweig, Theunissen suggests the recuperative dialogue of memory as the index of revelation or redemption:

If involuntary memory salvages the eternity-content of past time, the act of lingering salvages eternity in the present. When we wilfully refuse to go along with time … something durable can become visible in the moment. Our resistance to the domination of world-time can also liberate things and people from its rule – by tearing them from their innerworldly situation. [78]

Here, memory and the revelation of its communication share the same time-structure as Rosenzweigʼs hermeneutic dialectics. However, the positioning of Theunissenʼs time is as negation. Memory resists time – but it is not in time. Or, rather, only the time which resists time is able to possess real time, as the other of time, in time. Theunissen explicates this dialectic between times as that between chronos and aion; between time and eternity, world-time and self-time. [79] The hermeneutic of synchronic diachrony which Theunissen transports from Rosenzweig is remodelled here (as in his earliest works) [80] as a negative hermeneutic, in which the diachronic moment relates itself as a difference from mere time, as a history of suffering and resistance. The facticity of suffering in and from time is, potentially, always other than time. [81] The moments of diachronic communication which emerge from despair and resistance indicate therefore a life beyond time. But as dialogical facticity they also correct time: ʻBy tearing itself away from time the subject actually manages to snatch something out of time. It wraps itself in this something, against the stream of time. Its presence expands because it is mediated through the presence of the other.ʼ [82]

Here, Theunissen moves close not only to Adorno but also to Benjaminʼs own destructive hermeneutic of now-time. [83] This is the space of praxis in Theunissenʼs thought. The diachrony of shared time intimates, as negative theology, the restituted communication of the emancipated. The prospect of this restitution can be interpreted as a structure of existential praxis. [84] However, just as Benjaminʼs thought, like that of Bloch and Lukács, does not sustain the impulse of its own negativity, Theunissenʼs negative hermeneutics is also not finally a negative theology. The vision of speech as the other of time, realized in the moment of communication, indicates, positively, its own objective possibility. [85] In fact, it ultimately suggests a mode of theological praxis, based on the elision of expectation and historical situatedness:

The believer is no longer merely protensive, constantly rushing ahead, drawn in by his future. He is able to imagine it prospectively, looking forward, and to open it for possible action through utopian fantasy. His ability to envisage the future rests, however, on its real presentness, and this itself has its deepest foundation in his freedom from himself. [86]

The negative theology of time settles into a theology of communicative change:87 ʻBecoming free to oneself through freedom from oneself occurs in the ground of belief as the communicative genesis of self-being.ʼ [88] The self-reflexive despair of the subject in time becomes objective freedom, and therefore more than mere subjectivity or self-reflexivity, through belief in the future. The present futurity of faith shifts the axis of time:

If the domination of the past is responsible for our sinking into the impotence enforced inaction, we awaken from this impotence through the liberating action of God. His existence in time, which metaphysics, initiated by Plato, observes from the negative perspective of the changeable, assumes the positive shape of openness to change. [89]

The positive shape of the changeable is given in the liberty of communication. Through the emphasis on communication, Theunissen translates the key paradigms of negative theology into a positive structure of openness to change.

Negative theology and political theology

Theunissen situates time-resisting diachrony in the speech-acts of negative hermeneutics. The crucial assumption behind this construct is that the individual must opt for itself in existential authenticity, and that the authentic time of self-choice remains correctively positioned against linear, systemic or alienated time. [90] As stated above, this project moves between the seemingly conflicting discourses of metaphysics, dialectics, hermeneutics and critical theory. Most fundamentally, Theunissen seeks to think together the moments of past, present and future in his partially mediated linkage of origin, revelation and salvation. In response to this, it might be argued that in Theunissenʼs work the location of diachronic understanding is overly restricted in his emphasis on speech and speech-acts.

