College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Full Title of Thesis or Dissertation

Being and method in Eckhart and Heidegger

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Martin Heidegger, Meister Eckhart, ontology, method, Reiner Schürmann


The aim of my dissertation is twofold: first, to trace Eckhart’s influence on Heidegger on the historical-philological level, and second, to show how a distinctive connection between being and method in Eckhart shaped Heidegger’s thinking at several crucial stages of his career. Drawing on Heidegger’s published writings and correspondence, his personal copies of Eckhart, reports from his contemporaries, and my own archival research, Part One of the dissertation reveals Eckhart to be one of the most influential figures on Heidegger from the very beginning of his career in 1910 right up to his death in 1976. Part Two examines the connection between being and method in Eckhart's Latin and Middle High German writings. It argues that, in order to understand being as releasement, one must be released, and it analyses various ways in which Eckhart endeavors to cultivate such releasement. I turn to Heidegger in Part Three, where I show how the connection between being and method in Eckhart is formally operative throughout Heidegger’s career, even if the content of that connection differs from one stage of Heidegger’s thought to the next. I focus on three such stages between the years 1928 and 1945.The epilogue of the dissertation outlines a few differences between Eckhart and Heidegger, and contemplates the irreducible commitments that may have generated them. I have also appended an instrumentum containing (1) a list of the various editions of Eckhart that Heidegger used, (2) a list of all of Heidegger’s references to Eckhart and to Pseudo-Eckhart, (3) citations and translations of all of the Eckhartian and Pseudo-Eckhartian passages that Heidegger quotes, (4) a description of Heidegger’s marginalia and underlining in four of his personal copies of Eckhart, (5) a summary of 1-3, and (6) reports on Heidegger’s relation to Eckhart.

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