Forms of Transcendence

Heidegger and Medieval Mystical Theology

By Sonia Sikka

Subjects: Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791433461, 308 pages, May 1997
Hardcover : 9780791433454, 308 pages, May 1997

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Table of contents




Chapter One Bonaventure's Threefold Way into God

Chapter Two Heidegger on the Meaning of Being

Chapter Three Eckhart's Dialectical Theism

Chapter Four The Metaphysical Element in Heidegger's Mysticism

Chapter Five Johannes Tauler: The Call of God in the Ground of the Soul

Chapter Six Dasein and the Call of Conscience

Chapter Seven Ruusbroec's Mysticism of Love and Rapture

Chapter Eight Being and Man and the End of Metaphysics





Oriented toward the question of God, this book sets up a dialogue between Heidegger and four medieval authors: St. Bonaventure, Meister Eckhart, Johannes Tauler, and Jan van Ruusbroec.


This book sets up a dialogue between Heidegger and four medieval authors: St. Bonaventure, Meister Eckhart, Johannes Tauler, and Jan van Ruusbroec. Through a close reading of medieval and Heideggerian texts, the book brings to light elements that present possibilities for a revised appropriation of some traditional metaphysical and theological ideas, arguing that, in spite of Heidegger's critique of "ontotheology," many aspects of his thought make a positive, and not exclusively critical, contribution.

Unlike some past studies of the relation between Heidegger and medieval mysticism, this book seeks to establish a real identity between the content, the subject-matter (Sache), of the medieval and Heideggerian texts that it examines. In so doing, it challenges Heidegger's own assertion that what he calls "being" cannot be called God. Against this assertion, Sikka argues that what is to be called God remains an open question, and points out metaphysical and theological elements in Heidegger's reflections on being that help to answer this question. Offering new insights into the relation between metaphysics, theology, and mysticism, the book contributes not only to Heidegger studies but to philosophical theology as well.

Sonya Sikka is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ottawa.


"…an original contribution … whose presentation is … expressive and accurate. " — Studia Phaenomenologia

"The book is extremely well written—it is a lucid exposition of an important issue that could easily have gotten lost in jargon. The author never loses control, however. Sikka maintains an admirable balance of intellectual rigor and fluidity of style. Heidegger is probably the dominant thinker of the twentieth century, and his critique of metaphysics (especially of its conception of God) has been crucial to contemporary thought. The author has addressed this critique directly with intelligence, erudition and fluency. " — William J. Richardson, Boston College

"What I like best about this book is the careful exposition of the four mystics followed by separate chapters devoted to the dialogue between Heidegger and the thinker in question. I also like the care with which the author keeps the differences in sight while arguing for stronger affinities than many would suspect. " — Merold Westphal, Fordham University