In the cultural-theoretical writings of Benjamin most famously, and the political-sociological works of Oskar Negt and Alexander Kluge more recently, great weight has been attached to the varying structurations of time in different regions of political society. [91] Like Theunissen, they have endeavoured to conceive of conjunctions between emancipatory temporality and social interaction as a means of opening critical theory into a communication-based social critique of life. [92] It could be legitimately argued, for example, that precisely those mediations undertaken by Theunissen are, although not programmatically, already at the very core of Benjaminʼs undertaking. Certainly, the open coalescence of origin and future, speech and critique, figure crucially in Benjaminʼs thinking. However, the difference between Benjamin and Theunissen remains (and this may be crucial for any evaluation of Theunissen) that Theunissen grasps the locus of these mediations as the narrow connection between people and other people, and between people and God, whereas Benjamin envisages these mediations as the ceaseless possibilities of social action. Given the discrimination between contrary structures of temporality in Theunissenʼs work, questions may be raised about the spatial limitation of time to interpersonality.

Central to such observations is the sense that Theunissenʼs thought, in its indebtedness both to decisionism and to critical theory, establishes a series of connections to more orthodox schools of political theology. In political theology, the category of ʻthe politicalʼ marks precisely the hermeneutic relation in which the openness of collective future and the determinacy of collective origin enter their dialectical conjunction, either as the projection of future in rights, or the recuperation of origin in order. Indeed, the rehabilitation of ʻthe politicalʼ as a category of hermeneutics seems long overdue. The importance of Benjaminʼs ʻpolitical theologyʼ in this understanding of hermeneutics has been underlined, but varying figurations of this mediation between redemption and origin can also be found in the political ethics of Barth, Schmitt, Paul Tillich and others. The question can therefore be posed whether Theunissenʼs limitation of the theologico-political mediation to the discrete existential space of dialogue does not ultimately fall behind the expansive hermeneutics which have already been charted in the broader traditions of political theology.


1. ^ Works by Theunissen treated in this piece are: Der Begriff Ernst bei Søren Kierkegaard, Karl Alber,

Freiburg and Munich, 1958; ʻBubers negative Ontologie des Zwischenʼ, in Philosophisches Jahrbuch 71, 1964, pp. 319–30; ʻDie Dialektik der Offenbarung. Zur Auseinandersetzung Schellings und Kierkegaards mit der Religionsphilosophie Hegelsʼ, in Philosophisches Jahrbuch 72, 1964, pp. 134–60; Der Andere: Studien zur Sozialontologie der Gegenwart, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 1965, transl. The Other: Studies in the Social Ontology of Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre and Buber, MIT Press,

Cambridge MA, 1984; Die Verwirklichung der Vernunft: Zur Theorie–Praxis-Diskussion im Anschluß an Hegel, J.C.B. Mohr, Tübingen, 1970; Hegels Lehre vom absoluten Geist als theologisch-politischer Traktat, de Gruyter, Berlin, 1970; ʻKrise der Macht: Thesen zur Theorie des dialektischen Widerspruchsʼ, in Hegel-Jahrbuch, 1974, pp. 318–30; ʻBegriff und Realität: Hegels Aufhebung des metaphysischen Wahrheitsbegriffsʼ, in Alexander Schwan, ed., Denken im Schatten des Nihilismus: Festschrift für Wilhelm Weischedel zum

70. ^ Geburtstag, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt, 1975, pp. 164–95; Sein und Schein: Die kritische Funktion der Hegelschen Logik, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 1978; ʻNegativität bei Adornoʼ, in, J. Habermas and L. von Friedeburg, eds, Adorno-Konferenz, Suhrkamp,

Frankfurt am Main, 1983; ʻDas Menschenbild in der “Krankheit zum Tode”ʼ, in M. Theunissen and W. Greve, eds, Materialien zur Philosophie Søren Kierkegaards, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 1979, pp. 497–509; Negative Theologie der Zeit, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 1991; Der Begriff Verzweiflung: Korrekturen an Kierkegaard, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 1993.

2. ^ Negative Theologie der Zeit, p. 25.

3. ^ Der Begriff Verzweiflung, p. 139.

