In an article appearing in Slate magazine entitled “Heidegger’s Hitler Problem Is Worse Than We Thought”, Rebecca Schuman -inter alia- writes: “But only the Black Notebooks contain actual references to “world Jewry” […] references that tie Heidegger’s anti-Semitism directly to his philosophy. Unprecedented indeed.”
I wonder what she would make of the following comments I will provide, and whether she would need to revise the sentence above.
The references in the Black Notebooks are *not* the first time Heidegger referred to Jews.
In his Winter 1920-21 “Introduction to Phenomenology of Religion” course, he declared that he was trying to offer a “new way of theology” during which he engaged in a reading of Paul’s letter to the Galatians in order to penetrate into the grounding phenomena of “primordial Christian life.” Heidegger was in that context interested in retrieving this primordial experience of “Christendom”, of what it is to “be a Christian”, by re-interpreting Paul’s letters. He was interested in the authentic Christian experience that had been covered up, distorted, by the Jews and the Greeks.
Heidegger wrote that Paul, in writing the letter to the Galatians, was “struggling with the Jews and the Jewish Christians.” It is a struggle between “Law” and “faith”.
In that context, he even gave a definition of what makes a Jew a Jew: it’s the Law. The law is “that which makes the Jew a Jew.”