4. ^ See Bernd Witte, Walter Benjamin – Der Intellektuelle als Kritiker, Metzler, Stuttgart, 1976, Preface, p. xi.

5. ^ Herbert Marcuse, ʻÜber konkrete Philosophieʼ, in Schriften I, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 1978; transl. ʻOn Concrete Philosophyʼ, in Herbert Marcuse, Selected Essays, University of Massachussetts Press, Amherst, 1978, pp. 385–407, esp., p. 401.

6. ^ See Adolf von Harnack, Marcion: Das Evangelium vom fremden Gott. Eine Monografie zur Geschichte der Grundlegung der katholischen Kirche, J.C. Hinrich,

Leipzig, 1921, p. 4.

7. ^ See Hans Jonas, Gnosis und spätantiker Geist, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen, 1934; transl. The Gnostic Religion, Routledge, London, 1970, p. 68.

8. ^ See especially Leo Löwenthal, Das Dämonische: Entwurf einer negativen Religionsphilosophie, in Schriften 5, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 1987, pp. 207–24.

9. ^ Ernst Bloch, Geist der Utopie, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 1971, p. 442.

10. ^ See Norbert Bolz, ʻErlösung als obʼ, in Jacob Taubes, ed., Religionstheorie und politische Theologie, II: Gnosis und Politik, Wilhelm Fink, Munich, Paderborn, Vienna and Zurich, 1984, pp. 264–90, 284.

11. ^ Søren Kierkegaard, Über den Begriff der Angst, Felix Meiner, Hamburg, 1984, p. 93. Also Claus-Artur Scheier, Kierkegaards Ärgernis: Die Logik der Faktizität in den ʻPhilosophischen Bissenʼ, Karl Alber, Munich, 1983, p. 72.

12. ^ Georg Lukács, Die Theorie des Romans, Luchterhand,

Neuwied and Berlin, 1971; transl. The Theory of the Novel, Merlin Press, London, 1972, p. 107.

13. ^ Ibid., p. 108.

14. ^ Georg Lukács, Geschichte und Klassenbewußtsein, Luchterhand, Neuwied and Berlin, 1970; transl. History and Class Consciousness, MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 1971, p. 179.

15. ^ See Anton F. Christen, Ernst Blochs Metaphysik der Materie, Bouvier, Bonn, 1979, p. 192.

16. ^ Negative Theologie der Zeit, p. 245.

17. ^ For the status of origin in Kierkegaard, see Kurt Weisshaupt, Die Zeitlichkeit der Wahrheit: Eine Untersuchung zum Wahrheitsbegriff Søren Kierkegaards, Karl Alber, Freiburg and Munich, 1973, p. 58.

18. ^ See John Pizer, Toward a Theory of Radical Origin: Essays on Modern German Thought, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London, 1995.

19. ^ ʻDie Dialektik der Offenbarungʼ, p. 142.

20. ^ Negative Theologie der Zeit, pp. 312–13.

21. ^ Jürgen Habermas, ʻKommunikative Freiheit und Negative Theologieʼ, in Emil Angehrn et al., eds, Dialektischer Negativismus: Michael Theunissen zum

60. ^ Geburtstag, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 1992, pp. 15–35, 19.

22. ^ Negative Theologie der Zeit, p. 59.

23. ^ Ibid., p. 60.

24. ^ Karl Barth, Der Römerbrief, Theologischer Verlag,

Zürich, 1985; transl. The Epistle to the Romans, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1968, p. 303.

25. ^ Ibid., p. 106.

26. ^ Karl Barth, Die christliche Dogmatik im Entwurf, Erster Band: Die Lehre vom Wort Gottes: Prolegomena zur christlichen Dogmatik, Chr. Kaiser, Munich, 1927; transl. Church Dogmatics, T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1936, pp. 70–71.

27. ^ See also Heinrich Meier, Die Lehre Carl Schmitts: Vier Kapitel zur Unterscheidung Politischer Theologie und Politischer Philosophie, Metzler, Stuttgart and Weimar, 1994, pp. 227–8; Bernard Tucker, ʻDer Ausnahmezustand: An den Grenzen von Aufklärung und Liberalismusʼ, in K. Hansen and H. Lietzmann, eds, Carl Schmitt und die Liberalismuskritik, Leske & Budrich,

Opladen, 1988, pp. 93–105, 102; Erich Kaufmann, ʻCarl Schmitt und seine Schuleʼ, in Rechtsidee und Recht, Otto Schwarz, Göttingen, 1960, pp. 375–7.

28. ^ Günter Meuter, Der Katechon: Zu Carl Schmitts fundamentalistischer Kritik der Zeit, Duncker & Humblot,

Berlin, 1994, p. 392.

29. ^ Victor Zitta, Georg Lukácsʼ Marxism: Alienation, Dialectics, Revolution, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, 1964, p. 55.

30. ^ Theodor W. Adorno, Kierkegaard: Konstruktion des Ästhetischen, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 1962; transl. Kierkegaard: The Construction of the Aesthetic, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1989, p. 55.

31. ^ Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialektik, Suhrkamp,

Frankfurt am Main, 1966; transl. Negative Dialectics, Seabury Press, New York, 1973, p. 161. See also Hermann Deuser, Dialektische Theologie: Studien zu Adornos Metaphysik und zum Spätwerk Kierkegaards, Kaiser,

Munich, 1980, p. 295.

32. ^ ʻKrise der Machtʼ, p. 318.

33. ^ Sein und Schein, pp. 161–2.

34. ^ Ibid., pp. 362–3.

35. ^ Ibid., p. 486.

36. ^ Ibid., p. 405.

37. ^ Ibid., p. 486.

38. ^ ʻBegriff und Realitätʼ, pp. 194–5.

39. ^ ʻKrise der Machtʼ, p. 329.

40. ^ ʻBegriff und Realitätʼ, p. 195.

41. ^ Theunissen, ʻDie Dialektik der Offenbarungʼ, p. 156.

Theunissenʼs endeavours to salvage a principle of personal recognition from Hegelʼs dialectic were set out twenty years before the current neo-Hegelian vogue for recognizing and being recognized.

42. ^ Sein und Schein, p. 471.

43. ^ Hegels Lehre vom absoluten Geist, p. 381.

44. ^ Ibid., p. 385.

45. ^ Sein und Schein, p. 42.

46. ^ Negative Theologie der Zeit, p. 295.

47. ^ Sein und Schein, p. 61.

48. ^ Ibid., p. 46.

49. ^ Hegels Lehre vom absoluten Geist, pp. 386.

50. ^ Ibid., p. 430.

51. ^ Weisshaupt, Die Zeitlichkeit der Wahrheit, p. 111.

52. ^ For a brief account of the relation between Rosenzweig and Theunissen, see Hans Martin Dober, Die Zeit ernst nehmen: Studien zu Franz Rosenzweigs ʻDer Stern der Erlösungʼ, Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg, 1990, pp. 11–13.

53. ^ Franz Rosenzweig, Der Stern der Erlösung, Zweiter Teil: Die Bahn oder die allzeiterneuerte Welt, J. Kaufmann,

Frankfurt am Main, 1930; transl. The Star of Redemption, Routledge, London, 1971, p. 170.

54. ^ Rosenzweig, Der Stern der Erlösung, Dritter Teil: Die Gestalt oder die ewige Überwelt, pp. 101–2.

55. ^ Rosenzweig, Der Stern der Erlösung, Erster Teil: Die Elemente oder die immerwährende Vorwelt, p. 110.

56. ^ Die Verwirklichung der Vernunft, pp. 88–9.

57. ^ Else Freund, Die Existenzphilosophie Franz Rosenzweigs: Ein Beitrag zur Analyse seines Werkes: ʻDer Stern der Erlösungʼ, Felix Meiner, Leipzig, 1933, p. 102.

58. ^ For Theunissenʼs comments on Rosenzweig, see Der Andere, p. 250.

59. ^ Franz Rosenzweig, Hegel und Staat, Band II, R. Oldenbourg, Munich and Berlin, 1920, pp. 217–18.

60. ^ Dober, Die Zeit ernst nehmen, pp. 21–2.

61. ^ See ʻDie Dialektik der Offenbarungʼ, pp. 134–60.

62. ^ Rosenzweig, Der Stern der Erlösung, II, p. 148.

63. ^ Ibid., p. 111.

64. ^ Bernhard Casper, Das dialogische Denken: Eine Untersuchung der religionsphilosophischen Bedeutung Franz Rosenzweigs, Ferdinand Ebners and Martin Bubers, Herder, Freiburg, Basel and Vienna, 1967, p. 163.

65. ^ Dober, Die Zeit ernst nehmen, p. 124.

66. ^ Der Andere, p. 150.

67. ^ Rosenzweig, Der Stern der Erlösung, II, p. 194.

68. ^ Ibid., p. 170.

69. ^ Theunissen always stresses the link between Kierke-gaardʼs existential dialectics and dialogism. See ʻBubers negative Ontologie des Zwischenʼ, p. 320.

70. ^ Negative Theologie der Zeit, p. 14.

71. ^ Ibid., p. 49.

72. ^ Ibid., p. 54.

73. ^ ʻNegativität bei Adornoʼ, p. 41.

74. ^ Der Begriff Verzweiflung, p. 139.

75. ^ Negative Theologie der Zeit, p. 359.

76. ^ Ibid., pp. 65–6.

77. ^ Ibid., p. 315.

78. ^ Ibid., p. 314.

79. ^ Ibid., p. 301.

80. ^ Der Begriff Ernst, p. 80.

81. ^ ʻDas Menschenbild in der “Krankheit zum Tod”ʼ, p. 505.

82. ^ Negative Theologie der Zeit, p. 58.

83. ^ See Heinrich Kaulen, Rettung und Destruktion: Untersuchungen zur Hermeneutik Walter Benjamins, Max Niemeyer, Tübingen, 1987, p. 175.

84. ^ Der Andere, p. 493.

85. ^ Negative Theologie der Zeit, p. 361.

86. ^ Ibid., pp. 336–7.

87. ^ See Thomas Becker, ʻOpposition der Metaphysik in einer unveränderten Weltʼ, in M. Hattstein et al., eds, Erfahrungen der Negativität: Festschrift für Michael Theunissen zum

60. ^ Geburtstag, Georg Olms, Hildesheim, Zürich and New York, 1992, pp. 271–90, 288.

88. ^ Negative Theologie der Zeit, p. 360.

89. ^ Ibid., pp. 370–71.

90. ^ Hattstein et al., eds, Erfahrungen der Negativität, Preface, p. 9.

91. ^ Oskar Negt and Alexander Kluge, Geschichte und Eigensinn, 2: Deutschland als Produktionsöffentlichkeit, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 1993, pp. 537–38.

92. ^ Axel Honneth, ʻKritische Theorie. Vom Zentrum zur Peripherie einer Denktraditionʼ, in Die zerrissene Welt des Sozialen: Sozialphilosophische Aufsätze, Suhrkamp,

Frankfurt am Main, 1990; transl. The Fragmented World of the Social, State University of New York Press, New York, 1995, pp. 25–72, p. 64.

The Society for European PhilosophyFirst Annual Conference

16-18 September 1998 – University of Lancaster

Keynote speakers Adriana Cavarero (University of Verona) Eckart Förster (University of Munich) Alexander Düttmann (University of Middlesex) Christine Battersby (University of Warwick) Simon Critchley (University of Essex)CALL FOR PANEL PROPOSALSFounded at an Inaugural Conference held at Birkbeck Col ege London in June 1997, the first Annual Conference of the Society for European Philosophy wil be held at Lancaster 16-18 September 1998. Those wishing to convene Panels at the Conference should apply fol owing the Summary Panel Guidelines available from the address below.


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Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YT, UKTel. 01524 592497 Fax 01524 594273 e-mail site: [archive]